(Photo via Frontera)

To most, cryptocurrency sounds like a very complicated concept. Maybe it’s because it combines two worlds that seem to require specialized knowledge: finance and technology. Basically, it refers to an electronic currency that can be transmitted using a special technology called blockchain (sort of a decentralized digital book that keeps a record of every transaction).

One Argentine startup hopes to change the esoteric image of cryptocurrencies and make the digital economy accessible to everybody. Created in 2017, Inbest Network aims to function as a marketplace for investors, institutions, and developers.

“I have always thought that there had to be an improvement and lower barriers to generate accessibility to cryptocurrency,” says Joan Cwaik, Inbest Network’s Chief Business Officer. He surely is an authority on this matter. Interested in disruptive technologies and innovation, Cwaik has been writing, speaking, and teaching about Bitcoin – the most famous cryptocurrency – for years.

Inbest Network connects investors, financial institutions, and developers hoping to “unleash the future of investment,” as the startup describes it. It was created by a group of Argentine entrepreneurs linked to the traditional financial world who started working with developers to build a blockchain-based marketplace that has its own cryptocurrency.

Starting a Crypto Business in Argentina

“In the local market, some apps allow users to exchange Bitcoins and pesos, but don’t permit diversified exchange,” Cwaik explains. Inbest Network’s first goal is to develop a platform that enables users to invest in diversified cryptocurrency portfolios.

What did they need to start this business in Buenos Aires? First, US $500,000 destined to the tech development of the company and the initial startup costs. Last September, they used another US $2,000,000 to enter a crypto fund (after all, Inbest Network is for investors). This network not only solves the problem of accessibility to the cryptocurrency market, but also makes its administration easier and more transparent.

Inbest App

 

It is also for financial partners, as it facilitates a marketplace where these institutions can make their products available to investors. And finally, Inbest Network is oriented to developers. “We have an open code and an open architecture, so anyone can take it and offer financial products as long as it uses our own cryptocurrency,” Cwaik says.

Named IBST, this cryptocurrency doesn’t have the same utility as Bitcoin. “It’s not a financial asset that allows you to buy an orange juice, for example,” Cwaik says. IBST only functions as a way to access diversified investment funds.

A limited edition of IBST was launched last December in what is called a “token generation,” an Initial Coin Offering (or ICO). First as a presale for qualified investors and then as an open crowdsale, this ICO generated US $12 million for the startup.

That was the final result of a strong campaign that took the Inbest Network team to 18 countries for a roadshow across Europe, the Middle East, and the US, where they met with investors and pitched their project. They have also launched a digital marketing campaign. Since Facebook and Google don’t promote ICO, Inbest Network relied on influencers to get key messaging out to target audiences.

“This is a process we can’t do on our own, so we are constantly meeting brand ambassadors and qualified financial institutions,” Cwaik says. “We” refers to a team of 20 collaborators, where Cwaik is in charge of the business strategy. “We also have a solid board of advisors that helps us with our roadmap,” he points out.

Meet part of the team. (Photo via Inbest Network)
Meet part of the team. (Photo via Inbest Network)

Next Steps

According to Inbest Network, the funds collected during the token sale will be allocated to the development of the startup, including hiring and growing a development team, promoting the network, implementing business strategies, and paying fees and other expenses.

The network now expects to launch its app for investors, which may be used by those who seek high-risk options as well as those who tend to be more conservative. One of the main characteristics of this app, as Cwaik explains it, is that Inbest tries to offer multiple ways to enter the market. “This is a very democratic option to access this new economy,” he highlights. Users will be able to choose between Mercado Pago, credit cards, or wire transfers. The company is even thinking of implementing text messages to attract people who prefer options that don’t rely on traditional banking methods.

Cwaik estimates that the app will be available by late April. Meanwhile, the team is still working on the user experience aspect of the app, while anticipating a “very good response from the audience.”

In Inbest Network’s roadmap, one of the main pillars is that developers do what they know: create new apps based in the startup’s own architecture. This would make IBST’s value grow, which is one of the most important things for the company. As Cwaik puts it, “A person that bets on an ICO is a person who bets on the cryptocurrency’s value.”

He knows that Inbest Network is not the only player in the Argentine fintech market. “We see that there have been some improvements in the last few months,” Cwaik acknowledges. But he has high hopes for this business. “There is a new revolution happening and we are proud to be a part of it,” he says.