Cashaa, founded in 2016, has built and beta tested a blockchain-powered forex platform, offering innovative exchange and money transfer services between fiat and cryptocurrencies. Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Cashaa Holdings.
Peter Lee: Kumar, thanks for joining us today. For our audience, here’s a quick bio we have of you before we get started:
Kumar is a serial entrepreneur who is among the hundred most influential people in the world in blockchain technology and was awarded extraordinary status (O1) by the United States government for his accomplishments in blockchain technology.
He is the Founder & CEO of Cashaa Holdings and Chairman of Auxesis Group. Due to his vision, Auxesis Group and Cashaa are both ranked among the world’s top 100 blockchain companies.
Kumar is a popular international speaker on emerging technologies and was invited at IIT, TieCON, TechCrunch, Govt, Parliament and many private and government conferences across the globe.
He was recently nominated as one of the World’s Top 50 Innovators from the Industries of the Future.
Before he moved into the world of financial technology, he built computer systems for Ferrari. During his time in Italy, he co-founded Darwinsurance, the first Italian peer-to-peer insurance platform backed by AIG which was acquired by Esedra in 2016.
Peter: Kumar, how do the Cashaa platform benefit users?
Kumar Gaurav: We are building a better bank and are challenging legacy banking with our coming app and products which we are building with the help from our community’s input. Our users can store, save, spend, receive, borrow and get insured, all in a legally compliant way, while benefiting from a simple user experience. We want to be a one-stop for all your financial needs, and as we have experience with building all the named services over the past years, we are now bringing that all together on one platform.
Peter: Your use case objectives are very broad and quite encompassing. What markets in particular are you targeting? And, is there anything in the financial ecosystem you don’t or won’t get into – and, why?
Kumar: We are targeting personal consumers such as immigrants, average bank users, international students and travellers, as well as business consumers: Fintech companies with innovative ideas can use us as platform, such as for lending, bill payments, e-commerce, crowdfunding, startups, ICO launching card based solutions, media companies, businesses with multiple vendor payouts etc.
This leaves the category of interbank settlement, which we are not getting into, as it is being served well by existing companies.
Peter: What recent piece of news about Cashaa do you think our Members may not know?
Kumar: The biggest recent news is that we are working with a Master Card service provider and have all the relevant licenses secured. This partnership enables us that with our coming wallet and card, we will be able to move national currencies cheaper, faster and easier than cryptocurrencies and can transfer them to any card, bank account or wallet in the world, including cards issued by traditional banks or fintech startups, which is a world-first.
Peter: Regarding your partnership with Master Card, what are the challenges associated with ‘toppling’ and working with legacy financial institutions at the same time?
Kumar: I would not use the word toppling, we see it more as a peaceful coexistence as we are inviting established organisations to work with us, instead of us building everything from scratch. For us, partnerships are the key to success, and we have seen an open, positive response so far from the ‘legacy’ institutions.
Peter: Tell us a little more about how you’re working with Master Card and what this means in terms of how and to what extent Master Card is adopting blockchain technology.
Kumar: As mentioned above, it is a Master Card service provider, through whom the cards will be issued, so we cannot say anything about the direct involvement of Master Card in blockchain technology.
Peter: Things are moving fast with blockchain technology and Cashaa. Tell us a little more about the speed of this industry and the evolution of Cashaa?
Kumar: The high speed at which this industry is moving also means that Cashaa could evolve faster as originally planned, constantly add new features and reach its goals earlier – for example, when Cashaa was founded, we thought about an own token to be launched after a few years, and issuing cards together with Master Card service provider was more like a dream for even later, let alone adding insurance and lending – now only one and a half years after founding Cashaa, all this is already becoming real. 2017 was the lucky year for cryptocurrencies with increasing understanding and welcoming attitude among mainstream organisations, which became open for collaboration and so help us advance.
Peter: The industry is moving fast but Cashaa seems to be moving even faster. What is the ‘secret sauce’ that accounts for your seemingly high speed of execution? Is it ambition, connections … there must be something … what is it?
Kumar: By having been involved in the industry for already a couple of years which is a long time in this industry, and having already successfully built blockchain companies including Auxesis Group before, we when starting Cashaa could rely on a big network of all relevant contacts, so yes, I would say connections and an established good reputation are the major factors.
Peter: What does Cashaa look like 5 or 10 years from now? How will it evolve?
Kumar: We will be a one-stop for your financial needs. Following our next generation banking wallet which we eventually will have launched globally to a market size of 7.6 billion, we will add our insurance and lending business units and so build a comprehensive financial platform driving financial inclusion for the unbanked everywhere and giving the banked a better alternative to the existing system.
A main part to achieve this will be our partnerships – other than working with a Master Card service provider, we have high profile partnerships with Asian and African banks and other organisations as well as with technology partners such as Auxledger and Agrello.
Peter: When others talk about goals to achieve a global imprint or global ambitions it can sometimes sound overly aspirational and not so realistic. However, for some reason, for your Team it sounds totally within reach.
How are you able to make all these connections and partnerships, in Asia, Africa and elsewhere? What are you and Cashaa doing from a global strategy perspective that others aren’t or can’t? (Yes, I’m still looking for that ‘secret sauce’!)
Kumar: We have many experienced team members from the financial industry worldwide who are building the relations with the relevant financial institutions – overall, our team and advisors have an experience of over 200 years in Banking and Payments alone, complemented by experts from leading academic institutions.
Peter: What do you see as the biggest problem in the world today? Who’s responsible and, what can they do about it?
Kumar: One of the biggest problems in the world is the huge inequality, and anyone who has access to the tools like blockchain technology which can help solve it are responsible to do so, such as giving the 3.5 billion unbanked people access to services we take for granted. Other than entrepreneurs it is also governments’ responsibility, and one which over the past years had an impact was the Indian government with its digital push and financial inclusion measures aiming at each household having at least one bank account, which brought a progress and changed the lives of millions, which makes us especially proud as Auxesis Group to work with Indian governments on various initiatives around financial inclusion, increasing government transparency and fighting corruption.
Peter: How much of a driving force for you (and Cashaa) is the desire to reduce the numbers of those who are unbanked, increase financial inclusion and reduce inequality? Do you have a personal memory or story that helps to explain this driving force and ambition?
Kumar: Personally, I got the idea for Cashaa was when a few years ago I while travelling had to use Western Union while knowing about Bitcoin and its advantages already. Although the use of Bitcoin for international money transfer had been frequently mentioned as its biggest use, companies until then had failed to solve the problems why this use was not reaching the people who are in need of it. So I was thinking of how to combine the two, and make the advantages of this wonderful new technology as accessible as possible. This is how Cashaa was born, starting with international money transfer, and extending from there in the other financial areas where inequality is a problem.
Peter: What can you tell us about yourself that our audience probably doesn’t know? (Personal, business or otherwise)
Kumar: I am also the Chairman of Auxesis Group, which I founded in 2015, a blockchain innovation and development company with offices based in Mumbai, London and San Francisco, and ranked among The Top 100 most Influential Blockchain companies across the Globe. AuxLedger, Auxesis’s proprietary enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructure has been deployed in a number of organisations and Govt bodies, is right now powering over 53 million users, and transacted millions of dollars for clients in banking, insurance and public sector. Auxesis has started India’s first Blockchain Lab (http://blockchainlab.co.in) which is evolving Auxledger and running multiple research projects in collaboration with IIT Bombay and Delhi University to create blockchain applications for military organisations in India. These projects include distributed highly secure messaging wearables powered by blockchain network, among many others.
Founder & CEO