Jan 30, 2024

Celo, which is in the midst of transforming into an Ethereum layer 2 network, is increasingly positioning itself as a blockchain for real-world assets.

Video transcript

Us DC stablecoin Issuer Circle is gearing up to launch the digital dollar natively on Blockchain clo. Joining us now to discuss is cello, co-founder and cello Foundation president Renee Reinberg. Renee, welcome to the show. Hey, it's great to be here a lot going on in the news this morning markets are up. I gotta ask you any initial reactions to what's going on this morning. Yeah, look, it's as busy as ever. Um And I think there's uh I've been feeling a lot of excitement uh going into 2024. And yeah, the news cycle shows that I think um also interest from the broader public is coming back to, to crypto um prediction markets, I think can be really a key building block also um as it comes to building new applications. Um So yeah, it's, it's great to see that we're no longer just talking about token prices, but uh the attention really is shifting to applications and how um they can be useful for, for the broader public. I want to talk about The Circle News in just a moment, but for the uninitiated who are just tuning into the show, lay the foundation for us just to introduce cello and talk a little bit about your mission. Yes. So cello is a Blockchain that was really started uh with a focus on mobile. You know, we have most of the world accessing internet on mobile phones. And let's be honest, like the crypto tools or the the products we use are largely built for desktop and so big focus by the core team and then the ecosystem that's built around c to bring all this and make it work on on mobile phones. The latest example of that is Opera mini pay, which is a product that's built directly into Opera's mini browser and has over 100 million users in Africa and really allows anyone anywhere in Africa to very easily access web three in this new digital economy. But with respect to sell there, there are few features that I think really make co the best chain for for payments, uh not as mobile payments but payments generally. So we have very low fees. So 10th of a percent uh fast settlement. So five second block times and um a really cool feature which is the ability to pay for gas in uh stable coins. So once uh circle launches UCC um and the launching proposal passes, it will be possible uh for fees to be paid in UCC, which is really neat if I for example, send you uh five U DC and you don't have any cell in your wallet or, you know, the would be if you can still do something with that, uh, with that $5 and you can send it on to a friend or use it directly because you're able to use some of that, uh, to pay for fees. Um, so that's really from a UX perspective. Um, it's really a game changer because it allows people much more easily to, on board to, uh, to web three. Uh So, yeah, those are some of the key features that builders really like. Um And I think a second sort of uh big sort of factor there is this focus that I mentioned on, on real world assets. And that started with um some of the early cellar work around tokenizing uh real world assets and the climate and the refi space of tokenize carbon credits or nature assets. Um Of course, Stablecoins themselves are probably the real world assets in terms of taking fiat and bringing it on chain. Um But we've also seen really cool use cases of um for example, other local currencies, whether that's the Brazilian real or the West African franc, which is a currency used in West Africa. And those are were launched by, by the Mentor Protocol. Uh And uh really help, for example, in the context of uh powering local credit, right? And because most people in local markets, whether it's business or individuals, um they want to take out loans and local currency um versus dollars, which you know, dollars obviously are still the predominant um Stablecoin on chain. But I think it's that interplay between institutional grade stablecoins like circles us DC and then some of those local currencies that I think will bring an accelerated option of um of web three, Renee. We're hearing a lot about real world assets that's going to be the major trend leading into this year is what, what many industry onlookers are saying. But I saw a funny tweet the other day, I brought it up on the show for one of our other guests and the tweet said are Real World assets in the room with us right now. I think alluding to the fact that like what are these real world assets, what does it mean? What value does it bring to users? Can you break that down for me? Yeah, it's kind of like a funny term. I um you know, it's uh it's interesting, I mean, of course, you know, I mean, the mental model that I have is like basically anything that's an asset in the real world that you can bring on Shane to have it be accessible by, by, you know, a user on chain or a smart contract that's ultimately a rebuild asset, right? So stablecoins themselves, UCC uh is a rebuild asset and you know, stablecoins I think is a kind of total market cap of 100 and 30 100 and $40 billion. Uh clearly are um sort of, you know, so far the early uh success story of Real World as and, and I think web three generally and I think many predict 2024 to be the year for stablecoins, right? To see more of that real world adoption. Um But we've on sell, we've seen some really interesting applications in other areas of real world assets, whether that's in the refis space with on chain carbon credits or nature assets. As I mentioned, projects like flow Carbon toucan Tho One Earth um or uh in the, in the credit space, right? So there is a community led effort called the credit collective on CLO. And they've really assembled probably the brain trust around uh credit, whether that's uh B to B credit or um uh or consumer credit even. And a lot of the kind of credit stack, whether that's human finance or centrifuge JIA entangled um are all kind of working on cello and are collaborating to bring sort of the right set of solutions uh to market. And I think that's uh that's interesting because for that you need stable coins, but then you also, you get basically these, you know, tokenized credits uh as a sort of, you know, another example of, of a real world asset. And and ultimately long term, if you know, if we imagine the world moving towards an on chain economy, then we would imagine all our real world assets to be on chain. And so I think Real world assets right now is, is kind of a term for us to mentally catch up that. Oh, yeah, we can use stuff from the Real World on Shain. It's not just Bitcoin, you know, which is, there is no Real World Bitcoin that we can bring on Shain. Right. It's a, it's a, it's a uh it's a web free native asset, right? But these are assets that exist in the real world, but we make them accessible in this new digital economy. And I think in a couple of years, probably no one's going to use that term. Uh Right now, I think it helps us build that bridge that. Oh yeah, these are things that we can, we can use on chain. Let's talk a little bit more about this US DC news now. So US DC is going to be an official gas currency for the cow community. You mentioned that just a few minutes ago, uh talk to us about the difference for a user, right? So right now, if I interact on a Blockchain, usually the gas fee is supposed to be paid with the native token, the native currency of that Blockchain. Uh In, in this example, US DC is the uh token that is used, which is pretty innovative. How did this partnership come to be? Yeah, I think this is really one of the key differentiators and I think that um it's going to unleash a bunch of new use cases. I, I imagine um for, you know, developers as they pick chains, uh sort of this gas abstraction as, as we refer to it is, is really powerful. Um I, uh yeah, in terms of the partnership look, I mean, obviously we've uh we've known the circle team for, for a long time. Um I think especially with this year's. Um you know, I mean, um maybe the Bitcoin ETF feels like it's a different story over there, but, you know, you have institutions like Blackrock really now coming into the space, right? And they're likely not going to stop at, you know, ETF S and, and so I think for us, I think especially as we look to connect some of those institutional partners or capital to um those solutions on the ground, whether that's micro credit or, or climate assets, right? Having sort of this institutional grade us DC, a Stablecoin that is, that is trusted and already adopted by the institutions I think is really powerful. So I think um for us, um well, first off, I mean, obviously it's a, it's always um you know, I mean, it's, it's, I think great validation for co so we're very happy. I think it's a sign of that. OK. You know, c is a chain that um circle Trust and, you know, is uh is excited about. So that's, that's awesome. But I do think um there's, there's a bunch of pent up demands um around uh you know, more institutional capital coming and connecting to, to these really interesting use cases that are forming. Um So, yeah, personally, very excited, I think gas abstraction, uh even though fees are very low, right? It's often not the matter of k do you, uh do you have enough money to pay for gas? But do you actually have the token that's required to pay for gas on other shades? And I run into this all the time when I uh play with stuff on other chains. And I think this is really powerful because on cello, someone sends you, you know, $5 now and, and you can just start and have fun and explore all the the great applications that exist. Now, you mentioned use cases, you mentioned a few different jurisdictions, uh Africa and Brazil, what area of the world are you focusing on right now? Where are you seeing the most promise for crypto innovation and crypto adoption? Yeah, we are, we are seeing a lot of pool from Africa. Um and this is not, you know, obviously Africa is a continent, has many different markets and many different sort of local uh you know, needs and use cases and inflation in some markets and, and other, you know, things in other, in other markets, but across the continent, um where we've seen just tremendous interest and this is less about uh you know, sort of speculation and crypto assets this is really around stablecoins as a way to uh build wealth uh to, you know, have sort of a way to protect against inflation in some of these markets, right? Where if you go to Nigeria and inflation has really been skyrocketing and, you know, it's, it's wiping out people's already small savings, right? So having the ability to hold dollars earn in dollars um is, is really powerful and, you know, obviously peer to peer payments, cross border payments. The, you know, where uh from the, from the early days of sell, we've been working closely with a bunch of organizations that are in sort of the cash transfer um business and, you know, I think their digital payments in general, but then I think stablecoins can, can bring a lot of benefits. Uh So definitely across Africa, um probably with Nigeria, Kenya sort of leading markets. Um lots of, lots of pool for, for this, you know, general new technology, but then in particular stablecoins, um Latin America and Southeast Asia equally. I think there's, um I think there's kind of this, um you know, call it mobile defi um appetite, right? It's basically people giving people a way to, you know, now have a wallet build wealth, but then also access this new digital economy, right? Do basic things, take out loans, um maybe do work online, get, get paid in a stable coin, be able to cash that out locally without, you know, really that being kind of costly. Um So, you know, as an ecosystem, there's been a big focus on, on also enabling those bridges, right. So if a user wants to cash in from mobile money or cash out to their bank account, right, that should be seamless. That shouldn't take time, that shouldn't uh cost, uh, you know, a lot of fees, ideally be free. Right. And I think that's when you, when you start removing some of those barriers, um then you're really starting people trusting this technology and um and engaging much more with that. And I think that's a thing that, I mean, I love to take credit for it, but it's really an ecosystem effort where, you know, it requires hundreds of different companies and different markets. There's local companies that have the license to do the on and off ramping, right? And that all come together and because everything is composable in web three, it's, it's really powerful because we can see the different pieces um come together and I think circle today uh was, was the announcement. Um Already, I've been getting some announcement, I think just went up a few minutes ago and I've already been getting messages from some teams that have been evading that launch and are excited to integrate. So, um yeah, I think it's, you know, each of these things is kind of just a puzzle piece that makes it easier for, for teams to uh to build and accelerate what they're, what they're doing. OK. And Renee, we got to wrap it up. But I have to ask you the last time that uh Coindesk reported on cello was looking to migrate to become a layer two network, join the layer two race any progress there? Yeah, we, we're deep in it. No, it's, it's actually way more complex than we thought it would be getting into it. And it's mostly because there's really a bunch of really strong stacks. And so we've been in close touch with the teams that the optimism, arbitra ZK sync and polygon and really, you know, not taking this decision lightly but really trying to understand. OK, for cello specifically for the things that we care about what is the best step for us to use. And obviously, our solution is, is a bit unique because we're an existing chain. And so we're looking to have a decentralized sequencer from the outset using our validators and using I and D for data availability. A lot of this is, is really at the frontier of like what's what's being, what's being researched and still built in some cases. And so very close dialogue with all of these teams. And I think we, we're getting close to a decision on this now, which is, which is exciting because ultimately, yeah, it is something that we want to do as fast as possible while still making sure it's the right decision in the long run. Um So, yeah, it's, um, it's, uh it's an exciting time because I think a lot of, um, you know, I think back 56 years ago when we started working on co seeing how far, um it's, it's, it's really exciting to see the theorem scaling story really play out. And uh yeah, personally, I'm, I'm very bullish on sort of the theorem, the broader theorem ecosystem uh living up to a lot of the early promises of what it can bring to the world. And uh and for CEO to be a part of that and uh you know, bring a lot of the users and especially on mobile uh to, to Ethereum and to that mission, Renee, thanks so much for joining the show this morning. Thank you so much. That was Solo co-founder and Solo Foundation President Renee Reins. Beg.

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