Following the announcement of Orion Protocol and AllianceBlock industry-first integration aimed at offering traditional finance entities a singular, compliant, and non-custodial gateway to the entire crypto market - Orion held an AMA with Rachid Ajaja, CEO of AllianceBlock, and Alexey Koloskov, CEO of Orion Protocol to discuss:

  • The pair's approach to mainstream blockchain adoption
  • The joint collaboration between Orion Protocol x AllianceBlock
  • What this partnership means for Orion users and the wider industry

Congratulations to the winners of our AMA @modnar404, @ngoctina1123, @huskyxzx, and @mai18315! Please DM @Orion_Protocol on Twitter to collect your rewards.

Timothea: Hey Rachid, it’s a pleasure to have you here! Can you please introduce yourself and AllianceBlock to the community?

Rachid: My name is Rachid Ajaja and I am the Founder and CEO of AllianceBlock. I worked 10 years in investment banking as A Quantitative Analyst in various investment banks including Barclays and BNP Paribas. I also led the AI research team at VINCI in France. My Co-Founders, Amber and Matthijs, started working on AllianceBlock over two years ago. We’ve been privileged to have joined three of Europe's leading startup incubators during that time and we are excited to be bringing AllianceBlock to market.

Timothea: Thanks Rachid! And Alexey, for any newcomers to the community, can you please introduce yourself?

Alexey: I’m Alexey Koloskov, Orion Protocol’s CEO and Co-Founder. My background spans the two worlds of traditional finance and DeFi. I started my journey in the crypto space in 2016 as Chief Architect and Creator of the Waves DEX - the most successful DEX to date. 

Prior to this, I spent a number of years creating software for some of the largest international banks (including Deutsche Bank and UniCredit). Now, I’m incredibly proud to be leading the Orion team in building what we believe will be  the future of crypto. Integral to our development and success will be strong partnerships with those in the space that share our mission for widespread blockchain adoption - AllianceBlock is one of them.

Timothea: As you said, a mutual goal we share with AllianceBlock is achieving the sustainability of the crypto industry through mainstream adoption. What do you both see as the main barriers to that currently?

Alexey: In order to gear up for mainstream blockchain adoption, we first need to solve the fragmentation of the industry. There are tens of thousands of trading pairs spread across hundreds of exchanges with different interfaces, fees, and processes. And in order to access over 90% of the liquidity on these exchanges, traders have to risk their assets on centralized entities, despite a recent California ruling that enshrined the crypto adage “not your keys, not your coins”.

But at Orion Protocol, we don’t think that accessing the crypto market should be so difficult, risky, or expensive.

Built on the most advanced liquidity aggregator ever developed, we aggregate the liquidity of every centralized exchange, decentralized exchange, and swap pool in market into one decentralized platform. This allows for the creation of Orion Terminal: providing one singular, and non-custodial, gateway to crypto.  

For the first time, we’re bridging the gap between the centralized and decentralized worlds of crypto. By solving the fragmentation of the crypto landscape by aggregating the industry into one place, we’re removing barriers to entry, and, alongside our partners, helping shift the industry towards mainstream adoption.

Timothea: And Rachid, what do you believe the main barriers to be? Particularly, why has the traditional finance world has been slow to adopt crypto?

Rachid: The three primary barriers to widespread adoption of crypto are 1) Clarity in understanding of what blockchain is and the value it offers, 2) Ease of access and the user experience within crypto, and 3) A lack of clear international regulations to facilitate compliant access. At AllianceBlock we believe that the market is rapidly evolving and general awareness and understanding of crypto is rapidly occurring. This will be accelerated as Bitcoin and the more well known currencies ascend in value and gain more prominence. Our role at AllianceBlock, is to address the other two barriers and ensure that the traditional finance industry has a clear and compliant pathway to participate in DeFi and the broader blockchain industry in a simple, cost effective, and regulated way.

 Timothea: So, put simply, our goal at Orion Protocol is to tackle the issue of adoption through creating one unified and non-custodial gateway to crypto. And the goal at AllianceBlock is to do so by tackling the barriers of compliance and regulation of the traditional finance world. How can the two work together to bridge the gap between crypto and traditional finance? And how will this partnership overcome that barrier?

Alexey: At the core of this partnership is the mutual desire to make blockchain and crypto accessible to the masses in a compliant, secure, and simple way. Having bridged the centralized/decentralized divide (therefore solving the fragmentation of the industry), we believed we’re well placed to take this a step further and bridge the gap between crypto and the traditional finance world. 

The total value of the traditional capital market is in excess of $100 trillion dollars - the opportunity to unlock the massive and latent pool of global liquidity and funnel this into the innovative world of DeFi presents enormous possibilities. To date, traditional finance entities have been slow to capitalize on crypto markets due to a fragmented market structure, alongside issues of security, compliance, and regulations. 

Working with AllianceBlock, we will provide the likes of private banks, wealth managers, and funds a singular, compliant, and non-custodial point of access to the crypto market - funneling new users and significant amounts of capital into the space.

Rachid: We are excited to be working with Alexey and the Orion team to help facilitate the more widespread adoption of crypto including digitized assets. Our partnership will provide global capital markets, and specifically, private banks, wealth managers, funds, fintech service providers, and other regulated financial institutions, with secure and compliant access to crypto and digitized assets trading. In the first instance, through the AllianceBlock Protocol that will allow these entities to plug into the Orion Protocol and utilise their user-friendly liquidity trading aggregator.

We're excited too! Prior to our partnership announcement, we had a number of members of the community suggesting we collaborate based on the incredible tech you're building. Can you shine a bit of light on to how this integration would work from a technical perspective?

Rachid: When we speak about tokenized / Digitized Assets there are two barriers: 1- Compliance with regulations and 2- Liquidity.

Once we will have our Cross border Regulatory Compliance Layer (CBRCL) , we will aim to create a consortium of private banks / wealth managers / asset managers that can propose new asset class to their clients. this will lead to a private digitized market and we can have multiple in different jurisdiction through our partners that we will disclose later on (stay tuned). This is where Orion Protocol will come into play, clients of these institutions will plug to the interface of Orion Protocol which is connected to our CBRCL which will make all trades compliant  and provide liquidity to these clients. We are very excited about this use case and we already working on setting up the foundations. This shows the amazing synergies between Orion protocol and AllianceBlock.

Timothea: Great, I'm sure the community will be glad to understand how this integration works from a technical standpoint. How do you see this partnership benefitting Orion users, and the industry as a whole?

Alexey: The crypto market, while having grown significantly in recent years, is still in immaturity - and in much need of liquidity.

This partnership will not only bring high-value users and capital to Orion Terminal, but to the space as a whole. In 2019, the cumulative market cap of cryptocurrencies was $237.1 billion. Whilst up significantly from the 2018 value of $128.78 billion, it’s still significantly less than the market cap of, for example, Apple alone ($2 trillion). This partnership brings much needed capital into crypto, removing the barrier to entry from the traditional capital market of over $100 trillion.

Rachid: Ultimately we will be aiming to bring many more users to the Orion Protocol, which will in turn result in more ORN token demand and help encourage a strong and vibrant Orion community. The additional inflow of capital to the DeFi and blockchain industry will have obvious benefits for a multitude of projects within the space. More people + more capital = a bigger and better blockchain industry.

 

Timothea: Wonderful. A significant increase in users and capital into the space can only be a good thing, both for Orion and the industry as a whole. Let's move on to the questions chosen from Twitter before we open up the chat for further questions.

 

How would you convince the old establishment to relinquish their grasp over the global market given that we're talking about the oldest and croniest form of power not to mention the biggest one on earth?

Rachid: Human history has been beset with change through the ages. When there are large incumbent forces in power it can be difficult to affect change, no doubt. It all comes down to motivation. If we approach this with the mindset that we are going to take away the banks’ business then we will be met with resistance and face an uphill battle. If instead, we approach this with a more cooperative mindset that seeks to unlock great opportunities for everyone (which is the case), then I feel like we will have the right support to make the change we need.

What is ALLIANCEBLOCK planning for the year for the remainder of 2020 and 2021?

Rachid: The rest of 2020 is going to be filled with technical development and ecosystem growth. We are aiming to have our V1 protocol live by Q2/Q3 2021, so our coders will be busy making countless Github commits. In addition, we are building an ecosystem of stakeholders so we will be very business signing partnership agreements with leading financial entities, DeFi projects, regulators, law firms, fintech service providers… and the list goes on. We will also spend a good part of time  with Orion Team to have the best technical setup in order to go to market quickly. We have a good surpise for you in the coming months which is a partner in the traditional world which will faciliate the integration of orion with the traditional financial institituions and this is very exciting :)

What are the ways that AllianceBlock profits / revenue to maintain your project and what is its revenue model? How can it make benefit win-win to both investor and your project?

Rachid: AllianceBlock is essentially a B2B play, Orion is a B2B and B2C. All together we are B2B2C which mean access to business and customers. We provide a service to the traditional finance industry that allows us to charge fees and be a sustainable business outside of the performance of the ALBT Token. Essentially we will be saving our clients significant sums of money through enhanced operational efficiencies, these cost savings will translate into revenue for our bottom line. We will also be able to generate more sources of revenue to traditional institutions.  Dealing with traditional finance will benefit  also Orion to have a new stream of revenue.

Alexey, what are your plans for the nearest year in terms of marketing and business development? How do you plan to expand the network, community, partnerships, etc? What’s your vector? Why should investors enter your ecosystem?

Alexey: Anyone who’s seen our roadmap (orionprotocol.io/orn) will know that we have an intense year of product development ahead.

This includes solutions that address key pain points for traders (our flagship product Orion Terminal, a high margin DEX, and a lending aggregator), as well as B2B solutions for blockchains, exchanges, and crypto projects (including a price oracle, a liquidity plugin, a DEX kit, and an enterprise trade widget) - all existing to solve the critical issue of liquidity in market.

Working with partners like AllianceBlock will help us build out our ecosystem further, adding new layers to our offering and increasing our relevance, and necessity, in the space. 

But while we are strongly focused on product development, we understand the need for a robust user acquisition strategy to bring our stack of solutions to the masses. Crypto is often over-PRed and under-marketed, without the necessary tools in place to convert awareness and visibility into real users. Ramping up in the next month will be a multi-layered B2B and B2C approach that covers a wide array of audiences - increasing top of the funnel activity through PR, marketing, sponsorships, partnerships, outreach, and events, with the back-end tools in place to successfully convert awareness into users.

I’m incredibly excited for what the next few months will hold in further growing our community, and converting community engagement into real, valuable users across the protocol. As we’ve so often said, we’re here to build a sustainable future of crypto - a robust and mainstream user base is integral to that goal.

 

Timothea: Thank you both so much! I’m sure this gives the community much hope for the development of this partnership, and the space overall. I'm going to open the chat back up to allow for any further questions.

 

Too many projects disappear in this tough market conditions. How do you ensure the sustainability of ORN? What is the receipt of success?

Alexey: We’ve paid close attention to our predecessors, and one of the main causes of failure is the lack of substantial revenue streams. That’s why we’ve identified and are working on a number of products that will generate revenue in the near future. We’re bringing in thirteen B2B and B2C revenue streams from day one, across our entire platform, ensuring sustainability as a business.

Orion has solid revenue model for its utility function: including trading fee and additional service payments as well as  robust and very profitable (comapring to other centralized exchanges solutions) staking model for both broker and ordinary stakers.

Can you list 1-3 killer features of #allianceblock that makes it ahead of its competitors? What is the competitive advantage your platform has that you feel most confident about?

Rachid: If I have to say 1 killer filler it will be Cross Border Regulatory Compliance Layer which is a decentralized rule engine that will deal automatically with all the corss border regulation. This mean that it can be used by all tokenization plaform, crypto and digital aseet exchanges and more, it will make easy for many player to entrer the DeFi Space while being compliant and this is a true shift in the industry.

What is your strategy to marketing and for Mass Adoption? What message do you want to send to community through AMA today?

Rachid: Best strategy and mass adoption is to start having big partners in both world i.e. Traditional Finance and Decentralized Finance. We are already partners with Quant Network and Holochain and now we are super excited about our partnership with Orion. We will announce many other partnership in the traditional world. This will bring lot of interest. Once the product start to be used by traditional players this will bring adoption and as you know many many players can't enter crypto and digital asset space because of compliance with regulation without speaking about the non possibility for instituionats to do a recourse if there is any problem. Solving thi big pain point will make us bridge the gap and hence bring more adoption. This adoption will benefit to AllianceBlock and Orion.

My biggest message to the community is that in order to create a sustainable ecosystem and bring adoption to crypto space we need to partners with the right players and have the right synergies, we need more win win in the space and this is exactly what is happening now between Orion and AllianceBlock. This will benefit both the instituional but also the community and the believers

Could you give me 3 key points to convince me and other angel investors invest in Allianceblock and Orion protocol in the long-term?

Alexey: You should always see at the team, already achieved results, the progress of the project, revenue model and demand from the real users. Orion is always trying to solve only real-world problems the most important now for the users: Orion Protocol exists to solve some of the largest problems in DeFi by aggregating the liquidity of the entire crypto market into one decentralized platform – pulling from every major centralized exchange, decentralized exchange, and swapping pool.

Regarding tractions we’re in active phase of versatile testing of our TestNet: https://blog.orionprotocol.io/enterorbit 

Regarding out tokens utiliyy it’s better to learn at our site: https://www.orionprotocol.io/orn

Regulation is very important. Many projects were closed in many countries due to failure to use the correct REGULATIONS and PERMITS In order to go global; how does the #allianceblock  team deal with these issues?

Rachid: As a software solutions provider we are not really subject to regulatory oversight. The purpose of AllianceBlock is to better facilitate in terms of regulations, with our Prometheus Protocol (or bridge) for other entities, so they can carry out their activities while regulatory approvals remain the primary responsibility of the Financial Institutions that use our platform. Our Cross Border Regulatory Compliance Layer (CBRCL) makes the regulatory approval process cheap, fast and painless for Financial Institutions, thus it's the missing link that will bridge traditional and decentralized finance. Governments impose regulations and we seek to work within the boundaries of each jurisdiction's legal system.

What is your long-term vision of the industry that Orion Protocol is working in?  In the future are you afraid there will be another project with advanced technology that can replace ORN?

Alexey: As I've said, our long-term vision is to ensure the sustainability of crypto by addressing the fragmentation of the industry. Because we don’t compete with exchanges, but aggregate them, we don’t feel there are any true competitors in market.

As we aggregate the liquidity of every CEX, DEX, and swap pool in market, the growth and development of any new or existing exchange or aggregator will only further benefit the Orion ecosystem.

This is a mutually beneficial relationship, though: rather than taking users away from their exchanges, we’re providing another point of access to their liquidity, allowing users to trade across exchanges they don’t even have accounts with.

That’s why we don’t compete, we complete: providing a singular and decentralized gateway to the crypto market.

A project that wants to travel long distances needs a specific and long-term plan. #allianceblock please share with us your strategy and vision to 2022?

Rachid: We aim to have built an extensive network of financial institutions, consortia of financial institutions and other DeFi projects that participate in our ecosystem through our protocol in order to reach all parts of the world in order to make traditional finance cheaper, faster, more transparent and easier to access for participants that currently don't have easy access.

I'm curious about the name AllianceBlock. Why did you choose this name? Can you explain to everyone the meaning of the name AllianceBlock?

Rachid: As we are bridging the world of traditional finance and decentralized finance, this results in an extensive ecosystem, where participants benefit from being part of this ecosystem to each other. We don't see other DeFi projects as competitors, we see them as partners. Hence, we make up an Alliance together to make this happen. Obviously, we make this happen through blockchain technology, hence we have the name Block as well...

Most users only care about immediate benefits rather than the real value of the project in the-term. How can you convince users invest to your platform in the long-term?

community is an important part of a blockchain, how do you build trust and a strong community to support the success of your project?

Alexey: As we’ve learned from a number of unsuccessful ICOs recently, speculative value of a token isn’t sustainable. It's been a huge focus of ours to ensure deep utility of ORN across the entire protocol.

That’s why at the core of Orion Protocol is the ORN token. We’ve ensured deep utility across the ecosystem, integrating it into all main transactions to take the form of an internal currency or utility token. It’s the fuel to our ecosystem: no product or feature can work without it.

We have one protocol, eight products, thirteen revenue streams, all with the ORN token at their core.

How AllianceBlock team will keeps always prices stable? How can you assure me that my investment in your project is safe ?

Rachid: We can not speak about price of course but to summarize we need to have strong fundamentals, to have strong fundamentals we need to have partners and generate revenue. 

Also, The ALBT token is the backbone of the Prometheus Network ecosystem.

The Prometheus Network has been designed to increase the token’s inherent utility and value over time through a combination of token features such as rewards, ratings, and access, in addition to a deflationary token economics model with staking mechanisms, revenue-based token burns, and protocol-based token burns. 

By design the ALBT token fulfills a number of critical functions that ensure ongoing demand correlated to ecosystem growth. We believe that well designed token economics are essential to supporting actual utility of the token.

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