Abra founder and CEO Bill Barhydt was a guest on Anthony Pompliano’s November 12 “Off the Chain” podcast.
During the show, Barhydt and Pompliano covered a lot of ground. They talked about how Abra works, the power of crypto, and what a crypto-enabled future might look like.
“Abra is a simple crypto wallet combined with a built-in exchange that allows you to have investment exposure to up to 80 different currencies,” Barhydt said. “We use a very sophisticated kind of smart contract platform in the background to enable all of this. We are not actually holding the cryptocurrencies.”
Barhydt also explained how the technology powering Abra makes it different than most other wallet and exchange platforms currently available.
“From a technology perspective, it gets even more interesting because this is the basis for all of the future work that Abra is going to do. What you are actually holding in the Abra wallet is a bitcoin-collateralized multi-sig contract all based on the bitcoin, sometimes litecoin, blockchain.”
Someday, Barhydt explained, Abra’s technology will be operating in the background. And really what’s more important than the way it all works, is what it will enable.
The foundation for a crypto bank
“The long play for Abra is to develop a crypto bank,” Barhydt says. “What is a crypto bank? From my perspective, it reverses a central bank-based central custodianship model with one where a consumer is in control of their own funds.”
The beauty of this kind of non-custodial/synthetic currency model, Barhydt continued, is that it doesn’t run afoul of financial laws and regulations. So making Abra available worldwide is feasible and much easier than traditional financial companies and apps.
“Our mission is to provide democratized access to financial services for the global consumer. That’s it. Investing is one of those core capabilities, credit is another, and payment and money transfer it the third.”
Then Barhydt mentioned the new BIT10 crypto index, which is Abra’s latest foray into developing innovate crypto-collateralized investment tools.
“Crypto is the first asset class that we choose to enable via these bitcoin-collateralized contracts. Eventually, you are going to see equities, commodities, mutual funds — mashups of all of them. We launched the BIT10 index token which represents a mashup of the price feeds of different tokens into one bitcoin-collateralized contract. That just sets the stage for showing people that we can mashup any asset classes into one investment token via this model.”
Barhydt and Pompliano also talked about the power of programmable money, and what that could mean for the future of finance. Barhydt laid out a vision where financial services consumers have choices.
For the unbanked in developing economies, that choice might involve getting access to new financial products like credit and investing services. For people in more developed economies, it might mean more control over their money, or to be able to trade new kinds of investments.
“I see an entire shadow banking system and I don’t say shadow in the negative, this is bad sense, I say shadow as in finally being competition to the man,” Barhydt said.
“All of this is possible via the infrastructure that Abra has built.”