Blockchain Interview 2020 with Kory Hoang, Co-Founder and CEO of Stably
Kory Hoang, CEO of Stably, was interviewed by Ashton Addison from EventChain in June 2020. In the interview, Kory shared his journey from the time before Stably was founded until when Stably had achieved certain milestones.
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Transcript of video below, there may be some grammatical errors.
ASHTON ADDISON: I’m Ashton Addison from EventChain for InvestmentPitch Media and FinTech News network. And today on blockchain interviews, we have Kory Hoang, the CEO of Stably. Kory, welcome to the show. It’s a pleasure to have you back and to have you here today.
KORY HOANG: Yeah, thanks for having me on the show, Ashton.
ASHTON ADDISON: You’re very welcome. For the viewers that didn’t see our last interview, I’d love to kick it off with a little bit of background on the Stably project as well as Stably USD. So if we could start, I’d like to get a little information on what is Stably and why is the Stably USD coin an important asset to the blockchain ecosystem?
KORY HOANG: Yeah sure, so Stably is a Seattle-based FinTech startup. We were founded in 2018. We raised a total of 3 million dollar, close to 3 million dollar in venture capital so far. Currently we have a stablecoin product that we start developing in 2018 and it’s backed by US dollars, is called USDS. We managed to launch it toward the end of 2018 and got listed on a lot of major exchanges: Binance, Bittrex, Kyber and a lot of other decentralized protocols as well. And ever since then starting in the middle of last year, actually we started expanding into stablecoin-as-a-service, create stablecoins for other enterprise clients and B2B customer as well as creating a borderless financial account platform where anybody can open an account – or a wallet essentially, a digital wallet that they can open online and already sort of cryptocurrency or US dollar. And they can also redeem stablecoin directly from that account. But yeah everything’s going really great. We actually just closed our most recent funding round earlier this year. And right now we are on path to launch several major enterprise projects that we have been working on with our partners and clients and that should be coming out soon and literally in one or two next months.
ASHTON ADDISON: And yeah, Stably has done a lot since our last interview last year with your new Enterprise Solutions, Staly Prime and we’ll get into that, but first I want to touch a little bit more on the Stably USD stablecoin. You know, you tell on the website that it’s an asset-backed regulated transparent stablecoin and a lot of people that are just getting into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are having a hard time understanding the difference between fiat and cryptocurrencies and what backs different currencies, so could you talk a little bit about what are the specific assets that you saw to back Stably as a… you know, a stable value for a cryptocurrency? And how did you decide what was the best way to back the currency?
KORY HOANG: Sure, so the first stablecoin we created, a Stably dollar or USDS is backed by obviously a US dollar. And the reason we set on that was because the US dollar is… you know, very straightforward as simple and easy, as the world’s reserve currency use cases for it. And when we first embarked on this project back in 2018, there were a lot of other projects that we’re trying to create an alternative a US dollar-back stablecoins to compete with Tether. Since then… you know, Tether hasn’t really gotten better and stronger and they’re still grown, so since then, you know, we decided not to directly compete with each other in the US dollar stablecoin game that would be vital. And so we flipped it over to tokenizing other asset classes including commodities like gold,, silver, looking into tokenizing crude oil as well. We’re also advising other fiat currencies recently. We tokenize Canadian dollar for one of our enterprise clients. And we’re working with several other clients in Asia to tokenize Filipino Peso. We’re doing a stablecoin pegged to VND, but it’s actually backed by US dollar and not VND indeed, that was a pretty interesting project. There’s another one that’s a Bahamian, a stablecoin project is backed by Bahamian dollars, which are already pegged to US dollar. Yeah, so you know, we’re getting a lot of interesting requests for a lot of different… and you know, well testing robust method of issuing their own brand of stablecoins with the… you know, two or three months. And we’re able to develop, deliver on that solution based on our existing technology that we’ve already built. Some asset classes like… like oil, gold for example, those are a little bit more unique. It’s not as easy to custody like… you know, cash at a bank, so those projects do take a little bit longer to develop and launch but yeah, I think in three or four weeks, we’ll be announcing one of our precious metal backed stablecoin with my projects with one of our major partners.
ASHTON ADDISON: Very interesting that there’s all these different currencies and countries that are getting involved with this. And it really seems to be picking up steam and earlier on you mentioned that you’re working on this borderless transaction service that’s a part of Stably model now. Stablecoins seem like a very valuable way to be able to transfer value internationally as opposed to going through some centralized providers. Can you talk a little bit about why you launched Stably Prime and how does that fit into your stablecoin ecosystem?
KORY HOANG: Yeah absolutely, so the reason why we launched a Stably Prime is three primary reasons. First is to create a borderless account and what I mean borderless is an account that is truly you know accessible for anybody in the world. So with this account anyone in the world can open it no matter where they’re from. So let’s say I’m in Vietnam right now at the moment, somebody here in Vietnam wishes to open this account, they can go ahead and do it online. They don’t have to travel to the US like a regular bank account… you know, which book or passport visa money to get the plane ticket, all that kind of stuff, so it’s not as easy for the average person. And you know, a developing market wishes to access US banking products, it’s not easy for them to just go to the US to do that. With this account… you know, we as an account is actually administered by Prime Trust, which is a regulated financial institution from Nevada. They’re a Trust Company so it’s… you know, almost like a bank… It’s not exactly a bank account, but it’s similar to a bank account in that it can hold US dollar. You can deposit disbursed US dollar from this account to anybody in the world. We can receive deposit US dollar from anyone in the world. I have wire ACH check credit debit card etc. And then we also start adding a crypto integration to it. So that you can deposit cryptocurrency as well as dispersed cryptocurrency. And then we build it the ability to issue and redeem stablecoins which is actually a USDS, our own stablecoin. And we’re also going to build into the ability for people to buy sell cryptocurrency. So it’s basically all-in-one solution in one single account that… you know, any a lot of different type of customer will use from crypto customers… you know, like funds, exchanges, crypto marketplaces, over ICOs and STO and etc to traditional businesses like remittance company, payment companies or international companies that does a lot of payments cross-border payments etc. They can all leverage this account. Oh yeah, so that’s our first goal up to being a truly borderless account that could help people transact faster and cheaper and… you know, with global accessibility. (ASHTON ADDISON: Mm-hmm) There’s second reason we created a Stably Prime is we wanted to… you know, offer a way for people to earn better interest on their dollar. So right now, as you may know, you put money into a bank account, if you’re not earning anything, you’re earning less than 1%, probably 0.1 or 0.2% sometimes nothing at all because interest rate environment is all-time low at the moment. But in the market, you see… you know, there’s crypto lending we’re just really taking off, it has grown elastically like for example Celsius Network, which is a partner. They recently crossed one billion dollar total assets, it’s all deposit on their platform which is pretty huge, so for this industry as a whole and… you know, the rates that crypto lending is paying now is significant. You have interest rate going from eight to nine to twelve percent, you’ve been on certain platforms and this is a lot more consciously, is a lot more attractive than traditional interest rate that banks are paying. And of course, this is… you know, crypto lending is not like regular FDIC insured cash. There’s a couple of caveats to it, but that’s the reason we built Stably Prime tol make it easier for people to access this type of product. And you know, make them aware… you know, how this work and what’s in it, what the risks are involved, so that they can make their own informed decision to put their money to work in this system. And yeah… you know, an eight to twelve percent a year and I’m not letting… I said I don’t eat up by inflation. And yeah, so that so earning interest and beating inflation and most importantly is… you know, we have… we basically want to create a platform where we can provide support for the Stably Enterprise project that we are launching. So you know, we’re working with a gold dealer to do gold tokens, working with a silver dealer to do silver tokens. We’re working with… you know, clients in the Philippines and Vietnam and Hong Kong to do various type of fiat currency backed stablecoin. There was all these things are launched. We obviously help our clients and partners connect with exchanges, OTC trading, lending platforms, marketplaces, etc, a lot of ecosystem players in order to integrate… you know, our enterprise clients tokens. And in addition to that, we also want to have our own platform that we can provide access to the users – to our clients tokens so… you know, if you want to buy the gold token, you can… maybe you can buy on Binance, maybe you can buy on Bittrex, maybe buy it directly with the gold dealer or maybe you can go to my platform there too. So it would provide place where we could showcase all of our clients to products and also a place where we could distribute it to the public.
ASHTON ADDISON: Hmm, that’s great and that’s a lot of information. It’s great to see that you’re integrating cryptocurrencies as well as fiat wire transfers, and then integrating the staking. And it’s definitely been an attractive industry inside of cryptocurrency so far with these stablecoins giving anywhere from eight to twelve percent as opposed to lower than one percent. You’re right, so that’s really interesting that you’re integrating that into Stably Prime. And what you mentioned about the enterprise clients is super interesting as well. And I’m curious what is your take on how important is the enterprise adoption of this kind of service versus individuals? And where do you see the industry growing? You know, is it required to have all these enterprise solutions or will we see more of a ground-up individuals joining and starting this kind of revolution?
KORY HOANG: Yeah absolutely, I guess I’ll answer that question in two parts. First is… you know, I think the reason why… you know, we’re even in the business of creating a stablecoin for enterprises or you know asset-backed tokens for large brands at all. It’s because we believe there is actually value before these companies and their users in doing this and… you know, even for the economy in the market as a whole. When you’re a major brand like Costco or Walmart or Amazon for example, you have a lot of existing users, right, and all these users are paying you with… you know, either they give you cash in person or most likely, they’re gonna pay with card. They’re paying online, they are paying with cards, Visa MasterCard, American Express, whatever. Guess what, each one of those transactions takes up 2 or 3% in fees and the person who has to pay it is actually the consumer. You know, they charge that fee to the merchant, but the merchant marks up the products anyway, so the consumer… you know, has have to… having to pay that to the three percent fee, right? So if a business like Facebook, Walmart or Amazon… Facebook and Walmart, by the way, have already announced their own stablecoin plans like Libra with Facebook, I don’t know what Walmart’s coin is called. I think it’s… I don’t think they have a name yet. We’ll call it Wally coin or something. So yeah Facebook have Libra, Walmart has Wally coin and they all know that if they all get their users to use their stablecoin to pay for products and services in their ecosystem, they save to a 3% from not having to pay to Visa on every transaction… 2 or 3 percent on all those transactions and on top of that, right? So now they’re… first are saving money, second is they’re earning money when their customers put money into a stablecoin, the reserve, the fiat reserve backing that stablecoin that now go to the custody of Walmart or Facebook or… you know, a custodian financial institute or bank that they use, right? So now that… you know, now you have that deposit now that was kind of earn the money… you know, if you have like a couple million or billion or a couple billion dollar of customer deposit sitting on your hand and… you know, there’s a lot of thing you could do with it to generate return and still keep it safe and stable to the end consumer. (ASHTON ADDISON: Definitely) And also, you create your own brand of stablecoin or digital money essentially, you have a lot of marketing power. There is branding, there’s a lot of promotion, there’s a lot of like huge huge potential and possibilities and also the last piece is when you get your customers to use stablecoins, your own stablecoin even better now that data is on the blockchain. Now you can use data and get watching data insight on how your consumers are planning their money or spending their stablecoin, using their stablecoin, what product… you know, there… they’re spending the most money on, etc. So yeah I think, it’s… you know, there’s a lot you use cases for private… private enterprises to issue their own digital money. And so they go and find… you know, someone that can help them do it and then… you know, someone like Stably who’s already here, we’ve been around for two or three years now as long as… you know, the stablecoin world has been around. And you know, we’re one of the early pioneers in this and we have the technology stack available and we work with every client to really figure out… you know, what fits their needs, what they really want and how we can best deliver on that solution on a case by case basis like everybody is different, not… there’s no one shoe fits all size right now.
ASHTON ADDISON: Definitely well we’re running out of time, Kory, but it sounds super interesting, especially with all these large companies creating their own stablecoins. And I could see how SMBs and… and smaller companies would want to get involved with this as well, so for the viewers and the companies that are looking to learn more about enterprise solutions or just Stably in general, what’s the best way for them to reach out and to learn more?
KORY HOANG: Yeah absolutely, please feel free to visit our website www.stably.io, or you can visit our Twitter, our Facebook. It is twitter.com/stablycoin or facebook.com/stablycoin or you can also visit our community channel on telegram. It is /stablycommunity.
ASHTON ADDISON: Great, thank you so much, Korey. I will leave those links in the description box below for the viewers. I appreciate you coming on to speak about Stably. All the best with the project moving forward and let’s follow up in the near future.
KORY HOANG: Yeah, thank you so much, Ashton.
Stably is a fast growing FinTech company from Seattle founded in 2018 by a team of former bankers and Amazon software engineers. The team has raised close to $3M in funding to date from angel investors as well as leading venture capital firms like 500 Startups, BEENEXT and Pay It Forward. Stably is also the blockchain developer for a wide range of cryptographic tokens and stablecoins backed by real assets, such as USD, EUR, CAD, precious metals and real estate. Our mission is to make financial transactions faster, cheaper and more transparent through a borderless digital money platform powered by open-banking and blockchain technologies.
For more information, please visit: www.stably.io
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