We’ve been speaking with founders of successful startups about how they introduced their products to the market in order to inspire people who want to start their own businesses.
Today, we have Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer, the CEO and co-founder of Black Wallet LTD, and the Vice President of International Affairs for Brav Online Conflict Management.
Since 2006, he has been in the fintech space, using remote and on-site mediation to settle disputes between landowners and banks.
In 2014, he moved back to Pennsylvania, where he began working for Brav. During most of this time, he has been an MBA-level professor at universities across the country.
His company, Black Wallet LTD, is a stablecoin 2.0 ecosystem management company that he formed during the COVID pandemic. The project is unique in the concept that it is not a “Borg” coin, meaning that we do not seek to be the “most powerful coin on the market.” KIROS, our native coin, is designed to be an exchange token that can be used in day-to-day transactions.
“The key element differentiating our company from other companies is that our stability matrix is built off of an anchor to the basket of goods, not a direct peg with a fiat currency. This allows for the diversity of the asset pools to deal with shifts in the market more directly,” he says.
Read the full interview to find out all about his achievements, key turning points, and strategies he used to climb the ladder of success.
What is the backstory of BlackWallet, and how did you come up with the idea?
Black Wallet LTD originated as an idea to help the rest of the world. Fiat currency is in a problematic stage currently. The national (and international) solution is to “do what we have always done, but this time on the internet,” which is likely to follow the same failure pattern as the current currency system. The central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the “dream” of money launderers, sex traffickers, and other criminal elements.
Because of the ledger, cryptocurrency can be used by law enforcement to deal with a plethora of problems. Look, for example, at how quickly the FTX, Ukraine, Democrat party triangle was allegedly exposed (within 4 days). With a traditional bank, this would have taken years to discover.
Understanding the dynamic between traditional finance and cryptocurrency, Mr. Ashe and I designed a cryptocurrency to deal with the triangular arbitrage that has been plaguing the industry while still working on an “OG” valuation model that most people in finance can understand. Since “stablecoin 1.0” coins (those backed with fiat) are fiat with extra steps and some other backed coins are “withdrawable,” which means that the holder can force the company to “payout” for what they hold, we built a system with a bifurcated quadratic asset pool that protects the assets through diversification and through the “non-linked” status.
The program has been quite successful, with heavy interest from several market sectors. We hope to make the initial open private sale early in 2023 to give individual rather than institutional investors access to the token.
How was the process of creating Black Wallet, from idea to finished product?
The process was a learning curve. When we came up with the idea, we thought we knew everything. Cryptocurrency is one of those areas where the more you know, the more you realize what you do not know. Throughout the first quarter of 2022, our team worked on our book “Dragons of the Digital Age,” which is about how over-regulation will collapse the crypto market and the market in general. During this process, we learned volumes about cryptocurrency.
In the next two months, our second book, “Digital Exchequer,” will be coming out. This book uses an economic-cubism model to help people (specifically analysts) look at whether a cryptocurrency is a good model or not. This book also helped in our development.
We had the privilege of working with an amazing programmer to develop the code. Now, as the company moves through its final initial audit (I know that sounds like a contradiction), we are raising funds for a massive launch in the early part of next year.
What marketing strategies have you used or are currently using that are successful in terms of promoting BlackWallet?
Networking and social media While the two are heavily linked, they are unique in the approach that you have to take to each. Mr. Ashe and I each entered this space with a large network, which has been very supportive. This is not to say you cannot start up without a large network, but it helps.
We also have an amazing webmaster and social media team that is helping us set up the system to move forward when the project moves out of the limited private sales. Staging your social media (rather than jumping right in) can be one of the biggest factors for success.
You mention on your website that you are trying to develop a united, decentralized cryptocurrency ecosystem; could you tell us how you plan to do so?
Well, the answer to that comes in two parts:
- To develop a decentralized cryptocurrency system, we look at both the good parts of the traditional (cefi model) and the (defi model). DAOs can have problems if they are decentralized too quickly. Centralized companies have problems, as we saw with FTX (too much money too fast). Through a model that is designed to decentralize, we feel that we can take the time to build the structure and then extricate ourselves from the process as it develops. This will allow the system to become a “grand DAO” owned and controlled by the holders.
To unify the system, we want to be a team player in the industry. I do not think anyone in finance will tell you that the crypto market is not under attack right now. Governments want CDBC so they can control things. Criminals want CBDC so they can skirt the law. Banks want CBDC so that your money is not really “your money.” Defi crypto helps prevent all of that. Through fighting the myth that crypto does not have inherent value (it has four types) to trying to get different systems to quit the infighting, if cryptocurrency “circles the wagons,” we have the 13th biggest economy on the planet and can make our voice heard to protect the private wealth of millions (if not billions) of investors and institutions worldwide who have adopted crypto.
What were the most difficult challenges you faced? What were your biggest mistakes?
The most difficult challenge we faced was the structure of the system. We approached this from a traditional company standpoint, which seems to be our biggest virtue. Many of the companies within the system only want to work with what is “new and shiny,” which meant that a lot of doors were closed to us. When the crash happened, a coin that had been preaching stabilization for months became a good option; a few closed doors are wide open now.
Our biggest mistake was thinking that we knew more than we did. We entered this with a legitimate business model, and it was difficult navigating a world with some pretty “novel” ideas. As the market contracts, the broken companies are being squeezed out, and it is helping to identify the good companies. But thinking we knew more than we did was a problem initially. Every day starts with reading about a dozen briefs to keep up with market changes.
What are the key factors that have led to your success so far?
Hard work is the biggest factor. Too often now, people suggest that everything is rigged. There are still companies that pull themselves up by their bootstraps. One of the hardest things that you need to do is reinvest in your company. In the crypto world, everyone is racing to get that Lambo, and that Lambo ends up getting repossessed. Putting your profits, as limited as they may be at the beginning, back into the company is the diligence needed to keep your company moving.
What is your biggest achievement so far with BlackWallet?
The book. Dr. Alli, Mr. Jadoon, Mr. Ashe, and I put a lot of work into the “Dragons” book, and all of the predictions followed through. Now, people who have read the book are treating us like fortune tellers. Realistically, the market indicators were there for what happened last year. People playing loose and fast with other people’s money were leading us to problems. Now, as the market constricts, there is a coming “Golden Age of Crypto,” which will allow the new DeFi fintech companies to build a better financial system for the billions of people worldwide, not just the billionaires.
What advice would you give to other founders who are just getting started with their product launch?
Do your research and trust yourself. You know how much work you are putting into your project. If you did the market research, then you should have confidence in that. If you did not, you know that and should not be surprised.
Being a startup isn’t a “work two hours a day” kind of gig if you want to get into fast food. You will work long weeks, and you will work long days. You will make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Through all of this, make sure you keep pushing yourself and your company to improve. Eventually, if you did your market work right, you should find success.
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