Interview with Dether
BitcoinChaser: What kind of problem, market deficiency or opportunity inspired you to launch your project?
Dether (DTR): Decentralization is at the heart of blockchain; it is even viewed, in the words of Vitalik Buterin, as “blockchain’s entire raison d’être.” On the one hand, Bitcoin paved the way for the first use case of blockchain technology; an “electronic peer-to-peer cash system” as described by Satoshi Nakamoto. What’s more, Ethereum enables anyone to build unstoppable applications: a trustless digital world where its applications don’t have any kind of censorship, fraud or third party interference. A world where you can participate in a democratic and autonomous organizations without previously knowing any participants.
In fact, when one buys ether (Ethereum cryptocurrency), it then becomes possible to access and interact with the Ethereum blockchain. While we’re living in an important time in history, where blockchain technology, and especially Ethereum, is changing the world , one of its greatest challenges remains mass adoption.
Mass adoption cannot happen if:
- Buying crypto-currency remains a long and difficult process. Registering online, depositing money and getting verified can take weeks. And time is money. Cryptocurrency’s volatility is sometimes presented as a barrier. But as we’ve seen in the past few months, volatility can also be seen as an opportunity for investors, especially when ether’s value can rise dramatically within hours or even minutes during a single day. In order to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, people should be able to quickly and safely buy ether, without having to pay high fees when they want to do so.
- Financial institutions still play a major role when it comes to buying and selling ether through cryptocurrency exchanges. The most common way to buy cryptocurrency remains online exchanges that require bank transfers, despite the fact that the technology’s core purpose is to bypass central institutions. There are systemic risks of having these giant central institutions that are single points of failure. This current use is far from Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision to create “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash [that]would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
- Going through financial institutions or using credit cards creates barriers to mass adoption. This problem becomes massive when over 2 billion people are unbanked. These people, who are mostly located in Africa, South Asia and South America, are usually living in societies sensitive to abuses of government power and corruption where democracy is not the rule and where corruption exists. Thus, by being unbanked, it’s not only impossible for them to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, it’s also impossible for them to use it in fighting censorship, fraud or third party interference, while building societies which allow for participation in a democratic and autonomous organization.
- The last mile issue in cryptocurrency transactions has yet to be solved. Today, Ethereum enables anyone to send ether, so value, from one point to another within seconds. So when Alice (who’s located in Europe) sends ether to Bob (her father who’s located in Africa), it takes only seconds, and the only thing they need for their transaction is a smartphone. However, when Bob receives ether in his wallet on his smartphone, he cannot transform it into cash to pay rent or buy supplies. Nor can he quickly find stores, shops and other businesses that would trade ether for fiat currency or that would accept ether as a means of payment.
- By centralizing all of the data they gather, current solutions act as a middleman between the buyer and the seller. Moreover, the level of services provided, as well as the user experience is poor. Transactional and user information is stored in their servers, which constitutes a security risk. And the risk of having a user with a fake rating constitutes a point of failure, as it’s centralized and could thus be hacked.
That’s why we created Dether.
BC: How will your project address this problem, market deficiency or opportunity in a unique way?
Dether: Dether provides a decentralized peer-to-peer ether network that enables anyone on Earth to buy ether with cash and spend it at physical stores nearby. No bank account is needed, just a mobile phone with internet access. Our belief is that the beauty and power of the Blockchain technology should be easily accessible to all.
We’ve decided to put all of our energy and that of the Ethereum community into helping us build the first trustless solution that will allow anyone to be able to interact with the blockchain no matter who you are, where you are, and without the need for a middleman.
The main components of Dether is a decentralized and peer-to-peer networks where individuals and physical shops are able to freely trade together without a middle man. Ether sellers can now become mobile “PTM” (People Teller Machine) by being on the Dether map and selling ether for fiat currency anywhere in the world at any time. Physical shops can now be open to the cryptocurrency world and community.
What’s so special about Dether?
Dether aims at being fully decentralized. Technically, no back end is used. Dether is only powered by Ethereum smart contracts.
The goal is to have decentralized mobile app where individuals from all over the world can easily and quickly have access to any cryptocurrency but also tokens due to the increase development of decentralized applications.
Other decentralized applications and physical shops will be able to connect themselves into Dether’s smart contract to easily locate crypto buyers and sellers around them and create a peer-to-peer ecosystem.
We strongly believe that having a trustless solution is the key to Dether’s success worldwide. Users must be able to exchange and trade with one another with trust, despite not knowing each other beforehand. In other words, we’ve decided to align our strategy with blockchain’s core principles, where the power of its users, and not a central entity, determines its success.
That’s why we’ve decided to create a technology roadmap that integrates different key elements of decentralization on each feature we integrate, in order to propel Dether towards full decentralization.
All of these components integrate together thanks:
- a smart phone
- internet access
- a progressive web app (PWA) build around an Ethereum smart contract where all of the users information are preserved. Dether doesn’t have any backend and keep no information about users:
- users’ funds are never held by any central entity
- private keys are encrypted and locally stored in the user’s wallet
- conversations between users are fully anonymous and encrypted
- users’ reputation is powered by Ethereum smart contracts
This decentralized aspect of Dether makes it unique as it’ll open doors to cryptocurrency and tokens to many individuals around the globe who don’t have access to it.
3/In what stage is the development?
In October 2017, we have launched an alpha version on Ethereum testnet: https://alpha.dether.io
Individuals from all over the world can use Dether’s alpha to buy and sell ether for fiat currency without a middle man. Dether’s alpha is both available on iOS (using Safari) and Android (using Chrome).
More than 3000 people have tried Dether so far all over the world.
The process guides you smoothly from the creation of your wallet, to your first transaction:
- Create a Dether wallet, save your backup phrase, create a password and choose an avatar. Your private key is encrypted and stored on your device.
- Fund your Detherwallet if you wish to become an ether seller and appear on the Dether map. For Dether’s alpha , you can fund your wallet using the “Get Kovan” faucet button on your Dashbord so you can easily register as a seller on the map.
- Find sellersaround you via the Dether map.
- Safely and anonymously chat with potential sellers via Telegramand schedule an appointment in order to make a transaction.
- Make a successful transactionsecured by Dether smart contracts, and automatically obtain a better reputation!
Moreover, we’ve integrated 1,200 physical shops that user can easily locate in order to buy ether or bitcoin using cash or spend their cryptocurrency to buy items in these shops.
We aim at launching Dether’s mobile app on Ethereum mainet (trading real ethers) in December 2017 after the smart contract will be audited by different parties.
BC: How do you think that competition will develop in this segment of the market following your ICO?
Dether: Competition on cryptocurrency trading platforms will certainly grow. We can already see that there are more and more trading platforms. However, their user experience is always very poor. They only address cryptocurrency early adopters and exclude the vast majority of people who don’t understand how it works.
At Dether, we believe that user experience and decentralization are two key elements of success. Dether is built with the idea that even a child could be able to understand how to use it. As a matter of fact, we offer a simple and intuitive user experience without the need to have any technical background.
From creating a wallet within seconds, to finding ether sellers around you with the simple touch of a button, Dether offers a smooth and enjoyable user experience that targets any user familiar or unfamiliar with blockchain DappsOur vision is that User Experience is as important as development, and it should always be the case when launching a decentralized applications.
BC: For all those who have read your white paper and are still on the fence about contributing to your ICO, what can you tell them that could lead them to buy into your project?
Dether: At Dether, we believe that execution is crucial. Unlike many other ICOs, we didn’t just want to write a whitepaper to show our vision, we decided to build an alpha version before the token sale to show to our community members that just with an MVP (minimum viable product), we can already change the way individuals have access to cryptocurrency. As a consequence, more than 3.000 people all around the globe have already tried Dether’s alpha in less a mont! The very first day of Dether’s launch, we made history by having the first cash to ether transaction on Dether!
After that, Dether’s team members have been traveling all over Asia, Europe, and South America to promote Dether. We’ve seen that people from different backgrounds and cultures are extremely excited by the possibilities given to them though Dether whether they are individuals or physical shops.