Our team at KPCB led the $12.5 million round for Align Commerce, which enables cross border payments using blockchain technology. In the latest episode of the Ventured podcast, I spoke with Marwan Forzley, CEO of Align and KPCB Edge founding partner Anjney Midha about how small businesses can use this technology for global transactions and how it will disrupt current financial systems such as banks.
This shared public ledger enables people to make transactions with each other over the network, opening up new global marketplaces for small businesses as well as a number of transactions all together.
Financial transactions are no longer centralized
Blockchain technology is a fundamental breakthrough in computer science and powers cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Unlike banks, no single individual or entity owns blockchain technology. Every transaction is public and the exchange of money can be completed between two people in very different parts of the world, just as long as they have Internet connection. There is no concept of centralization, which completely changes how currency is exchanged across borders.
Small businesses no longer need banks
Blockchain technology provides the building blocks for the global payment infrastructure of the future. Traditionally, big banks are the gatekeepers in financial transactions in the US and can be a problem for small businesses.
Cross border payments using blockchain
Traditionally, small business owners serve the needs of local markets. However, a frictionless, technology platform expands a local market into a global one. Therefore, digital marketplaces have taken off, especially with the successes of Alibaba and eBay. Blockchain technology will continue to unlock more opportunities, as commerce opens up to global marketplaces.
Developers and investors are betting on blockchain technology
At first, I was discouraged to learn that companies were being started by currency speculators not technology companies. However, Align Commerce changed my perspective with its technology. Venture backed companies in this space are on the rise and developer activity is picking up on Github. However, consumers should be patient, and wait for developers to make apps for them.
Blockchain applications are global
Imagine going through an app without having to go through a wire transfer. Align Commerce is developing a general platform for every industry, one that will work across borders. Companies on the service can be big or small businesses with an international payment need. An API will be released soon.