In a blockchain industry dominated by male figures, the 26 year old Maxine Ryan stands out, and not just because of her gender. Ryan is co-founder and COO of Bitspark, a successful global crypto remittances company she has helmed since dropping out of university in 2o14. Ryan has pushed the company to impressive growth, even in the midst of the “crypto winter” of 2018.
Bitspark addresses an important need in the worldwide financial services industry. Based in Hong Kong, Bitspark reaches out to Asia’s unbanked. Asia has an estimated one billion people who live without a bank account.
It’s a common situation for, say, a worker from a poor village in China to go to work in a city many kilometers away. However, when the worker wants to send money back home, there’s no easy way to do so. It’s dangerous to send cash by mail, and digital solutions rely on old technologies that are expensive, slow, and sometimes unreliable. Many other blockchains have identified this friction point in international fintech (Stellar Lumens XLM, Ripple XRP) but few (if any) have focused so effectively on the Asian market as Bitspark.
Bitspark is now large enough to support 17 full time technologists, and for Ryan and co-founder /CEO George Harrop to both draw a salary from the company.
Bitspark is a little different from many of the blockchain startups we’re accustomed to. While Bitspark does have a native service token (ZEPH), you can use the service without it. Bitspark supports many different currencies and cryptocurrencies, so it’s always easy to convert money into a form that’s useful to both sides of any given transaction.
So, why is the story of Asian remittances exciting enough for Maxine Ryan to quit school (and for our editorial department to cover it?). Well, for cryptocurrencies to succeed, they must be adopted for real world use cases. For cryptocurrencies to be adopted, they must be accepted by status quo financial service providers. New fintech solutions that are cryptocurrency native must also take their place in the global fintech ecosystem.
Bitspark is one of these latter startups. They’re not some old-style financial service company that’s simply retrofitting itself for digital assets; Bitspark is crypto native. Bitspark is also useful for global crypto because they focus on a regional market (even if that “Region” is as large as Asia). While larger blockchains like Ethereum battle for global dominance, Bitspark is working to set down deep roots in a specific part of the world. Because Bitspark is crypto agnostic (they support many popular digital assets), what’s good for them is good for the industry at large. We wish them luck in 2019!
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