Electroneum wants to make it super easy to send money across borders. That’s hardly a unique goal in the cryptocurrency space. But it is unique in the way it’s focusing on digital payments through smartphones for people without access to bank accounts. Every crypto player talks about mass adoption, but Electroneum’s model may actually make it possible
Millions of people don’t have access to a bank account. Yet, a good chunk of them has access to a smartphone. In cryptocurrencies, meanwhile, mining is the preserve of huge arrays of machines ruling out most of the crypto community from being able to meaningfully contribute. It’s these two factors that have lead to the creation of Electroneum, a company that wants to democratize banking by putting it on a smartphone and bring mining to the masses by also bringing mobile into the mix.
Can it succeed? We find out below.
Electroneum is a cryptocurrency aimed at taking the hassle and expense out of sending money worldwide – like an easier crypto version of PayPal. In many developing countries, people don’t have bank accounts. Electroneum wants to give them access to digital currency by offering a cheap and easy way to send money all over the world.
The mastermind behind Electroneum is Richard Ells. He’s a longtime marketer who jumped into cryptocurrency after successfully creating his own digital agency and a social media management platform called Retortal.
Did you know?
Electroneum is the United Kingdom’s first cryptocurrency.
📱Mobile mining - Electroneum launched the very first ‘mining’ app – allowing people to earn coins from their smartphones. This is a big deal because mining most cryptocurrencies requires intense computing power. That gets expensive and uses a lot of electricity. Electroneum wants to tear down those barriers and help more people get into the crypto game. That’s why they came up with a mining app that runs in the background on a smartphone. It’s easy to use, takes up hardly any space, and requires minimal battery power.
👤 Identity checks – Electroneum is one of the first cryptocurrencies to embrace KYC checks (Know Your Customer). The reason is to be more attractive to corporates, who insist on tighter regulation. The KYC requirement caused a huge outcry for investors when it was introduced in November 2018, especially from people in developing countries who don’t have recognized proof of identity. Electroneum addressed these concerns by requiring different levels of proof depending on how much currency you hold or send. Those with the least amount will only need to provide their name and country.
Like many cryptocurrencies, Electroneum is ‘mined’ by miners who solve puzzles using heavy duty computer equipment. The first to crack them is rewarded in Electroneum’s currency, ETN. What’s unique about ETN is that it can also be mined through a mobile app. Any smartphone user can download the app and let it run in the background. Then over time, the user earns small amounts of ETN.
Smartphone mining isn’t technically mining, however. Solving puzzles is computationally intensive and smartphones aren’t up to the task. Instead, the mobile user is given pre-mined ETN every so often, which takes away the need for special computing equipment and gives them their first taste of cryptocurrency. Smartphone mining will never yield as many ETN as mega computer equipment, but it’s still a foot in the door.
Though critics say it should be called an airdrop instead of mining, the naming hasn’t dampened interest. The app has had more than 1 million downloads and counting.
Electroneum, originally built on the Monero codebase, was aimed at the gaming and gambling crowd. Since then, it has turned its attention to easy, instant payments across borders.
The company has patented a way for people to instantly pay other people or businesses in cryptocurrency. Though the money isn’t received instantly, the recipient gets immediate confirmation that the transaction has taken place.
People who hold ETN can use it to send payments to anyone in the world who accepts them. The cryptocurrency can also be traded for other currencies like bitcoin using a crypto exchange.
Electroneum is also looking at expanding the uses of ETN, including phone bill payments. That’s why the company has brokered deals with major telecommunications companies across the world, hoping it will lead to greater adoption of the currency.
Everything about Electroneum was developed to be easy. If you make it easy, more people will be able to use it. If more people are using it, the currency becomes more valuable.
Electroneum isn’t the only cryptocurrency that aims for mass adoption. But it has certainly taken significant steps to eliminate the barriers that prevent digital assets from becoming mainstream. Founder Richard Ells is betting that if he gives enough people ETN, especially in developing countries, it will naturally become a currency of choice. He believes it will bring out an entrepreneurial spirit in people, and become the first cryptocurrency that is used widely in transactions for goods and services. He also sees it as a way to tap into the gig economy on a global scale.
The mass adoption he envisions is still a way off, and the actual monetary value of ETN has been a disappointment for many investors. But the idea that people can earn, hold, and send it with just a smartphone and without proof of a bank account could pave the way to greater uptake.