The hype around cryptocurrencies will stay for a long time. Experts expect Bitcoin to rise to $70,000 before the end of this year, following its new record high of $64,000. Is the market for digital currencies already saturated or is it still worth entering? The South Tyrolean company SANUSLIFE, led by founder and CEO Ewald Rieder, has developed its own utility payment token. With that, the Italians want to further expand their network and introduce a global payment system. Ewald Rieder about the market entry, the current situation and an outlook into the future.
What do cryptocurrencies mean to you?
“For me, cryptocurrencies mean independence above all. We are no longer dependent on banks because of them and thus have a completely new possibility of investing money and also storing value. In addition, the security aspect shows another advantage, provided it is a storage on a secure blockchain such as the Bitcoin blockchain. It also promotes digitalization in the long term; after all, payments by means of QR codes or smartphones were not worth mentioning a few years ago. The fact that payments can be made worldwide with one instrument also creates opportunities for developing countries. This is because payments are now made via a separate wallet and not via banks with hidden fees. When I think of cryptocurrencies, I also think of barrier-free and simple payment – after all, all I need is a smartphone, a wallet and the Internet.”
What was your vision when you entered the crypto industry?
“With our entry into the crypto sector, we are pursuing the goal of making our products, but also services and products from partner companies, exchangeable worldwide. With our approach, we want to connect the crypto world with the business world and ensure a reduction in bureaucracy. Basically, our vision is to create more opportunities and do good for all of us!”
You have joined the industry in 2018. What experience have you gained in the crypto world during this time?
“Since 2018, we have noticed first and foremost that the industry and especially blockchain development is progressing rapidly. Cryptocurrencies offer enormous potential, just like the Internet. Coins are also gradually gaining more acceptance in our society due to media coverage of cryptocurrencies and its development. Moreover, crypto tokens also offer a future to those people who do not have a bank account. The future is also promising, as many new crypto coins are being added all the time. However, many of them do not have a real concept, that is, no possible applications behind their venture.”
How can digital assets manage to become a serious alternative means of payment?
“The main way they can do this is by adding real value and having more advantages compared to fiat money. Once the masses realize and use the benefits of crypto coin payments, sustainable goals such as saving on plastic card production can also be achieved. Additional incentive systems such as a cashback function when purchasing crypto coins or lightning-fast payments through a concept of centralization can be other factors to achieve a change in society’s mindset.”
One of the biggest criticisms is the high energy usage associated with digital currencies. What possibilities are there to reconcile environmental protection and crypto?
“By not having payments calculated elaborately via the Bitcoin blockchain, but by creating an additional payment system, for example a centralized and bank-like one. In this case, tokens can be securely stored via a custodian bank and transferred to a decentralized wallet at any time. Another possibility here could be to decouple a portion as a donation when making payments. These can then be used to benefit the environment, repair damage, or take preventative measures to reduce disasters. In addition, alternatives to mining must be found, because that is what causes the greatest energy consumption. Another approach would be to rely exclusively on renewable energies instead of fossil ones.”
How do you see the future of the industry? What will change in the coming years?
“In my opinion, the blockchain will be the success factor of the future, as successful as the Internet was back then. In 10 years, blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will be firmly anchored in our everyday lives. This may happen even faster because the corona pandemic has given digitalization a strong push. The present is already digital, but the future will be much more digital – the digital euro, which is to come, is another example of how cash will fade into the background. In the near future, the smartphone will replace the classic wallet for many people, and the wallet will probably have a different function or will no longer exist at all. The conversion of currencies is also likely to disappear, which will make traveling easier and products even more comparable worldwide.”
What next steps are you planning with the SANUSCOIN?
“We are already offering SANUSCOIN 300, 600 and 900 euro packages on our website, with packages starting at 25 euros planned for later. In addition, we are already developing our SANUSAPP, which will allow our customers to hold their SANUSCOIN centrally in an e-voucher wallet and use it to make payments by the app. For all companies that register with SANUSLIFE as MAP partners, we want to use the digital voucher to create a global payment method at these points of acceptance. Furthermore, an in-house trading platform is planned, the so-called “SANUSCOIN Exchanger”. In the future, it will be possible to trade our own coins as well as other coins. In general, we would like to create a 360° ecosystem in the future: The customer buys Coins, pays with them, receives goods and services through them and also receives commissions and rewards in the form of the Coins. If this Coin is redeemed while shopping, its value will increase due to demand and promote sustainability. The entrepreneur increases his level of awareness through the placement on the integrated map service SANUSMAP. Furthermore, he receives new customers through the offer of the new payment method, can freely choose his contribution to environmental protection and recommending his products to others, and is perceived both internally and externally as a company with a “green” image.”
Finally: Bitcoin or Ether?
“In my opinion, both cryptocurrencies have their justification and challenge, so a clear demarcation is difficult. For me, Bitcoin primarily serves as a store of value, Ether as a means of payment, for example for NFT’S.”