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Can a Company Called ‘Lawnmower’ Reinvent Blockchain Investment?

Source: bitcoin


In a recent video, young startup Lawnmower explained their recent pivot from “spare change” investing of bitcoin to becoming a more comprehensive research and trading hub for multiple blockchain assets. The founders also introduce the Lawnmower Blockchain Index (LBI). 

Also read: Bet on MMA with Bitcoin: UFC 202, McGregor vs Diaz 

Lawnmower: From Spare Change to Big Time Blockchain Investment

One year ago, Lawnmower introduced its new mobile application to the public, along with its unique “spare change” functionality, allowing users to easily build up savings in the form of bitcoin. The functionality, along with its slick, modern design was heralded by many as the easiest and slickest way to create a portfolio of bitcoin.

The company, which is comprised of three recent University of Florida graduates, was rewarded with a placement in Boost VC’s San Francisco start-up program.

“We spent time in San Francisco developing the first version of our application and building strong relationships with partners such as Coinbase,” Alex Sunnarborg, CFO of the company said. “However, we soon realized that although our ‘spare change’ model helped us to gain a foothold with users, we needed a longer term strategy to take advantage of the growing cryptocurrency markets and to provide a more robust investment platform for our users, who told us that they wanted additional capabilities for saving and investing as well as additional research and information.”

This “pivot” in strategy was met with criticism from many of their users.  The uniqueness and ease of the “spare change” model was, for many of them, the reason that they used the Lawnmower application.

“We recognized that we would get some negative reactions from users for dropping the ‘spare change’ model,” Sunnarborg said. “It’s important to listen to what they had to say and we knew that we had  a longer term strategy that required a different focus for the business that we would have to communicate to our users.”

This new strategy led the company to accept entry into a program in New York City with Startupbootcamp FinTech New York.

“With our new strategy, it was clear that we were more of a fintech company and not just a bitcoin company, and New York is the center of the financial world,” said Pieter Gorsira, CEO.

Now that the Startupbootcamp FinTech New York program has ended, the company has left San Francisco for good and is in the process of setting up permanent headquarters in New York City.

The company is working with its investors and advisers to solidify their longer-term strategy, which includes building a robust analyst-level research capability to evaluate all of the major blockchain assets — not just bitcoin.

Lawnmower will soon include the ability to easily buy multiple blockchain assets based on personal allocation, with the option of a recurring purchase program.  They have also expanded the number of blockchain assets that they provide real time pricing for, as well as enhanced the performance reporting for clients’ portfolios.

Pieter Gorsira, CEO of Lawnmower speaking at an investor meeting

“We want users to use Lawnmower as their home to easily see what’s going on in the blockchain asset market throughout the day,” said Gorsira.

To this end, the company has introduced their Lawnmower Blockchain Index, which is a real time tracking index of the top blockchain assets.  “Since we began, blockchain assets have grown in number and influence.  We wanted to create an easy to use and understand way for anyone to track the pricing performance in these markets,” said Gorsira.

“We knew that our strategy was best for our users, but we realized that we needed to be very clear with them about why we changed and what our vision for the future was,” said Patrick Archambeau, CTO of the company.  To that end, the company created a message to their community that is part of their regular communications to their users.

“Our users are the key to our success,” Archambeau said. “We plan on actively engaging with them on a regular basis and invite them to contact us directly or visit us at our new New York location.”

The team also hinted that their spare change model may come back at some time in the future, but for now they’re focused on developing the application to take advantage of the current and longer term trends in the blockchain asset markets, and to provide it in an easy to use and elegant manner for their users.

“Ease of use is in our DNA,” said Sunnarborg.  “It’s what brought our users to us and it’s the platform that we’ll always build upon.”

What do you think?  Does the future look bright for a company like Lawnmower and the blockchain asset market they’re targeting?

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Lawnmower.

DISCLAIMER: Jack, the author of this article, is an angel investor and currently an advisor to Lawnmower.

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Can a Company Called ‘Lawnmower’ Reinvent Blockchain Investment?

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Patrick Byrne: Barbados Tests Fiat Hosting on Blockchain

Source: bitcoin

Patrick Byrne: Barbados Tests Fiat Hosting on Blockchain

At the Cato Institute’s “The Policy Challenges of a Decentralized Revolution” in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Patrick Byrne confirmed that the island nation of the Barbados has indeed ran trials hosting their local fiat currency, the Barbadian Dollar (pegged at $0.50/1-dollar), on a blockchain equivalent. Mr. Byrne spoke to the larger trends ongoing with the technological shifts towards decentralization, and then off-handedly mentioned confirmation of Barbados’ successful trail linking fiat currency to Blockchain technology. Given the pioneering nature of this move, it will be a great case study for future nation states looking toward this technology in supporting fiat.

Also read: Security Experts Create Solution for Petya Bitcoin Ransomware

Barbados Tries the Blockchain

Answering a question about the Barbadian dollar experiment, Mr. Byrne confirmed, “We recently just bought a large interest in a Barbados company. The Barbadian Central Bank, quite intelligently, about a month ago was the first central bank to say ‘you can put our fiat on the blockchain’. And they were given permission to do so. A company down there did it, and we went and bought a nice little stake in it.”  The willingness of the Barbadian government to work with industry leaders such as t0 to help facilitate such a maneuver demonstrate the importance and potential symbiotic relationships between regulators and private blockchain firms, especially in the developing work.

The Barbadian dollar is relatively small in the global financial economy, yet its inclusion in such a trial run aligns with past initiatives such as that by the government in the Isle of Man.  Developing nations have strong incentives to help rid of corruption and find ways to be innovative in order to attract foreign investment to their capital markets.  To residents of the Barbados, this could prove to be very valuable to alleviate future travel hurdles and also in sending remittances abroad.  On a larger scale, the Caribbean islands and island-nation-states worldwide are ripe for blockchain adoption as a means to increase their exposure and investment channels.

One outstanding question, however, if whether or not the Barbadian Dollar is being traded directly on the blockchain equivalent, or if an “Alt-coin” representing the Barbadian Dollar with a 1:1 peg is being used.

Uses for blockchain technology can impact central banks on a more widespread scale, Mr. Byrne remarked.  “All of this can be done to create a transparent and rigid version of central banking… you can apply it to remittances which is a $500 billion industry of which $75 billion gets taken by guys in the middle. 87% of the world is unbanked, yet cell phone penetration can be 140%. Everyone can be banked on the blockchain.”

Speaking to the shifts towards regulators embracing the technology, Mr. Byrne added, “In fact, after 2008, there’s (I think) a $500 million budget to get a consolidated audit trail going. And you can do consolidated audit trail in the blockchain for about a tenth of that cost. There’s a lot advantages for the buyers, sellers, and regulators, thought there are some people in the middle who won’t be too happy about it.”

For the t0 system, the acquisition of the Barbadian firm adds to its robust technical offerings.  With the t0 software, “the trade is the settlement.” as one of Mr. Byrne’s slogans goes.  With Overstock positioned to use the t0 platform for blockchain securities processing, it will be fascinating to see if islands such as the Barbados implement blockchain technology to help with securities or commodities market settlements.  “My attitude was that they should love this. I mentioned that NASDAQ was formed with the desire in 1971 to have, among the broker dealers, a peer-to-peer electronic settlements system. Well that’s what the blockchain let’s us have.”

What do you think of the Barbadian Dollar and blockchain coupling?  Should t0 look to partner with other national institutions over hosting fiat on a blockchain?  Share your thoughts below!

Images courtesy of Patrick Byrne, 

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Patrick Byrne: Barbados Tests Fiat Hosting on Blockchain