Bitreserve, a startup trying to build a new financial system based upon bitcoin, now allows users to peg their bitcoins to the value of 16 sixteen fiat currencies, and four precious metals.
Bitreserve has a few features differentiating it from other digital-currency wallet services. It taps the efficiency and low-transaction costs of bitcoin, but also promises to lock in users’ bitcoin deposits at fixed exchange rates. The service does not allow actual exchanges of bitcoin against fiat currencies but rather promises to absorb and manage the risk of bitcoin losing value against them by maintaining and publicly displaying an asset reserve covering 100% of its clients’ dollar- and other currency-denominated deposits.
The goal is to overcome the extreme price volatility that has been the digital currency’s primary deterrent for mainstream users and thus provide them with a service for cheap, reliable money transfers.
The company already provided the ability to peg assets to the price of nine fiat currencies, including the US dollar and Chinese Yuan, alongside physical assets, including gold and silver. The service has now been extended to include another seven fiat currencies. The new currencies are Australian Dollars (AUD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), New Zealand Dollars (NZD), Singapore Dollars (SGD), Kenyan Shillings (KES), and Israeli Sheqel (ILS). The company also offers users to peg their bitcoins to US dollars, Chinese Yuan, gold,silver, and other assets.
Bitreserve Chairman Halsey Minor said in a statement that the additional assets mark another step towards the startup’s vision of “replacing the current global financial system with one that is fair, inclusive, accountable and transparent — a system organized for the benefit of all people everywhere.”
The new currencies are part of the startup’s efforts to increase its global footprint. Bitreserve already has users in 157 countries, but remains largely concentrated in Europe and North America. The company has announced plans to enter large emerging markets, like India, and recently created Bitreserve China, suggesting the company is looking to be more active in the country which has a large population of digital currency users.
Bitreserve silently replaces compliance officer
As the company continues to grow and operate with more and more users around the global, its compliance efforts present particular problems given Bitreserve’s unique business model, and are becoming more and more of an issue for the company.
Bitreserve has recently overhauled its management team, with the startup announcing new employees in the positions of Chief Information Security officer and Chief Executive Officer, but the startup also quietly changed its Chief Compliance Officer, known within the company as Chief Transparency Officer.
Juan Llanos has served as the company’s chief compliance officer since the company’s early days and was instrumental in developing the company’s KYC system for its rather unique financial technology company. But that changed earlier this year in May when the experienced compliance officer left the company to begin freelance consulting for several fintech startups. It is unclear why Llanos left, especially since he also served as a public face for the company and championed its mission. Sources close to matter said that it was the result of concerns he raised over the company’s compliance program, and that Bitreserve’s management team disagreed that there were any issues.
Llanos was replaced with Tim Parsa who moved into the position in June, a month after Llanos left. Parsa was previously Bitreserve’s CEO and president of global strategy and markets, a position he has held since the founding of the company. Prior to this, Parsa never served in a position where he developed and implemented a KYC strategy, but he did receive a Doctor of Law (J.D.), International Law and Legal Studies from the New York UIniversity School of Law. His position is proving more and more crucial for the company, which stores money for customers in over 150 countries and allows for peer-to-peer transactions among its members.
“My goal in my new role will be to demonstrate to regulators and law enforcement that Bitreserve’s technology offers tools of unprecedented efficacy in the noble work of protecting consumers and detecting and stopping bad actors.”
— – Tim Parsa
Earlier this month Bitreserve announced that Craig Clark, a lawyer who has served on Facebook’s legal counsel, joined the company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel and would help guide the company’s legal efforts. Clark will be joining the company after working for Facebook for nearly six years.
“You have to fit new ideas into existing frameworks while also working tirelessly to tweak stubborn structures to accommodate tech-driven transformations,”said Clark. “If we can provide financial services to the unbanked by providing simple and transparent tools that allow everyone to send value without losing it, we can help make the world a better and more equal place.”
— – Craig Clark
Clark stated, “almost six years at Facebook — a company that lives its mission to make the world more open and connected — just further fueled my passion for disruptive lawyering. By joining Bitreserve I’ll have the opportunity to push further and help disrupt money. I cannot think of a more critical place for innovation.” Before serving on Facebook’s legal counsel, he worked for a leading banking law firm.