Fresh off $2.5m in funding, colored coins startup Colu has announced eToro CEO Yoni Assia has joined its board of directors.
The founder and CEO of what's billed as "the world's largest social investment network", Assia has long been an active member of the bitcoin community. For example, eToro first enabled bitcoin trading for the estimated 2.75m users of its platform in January 2014.
Perhaps most notably, however, Assia is credited as one of the originators of the concept of colored coins – that metadata in the bitcoin protocol could be used to augment bitcoins so that they could represent other assets.
Key to his participation, Assia indicated, is that he believes Colu will release applications that will help position it as the "standard for bitcoin 2.0".
Assia told CoinDesk:
"I believe that bitcoin 2.0, specifically the usage of the blockchain itself for different transactions is the killer application of bitcoin. Colu is a great team that will build a platform to enable these transactions, Colu will make it possible for non-bitcoin companies to easily integrate this technology and for users to use 2.0 for different everyday applications."
Colu CEO Amos Meiri likewise indicated that he is happy to have Assia on the board given that the two have often worked closely together, both on colored coins and while working as head of dealing at eToro.
"We share the same vision and passion when it comes to 2.0 and I am very excited to keep working closely with him," he said.
The decision marks the first time that Assia has been formally associated with a bitcoin company, though he helped establish the Israeli Bitcoin Association.
Colored coins advocate
The move may not be surprising given Assia's long interest in the crypto 2.0 space. For example, the official Colored Coins foundation blog, which is also helmed by Meiri, recalls Assia's early interest in using colored bitcoins to trade gold.
Assia still sees bitcoin as analogous to gold, and believes Colu is a company that can help bitcoin develop into a platform for asset trading.
"Once bitcoin becomes the standard blockchain for digital assets, then its value will become like gold," Assia said. "Think about owning a part of the TCP/IP protocol in the late 1980s, knowing it will gain value with every packet sent."
Assia indicated that such use cases, in his opinion, are key to bitcoin gaining long-term value, arguing that any alternative use of the bitcoin blockchain, in turn, makes it more valuable.
He went on to describe himself as long interested in the convergence of finance and tech, adding that his discovery of bitcoin in 2010 has only propelled this interest.
Open to the industry
Though he will work closely with the Colu team, Assia indicated that he is open to working with other startups in the colored coins space to bring new ideas to life.
He said he is most excited about the use of colored coins for asset trading.
"As I am personally involved in Internet finance, I am interested in how financial assets could be created on the blockchain and how a public ledger technology could simplify a lot of the process in the financial industry," he added.
Colu has indicated it will first focus on using bitcoin tokens for authentication, but that such use cases are in its development pipeline.
More recently, members of the wider colored coins community have come together with the aim of developing a technical standard for interoperability through Colored Coins, the foundation, one that Meiri has indicated is expected to be released soon.