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Michael Pearl is the Chief Operating Officer of Kirobo, an Israeli blockchain technology firm that seeks to secure cryptocurrencies risks and make crypto management as simple and secure as online banking.
He answers some questions on his job and how Kirobo’s innovations are making a difference.
How is your company making cryptocurrencies as simple and secure as online banking?
I have a very strong belief in the future of cryptocurrency and in the potential of the gradual shift from fiat to crypto. But unfortunately, blockchain technology and crypto isn’t there yet. We are at a similar point as the internet was in the nineties. We all see the potential and are already enjoying what this amazing technology has to offer, but we are not “all in” yet.
If we want to get to this shift that I mentioned earlier and to reach mass adoption, we need to start bridging the gap between what crypto is and what it should be.
There are two main things that need to happen in order to get there: reducing the insane risks (such as losing your funds, keys, etc.) and creating a more user-friendly interface. Kirobo intends to address all those and more.
It functions by providing a unique transaction code that must be entered by the recipient to receive funds from the sender.
Kirobo has also developed a range of solutions tailored to crypto holders and merchants, designed to further improve the decentralized finance ecosystem and to further bridge this gap.
Are Kirobo’s products aimed at crypto users alone or do you have the general public in mind?
Kirobo’s products are targeted at professionals and novices. We are well suited for people who are just getting into cryptocurrency and well-experienced users. We want to provide people with the ability to do almost anything they want with their crypto assets – just like they can with their online banks. Cryptocurrencies are seen as a complex issue. We intend to simplify it.
Beyond that, we’re working on collaborations with several crypto companies, like wallets and exchanges for the purpose of integrating our products. This will allow us to reach new, larger, audience.
Our goal eventually is to have the undo button a household standard for transferring your crypto.
Have you had unpleasant experiences during your time in this sector
Personally, no. But we have had to deal with people who lost so much money and large assets due to malware and typing the wrong address. Anyone familiar with cryptocurrencies would also be aware of the dangers of malware, swap-scam, or losing private keys. All these are all too familiar tales. 18% of crypto users reported losing funds due to human error. This is one of the reasons why we are passionate about our work at Kirobo.
Can you share with us some of your achievements at Kirobo?
Apart from establishing ourselves in a short time as a leading blockchain technology firm, we are the proud recipient of two grants from the Israeli Innovation Authority — making it the only blockchain technology company to achieve that milestone.
But no-less importantly, we have just hit a major milestone of processing more than $250 million in transactions.
From your experience, what countries are the most crypto-friendly in the world?
I would say the Baltic countries, primarily Estonia and Lithuania have made the most progress in financial legislation. This has made it lucrative for setting up crypto companies. Estonia’s government arms, for instance, is considered to be one of the most digitized in the world.
Slovenia is also quite crypto-friendly. The government is leading legislation to make crypto activity much more straightforward. Slovenia is pioneering crypto ATMs, making crypto adoption much easier for the general public.
Beyond that, the UAE is becoming a major Blockchain hub. It’s attracting a large bevy of crypto investors, influencers and more. The regulation there is also becoming more and more friendly.
And of course, we have Israel, which has always been a hotbed for innovation and creativity. We are proud to be part of the Israeli tech community.
What are the main challenges around cryptocurrency?
As I previously mentioned, cryptocurrency is still risky and complicated. The recent recovery from the crypto winter has introduced new crypto investors in droves. But what do we do with those crypto newbies? If their experience is unpleasant, they can easily lose trust and become frustrated.
It is imperative to make sure that the crypto experience will be a positive one – that summarizes the main challenges and the main efforts for the crypto community.
What are your thoughts on NFTs? There has been a recent crash and fall in sales. Was it a fad or are NFTs dead?
NFTs are essentially crypto products. The recent downward trend that we saw in the crypto market hurt NFT sales.
During the last two months, or so, there was a growing trend of questions raised about the so-called ‘ownership’ of NFTs – both on a technological and legal level. People that buy Non-Fungible Tokens, expect them to be, well… Non-Fungible. And if the baseball card or painting that costs millions of dollars is not really yours – you will be reluctant to buy it.
People are starting to ask questions. Perhaps this mechanism was offered in a very premature stage and needs to “mature” – both technologically and legally – to fulfil its goal.
NFTs aren’t dead, they are just maturing.
New technology brings hype; hype brings expectations; expectations bring disappointments. This cycle is more or less inevitable, and so is the crash.
The technology, however, is here to stay.
Will regulating Bitcoin Make Cryptocurrency Safer?
The whole idea behind cryptocurrency is to allow people to be their own banks. That’s the beauty behind the decentralized and relatively anonymized nature of crypto. Regulations are, obviously, the exact opposite.
On the other hand, we can not ignore the fact that there is no shortage of wrongdoing and even just plain old negligence from community members and companies.
I think that there is room for a minimal baseline that can prevent the more severe problems, with a minimum curb on the freedoms of crypto users.
There is also an issue of what is the right way to regulate and enforce regulations on such a decentralized and anonymized technology. Take Metamask and UniSwap, for example, the anonymity of their users and the lack of KYC is a feature, not a bug.