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TECHNOLOGY

This Blockchain Start-up Lets Users Manage 20 Cryptocurrencies in a Single Platform

Abra could very well be the world’s first Crypto bank

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 19 Mar 2018

This Blockchain Start-up Lets Users Manage 20 Cryptocurrencies in a Single Platform

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Given that it is powered by nascent technology, there’s no shortage of birth pains when it comes to managing cryptocurrencies. Lack of seamless exchanges, long verification times, hopping on to another exchange when purchasing alt-coins, and exorbitant fees are just some of the barriers to entry for people keen on dipping their toes into the crypto market.

It’s precisely these pain points that Abra seeks to address. The start-up founded by Bill Barhydt, its CEO, just launched “the first and only all-in-one app” that allows users to buy, sell, and hold across 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies. Abra users can exchange across any currency with no deposit or exchange transaction fees, at any time with no limitations.

How it works is easy peasy: Users can add money to their wallets using a bank account, an American Express credit card in the United States, or using bitcoin purchased outside Abra from anywhere in the world. They can then invest in any of the 20 cryptocurrencies offered on the Abra app, quickly, easily and safely.

“With the exponential growth of cryptocurrencies and their increasing importance in today’s culture, the Abra app offers a timely mobile experience that provides more access and exposure to these new digital currencies in an easy, quick and safe way,” says Barhydt in a statement. “Our goal is to empower customers around the world, using their local currencies to freely invest in a wide variety of cryptocurrencies at any time, from anywhere without the restrictions of banks and fees. For the first time in the world, users can transact in and out of fiat or cryptos almost instantly.”

The new version of the Abra app is now available to all users globally with an initial 13 cryptocurrencies, which include: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Golem, Litecoin, OmiseGO, Qtum, Ripple, Vertcoin, and Zcash. The additional seven cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin Gold, Stellar Lumens, DigiByte, Augur, Status, Stratis and 0x — will be available to Abra users in the coming days.

To develop the new wallet and integrated exchange, Abra built a first-of-its-kind platform using price-stabilized crypto tokens, called stablecoins. These tokens facilitate holding both fiat and cryptocurrencies through a combination of litecoin- and bitcoin-based smart contracts. The unique multi-sig smart contract based investment platform uses P2SH scripts on the litecoin and bitcoin blockchains, which simulate investment contracts the way a gold ETF is a contract based on USD. Abra acts as the counter-party (i.e. the other signatory) to the P2SH scripts, enabling the company to now run a market-making operation that hedges away its counter-party risk on these scripts.

Crypto Bank in the Making

Vinny Lingham, the co-founder and CEO of Civic, and General Partner at Multicoin, relates in a statement that by bringing 20 cryptocurrencies onto one platform, “Abra has repaired a fractured system that has frustrated users who want to expand their crypto portfolios. Abra has unified the processes and transactions onto one app, creating a seamless user experience that the crypto community has long been asking for.”

“With the launch of 20 cryptocurrencies in its app, including Dash, Abra is bringing innovation and simplicity to cryptocurrency investing,” Ryan Taylor, CEO of the Dash core team, says in a statement. “Consumers can now instantly invest in a wide variety of cryptos while managing their investments in one place,” Taylor adds.

According to Dan Boneh, professor of Computer Science and head of the Applied Cryptography Group at Stanford University, “Their use of multi-sig technology in bitcoin and litecoin to create investment contracts is quite powerful.”

Through the use of its stablecoin platform, Abra can quickly add additional cryptocurrencies to the app once they pass the platform’s rigid analysis around liquidity, contract market making, and other factors. Additionally, consumers in any country can now invest in any asset class regardless of where the asset originated. This model can be extended to stocks, bonds, commodities, and more with no changes to the existing Abra app. Finally, Abra can be used to send money in addition to investing, allowing Abra to become a crypto bank.

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