Bitcoin may have seen a slew of new buyers over the past month, but that doesn’t mean more people are actually exchanging the cryptocurrency.
Tigereum wants to change this. The A.I. chatbot, which uses its own crypto tokens to make international payments simple, is aimed at demystifying this rapidly growing area of technology.
“We want to step into the middle there and help ordinary people have the sort of tools they need to use crypto without being computer geeks,” Darren Olney-Fraser, CEO of Tigereum, tells Inverse.
The project began development around six months ago, after the team realized a similar system didn’t exist already. Initially launching for Facebook Messenger, the platform can work with any instant messenger that supports chatbots, including Skype, Telegram, and Slack. As it’s all cryptocurrency-based, the bot doesn’t care which currency you use at home and which one your friend uses, making it a country-agnostic form of money exchange.
Watch the bot in action here.
The company has devised its own cryptocurrency to enable these payments. These Tigereum Tokens will be Ethereum-based, and a token swap running from December 8th to 18th will enable investors to buy these tokens at a rate of one ETH for 1,000 tokens. Essentially an initial coin offering, these funds will be used for further development with a view to launching the chatbot around the middle of next year.
“What we’re doing is creating the means of exchange within the offering,” says Olney-Fraser. “The tokens that will become the oil in the middle of the engine.”
Olney-Fraser’s journey is emblematic of cryptocurrency’s growing acceptance into the mainstream. A banking and finance lawyer for 15 years, he switched to become a company director in the financial tech sector around 10 years ago. He sees his professional background as a benefit to bringing cryptocurrency payments into the mainstream.
“There are a lot of computer geeky type people…I’m not running them down by saying that…in the crypto world, and more, if you like, normal business people with genuine corporate governance, prudential experience and regard for the law, people like me, delivering products that will comply and respect government regulation, the more of that the better,” Olney-Fraser says.
Tigereum will have to convince users that wallet-based exchanges like Coinbase are less efficient ways of transferring cryptocurrency than its chatbot, while also persuading non-cryptocurrency users that its system is a better option than the built-in transfer methods already available in Facebook. Its easy-to-understand pitch be just what gets more consumers into working with cryptocurrency.
“The key really is to give people tools to use crypto that they’re familiar with in an everyday basis,” Olney-Fraser says.