[THE INVESTOR] JEJU ISLAND -- Despite the exponential market capitalization and hype on cryptocurrencies, experts view the absence of a killer app or real-world application is making it difficult for wider adoption of the digital asset.
Ticket Monster, or TMON, co-founder Daniel Shin is out to fix that. The e-commerce entrepreneur’s new blockchain firm Terra, which was established in April, aims to make cryptocurrencies an everyday payment method for everyone, just like PayPal and Alipay, but with the addition of blockchain technology.
“People will be able to use Terra as a payment option at the checkout counters of major e-commerce sites soon, just like Naver Pay or Kakao Pay,” Shin said during an interview held on the sidelines of the Upbit Developer Conference on Jeju Island last week. “Our goal is to launch Terra on TMON by the year-end.”
TMON founder and Terra CEO Daniel Shin
What makes Terra different from other cryptocurrencies is its stability, providing a reliable means of payment, Shin emphasized. It’s called a price-stable cryptocurrency, or stable coin, which maintains its price or value, as opposed to other coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum that are highly volatile in nature. This is possible because a stable coin is pegged to other stable assets like gold or major fiat currencies like the US dollar.
Terra, which is pegged to SDR -- a basket of five currencies including US dollar -- adopts a dual-token system of Terra and another collateral token Luna. When the demand of Terra token goes up and price increases, the algorithm will automatically print more Terra to control the price. But when demand for Terra decreases and the price drops, it will use Luna to buyback Terra, while burning the extra Terra to maintain price stability.
Then how will the platform and users benefit from using Terra?
“When Terra is used to make a payment, the 0.5 percent transaction fee will go to Luna holders. So when more transactions are made via Terra, Luna holders will earn more value, similar to how Visa works,” he said. “As Luna bets on Terra’s growth of the market, we expect to see more investors interested in investing in Luna.”
Major investors and partners came onboard, before Terra rolled out the beta service.
In August, it successfully raised a seed round of US$32 million from global cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance Labs, OKEx, Huobi Capital and Dunamu & Partners, an affiliate of Upbit operator Dunamu. Blockchain-focused funds, including Polychain Capital, FBG Capital and Hashed, among others, joined the round along with more traditional VCs like TransLink Capital.
“We don’t have plans for an initial coin offering at the moment,” he said. “The regulations on ICO are still uncertain. Until there is a definite regulatory framework, we will get investments from institutional investors. But when things are cleared, ICO could be an option in the future.”
The investment round will be used to develop the Terra platform, as well as launch on major e-commerce platforms throughout Asia, according to the firm.
Big name e-commerce players in the region have already joined the partnership under the Terra Alliance. It consists of 15 e-commerce platforms, including Korea’s TMON and Baedal Minjok, Singapore-based Qoo10 and Carousell, Thailand-based Pomelo and Vietnam-based Tiki.
Shin believes more firms and users will join the alliance because Terra is a boon for all participants on the platform. He claims Terra can provide more secure transactions for e-commerce platforms, at a fraction of fees they pay to credit card companies and other payment service providers. The transaction fee of 0.5 percent when using Terra is much lower than the 2-3 percent that more traditional payment providers take away, he added.
It also plans to provide 10 percent discount to buyers who use Terra to make transactions on e-commerce sites.
Once Terra becomes a go-to payment option for users, Shin plans on expanding Terra to the next level. “Our ultimate goal is to provide all financial services, including remittances, insurance and loans, on the Terra platform.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)