A team of payments veterans announced today the launch of a new cryptocurrency startup based on Ethereum: Verify, planning and ICO in December.
The company plans on disintermediating banks and directly connecting sellers and buyers by using a reputation protocol built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Verify follows a growing trend of companies that have passed on traditional VC investors and opted for an initial coin offering (ICO) model instead. “Nothing beats getting funded by your own customers”, CEO Yazin Alirhayim said. The advisory board includes Omar Kassim, CEO at JadoPado and former CTO at Noon, the fast growing ecommerce marketplace founded by Mohammed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar.
Verify is currently being built and led by Yazin Alirhayim, previously VP of Start, one of Payfort's offered services.
The team is looking to raise a minimum of $1 million and have set a maximum of $14.5 million. This initial token sale will be primarily used to develop the protocol and the payment solution, as well as to onboard sellers and buyers.
“Just like many places in Africa skipped landlines (and the costly infrastructure required to support it) and went straight to mobile phones, we think it’s possible that many developing regions may skip traditional financial solutions and go straight to cryptocurrencies. We’ve seen some solutions (like BitAccess in Canada) allowing people to purchase Bitcoin with cash. This is unprecedented, and means you could purchase a currency that can be used anywhere in the world without relying on a local issuer,” Alirhayim said.
Verify is aiming at building a reputation protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that enables trust-based transactions. Verify Payments uses the Verify protocol to enable fully protected ecommerce transactions over the blockchain. “The biggest question surrounding the use of cryptocurrencies to buy/sell things is: How do you provide buyers with protection, but still pay sellers immediately? We solve this using reputation, essentially insuring every transaction on the Verify network,” explained Alirhayim.Alirhayim recalls how his previous company White Payments signed a credit card processing agreement with Warbug Pincus and General Atlantic owned Network International but was ‘shut down’ leaving them and their merchants stranded.
White Payments was able to regain the ability to process payments through another institution and was ultimately acquired, but the sting never wore off. “Banks are the ultimate intermediary; they’re slow, expensive and will soon be entirely redundant.”