Crypterium’s secret sauce remains shrouded in mystery

How will Crypterium reconcile mining resource requirements with the need for instant payments?
22 May 2018

New CEO of Crypterium, Marc O’Brien. Source: YouTube, screenshot.

Crypterium, a startup in the cryptocurrency market has recently appointed a luminary of the UK financial scene, Marc O’Brien as its new CEO. The Estonian company hopes to be the missing link between everyday, convenient payments, and the slow speed of cryptocurrency balance exchange.

Mr. O’Brien is perhaps best known from his stint as the CEO of Visa, UK & Ireland from 2008 to 2014. He is also one of the investors behind disruptive financial outfit Revolut and is CCO of Taxamo, a tax and finance specialist company with particular expertize in technology, cryptocurrencies and new methods of exchange.

When individuals of Marc O’Brien’s ilk get involved in cryptocurrencies, the world tends to take more notice than it might to the slew of cryptocurrency stories du jour. Ripple’s status as an accessible medium of international exchange is in no small way due to its use and support by existing large financial players.

Although still in its early phases, Cryptorium has raised US$52 million in funding via an ICO of its token CRPT. The aim of the company is to allow users to pay for items or receive payments, with exchanges effectively underwritten by the participants’ crytpocurrency balances.

That way, the transaction can be validated in a few seconds electronically by Cryptorium, with the actual cryptographic element of processing the interchange carried out in the usual way.

Compared to fiat currencies and some other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin trades, for instance, can take days to achieve, and this obviously can make Bitcoin not viable for everyday use. It remains trustworthy, of course, but the concept of trust in traders’ minds is moot if funds take days to move from point to point.

Protected by cryptography, the Bitcoin exchange mechanism is a victim of its own success: the more popular it becomes, the more expensive or difficult each trade becomes, as cryptographic difficulty adjusts to ensure block generation time remains constant.

Additionally, Bitcoin’s limited supply means that difficulty in authenticating trades (mining) becomes more resource-intensive as time passes.

Crypterium’s methods of achieving account holders’ balance adjustments and transaction approval in short order are the company’s intellectual property, of course. Its the company’s “secret sauce”, according to O’Brien.

Not available for broader scrutiny is the way the exchange mechanism will cope with currency fluctuations, especially those between an agreed price at the point of sale and the final settlement value.

The company hopes it can partner with a major financial institution like Visa or Mastercard to launch its own card or virtual card which can run on a smartphone – apps already exist but are only usable by invited CRYPT holders. Mere mortals may sign up in the app and wait until user testing in the select group completes.

“[The] card will be attached to a wallet that we’ve created and every time the consumer makes a transaction we will receive a request for that transaction in our systems, we will check the Bitcoin or Ether account and provided that they’ve got sufficient balance we will execute a trade and mark their bitcoin balance for a trade and approve the transaction. You can be in a store and all of that’s done in a fraction of a second,” said O’Brien.

Investors’ faith in the company and its token shows that trading in CRYPT began at US2.50 initially after ICO, but has since fallen in value to around US$1.25 at the time of publication.

In addition to everyday trading across the developed world, Mr. O’Brien sees a role for the company’s offerings in high-inflation markets: “We have a unique opportunity to provide a safe haven to some extent for consumers in those countries. The concern that many of them might have about getting access to that currency in a short space of time for immediate spending, we’re going to be in a position to bridge that gap and make it an instant gratification.”