Swiss-based fintech company Monetas, focusing on developing a platform for people with mobile phones including the unbanked and underbanked, made headlines in digital outlets a few weeks ago with their project of Tunisian e-dinar. The founder Johann Gevers also revealed in his AMA session that they want to integrate the platform with Bitcoin this year.
He bets on the technological universality feature of their smart contract platform. It works with all types of currencies, instruments, and devices. Monetas wants to focus on fiat currencies now, because “that's what the vast majority of people still use today. However, we will roll out commodity currencies and cryptocurrencies on our platform as well. In fact, bitcoin integration is coming in 2016.”
The company is currently preparing for commercial launch of the digital currency project in Tunisia in March. It is the first country to use this non-blockchain technology for digital payments. The Tunisian Post Office is a local partner providing an android application powered by the swiss company. Another 12 markets in Africa should follow with later spreading to Latin America and South-East Asia.
According to J. Gevers blockchain and off-blockchain systems are not competitive but complementary:
“Blockchain technologies provide secure digital asset storage, but they are not efficient. Off-blockchain technologies provide secure, efficient trading of assets. By integrating blockchain with off-blockchain technologies, we can have the best of both worlds.”
One of the supposed advantages would be the speed of transaction execution. “The Monetas platform executes transactions about 1,000 times faster and 1,000,000 times cheaper than the Bitcoin network. And we have no upper limit for transactions per second. In fact, our technology is so efficient that we've calculated we can run the entire world's transactions – literally trillions of transactions – on a single tower of servers that's the size of a large refrigerator.”
Quite bold words suggesting bitcoin/blockchain might not be the number one technology for Monetas. Paul Snow, chief architect at Factom briefly describes Monetas technology:
“As far as these claims about speed and cost this is true with caveats. Transactions are processed faster and cheaper by Open Transaction (OT) servers, but they are not broadcasted to the world. They do hold the potential to be a competitor for Lightning Networks, processing bitcoin transactions off blockchain.”
“The critical aspect is that all transactions are digitally signed by the user, and balances are computed from sets of transactions. This means the server can't change your balance. They can potentially censor your transactions coming into OT, but that is about it.” The only criticism he had concerning OT is the time it is taking them to get to market. “But working on projects in this space, I don't throw stones. Doing this work requires tons of testing, and I'd rather them get their code right than meet a timeline,” he adds.
Despite the words of Monetas' founder about bitcoin integration coming in 2016 it doesn't look like this is going to be a hot topic for the company in the following months. “Our partners presently have no plans to offer Bitcoin related services in connection with the Monetas platform, which is feature rich, and they need to determine which features are appropriate for their market,” Flora Paterson, Monetas spokesperson told Cointelegraph.
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