Vaultoro, chosen from a pool of hundreds worldwide, is a rapidly growing enterprise offering a secure alternative to traditional banking, merging gold’s long track record as a globally recognized store of value with the speed, transparency and divisibility of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Techstars, its new supportive partner, is one of the largest and most prestigious global investors in startups. They not only invest time and financial support, but also provide a robust network for startups to connect to as they navigate the pitfalls common among early-stage businesses.
Vaultoro currently has over 4,000 clients from 92 countries that hold more than 1.8 million euros’ worth of bitcoin and gold through the platform. By joining Techstars, says Vaultoro CEO Joshua Scigala, the company is putting their plan to integrate the euro on the fast track, and to provide a physical gold-backed VISA card and a sleek new app that allows bank independence while maintaining online shopping and bill paying functionality.
“Techstars has a massive network of mentors and connections. If we need a warm contact to almost anyone they will be able to make it happen. Our goal at Vaultoro is to enable as many people as possible to be able to easily exit debt-based fiat and jump into securing and spending physical allocated gold and bitcoin.”
In the short amount of time that he’s been involved with Berlin Techstars, Scigala says that he’s already garnered a vast amount of experience, noting that it’s “like being put into a pressure cooker of influence and ideas.”
“The great thing about Techstars is that they’re all about getting companies to be as successful as possible in the shortest time possible. Having Techstars invest in Vaultoro will help us reach the mass market, which ultimately helps us in promoting private asset-based money like bitcoin and physical allocated gold to the mainstream.”
Glass Books and the Value of Transparency
And in another move, Vaultoro is seeding the development of a “glass books” system, a transparent protocol based on blockchain technology that fosters financial institution transparency while maintaining client data privacy.
As one of the victims of MtGox, Scigala says that this crucial move toward greater transparency will help prove that Vaultoro is at full reserves all the time. “If MtGox had what we had, then red flags would have popped up all over the place and people would have left the exchange way before it got so bad.”
Scigala says that this level of transparency is critically important because if exchanges in the bitcoin industry do not self-regulate, as Vaultoro intends to do, then another MtGox-type event could likely happen somewhere in the world. This sort of catastrophic event, he says, could be the ideal fuel that the legacy banking system needs to force governments around the world to push draconian regulations onto Bitcoin startups that will cause them to drown under massive regulatory burdens.
“I really want other exchanges in the Bitcoin industry to follow our lead as being the most transparent exchange in the industry. I also want users to choose exchanges that have a solid transparency protocol in place and walk away from ones that don’t.”
Vaultoro and the Global Markets
Global monetary uncertainty in countries like Venezuela, India and China has had an impact on Vaultoro’s growth, says Scigala. “We have many clients from these countries. When the Greek banking crisis happened we received a massive uptick in signups from Greek IP addresses. About three months after it happened a lot more people from Greece started to hold allocated gold in the Pro Aurum Swiss Vaults that we connect to.”
The reason the Greeks like Vaultoro, he says, is because it is allocated gold. “We cannot gamble with their savings like banks do, and are obviously not in a position to do bailouts or bail-ins. They know their savings are just sitting safely in a top-tier vaulting facility, audited and insured. And even if we go broke it doesn't matter because our clients’ gold is off our balance sheet.”
While Scigala recognizes the growing buzz around blockchain technology, for him it is bitcoin, the token, that is most exciting.
“I mean it’s money being disrupted that we are talking about! Something we all use every day. There is no need to put gold as a token on the blockchain because it makes it unallocated and opens a massive regulatory can of worms. Bitcoin is so fast we don't need to tokenize gold. In the end it’s about jumping in and out of it on Vaultoro when you need to. That’s why Satoshi invented bitcoin in the first place. We’ll look to Techstars Berlin to help us with this proposition.”