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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 16 June 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 16 JUNE 2018 17 FINANCE in Australian dollars and the person with the Spartacard can pay you using their cryptocurrency, which we convert to a local currency globally, and the merchant would have the money in their account, depending where they're located, within three days. We provide a facility for the customers to tap just like a normal credit card, and in the background it will be done through foreign exchange and through cryptocurrency exchangers." It's easy to see why Parthimos is excited about the product. This is a device that might prove to be groundbreaking, in terms of bringing cryptocurrency to the mainstream. "We've actually filed a global patent application to protect the technology that we built," he says. But the true indicator of his belief in this product is the fact that he resigned from his previous venture, Smart Car software developer Connexion Media a year ago, right after it became an ASX-listed company, to focus on this project alongside his partner chief technology officer Nick Daskalou, who built the technology. Is it because both are Greek Australian, that they chose to name the product 'Spartacard'? "My parents come from Sparti," says the CEO, "and the reason we chose the name is that the Spartan name and logo implies strength and security That matched the branding where we wanted to position the product. Sparta as a global brand does represent a lot of values that we want to demonstrate in the product. We wanted to say that it is safe and secure and tamperproof." Spartacard was officially launched this week, with an online campaign, via indiegogo, to allow for people to preorder it. Shipment of the actual products is expected to start in November. By that time, the company will be looking at an investment round. "We didn't have the need to go to investors so far, although we've had a lot of people who want to invest," Parthimos says. This shouldn't come as a surprise, given the global aspirations of this venture. "Our target audience are Russians and Americans and Asians," he says, pointing to markets as South Korea and Japan and the US, where most cryptocurrency investors come from. This is expanding. "There are at least 17 countries today, including Venezuela, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore, that are exploring releasing their own, government backed cryptocurrency assets," he explains. "You're looking at countries looking to implement their own type of cryptocurrency." If he sounds like a champion of this system, it doesn't mean that he does not know about the drawbacks and critique that comes with cryptocurrencies. "The biggest issue is around regulation," he says. "Because cryptocurrency by its definition is private, so governments and regulatory bodies do not know how much currency you have, where you made your money and how you spend your money. Therefore it has implications right across our banking system; how do you collect taxes, or how do you know whether there is fraud or money laundering involved? All these are big concerns that the sector faces. Regulation will definitely happen and it's needed; but blockchain is absolutely here to stay." For more information and preorders, go to spartacard.com. Spartacard co-founder and chief technology officer Nickolas Daskalou.
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