The startup offers a basic approach to the complexity of crypto
If you use a computer, you have heard of cryptocurrency in one form or another. If you’ve dug a little deeper, you probably understand the basics pretty well despite the complexity of cryptocurrency.
Crypto is a general term for a digital currency. A decentralized ledger system records transactions based on a blockchain computer code. There are many different cryptos. Their value fluctuates.
Beyond these basics, things get… complicated. Maybe complex is a better word.
Somewhere inside the ledger and code and everything else, in the complexity of cryptocurrency, Bill Rice sees an opportunity.
“’If I can’t touch it, if I can’t see it, I don’t necessarily trust it,’” said Rice, the founder of CryptoBuxx. “That’s how a lot of people see it. They can see their credit card and not realize it’s tied to something electronic. People are moving towards all-digital, but it takes time for an idea to be adopted, to get used to it.
Basically, CryptoBuxx is a certificate representing a specific denomination of a specific crypto. A BitCoin, for example. Like a stock certificate, the face value – one share, one BitCoin – never changes. However, the underlying price fluctuates with the market.
The idea of the CryptoBuxx certificate then is a physical way to engage people with the intangible concepts behind crypto. The certificate becomes a conversation starter and transition catalyst.
The idea started to germinate when he saw the number of crypto evangelists trying to simplify the complexity of cryptocurrency for others. In many conversations, there was a lack of common ground.
“It can be hard to talk about what crypto is without something to show people,” Rice said. “[These certificates are] a way to start a conversation with people about crypto and help new consumers experience crypto for the first time in a non-threatening way with something they can touch and feel.
First steps are important, Rice said, because they open up the market space for new ideas.
“Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy,” Rice said. “With regulation, you’re going to see less speculation and see it become more of an investment tool. The real growth will be in blockchain applications – decentralized applications and smart contracts.
With these new technologies, the crypto associated with a particular blockchain application becomes the currency used to facilitate transactions within the application. A limited number of parts are created for the application. Coins can then be bought and sold to enable future transactions. The higher the demand for the transaction, the greater the potential value of the coin supply.
Buying pizza is one of the most popular stories in crypto lore. Buying pizza demonstrated the potential value of a particular digital currency. It shows value without diving deep into the complexity of cryptocurrency.
“Suddenly BitCoin had value, because of the cost of pizza,” Rice said. “Value was set by the market and that’s exactly how it works today.”
A portion of the payment for each block of transactions is allocated to ledger hosts. Another part is allocated to the application developer. As the value of technology increases, the value of the coin used to power transactions should see a commensurate increase.
“There could be a PizzaCoin,” Rice said. “But, nobody builds something and says, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea, so I’m going to give it to people for free.’ The coins become an incentive for developers to grow, and then a form of payment for using apps developed alongside the coins.
There is no official relationship between a given crypto and the specific CryptoBuxx certificate. For each purchase, Rice’s company, Certificate Exchange, Inc., purchases the crypto and binds it to the certificate’s ciphers, codes, and keys. Certificate Exchange currently offers services for a dozen coins with significant histories.
“Because a lot of these coins are decentralized, and even though they have sponsors, the contracts themselves are self-contained,” Rice said, saying Cryptobuxx is currently available for purchase and has a solid history. “It’s very transparent. Once created, they cannot be changed unless you change the entire contract. I think it will be very difficult for them to classify many of these pieces as titles, certainly by the current definition of a title.
There are strong similarities between the stock market and cryptocurrency. However, the two markets are different enough to be independent of each other. Rice thinks the similarities are strong enough to warrant SEC regulation. Likewise, the global nature of the coins and the underlying contracts create new regulatory constraints.
“I think you’ll see regulation coming,” Rice said. “I don’t think it’s going to be as much as the government wants or as little as the industry wants. [and] this will eliminate much of the market volatility. Then you are also going to see a huge price spike because that is going to attract a whole new class of investors, an institutional investor who is not interested in speculation but is interested in building a diversified portfolio.
These ideas are not new to Rice. He spent nearly 30 years in financial services, working with mutual funds and other Wall Street-focused assets. It started organizing Certificate Exchange in June 2021 with a handful of partners. The company officially launched in December 2021.
“I think it’s something that will really benefit a lot of people, but it’s not for everyone,” Rice said. “If someone who has crypto coins wants to engage someone else in the idea, this is a really easy way to do that. It’s a way to share the idea. It starts a conversation.