As the digital currency market continues to prove both its versatility and long-term viability, one of the outstanding players on the Georgian market, Spotcoin plans to meet the industry’s growing demand. The Tbilisi-based company is expected to raise $30 million with its initial coin offering, or ICO, a popular method of fundraising based on the first sale of a new digital currency. The company has expanded fast, and its founders believe that the ICO will bolster its success. Guram Rukhadze, one of Spotcoin’s co-founders, is a digital currency expert. “The new digital economy is nothing short of a digital revolution,” he says, and shared with Forbes his insights into his company’s accomplishments and where his team sees the future of their business.
What was the genesis of Spotcoin?
We wanted to make a company that could simplify the buying and selling of digital currency and demonstrate the value of transparency in this arena. We saw the complexities that both people and organizations were confronting in the market. So in November of 2016, we created an over-the-counter marketplace (or OTC) for digital currency. Soon we were handling $1 million in monthly transactions between digital and fiat currencies. The initial success of our OTC exchange service enabled us to quickly raise $1 million to expand Spotcoin. We grew from a Georgian LLC of three teammates to a proper staff of 30 employees, and today we have investors from all over the world.
What attracted you to digital currency?
I’m an entrepreneur with an extensive background in finance. And, like a lot of people, I’m not just attracted to digital currency: I’m completely fascinated by its potential. There are more than 1,500 such currencies in existence right now, and blockchain technology is proving its capacity to reshape global economic systems, while impacting most every industry that depends on secured data transfers. The new digital economy is nothing short of a digital revolution, and I want to be a part of it. More specifically – and why I’m so passionate about our work at Spotcoin – I want to contribute to harnessing the full potential of digital currency. We believe that our platform is uniquely capable of doing this, and that it can do so securely.
What is Spotcoin’s competitive advantage?
We’re the only company in the world with a platform that addresses every aspect of the digital currency ecosystem. Following our much-anticipated ICO this May, within a single system we will piece together what is an otherwise fragmented landscape – bringing together services in currency exchange, payments and mining. Moreover, we’re establishing a new academic institution and business accelerator.
Within this system is our new Spotcoin exchange, with a simple, straightforward interface that’s easy to use. Anyone from casual currency holders to more sophisticated investors will have easy access to the digital currency market, and the ability to swiftly liquidate assets into euros and U.S. dollars. This offer will eventually include all national currencies of the Black Sea region, as well. We’re also launching our innovative payment system, Spotpay, which allows merchants to easily sell goods and services to users with various combinations of both digital and fiat currencies. This will be a seamlessly smooth process for buyers and sellers, even as it’s utilizing a highly complex proprietary algorithm for transactions. And we’ve expanded our capacity in mining by securing access to an emissions-free, hydroelectric-powered facility to host our digital currency mining hardware. The two most difficult aspects of mining are access to computing equipment and low-cost energy. This new facility guarantees electricity that is both cheap and constant – something that is essential for maintaining a profit in our industry.
To what extent does Spotcoin aim to establish innovative approaches, and how will those concepts be implemented?
Our goal is to continue delivering solutions to usher in the new smart economy and advanced blockchain technologies throughout the Black Sea region. We will accomplish this not only with our advances but also through education.Suffice it to say that Spotcoin makes digital currencies work for everyone. We provide reliable liquidity to everyone in the digital currency marketplace: investors, traders, miners, merchants and even casual, everyday users. We make digital currency functional. Spotcoin is already part of the smart economy, having matured as a market leader in the Black Sea Region by conducting over $10 million in OTC trade volume last year. The success led to $1 million in seed funding, allowing the company to grow from three to 27 employees. We are tackling the incredibly fractured marketplace of digital currencies, and making it considerably more accessible to more people. Basically, the Spotcoin exchange comes with the promise that any user can easily trade between US dollars, Euros, NEO, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Sibcoin. To make it even more attractive on this side of the world, we plan to offer the possibility of using each Black Sea regional currency. It is all feasible because of Spotcore, our proprietary system of automation and mathematics that maintains a high degree of liquidity to make the Spotcoin exchange capable of completing transactions fast. It’s this apparent lack of complication to the user that also makes us so enthusiastic about SpotPay, a brilliant payment system that we will launch later this year. On the surface, SpotPay is a convenient method of payment that can be integrated in pretty much any web shop.
Any purchase made through SpotPay can be made with any combination of the currencies I mentioned. Any combination! The buyer will know what their fee is for the service, which is projected to be half the price of the most popular payment processors in the world. And when the merchant receives their payment, they can get paid in whichever combination of those currencies they wish. See what I mean? Spotcoin really does make digital currency work for everyone.
Does Spotcoin have its own token?
It certainly does. We announced the launch of our own token, SPOT, with our white paper in March. The technical document details our business plan and roadmap to accomplish our expansion, and the ICO will provide the necessary capital to make that happen. Private investors get the first chance to obtain SPOT before it is released to the public on May 1. The ICO will remain open for one month, and we are confident that we’ll sell the entirety of our 99 million available tokens. SPOT holders will receive their portion of a weekly 51 percent dividend, which is collected from the trading fees charged by the Spotcoin exchange. A second dividend of 12 percent of net quarterly profits will also be distributed to coin holders. We’re extremely excited to share dividends with the Spotcoin community, and to provide a true return on investment for our supporters.
What is the role of blockchain technologies in the economy?
Blockchain technology offers great opportunity and its impact will be felt across the global economy and in governments around the world. American businesses already know this. That’s why they give developers an 18 percent higher salary if they have knowledge of implementing and managing blockchain systems.There is a growing recognition of the positive benefits of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, not only in the economy, but in a wide variety of industries. Maternity care in the Netherlands is being tracked with blockchain. Logistics businesses are using the technology to resolve billing issues. Even the provenance of diamonds is being verified by blockchain. Right now, so few people have a clear understanding of what blockchain actually is. We need to provide as much access to education as possible.
Is Spotcoin working with the government?
We’ve been doing all we can to collaborate closely with regional governments, and we value their insights and interest in innovation. The longterm health and security of our industry relies in large part on legal and regulatory partnerships. We need to ensure a stable framework that can minimize risk for everyone involved. We’ve had informal discussions with officials from various regional government officials. Part of our mission is to cultivate an accurate understanding of digital currency, which is a highly esoteric topic for too many people. Knowledge, just like money, is power.
Where do you go from here?
We’ll always be exploring that question, as this is an industry with a great deal of unspecified potential. It’s part of why we are establishing the Black Sea Blockchain Institute, which is dedicated to education, research and innovation in digital public ledger technology. In addition to being a regional hub for the technological advancement of our industry, the institute will also strategically support and invest in promising startups.
Our courses and research programs will help train the next generation of developers, who will create amazing services and products based on blockchain technology. While classes start at the institute later this year, we’ll be preparing for Spotcoin’s upcoming ICO in the meantime. We’ll also host the Black Sea Blockchain Summit in Tbilisi from April 24 to 26, and industry experts from across the region, as well as Georgian government officials, will be in attendance. I’m looking forward to this event and the ideas that will come out of it. There is so much to discover about digital currency and where this revolution is taking us.