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Exclusive: Cryptocurrency Exchange Gatecoin – A ‘First Mover’ On The Most Innovative Projects That Are Yet To Launch

Gatecoin, the Hong Kong-based regulated and secure financial institution for blockchain assets, recently listed Slock.it and DigixDAO tokens on its exchange platform, which can be traded against various fiat currencies, as well as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Augur.

Gatecoin was the first exchange to add Ether trading (much before Ethereum witnessed its tremendous growth) and sees a bright future for Ether and other blockchain based assets.

In an exclusive interview, Aurélien Menant, CEO of Gatecoin, spoke on the recent addition of Slock.it and DigixDAO tokens on its platform, the ongoing Series A funding round, the future of cryptocurrency ecosystem, Ethereum, future plans and much more.

1. Gatecoin recently listed Slock.it and DigixDAO tokens on its exchange platform. Can you tell us more about this addition?

We are very eager to work with the most innovative blockchain projects that demonstrate high potential to disrupt established markets and industry practices. 

For Slock.it, this involves shaking up the sharing economy, for DigixGlobal, it involves reinventing the trading of precious metals and other hard assets. 

Both Ethereum-based projects are equally exciting and we are very happy to see the interest arising among different stakeholders.

In Digix's case, their crowd sale was very successful, raising around USD 5.5 million equivalent, a very large sum considering the youth of the Ethereum ecosystem and clearly demonstrates a keen interest in the project. 

Slock.it is building a lot of excitement regarding their DAO creation, and we see the community responding very passionately about any speculative or real updates on the project. We want to specify that we are not listing Slock.it DAO tokens but rather IOU contracts for the Slock.it DAO tokens which will be automatically redeemed following the Slock.it DAO creation. 

We will also be working closely with Digix to list their other Ethereum-backed tokens such as DGX, which is linked directly to gold. 

In fact, we invest heavily in researching other promising blockchain-based projects, such as dapps or DAOs which have intention to list tokens that can be redeemed for fiat and other blockchain assets. We are in talks with several other of these organisations at present and welcome submissions by any other teams who may be interested to be listed on Gatecoin. Our trading platform is asset neutral so we are ready to integrate other blockchain assets at anytime. 

2. What are your views on Ethereum taking the second slot, its market cap crossing the $1 billion mark and falling subsequently?

The surge was partially due to some concerns about the future of bitcoin, which have been recently addressed following the announcement of the upcoming SegWit and Lightning network upgrades that will improve the scalability of bitcoin. 

We believe the drop was also a correction to an overly excited market. If you consider that the market even grew anywhere near 1 billion in less than a year since it was released that is very impressive. We are still very bullish about Ethereum and believe ether's value will increase in the long term. 

The launch of major projects such as Digix and Slock.it on Ethereum reaffirms our confidence in the future of this ecosystem.

3. Gatecoin is one of the early exchanges to open Ether trading. Now several exchanges have added the same following its recent growth. Would you like to comment on it and how you plan to stay ahead of competitors?

The greater number of exchanges listing ether will only benefit the ecosystem in the long term. In the past we've seen the negative impact of a market dominated by just one or a handful of exchanges. We are happy that our competitors are listing ether and it proves that we chose to embark on the right strategy by being the first exchange to list it and that blockchain 2.0 projects have a bright future ahead.     

We differentiate ourselves by trying to be a first mover on the most innovative projects that are yet to launch. We do this by establishing close links with those individuals and organisations heavily involved in dapp, smart contract and DAO development. We express genuine interest in these projects and position ourselves as a gateway to help them gain exposure and financing. In the future we plan to working with these projects more closely from the beginning that goes far beyond just providing an exchange service. I won't disclose this for now. 

4. In the last interview with EconoTimes, you told us that Gatecoin started raising $5 million and that the round will be closed by the end of Q1. Was it successful and do you have further plans to raise funds?

As usually the case with fund raising, everything is moving much slower than expected. But the good news is we have increased our target for fund raising following the huge growth we've recorded over the last 6 months with +35% MoM in customer acquisition, just to name one example. Our potential lead investor has also been focusing on closing some other deals before us, so we are being patient and continuing the dialogue, showing more positive growth and projects in each conversation. 

5. You also suggested that there were plans to offer new speculative products on bitcoin, as well as implementing Blockchain-infrastructure-as-a-service solution with strategic remittance and payment partners. Would you like to tell us the progress made on these fronts?

For the speculative products on bitcoin, this will be launched following our fund raising, as it requires the expansion of our development team to implement, so is currently on hold. 

Our remittance service solution implementation is ongoing and we have earned some very significant prospective partnerships with major financial institutions as a result of participation in the Hong Kong FinTech Supercharger Accelerator. It’s too early to disclose the specifics at this time. 

6. There are over 600 cryptocurrencies in the market today. How do you see the market evolve into? (Will there be a central exchange, or auditing authority to vouch for different currencies?) How would you describe the cryptocurrency ecosystem in size and volume in the next 5 years?

We see the market consolidating over time and expect more blockchain projects and DAO creating new types of blockchain assets, which will deviate much further away from the previous altcoin model. We believe this will only benefit the ecosystem.

At present there is a lot of hype around the DAO token sale model which may encourage the emergence of scams and ponzi schemes, however people who are familiar with the intricacies of how DAOs work will be able to distinguish from the real projects and the pretenders. Fortunately the majority of actors in the DAO space now right have not demonstrated these malicious intentions. 

With this model, we are witnessing the evolution of crowd funding, which in the short term opens up a new way to enable fund raising for startups and in the long term may lead to the re-invention of capital markets.

As for the exchanges, we see some slight concentration in the space, with more competitors listing a greater variety of blockchain assets and more exchanges becoming global players through geographic expansion. We also support the co-existence of decentralized exchanges as they offer different services and value propositions. We don't believe that the market will become dominated by one or two players as was the case 4 years ago and will remain evenly spread among the major players in each region. 

The increasing level of professionalism being demonstrated in this market with experienced finance and technology talent leading the management of new firms and increasing financial resources to back their growth, is incredibly positive. With more players investing in influencing the future of finance through digital currencies, digital assets, payment systems etc. we see the market growing beyond expectations and will surely be big enough to have several firms sharing a leading role. We predict that the market will follow the same path as online securities or forex trading did 20 years ago.  

As for the future in 5 years, that is difficult to predict. Its surely going to be larger than today, whether that's by a factor of 100x or 10 million x its impossible to say. We will see something big happening for sure though and the development of Ethereum, Slock.it, Digix and Augur will prove their potential. 

7. What other exciting announcements can we expect from you this year?

Our recently acquired partnership with Standard Chartered will enable us to expanding across the rest of Asia rapidly, starting next month in China!

Our partnership with Microcred, is taking longer to implement but it is still live and will launch in Africa soon. 

Africa is a key target for us, as we see many opportunities in the booming ecommerce space, especially in the opportunities to integrate bitcoin and blockchain backed solutions for payments and remittances. 

Following the closing of our series-A, we will also be naming a few high profile finance professionals that will be joining our team, and believe will positively impact the entire ecosystem. 

We are also eager to work with more partners in South America. 

More generally, we are confident that our exchange platform gains more traction among a greater variety of traders and investors. 

We thank Menant for giving us his precious time and giving us a quick and detailed response.

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