Interview with Jared Grey, CEO of ALQO and Bitfineon
By Rafał - 2019-09-24
First of all, can you please introduce yourself?Hi, my name is Jared Grey. I'm the CEO of Bitfineon GmbH, a German-based crypto-financial services, and software development company. We are the team behind the development of the cryptocurrency ALQO [ticker: XLQ] and the upcoming BaFin licensed and regulated fiat and crypto exchange, Bitfineon.
CEO of Bitfineon GmbH
Could you tell us more about yourself and your experience?I'm 38 years old and my interest in computers began around the time the Internet became popular in the mid-to-late 90s. My interest carried with me through high school where I took computer programming classes, such as Pascal, C++, and a few others. I attended college at Middle Tennessee State University for Computer Engineering but found my real passion to be business development and sales. While attending MTSU, I took an entry sales job at Dell Computers at the newly constructed Nashville campus. I loved the fast-paced sales environment and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a team leader where I was able to focus on growing my own sales team.Ultimately around the time Michael Dell left the company, and the corporate culture changed significantly, I found myself looking for another opportunity. It was around this time that I moved to Florida and started my own IT company, which I ran for approx. 13 years. I found that business to be gratifying, and it was through this business that I became exposed to crypto. I began in crypto as a technical author and community manager before being introduced to ALQO and Bitfineon by a colleague. After speaking with the ALQO team, where they voiced the need for a new CEO, I decided to go full-time into crypto business.
Why did you pick the blockchain field to run your businesses? Was that choice focused on a specific criteria?As I mentioned previously, blockchain and crypto became a natural extension of my lifelong involvement in computers and IT. I enjoy working in an emerging market. It is highly rewarding, despite the high amount of cynicism in the industry – which I think is a natural extension of the underlying philosophical motivations of the early adopters of the tech.
Can you give us a brief summary of the ALQO project and what it aims to solve?Of course. The short of it is the ALQO ecosystem aims to increase user adoption of crypto via intuitive and easy-to-use financial products, such as Bitfineon. The primary source of debate surrounding crypto has to do with adoption. We believe by increasing the ease and availability with which people interact with crypto, we can and will improve user-adoption and, consequently, crypto's value. Now funded, we have hired top-level designers and developers to work on Bitfineon and ALQO. Additionally, we plan to unveil a completely revamped offering of all ALQO ecosystem roadmap products.
The whole ecosystem consists of the Bitfineon, Liberio, Janus, and Coinfolium entities. Can you briefly introduce each one and the vision associated?Over the past 8 or 9 months, Kevin and I have refocused our efforts on a new core product line for the ALQO ecosystem. Our focus currently includes the new ALQO codebase, which introduces some exciting new features into the crypto space, and Bitfineon, our next generation fiat and crypto exchange. We have deprecated Liberio, Janus, and Coinfolium, and we will be replacing them with new products, like Pulse, Falqon, and others. Information on new products will be available once we relaunch the ALQO and Bitfineon websites.
What is the current status of the Bitfineon exchange, and what improvements have been made to it?Currently, Bitfineon is being retooled, revamped, and improved. Our newly acquired funding allows us to hire help in multiple areas to prepare the best version of Bitfineon for release to the public. With new and exciting advisors on board, we've been able to develop features and products not available with current exchanges. It's our belief Bitfineon will be one of the most aesthetically satisfying exchanges, providing for an optimal user-experience for crypto beginners and veterans. We will begin live streams in our new offices in downtown Heidelberg, Germany, and share updates and sneak peeks of the development process.
Do you have more information regarding the official release date for Bitfineon?Officially we're targeting the end of 2019. We want to give ourselves flexibility with product release timelines. It's no secret we've had difficulty with being overly ambitious in the past regarding deadlines, but with confidence, I can say we're on target for EOY 2019.
You recently acquired a seed funding of 1 million Euros for Bitfineon's launch, can you share more details about that deal and how you managed to make it?We began the search for an equity partner in late-Nov, early-Dec of 2018. We decided to secure funding once it became apparent the weak market conditions of 2018 would continue for some time and our primary source of financing, the ALQO developer block reward ("dev fund"), would be insufficient to launch Bitfineon. The value of the dev fund is tied to ALQO's price, which is dictated heavily by crypto investor sentiment and altcoin performance. We suffered a significant setback when Bitcoin crashed from 6k to 3k and crypto's market cap lost tens of billions of dollars, and the value of our developer fund plummeted. We were unable to meet salary requirements and other financial liabilities, and the project's scope became unsustainable.After dozens of unsuccessful investor meetings, we eventually met with the investor group who established B.I.G. Fintech, LP, and seeded Bitfineon GmbH with the 1M EUR investment. The two general partners, JC and Ryan, had been invested in ALQO for several months with their US-based Nodemads Hedge Fund and were intimately aware of our situation regarding funding. Ultimately partnering with B.I.G. Fintech proved to be the most fitting. Their prior investment in ALQO provided them an understanding of the value of the ecosystem and, specifically, the Bitfineon Sharepool. Many investors turned us down due to the sharepool, where we distribute 50% of all eligible trading fees to ALQO holders who lock their coins on Bitfineon. The members of B.I.G. Fintech are involved in the future direction of ALQO and Bitfineon, and the partnership is amenable to our long-term goals. Lastly, we were able to secure the funding at a 5m valuation and are fully seeded to make Bitfineon a reality.
What are your short-term plans for the ecosystem?We will revamp and refresh the ALQO brand, its websites, mission statement, and purpose. We will launch our new codebase, Bitfineon and address some outstanding issues held over from the period where we lacked funds. Anyone interested in ALQO and its ecosystem and has questions should join us on Discord. The ALQO community are active daily in Discord.
What vision/ideas do you have in mind to ensure the long-term future for the ALQO ecosystem?We will need to deliver on our goal of building easy-to-use crypto products, such as Bitfineon, and aim to increase user adoption and ALQO's brand awareness. We will generate revenue through Bitfineon, which will help us to sustain this long-term vision.
As crypto is an ever-evolving world, what major threats/opportunities do you foresee for this business? How do you plan to handle them?I think the best way to deal with changing market conditions is to adapt. If your company's mission statement does not allow for evolution, you're doing it wrong. I believe our core value proposition is secure. If we find opportunities where we can provide added value to the industry, we will explore them. One final thought – a lot of industry leaders think regulation will increase user adoption, and I tend to agree. I believe it has the unfortunate short-term side-effect of hindering progress to some degree, due to bureaucratic red tape. However, making crypto safer for the masses will provide a brighter future for our industry.
If our readers are interested in joining the ALQO ecosystem, how can they support the project?We encourage everyone interested in learning more about the ALQO ecosystem to visit us on Discord, Telegram, or follow us on social media via Twitter or Facebook. Also, the websites, ALQO.org and Bitfineon.com provide comprehensive information, but it is subject to change once we release new websites in a few weeks.
- ALQO Discord: https://discord.gg/GSvzYJ8
- Bitfineon Discord: https://discord.gg/UrVRYRE
- ALQO Telegram: https://t.me/alqoofficial
- Bitfineon Telegram: https://t.me/bitfineonhub
- ALQO Twitter: https://twitter.com/alqocoin
- Bitfineon Twitter: https://twitter.com/bitfineon