2020: New decade, new markets, new product
a note from Telcoin Co-Founder and CEO Claude Eguienta
Promoting financial inclusion using the blockchain can be hard. Connecting with mobile operators, banks, and financial services providers to ensure people have the smoothest possible experience when receiving their funds is difficult. Convincing regulators around the world that having “coin” in your name doesn’t make you evil and that you are willing to cooperate with them to promote AML and CTF is also tricky. Building compliant products and staying innovative is challenging as well. Yet, those are things we’ve successfully done in 2019.
Operating Telcoin with all of those licenses and partnerships lead us to a series of changes that we are currently undergoing and have helped determine how Telcoin will operate in the future.
2020 has seen some big changes in how we plan on tackling a global marketplace. Our head of product, head of marketing, tech team, and I have relocated and set up a new office in Dubai, UAE. We have been planning to relocate to Dubai for a while for a number of reasons, and we feel it will provide a great base to springboard our company into new markets. Dubai provides a lot of benefits for us as a company and is more affordable, has a sound immigration policy, and is one direct flight away from a lot of African and Asian countries. We have set ourselves in DMCC, which recently announced their crypto valley. We are still waiting for our furniture to come from Tokyo, so the office looks rather barebones for now, but there has never been a better time for a blockchain company to establish here.
Our co-founder Paul has relocated to Toronto where he will be setting up our North America operations along with a great team who has laid the foundation there. Paul has also become more engaged assisting me in general with global company management in all departments. We have already seen an enormous increase in our productivity thanks to a 24-hour cycle on multiple fronts.
Later in the year Jeff will be joining Manik in Kuala Lumpur to set up a proper Southeast Asian base for our operations, whilst we have a small team posted in a new office in Tokyo who will be handling day to day company operations.
We have parted ways with some of our former teammates during this transition phase. It has been hard, but necessary for growth, and we’re confident that this is positive for everyone and the business as a whole. We wish our former team members all the best as they transition into new jobs.
On the technical side, we have updated our smart contract to solve a non-technical issue that we have faced. I need to stress that this update will not affect users’ balances and that we have made sure to work with exchanges and wallets to make this process as smooth and painless as possible. If you had an ERC20 compliant wallet holding TEL at the time of the “snapshot,” you should already have your new TEL tokens in it, without the need of any work on your part. For the more technically minded readers, our old smart contract address was:
And the new one is:
For more information regarding this update, please see the link to our FAQ at the end of this newsletter.
We are now working on releasing our beta to a small number of users so they can send money to the Philippines and other countries shortly thereafter.
Throughout 2019, my most active personal area of focus at Telcoin was compliance as it was an absolute necessity to be on board with regulators, which is a requirement for partners to work with us and for users to access our service. The due diligence and thorough work we applied to this area have proved incredibly fruitful and secured us a number of licenses, which in turn give partners confidence that we are legitimately approaching the market in a correct manner. In 2020 my focus has now shifted to the product. Just like I did with compliance, I am not standing on the sidelines. I’m getting my hands dirty to work as a part of the team, and am committed to making the best product we can in order to offer a full range of services over time.
However, changing my focus doesn’t mean we’re not working on other areas. Marketing, for example, is a close second in terms of importance this year, because nobody is looking forward to deploying a fantastic product that doesn’t get into the hands of our users. I believe it’s essential to let you guys know what we’re doing this year so you can have a better idea of what’s happening and how we are growing Telcoin into a company primed for working within a global marketplace.
2020 will be a sharp and positive turn for Telcoin, with many operational changes and a lot of action from the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia to the rest of the world, starting with the Philippines.
This year we will empower users over multiple continents with better ways to use their money, and remittances are just the start. New team members and new partners have joined the Telcoin adventure to grow financial inclusion and help people send money smarter.
We can’t wait to deliver what we’re playing with all day.
Retrospective, restructuring and North America progress
(a note from Telcoin Co-Founder and Chairman Paul Neuner)
Dear Telcoin Supporters,
I wanted to add a note to our first newsletter of 2020 to reiterate my firm support for Claude as our CEO and to second his thoughts on our challenging past and exciting road ahead. I would also like to address my personal role and our progress in North America markets.
People often cite the large percentage of startups that fail. Few acknowledge that of the small percentage that do survive, they were in almost all cases ultimately successful because they were able to persevere through initial failures and challenges. Telcoin is doing something particularly challenging – deploying a cutting edge technology in a compliant manner via partnering with two heavily regulated industries, finance and communications. More than anyone, I can relate to supporters of the company who feel frustrated having waited so long to see Telcoin get off the ground. On the other hand, it has also been exciting to witness each brick laid, and appreciate the significant foundation that we have built. Of course, we have all made mistakes over the past two years and learned from them. It was difficult to know the best path in such uncharted waters. But from where we stand now, I am excited about our path forward.
Regarding my personal role at the company, up until now, I was focused exclusively on assisting with business development. From this point forward, I have shifted to assisting Claude with executive management of the company and in particular, will oversee our initial market rollouts in North America. We chose Canada as an initial outbound market because we have a lot of room to be competitive here. It’s an expensive place to send money from, and we are excited about the positive impact we will have in Canada. All necessary partnerships are in place, and the beta release of our initial Canada corridor – outbound to the Philippines – is in final preparation. The US is obviously critical for us in the long run, and also a more competitive remittance market. My second priority after the Canada launch is to accelerate US market preparation to ensure that we market the best product possible. We have learned a lot during our ramp-up globally, and are applying all of these lessons learned to our US preparations. Thankfully Parker Spann has done a phenomenal job at Telcoin over the past year preparing things on this side of the globe.
Having full insight into all corners of the company, I can say that I am more excited now than ever before about our prospects. It has been a long road, and there is a lot of work to be done, but I am very proud of our team and bullish about the year ahead.
Thank you all very much for your patience and support. Claude and I speak every single day, and I can assure you that both of us are as committed as possible to making this company a success and to the Telcoin family and vision.
Telcoin makes moves in Singapore
After a lengthy application process, in early 2020 we were awarded a major Payment Institution License for cross border money transfer services by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Acquiring this license has taken a tremendous amount of time and work from our compliance team, lead by Eric. From day one, we knew that it was a crucial license for us to secure if we wanted to grow our business throughout Southeast Asia. MAS is one of the most prominent financial regulators in the region, and by securing this license it puts us in a very good position to expand further across the region in the future.
Further developments in the Philippines
Back in December, we were very pleased to announce that we had officially partnered with GCash, the largest mobile wallet operator in the Philippines. With over 20 million users and 73,000 merchants nationwide, the partnership aims to help us organically grow and have a solid presence throughout the region.
“We are very excited to launch this partnership with Telcoin, so that Filipinos living abroad can send money directly to a GCash wallet. It is hassle-free, very convenient, and very affordable and we are very happy to be working with Telcoin as we share the same vision.” Jules Abalos (Head of international remittance – GCash)
Telcoin VP of Business Development Jeff Quigley recently visited Manila to attend the OFWFC (Overseas Filipino Workers Family Club), as a guest of event sponsor GCash, to spread the word about Telcoin Remittances to a huge audience of potential users.
OFWFC has over 2 million members worldwide, with roughly 6,000 in attendance at the event. It was a great opportunity to share our vision for a smarter way to send money. Jeff spent the day introducing Telcoin to target users and explaining what services we will be offering people in the future – as well as onboarding new users who downloaded the app and providing them with their first TEL tokens.
East Ventures continue their support
In a great show of faith and confidence in our product and team, East Ventures (one of Asia’s most respected VC firms) continued to support Telcoin through our growth stage by adding a further contribution of investment funds. East Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on growing new businesses throughout Southeast Asia. Managing partner Batara Eto has long been a supporter of Telcoin and, having seen the progress we have made over the last two years, was keen to continue working with us. Having the support of a VC such as East Ventures sends a message that Telcoin is on the right track for success.
Smart contract updateAs mentioned earlier in the newsletter, we recently conducted a smart contract update for our TEL tokens. The update was successful and we have created an FAQ page to answer any questions and provide more information regarding the update, which can be found here:
Thank you for reading and embarking on this exciting journey with us! We’re always open to questions and comments via our Telegram community channel or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a telecom operator interested in offering your subscribers a better remittance solution, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Companies in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space that want to collaborate with Telcoin can reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @telcoin_team, and on Reddit at r/Telcoin. Tell a friend or family member and help us spread our mission of financial inclusion via any mobile device. Every person counts!
The Telcoin team