Don Bielak Monetran, CEO
Don is the Founder and CEO of Monetran. He is currently Spearheading the efforts of Monetran, LLC, which has developed Moneda - the first redeemable stable token of the Stellar Network.
1. Tell us about your role in Monetran?
I am the CEO and founder of the company Monetran LLC., which is an internet fintech startup.
I am directing the everyday operations of the company which includes not only the construction of the necessary infrastructure, but also our marketing and public relations efforts as well as the funding of the project. It’s a challenging, full-time endeavor that requires a laser focus and an attention to detail.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
There is a global need for fast, economical money transfers, such as remittances. As I researched the available solutions, it became evident that traditional MTO’s are generally too slow and too expensive to fill this need adequately. However, I found that the ability of blockchain technology to facilitate these transactions held great promise toward achieving the aforementioned goals. Monetran was born with the express intent of making money transfers in a rapid, cost effective manner. So, I suppose the basic need combined with the possible solution is what gravitated us to this market. It was a natural.
3. How do you think technology is developing the Finance Sector?
I was once asked the question, “Why do we need blockchain and cryptocurrencies to make money transfers when we have technology in place which can do that now?” The answer to that question is: Although we have ways to send money, we don’t have cheap, fast ways to do it. Anyone who has sent money via, say, Western Union, knows that it can take upwards of a week to reach its recipient and cost up to 7% – 9%. Blockchain technology – in Monetran’s case the Stellar network – has the ability to make the same transfer in a few seconds and a cost which is up to 70% less. Over time, blockchain should become the favored method of making this type of transfers.
4. What are your views on cryptocurrencies? How do you think introduction of cryptocurrency has changed International Market?
The subject of cryptocurrencies is very wide and my viewpoint varies accordingly. Let’s start with the best known cryptocurrency, bitcoin.
Bitcoin started the whole ball rolling, so to speak, and everyone who is involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain owes the developer(s) a debt of gratitude.
That being acknowledged, bitcoin comprises a host of negative features with regard to online transactions. The blockchain is slow, the cost of transactions is high, and the cryptocurrency itself is extremely volatile and is not backed by anything of value. Barring a major development in technology, bitcoin will never be able to serve as a universally adopted, everyday currency on the internet. Bitcoin was launched more than a decade ago and at this point in time it is a victim of its own, outdated technology. If anything, bitcoin has found its niche, and that is as a vehicle for speculation. I could go on at great length about my opinions of various types of coins and tokens but for reasons of brevity I will skip to what I think is the future of cryptocurrencies in many regards, and that is stablecoins, or stable tokens. Stablecoins deliver on many of the objectives of cryptocurrencies as a whole. Most are backed by tangible assets. Some can serve as a store of value. Because of their stability, most can serve as a medium of exchange. Naturally, the best all around stable token, in my opinion, is the token which Monetran has developed – Moneda. Moneda is backed by U.S. T-bills, which not only give the token stability, but also extend the ability to serve as a store of value. In addition, Monedas will be redeemable once the Monetran system is fully operational. So, investors will never have to worry if there will be a buyer for their tokens.
5. We recently found a news which disclosed the partnership development talks with Walmart and Amazon, Can you share some more details about it?
A closer examination of the article will reveal that it was never disclosed that we are in talks with Amazon and Walmart. It’s a bit too early in our development for that type of interaction and, frankly, it’s not likely that we would announce that we are in “partnership talks” even if that were the case. That having been said, we certainly don’t preclude the possibility of such communications in the near future. In fact, it is one of our biggest goals.
6. “FINALLY, A CRYPTOCURRENCY THAT CAN DO WHAT THE OTHERS CAN’T,” Can you explain this Tagline?
As a store of value. It should be redeemable for something of equal value, including fiat currency. It should be part of a blockchain which will enable swift, economical transactions. Finally, for reasons of protecting the environment and conserving electrical power, the cryptocurrency should not have mining as an element of operation. What we have developed at Monetran – the Moneda token – can deliver on all of those desirable features. If you compare Moneda to virtually any cryptocurrency today, you will find that other tokens may be able to provide one or two of the favorable qualities but, to our knowledge, only Moneda can check off every one. Hence the tagline.
7. Do you think governments around the world have started opening up towards cryptocurrencies?
The world is a big place and as you might expect, opinions of the numerous governments vary with regard to cryptocurrency. Initially, the knee-jerk reaction of many governments was to view cryptocurrencies with a suspicious eye and, in many instances, the suspicion was warranted, unfortunately. However, over time, many governments have softened their stance on cryptos and have adopted a more accomodative attitude toward digital currencies, as more and more significant institutions, such as IBM, have become involved. I recently read a survey of world governments and their respective positions regarding cryptocurrencies. Few have banned them outright, and the majority are rated as either neutral, improving, or leaders in the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. My belief is that cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and that eventually most countries will adopt rules and regulations designed to protect investors. In the U.S., for example, the SEC has been warming up to the idea of companies which employ cryptocurrency as part of their networks. Monetran is currently involved in an SEC Regulation Crowdfunding which amounts to an equity crowdsale. When we filed with the SEC, we had to undergo a rigorous examination which included background checks on all primary officers of the company. Lawyers were involved prominently, and everything was done legally and above board. All facets of the company and its financials have been posted on our offering portal, StartEngine, and are there for prospective investors to inspect.
8. What advice would you like to give to the StartUps?
The advice I would give startups, at least those who have cryptocurrency as part of their company and are interested in raising capital, is to go the legal route. That’s what we’ve done at Monetran.
ICO’s have gotten a bad name following the myriad of scams that have been perpetrated on the investing public. This is unfortunate for the honest startups who need an infusion of capital to get off the ground, so to speak. Other than the dubious nature of ICOs, the likelihood that companies who raise capital utilizing that method will run afoul of governmental regulators, such as the SEC in America, are very great. The SEC has taken the stance that “virtually all cryptocurrencies are securities,” and therefore the possibility of having a project that held an ICO being sanctioned or shut down entirely is high. In addition, I’m of the opinion that no cryptocurrency which is unregulated will ever be considered for mass adoption because bona fide institutions will require that element in order to conduct business. Another thing I would advise crypto startups is to build a community before conducting a raise. Once an offering is underway, there is too much to do to play “catch up” with regard to community efforts. The best way to “hit the ground running” is to have investors lined up who are excited about the opportunity the project is offering them.
9. What is the Digital innovation in Fintech Industry according to you that will mark 2019?
I think that, although hardly “an innovation,” stablecoins or stable tokens will be honed to a fine edge in 2019. One of the most important features a cryptocurrency can have is stability. Without it, a crypto can’t serve either as a medium of exchange or a store of value. So, my opinion is that if a cryptocurrency is to ever achieve mass adoption; it will come in the form of a stablecoin. That having been said, stablecoins come in a variety of incarnations, including those backed by fiat, commodities, and even other cryptocurrencies. Some attempt to achieve stability by employing algorithms to adjust the amounts of tokens in circulation. Which one is best? At Monetran, we’ve developed a stable token which we believe satisfies the most desirable traits a cryptocurrency can have. Our token, Moneda, is backed not by any of the usual collateral or mathematical schematics, but by interest-bearing U.S. government securities such as Treasury bills. The token will be both traded on the open market and be redeemable from Monetran, so holders of Moneda will never have to worry if there will be a buyer for their tokens. The amount of interest earned from the T- bills will normally be enough to at least keep pace with inflation, if not exceed it. That means Moneda will be able to serve as a true store of value. To my knowledge, no other stable token can make that claim. Accordingly, Monetran has filed a patent for the method that enables the token to function with these qualities, among others.
10. How do you prepare for an AI Centric world?
The answer to that question must, by nature, be highly speculative. It presupposes that we will soon live in an AI centric world. I’d have to say that before that becomes a reality, we should have plenty of time to contemplate it. Right now I’m focusing all of my attention to building Monetran, So AI doesn’t concern me that much presently; perhaps in the future it will be incorporated into our systems.
11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
One of the first things I did when assembling the various parts of Monetran was to search for a qualified team to assist me. I was very lucky in that the Monetran project was able to attract a solid core of individuals. From technology, to financials, to public relations, to marketing, to IT, Monetran is well represented. As CEO, I have access to the team’s various areas of expertise. This has proven invaluable as the company is navigated through the process of going from an idea to a finished network. Information about the team can be found on our website at www.monetran.com.
Simply click the link labeled “about us” and you can examine each member’s qualifications.
12. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We are currently in alpha testing of our financial system, and we expect that it will be fully functional in Q3 of 2019. Once completed, Monetran will be able to send funds internationally in seconds at a fraction of the cost charged by our biggest competitors. Of interest to our investors, we have recently enacted the policy of cumulative investments to award volume bonuses to those who purchase equity units in Monetran through our SEC Regulation Crowdfunding. This means that anyone who makes investments will have them totaled to qualify for greater bonuses. This has already benefited those investors who have made more than one investment in the company. More information can be obtained at www.startengine.com/monetran-llc. Also, we have recently adopted acceptance of both bitcoin and Ethereum as payment options for equity units in Monetran.
13. Which Book are you reading these days?
I really don’t have time to read any books currently. Reading has always been a leisure activity for me, and I don’t have that much leisure time at present. Most of my reading is confined to relevant articles concerning fintech, cryptocurrency, blockchain and the like. DLT is a fast moving sector and it’s a nearly full time job trying to keep up with developments.
14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
What I can tell you is that we are currently putting the finishing touches on the Monetran mobile app. This will enable customers to make POS purchases for any amount, even those of less than $1. This is another feature of Moneda that stands out among the rest which, for the most part, are too expensive to use to enable such payments. Monetran customers will be able to make micro payments in seconds at a cost of pennies.