FTC#14 – Cem Arcane, Enterprise Account Manager of Stellar Foundation. Cem has shared his story from a traditional banker, crypto non-believer to a manager of Stellar foundation, a well-known name in the blockchain industry. We will understand more about the ambition of Stellar to focus on adoption and solve real-life issues.
Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos and grammatical errors may be present.
Intro: Interviews on crypto blockchain with your host, Blockchain Wayne on FTC
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Hey everyone, welcome and thanks for watching. Today we have a special guest. We have Cem. Cem is with the Stellar foundation, going to talk to us a lot about what’s going on over at Stellar. Some of you may have heard about it. It’s been getting a lot of publicity lately, but we’re going to talk about Stellar, their mission, everything else, but Cem, first and foremost, man, thanks for joining us today.
CEM ARCANE: Thanks for having me, man. Happy to be here.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome, awesome, so let… let’s jump right into it. Man, I always like to start off… I love to hear people’s stories about how they got in the space, whether it’s in the work you do and… or you know, in… in cryptocurrency in that space. It’s obviously a hot topic right now, but tell us a little bit about your history, man.
CEM ARCANE: Sure I got introduced to cryptocurrency in 2013 at the time by my roommate wanted to pay me back with bitcoin. And I thought bitcoin was a fake internet money. I had no idea what was it but that was the start of my interest in blockchain. I started my professional career in finance. I worked at banks, I worked as a… to research and also I did consultancy with Big4. But after a while, I didn’t want to be a part of the financial system, so I started a wine company totally different than finance or crypto. After a couple years, I found myself in a Canadian exchange. In that exchange, I was in the operations team, compliance team and I did a little bit strategy related work. Then recently I joined Stellar development foundation.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice nice, so it sounds like working at finance led you to wine, led you to drinking, and then back to… and then, and then you jumped out into crypto. (CEM ARCANE: Exactly, yeah) I definitely… you know, when I look at some of the financial systems, I definitely want to grab a drink as well, so wine that’s got to be a tough business to be in, it’s so competitive, right? (CEM ARCANE: Yeah cool) All right man, so tell us… tell us a little bit about the Stellar foundation. I think most people don’t really understand the Stellar foundation and what it does. I know most people are used to hearing of a company behind a product and it’s… it’s… you know, it’s different here, so tell us about the Stellar foundation.
CEM ARCANE: Sure I’ll take a step back and briefly mention what Stellar is. Stellar is a decentralized open network that creates the global financial infrastructure. Stellar is basically seeking to unlock world’s economic potential and to do that, there’s three pillars that we need to make money more fluid, we need to make markets more open and we need to empower… empower the people who are participating in this market. So Stellar development foundation was founded in 2014 to support the technical development of the Stellar network and also supporting the business communities who are building on the Stellar network. So yeah, our mission is to create an equitable global access to financial systems, financial infrastructure around the world. And one of our biggest use cases that we are focusing is cross-border remittance for… for either corporations or individuals.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah, that’s… that’s a big deal and… and you know, I love that because one of the things that’s really… you know, of course a lot of us come into cryptocurrency to make… you know, make some money on this, on the speculative investment but very quickly found out about just… just the potential of cryptocurrency, and with Stellar’s mission… you know, to basically make it open and accessible, right? You want everybody to be able to participate, so many people are excluded from current centralized financial systems that this is…
CEM ARCANE: Exactly, yeah and Stellar development foundation is a non-profit, so we don’t have shareholders. We’re not professor, it is not our primary objective, so this lets us dedicate our time and effort to growing the network without having any conflicts of interest or having any other motives.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: That’s nice nice so the… the… are… is the foundation involved in any any aspect of the… the token itself as far as adoption of the token, the Stellar Lumens?
CEM ARCANE: So we… we don’t see the price movement of Lumens as an indicator of health but the way we see the Lumens is it has two main… two main roles. First role is to facilitate multi-currency transactions and especially in the markets that are not… there’s no direct look at markets. What I mean by that is for example I have US dollar, you want to receive Euro. I can send you US dollar through the payments, the feature of Stellar network that automatically converts that US dollar to Euro. If there’s a look at market between US dollar to Euro, it can go straight from USD to Euro but if there’s no liquid market, the transaction happens first US Dollar to Lumens and then Lumens to Euro, so it facilitates the multi-transact multi-currency transactions in that way. And the second role is it’s a deterrent mechanism against spam or… you know, arbitrage and all those unwanted activities on the network. So we… so that’s why Lumens are utility token of the network.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice I love what you said, focus not not all price, more on use. I mean so many projects out there just focus on price and think… basically they think success is when the token goes way up in price and it’s still speculative right… that at the end of the day, it what really matters is adoption, utilization, use case… you know, as far as getting it… getting out there, so that’s… that’s a very very noble cause. You know, it’s good to see that… you know, that the foundation is focused on that, because so many people I’ve talked to, the first thing they want to talk about is the token price or coin price. And that’s not really… it’s not really it. So give us some insight, so I’m sure there’s a road map over at Stellar, what… what do you see down the road coming that you can… I know some things may not be even better to be talked about yet but what are some things coming that you can talk about?
CEM ARCANE: Sure that’s a great question. So we have three main strategic pillars for this year. First one, first one is ensuring the robustness and usability of the network. How we are going to achieve is to… we want to make it easy to build on Stellar network for both in the technical sense and the business sense. So in order to do that, we provide documentations and other support to the ecosystem to make them build seamlessly. The second strategic pillar is to be the blockchain that people know and trust. We started doing lots of initiatives towards to this starting from last year now SF is part of government associations and different working groups to be more involved and to be more visible out there. And the third, third strategic pillar is to foster and develop sustainable and meaningful use cases. And we see the cross-border payments is the first one that we can have a direct and direct impact that will touch many people’s lives.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah, that’s a big one, that’s I think some people don’t realize how big of a deal that is, and I’ve talked to people that especially some… you know, you know, overseas workers that are sending money back to Philippines, Thailand or whatever it may be just the amount of fees, they say they pay within the current system…
CEM ARCANE: Yeah yeah… the fees and the… the settlement time, those are two things that affect the transactions. And for example, there are countries… most of the countries have really good fast instant settlement domestic payment rails, but the problem is these different payment systems domestically is not talking to each other, so there’s no interoperability between these fast systems. To give a more specific example, for example in Brazil, there’s an instant settlement system called Takes. Brazilians can use that to instantly send money or receive money but this system doesn’t connect with… let’s say ACH or SEPA in Europe. So in a way Stellar is created for interoperability in mind and it makes the asset issuance really easy. So what… what I mean by asset issuance is basically issuing a representative of a digital asset that has underlying value in real life asset, so this could be fiat money, this could be community commodities, this could be gold or precious metals, or basically it could be even our time or art on the wall. And another important part of doing this is if Stellar has a built-in decentralized exchange, what this means is once the asset issued, the issuer of the asset has the option to put that asset into a decentralized exchange that is accessible by multiple both individuals and corporations and entities in the ecosystem. And when we do a cross-border payment for example, this decentralized exchange is being utilized, so what I mean interoperability is basically we create an environment that each asset could be on a network and talk to each other and also talk with the applications that leverage those assets.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Okay where would someone go to utilize that decentralized exchange?
CEM ARCANE: There are different graphical user interfaces. For example, there’s a… there’s a GUI called Stellarx.com. People can go there, it looks like a centralized exchange that… that you’re all familiar with, but the good thing is it’s borderless, right, so we have different stablecoins, fiat stable coins and that exchange has the capability of on-ramping and off-ramping fiat assets into the decentralized exchange very efficiently and quickly.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice, nice. Yeah that’s… that’s a big deal definitely, make sure to check out that exchange. And you know, we were talking offline before… before we… before we hit record here. And I want to kind of bring this up… you know, Stellar network fees are relatively low right compared to some of the other things we’ve seen. DeFi has been a hot topic, decentralized finance over the last year really. And I can ask… you know, I guess I’ll ask you for our listeners is… you know, is Stellar looking at any kind of DeFi protocols to incorporate on the network?
CEM ARCANE: Yeah so DeFi is really interesting and it’s really popular these days as we can see from both the projects gaining traction and option really quickly. And also the money that’s locked in those protocols. So we are definitely aware of how important DeFi is for the general bigger ecosystem and also for the industry. And in regards to that, we are exploring some initiatives, but it’s still on the early stages. So I believe later this year, we will have more announcements regarding to that. But we are definitely looking into it.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice definitely something I would be looking forward to. And I’m sure many of our listeners if you’ve… if you’ve ever used any of the other protocols like the one I was mentioning earlier… you know, Uniswap gas fees are extremely high right now… just, just to be able to make a transaction which it’s open for everyone, but it kind of limits certain people from participating when you have to be dealing with a certain amount just to be able to make a transaction.
CEM ARCANE: Yeah yeah and like you mentioned, Stellar’s fees and the settlement time make it a really really suitable network layer to utilize or explore DeFi solutions, because like you mentioned, there’s no comparable gas prices or the network congestion is not going to impact the same basically the same way of to Stellar.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice nice and you were telling me earlier so Stably who is… you know sponsor of this show, they’re… they’re actually building on the Stellar network. Yeah tell us a little bit about that.
CEM ARCANE: Yeah I’m really excited to to talk about this. Stably is also joining the Stellar ecosystem. I’m a big fan of Stably and what… what they’re building. So stably is as we all know they have their USDS stablecoin and what they’re building for Stellar is they’re also building an on and off ramp capability for USDC which will be used in their Stably Prime product. And hopefully, we’ll hear the good news launching news soon, very excited about that. Again it comes back to providing financial access so with Stably now there will be another on and off ramp method that people can directly utilize and leverage both stablecoins.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Absolutely I think people underestimate the… the need for that that type of a product. Everybody wants a coin or token that.. that you know, they say is going to moon and go way up in price, but at the end of the day we need more users more adoption more on-ramps off-ramps to make this system work properly. (CEM ARCANE: Yeah) Yeah that’s huge for… for adoption.
CEM ARCANE: Yeah and I believe stablecoins play a major role in adoption. One reason for that is the familiarity. So people are more familiar to fiat money and it’s easier to explain this to someone who is not well versed in the industry how a digital US dollar works compared to how bitcoin works… you know, so I think and that’s also we can see that from the amount of stablecoin circulating in the last four months that grew from around 25 billion to 50 billion which is a really high amount when you think about it in four months.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah, huge huge growth there and you’re right. I mean even for businesses to start to adopt, I mean obviously some forward thinkers are going to accept bitcoin and… and some others but for most of them, they don’t want… yeah it’s great if… if they accept it and it goes up. But we know with the… you know, with the volatility, the value could go down before they have a chance to really cash out… you know, so just for instance now if… you know, if someone accepted a bitcoin on friday, they were happy over the weekend but it… you know, today not so much… you know, just because the… you know, the price is up and down. (CEM ARCANE: yeah yeah) So what… where can people find out more information about… about Stellar, the Stellar foundation, obviously… you know, some interesting things going on there, how can… how can they find out more and follow your progress?
CEM ARCANE: They can go to Stellar.org. That’s a very very detailed website that people can see what we are working on with our roadmap and some of the ecosystem partners. They can get more information on that and also people can follow our Twitter and Reddit and other social social media accounts and platforms.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah all right we’ll make sure and provide those links as well and all those links are available on the website, too. Awesome, awesome. Cem, you know, hey it’s been a pleasure so far, looking… you know, wrap it up any… any final thoughts or words… you know, that you like to share with the listeners either about Stellar, about anything… you know, you see coming in the future, just anything in the market in general.
CEM ARCANE: I think we’re still in very early phases of the industry and I mean the last two years was crazy. One year in crypto is always like five years. But I believe we are still in the beginning of this road. And I believe more adoption and more acceptance on the both institutional level and also on the traditional board and the finance and government, I believe there will be more acceptance and adoption.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah man hey, I appreciate you saying that because so many people will look at the bitcoin price and say it’s too late, I missed it. And I’m like you have no idea how early you are.
CEM ARCANE: Oh yeah today might be too late compared to yesterday but it’s never too late for tomorrow, because like you mentioned this is just the beginning.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah I know people when they were buying bitcoin at a thousand dollars felt they were getting in too late… you know, so yeah it’s and… you know, it’s not always about price. A lot of people come to this and that’s why I like to… to kind of talk about it because a lot of people get into the space for the price movement, for the potential of earning a profit, but when they stick around and really learn what’s happening in the space, what… you know, what some of the problems like Stellar foundation is… is solving in… in other projects, then it’s really… it’s gonna have global impacts that could really improve a lot of things. Remittance I’ve always felt like remittance is going to be one of the biggest pathways to adoption for… for crypto even though… you know, you and I may not use it very often. But you know, I’ve got many friends that that live all over the world that are from the Philippines that are constantly… I mean that’s… you know, that’s just they’re constantly sending money back. And for them it’s just a cost of business and there’s other countries the same so…
CEM ARCANE: Yeah that’s… that’s also one thing that we are working on this year to grow our stablecoin issuer network. We call it as anchor. Anchors are the issuers of stable coins, so we don’t want to just increase the number of anchors on the network, but we want to increase the meaningful anchors. What I mean by that is for example considering specific countries, specific payment corridors and specific use cases, this could be savings us dollar savings to more like hedging so these are complementing the cross-border use case. But still I believe 2021 will be the year of Stellar development foundation and Stellar network in general.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice nice, definitely, see some things happening and I know you said you all are not concerned about price right now but some some fairly solid price movement as well on the Lumens token. And I just really… you know, a pump and then a dump doesn’t signify any adoption, but when you see kind of just the continual rise in price that signifies a demand then that means the network’s being used, there’s more more things happening so… you know, kudos to you and everyone at the Stellar foundation for… you know, for… for building out something that the world desperately needs. (CEM ARCANE: Thank you thanks) So Cem, again man, I want to thank you for… for coming on today. It’s… it’s been a pleasure… you know, and… and definitely… definitely look forward to learning more about the Stellar network. And everybody watching if you haven’t already go to Stellar.org, check it out see what they have to offer. It’s more than just the Lumens token that can go up in price. It is you know, that they’re building infrastructure that’s going to really impact and help with adoption, so that’s the projects I love man. I’m focused on education so it’s easy for me to get passionate… you know, when we learn about projects that are really doing something in the space and not just launching a token to make money.
CEM ARCANE: Yeah thanks man, yeah.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: All right, Cem. All right thanks. Thanks for joining us again, Cem. And everyone, thanks for watching and we’ll see you on the next episode. Take care everybody.