While practical Bitcoin applications continue to gather speed in the developing world, a Canada-based businessman has been quietly working on an alternative he says addresses many of the current challenges facing the market.
Kunal Dixit, owner of Toronto bioinformatics company QualCount, has designed his Trestor protocol and accompanying token, Trest, to provide a new form of liquidity to the world’s 2 billion underbanked.
The central concept of Trestor revolves around the smartphone; Trests are traded on the Trestor network, known as T-Net, in a manner broadly similar to Ripple. While an app is required for use, Trestor is billed as providing a range of benefits to users, including vote-based consensus-style transaction confirmations, zero-fee transactions for the life of the protocol and even username-based wallet addresses.
“The need for an alternative currency was felt because Bitcoin, despite its revolutionary acceptance as a currency, still struggles to be a true peer-to-peer payment system,” Dixit told Cointelegraph, adding that he does not view Bitcoin as a competitor. “Trestor’s mission is to create World's most efficient money, payment and market system.”
According to Dixit, Trestor, which is seeing a major pilot carried out in India, has seen its market cap already hit the US$1 billion mark with 300 retailers on board and a presence in over 50 countries. Each Trest is currently sold at one US cent, with an aim to increase the market cap to 1% of that of gold within five years. This would mean a roughly 76-fold increase on investment at current rates.
Long-term, Dixit also foresees considerably less volatility in T-Net than with Bitcoin, and the Indian drive is focusing on making the product familiar with brick-and-mortar merchants in larger cities.
Cointelegraph reached out to Dixit to get full details about Trestor and how he conceives the idea fitting into the current market. The client is currently available from Google Play store as an Android app.
Cointelegraph:Trestor seems to have at its heart the idea of empowering everyday people in India using their smartphones to transact. Why did you feel the need to create an alternative currency and not simply use Bitcoin?
Kunal Dixit: Trestor, as you pointed out, does have the core idea of empowering a common person, but not just in India, we see an opportunity to serve most of the 2 billion underbanked globally. Their purchasing power is currently cut off from everything digital, everything electronic. This lack of participation in digital commerce is a poor man’s biggest handicap.
The need for an alternative currency was felt because Bitcoin, despite its revolutionary acceptance as a currency, still struggles to be a true peer-to-peer payment system. It’s very difficult for a person who doesn’t have a bank account to use any major Bitcoin-associated services business to buy or trade bitcoins. Ironically, if a person does have a bank account, he has relatively little utility for an alternative payment system like Bitcoin, especially given the associated risks (like volatility).
Also, Bitcoin’s decentralization is based on an important premise: “Competitive Mining,”but unfortunately mining will get more and more collaborative and centralized with time. The Trestor Network (T-Net) is not powered by miners but volunteers, because T-Net is not hostage to miners, all transactions are free and always will be.
CT: What do you think about similar smartphone-based transaction networks such as Kenya's BitPesa?
KD: BitPesa is trying to fix a real problem; by lowering the remittance cost, over US$4 Billion can be put into the pockets of families of African migrants – this literally means that a family receiving incoming remittance can feed another family of 4. On top of it, IntraAfrica (within various African countries) transactions cost as much as 25%; this market is ripe for disruption.
BitPesa is a service whereas Trestor Network (T-Net) is a protocol. We think, medium to long term, services businesses like BitPesa would see the utility that Trestor offers and would integrate T-Net within their solution thereby not only helping their end users but the overall ecosystem.
“We do not view Bitcoin as competition, our only competitor is Gold.”
CT: You mention in an interview with Times of India that you expect investments to increase 76 times over in 5 years. Do you think you can compete with Bitcoin to such an extent in the P2P transaction market? How do you see Bitcoin's future?
KD: We do not view Bitcoin as competition, our only competitor is Gold. Trestor's mission is to create the world's most efficient money, payment and market system. The only other system which has been partly successful at doing that is gold, therefore it is our natural and only competitor. The advantage of Gold over ‘Trest’, our token, is that gold has been the de facto global money for over 5,000 years; therefore, it is hardwired into human psyche as Money.
On the other hand, Trests have certain advantages over gold as well:
- Easily divisible;
- Easily verifiable;
- Instant Global payment system;
- Ease of use as a payment method.
Tradable gold's market cap is about US$7,500 billion, you can check the exact market cap here. Trestor currently has a market cap of US$1 Billion, which is under 0.015% of gold's current market cap; our 5-year target is to achieve a market cap of just 1% of gold, which at current exchange rate will be equal to US$74 Billion.
CT: What would you say are Trestor's main advantages for its users? Are there any costs or provisos on its day-to-day use for large or small transactions? How are you handling security?
KD: Trestor Network (T-Net) has 3 main advantages:
- A global, brick and mortar, brokerage network, which we call the Retail Partner network;
- A protocol which achieves and maintains decentralization by design;
- A foundation which will create and maintain deep and liquid market for ‘Trests’.
The cost of transacting is zero. Transactions are confirmed via a Ripple type voting consensus, although in T-Net, Unique Node List selection is dynamic and secure, T-Net leverages proof-of-work to prevent DDoS attacks.
“90% of all the cryptocurrencies that we see today should cease to exist within the next 24 months.”
CT: Do you think payment system fragmentation is a concern as more and more developers release their own platforms? Many of these platforms, and of course Bitcoin, are border-agnostic.
KD: Payment system fragmentation is not a concern because it’s a transitory tradeoff and will not stay for long. 90% of all the cryptocurrencies that we see today should cease to exist within the next 24 months. This ‘Soup of monetary innovation’should hopefully give rise to 3 to 5 solid crypto 2.0 Ideas.
CT: The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India mentioned in December that he believes "India will adopt digital currencies at some point." How do you see this relating to current attitudes towards Bitcoin and other currencies at legislative level? Can you imagine how this may change in the near future, or is the will for change in government not a sufficient catalyst?
KD: In most countries, Central banks are Independent of the governments (thankfully!). Reserve Bank of India’s governor, Dr. Raghuram Rajan, seems to be a very learned professional. He is probably one of the most visionary central bankers out there who has the humility to acknowledge that it may be in a nation’s interest to integrate a digital currency in foreseeable future.
Also, I do notsubscribe to the view that Politicians are evil people who have taken an oath to destroy their country. Politicians, in general, want to improve the lives of their voters and thereby get reelected. We need to do a better job at explaining the merits of cryptocurrencies to them. At Trestor, we have a core value of cooperation not competition.
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