Jul 28, 2023

Coinbase and a16z-backed crypto wallet Beam went live Thursday.

Video transcript

A new crypto wallet called Beam is now live. Unlike some other wallets, beam, users can send payments simply by using a link or a QR code. It was developed by Fintech firm Eco. Joining us now is Andy Bromberg, CEO of the ECO app and contributor to the Eco protocol. Welcome to the show, Andy. Thanks for having me. All right, this wallet is being touted as a cash like experience. Tell us what that means. What that means to us is that it feels to transact as easy as cash. The amazing thing about cash, right is that if I have $5 in my hand, I can hand it to you and you immediately have $5 and we set out to answer the question, what would it look like to recreate that experience in a digital form where you could do that but anywhere all over the world. Um and the way we did that is through these links. So when you have money US DC or ECO in this beam wallet, you can create a link that is totally non custodial. We do not have access to your funds. Nobody else has access to your funds, you can text that link to a friend, they can open that link and they suddenly have cash in their being wallet. And that experience of someone not needing to download any app, not need to learn, learn how to use any new software, not need to do anything other than simply tap a link. We think is as easy as picking up cash from someone else's hand and putting it in your own physical wallet. So how do you look at when you, when you see fed now that the fed coming out with instantaneous payments, uh instantly clearing if you will or you know, the different ways to phrase that. But uh how do you guys view that and, and you know, what are, what are the differences that you're providing and how would you address the competition from the largest central bank in the world? Yeah, I think there's a lot of payment rail innovation happening right now in the United States and globally. That's really, really interesting. But what beam does is it operates on top of uh, the Ethereum network and really on top of optimism and base when base, uh launches in, in two weeks from, uh from coin base, the L two, the Coinbase incubated. And what that means is that it's instantly available globally. And that's something that not every payment rail can offer. Uh So anyone can transact with anyone all around the world via the beam wallet. That's one huge differentiator. And the second is that the beam wallet is actually a retail focused wallet. It's meant to be usable for everyone if you look back 15 years ago. Now at the Bitcoin white paper, the title of the Bitcoin white paper is uh Bitcoin, a peer to peer electronic cash system. And for me, the vision of crypto is and has always been to build a better cash system, better payment system, better way to send uh money. And Bitcoin solved that in many ways, but we have not yet seen is payments products that are actually usable by and used by the mainstream the masses. Everyone in the world able to use these products to get the benefits of crypto. You know, Bitcoin created these ideas of uh or implemented these ideas effectively of censorship, resistance and decentralization and global interoperability at what we have not seen yet for crypto payments products. Is them actually being easy to use for people. And that's what beam is trying to do. Uh so fed now and RT P and all these payment rails, even the international ones picks and and up I in different countries, they're all really compelling, they're all going to have a place in the world. But I also think there needs to be a decentralized permission list interoperable, totally global payment system for anyone to pay anyone else all around the world. You know, this idea of account abstraction really has been the talk of the town this year. Of course, er C 43 37 is what enables that? Um Can you just explain for our audience what that is and why account abstraction is important for achieving this mainstream adoption that you just spoke about? Yeah, it's a great question. It's a tough one to answer briefly. Just take a step back. I think that if you look at the history of payments in crypto, I would say there's been a few big step changes. There's obviously the creation of Bitcoin, which was the biggest thing. And then we got the creation of Ethereum, which was this idea of programmable money uh in a in a much more broad way than Bitcoin enabled with its scripting language. And so that was a big innovation for how you could build payments on top of crypto. And then we saw stable coins come out and that's something that people really wanted was paying in, in stable uh you know, got pegged currency. It's not the only answer. I think there's other much better ones in the long term. But that's one answer. And I think account abstraction which came out this year or was implemented this year is the next big step change there. And at a really basic level, what account abstraction means is that wallets that users own can now be controlled by code. So previously users had to implement every transaction they wanted to implement and the their wallets that the users were using, couldn't use code, you could interact with smart contracts that were external, that ran code, of course, on the Ethereum Blockchain or on other blockchains. Um But your wallet itself couldn't run code, you had to do everything. And now with account abstraction users can through a interesting tech technical setup, uh have wallets that actually run code. What does that enable all sorts of really interesting things? So I'll give you an example. Traditionally, if you were to send a US DC dollar denominated stable coin or eco a new decentralized currency or anything you needed to have Ethereum in your wallet, you needed to have gas fees, right? And, and that's something that's always confused mainstream users is I wanna send this one currency. Why do I have to have this other currency in my wallet? Simply to send that first one? It's a little bit like having, you know, saying to someone, hey, if you want to send dollars to someone, you have to have Venezuelan boulevard in your wallet as well to send that. And that just doesn't make sense to people. And that's something that had to be fixed with account abstraction. This new thing called er C 4337 that was implemented. Um What you can do now is have user's wallets, run code that makes transactions much more complex. And an example of that is that in the system, the beam wallet does you can allow for gas sponsorship by another entity. And what that means is that if a user wants to send us DC, someone else can pay the Ethereum gas fee for that user's transaction and the user can pay that person in us DC. And that can all happen programmatically. So in the beam wallet, when you send us CC or ECO, you are paying fees in the currency that you are sending. And that's just something that makes sense. That's a necessary thing for payments to work globally for the mainstream use case because otherwise people are too confused as to why they need yet another currency to send the currency that they want to send. Andy. We're gonna have to leave it there. Thank you for that and congratulations on the launch. Thank you. Thanks for having me. That was Andy Bromberg, CEO of the ECO app and contributor to the Eco Protocol.

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