Dash Adoption on the Rise: Dash-enabled Smartphone Booming in Venezuela

Nuno Teodoro

After its announcement in late August, more than 7000 units of the new Dash-enabled phone have already been sold in Venezuela.

The Dash-enabled phone, KRIP, is the result of a partnership between Dash and Kripto Mobile Corporation. Featuring five different models, the KRIP phone comes with a built-in Dash wallet and ecosystem, including some Dash in a paper wallet and several crypto apps such as Uphold (crypto exchange) and Bitrefill (gift card). The Dash Merchant team supports consumers setting up the phone and redeems the Dash from the paper wallet.

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“Money is changing, so should your phone” - KRIP Slogan

 

 

In order to reach citizens without smartphone or reliable internet access, which still represent a substantial portion of the Venezuelan population, Dash has developed Dash Text. Announced in November, Dash Text allows anyone to create a wallet and transact cryptocurrencies using an SMS-based system.

Over 3000 Dash wallets have already been created using this new system. One of the co-founders of Dash Text, Alejandro Echeverría, has stated that the use of Dash Text is mostly concentrated on rural regions:

 

 

“In % rate, rural has almost 100% of Dash Text wallet (natural reasons). But in the city the rate has been very high since people have noticed that using Dash Text is easier than using the normal smartphone wallet (no downloads/ internet required) and since our POS from Dash merchant already has the Dash text feature it is very convenient to use Dash Text for everything.”

 

 

Amidst the worst economic crisis in national history, Venezuelan citizens are playing a key role in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. From local grocery shops to major retailers, airline companies to large food chains such as KFC and Subway, there is a long list of merchants who accept cryptocurrency payments (Dash alone claims to have a list of 2400+ merchants).

How Cryptocurrencies are Helping Venezuela

Venezuela prospered under the leadership of former president Hugo Chavez. The growth however, proved unsustainable, as it was overly reliant on oil products, the cornerstone of the Venezuelan economy.

These factors made Venezuela an apparently fertile ground for crypto adoption. President Nicolas Maduro this year decided to experiment with the first ever national cryptocurrency, the Petro - although many have questioned the as well as the credentials of the asset's whitepaper, as well as the government's claim that it is backed by oil.

As the bolivar lost most of its value, to the point of being worth less than the paper it was printed on, many Venezuelan citizens have turned to cryptocurrencies to combat inflation. Crypto adoption has also helped citizens with financial inclusion, allowing access to a variety of different financial services - e.g. savings - that otherwise wouldn’t be available.  

Buying food, medicine, and basic goods - many times ordered from other countries due to supply shortages - has also been made possible due to cryptoassets.

Blockchain & Real Estate: How Tokenization May Be a Game Changer for Investors and Owners

The real estate market represents one of the oldest and most significant investment classes. Real estate investments yield competitive returns and are particularly effective hedges against inflation, however, there have been several persistent barriers to entry, including the high cost of entry and low liquidity.

With cryptoassets emerging as a new asset class, their underlying technology - blockchain networks - have evolved to not only serve transactional systems but also confer, hold and transfer value in general.

As the industry and technology continue to develop, there is considerable room in merging the old with the new, and few areas hold potential equal to the tokenization of real estate.

Tokenization, as the name suggests, is the representation of an asset or equity, in token equivalents, which can be fractionally divided and owned.

A tokenized property would be akin to a real estate investment trust (REIT), but much more flexible and with very little middlemen fees.

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Unparalleled liquidity

Tokenized equities and real estate will witness unparalleled liquidity, given how the ease and secure settlement of cross-border transfers in tokens can take investment pools truly global.

Fractional ownership/Low cost of entry

Since tokens support fractional ownership, they considerably lower the cost of entry, further opening up the investor pool and unlocking developing regions and economies around the world.

Efficient administration/No middlemen

Tokenized securities can be further programmed for efficient administration - this is done via the use of smart contracts, which can easily send out dividends and support other functions, such as voting rights. Moreover, since all of these activities are recorded on the blockchain, management overheads are significantly reduced, middlemen are removed from the picture and costs are lowered for both investors and issuers.

Increased transparenc

Not only are blockchain networks secure, but they are also immutable and allow for increased transparency, where every transaction and value transfer is recorded on a ledger. Access to the ledger can be permissioned if required, and overall, blockchain implementations are flexible.

Current challenges to tokenization of real estate

While the prospect of tokenized real estate is quite attractive, its implementation is not without challenges.

First, there is a need for improved security practices and general awareness around the custody of digital tokens. Time and again, we see exchanges getting hacked and/or cryptocurrency owners losing their holdings due to security lapses as simple as phishing attacks and keyloggers.

Until institutional-grade custody solutions and exchanges become mainstream, the dream of tokenized real estate will be difficult to realize.

While there are several reputable platforms, such as Polymath and Swarm, they only take care of the technology end of tokenization. Before there can be any meaningful adoption, regulatory developments need to be made. Even when tokenized, real estate tokens fall under securities law, and compliance procedures need to be followed. Unfortunately, there is the feeling of a lack of clarity surrounding digital securities, and presently, industry stakeholders have adopted a “wait and watch” approach.

Promising ventures in the real estate space

Given the benefits of tokenizing securities (particularly the reduced buy-in price and increased liquidity in real estate), it is all but certain that the future will see a larger-scale adoption of digital securities, and it will be better for the industry that it happens when everyone is ready for it.

About the author:

Joe DiPasquale is CEO of BitBull Capital and has unique insights into crypto fund investment styles, diligence, and deals. Previously, he worked in investment management, investment banking, technology, and strategy consulting at Deutsche Bank, Bain, and McKinsey. Joe completed his BA at Harvard University and MBA at Stanford University.

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