It seems everywhere you look another company is coming out with an Initial Coin Offering or ICO for short. ICO’s have grown in popularity over the past year because it allows entrepreneurs the ability to crowd source their projects through the use of cryptocurrencies and online digital assets. There is certainly no shortage of projects making the news with their ICO’s. Ideas ranging from encrypted chat systems to online gambling and everything in between have been drooled over and invested in within recent months.
A simple search on Google will lend dozens of one page websites for these ICO’s and no doubt you would be left feeling a bit suspect. There are certainly some dubious ICO’s out there and there are even many stories of ICO’s being outright scams. One blockchain development lab in Dallas, TX and Dubai have set out to change that perception, with many firsts in the blockchain industry.
Enter AriseBank, the vision of industry veteran Jared Rice Sr. and co-founder Stanley Ford. AriseBank is the first true cryptocurrency banking platform but that alone doesn’t give it much justice. Compared to other ICOs looking to raise money, AriseBank has already developed their entire banking platform in multiple countries and have contributed a long list of developer resources as a part of today’s long anticipated launch and their commitment to the blockchain industry as a whole.
Not only does AriseBank have a fully functional platform, it’s also one of the most novel and complete ideas that I’ve seen in the recent gold rush of blockchain innovation. More than that, it is setting the stage for major change in the banking and finance sectors that many never saw as a possibility. The blockchain and its underlying technologies have made that possible and today AriseBank’s team is pushing it out to beta users.
A year ago Jared Rice and Stanley Ford set out to build the world’s first cryptocurrency based bank with all of the traditional offerings customers were accustomed to from the banks of old: ATM’s, debit cards and money transfers, while incorporating popular services that already existed in the blockchain-sphere like exchanges. One idea led to another and before long, the theme of AriseBank had morphed into what they saw as a revolutionary idea, in fact, many revolutionary ideas.
One of those ideas are what they call a “Complete vision” that eventually leads customers to making money, rather than losing money, something most of us are familiar with when it comes to using traditional FDIC-insured banks in today’s finance landscape. Before long, that idea became a reality where the AriseBank platform would automatically make its users money, using their very own artificial intelligence-based software. Known on the platform as “aiExchanger”, the highly touted AriseBank feature utilizes all the underlying banking services within the AriseBank platform to ultimately predict markets, while buying, selling and trading assets within a customer’s account automatically and continuously throughout the day, to create gains.
“Arise will be here for good and constantly creating new ideas to help people succeed.”
“Our vision really changed over time. I think really it was our failures early on with blockchain innovation that fueled us to not only figure out a way to give back to the industry but to ultimately change the doubt surrounding the industry as a whole. We worked long days, nights and months on this idea. It was very crazy at times but we weren’t going to stop until we reached our goal and accomplished our vision. Today we feel we’re there but there is a long way to go in regards to getting consumer adoption on something like this, but we are all in on Arise and very bullish on the idea of the people having a bank they can truly trust. That will never change. Arise will be here for good and constantly creating new ideas to help people succeed”, said Rice. But their ambitious ideas didn’t stop at simply a banking platform.
“At the end of the day, we want to stop poverty or at least take a major chunk out of it”, said Rice. “Stan and I spent an enormous amount of time looking into ways to create a blockchain on the side of the banking system that would work hand in hand with our AI-based trading systems to spread money to everyone’s pockets. With AriseCoin we have accomplished that. We are really excited about AriseCoin and not only is it a functional blockchain as of today, we are innovating on top of our open sourced codebase everyday. To say we are excited is simply an understatement. We are blown away”, he said.
AriseCoin according to its website, “combines the best features of capitalism and socialism, while removing their defects. It's capitalism without the inequality, and socialism without the lack of opportunity.”
“With AriseCoin, the rich can still get richer and the poor are truly raised from poverty without taxing a single individual”, said Ford. “In the end everyone benefits from a combination of their personal wealth and the growth and circulation of the global economy”, he said. They call this new economic system “Circulism”.
AriseCoin features ready-to-download wallet solutions for all operating systems and the AriseCoin blockchain is live as of today, according to their website. “We didn’t see a ERC20 token as very beneficial to what we were doing and our vision was so complex in its nature, that a token wasn’t going to work in the grand scheme of things. Smart contracts were not a solution to most of our platform needs. We wanted to develop our ideas on our own legitimate blockchain where we could truly reach our poverty-inspired goals, while incorporating the AriseCoin platform into our already existent AriseBank platform” said Rice.
“In the end everyone benefits from a combination of their personal wealth and the growth and circulation of the global economy.”
Not only is AriseBank the first cryptocurrency bank it is also the first decentralized bank. That means that there is no central authority, auditors, legal conditions or anything related to the typical control mechanisms we are used to in the banking world of today. There is nothing standing in between a customer’s accounts and the bank itself.
“The customers make the rules”, said Ford. This also means that the bank’s services are not hosted in a central data center or multiple data centers that are typically maintained and controlled by a bank, they are simply hosted on the computers of AriseBank account holders.
Very similar to how blockchains like Bitcoin operate, AriseBank is building a singleton-type network focused on the decentralization of what they call a corrupted banking system. “It took mountains of code to pull this off but what we are releasing in beta today we are very proud of and it’s something I think many will look back on years from now and be amazed by. In my mind, we are not only trying to innovate the first decentralized banking platform, we are trying to improve on the attempts by others in our industry to consumerize blockchain-based financial services and market towards a growing crowd of millenials that are really warming to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” said Ford.
Developers at Arise are also preparing the release of what they believe to be a game-changer in banking security and identity verification with “AriseID”. With AriseID, a customer verifies their identity through their mobile phone. Which in turn is totally separate from the AriseBank platform. The mobile app verifies the customer’s personal details and their government identification with Blockscore, an industry leader in identity verification, then quickly deletes the user’s personal information from their mobile device. A new identification number is generated for the customer who is then noted and broadcasted to the AriseBank network as verified, by the mobile device that verified their identity.
After verifying their identity with the AriseID application, users can signup or login to the AriseBank platform by simply scanning a QR code, verifying their thumbprint and entering a 6 digit pin that is created during the onboarding process.
“With AriseID, we know a customer is exactly who they say they are but we never really know who they are. Because we don’t store that information. A hacker can only hack what our decentralized banking system stores. Our platform only stores information that is readily available through the 700 blockchains our platform is integrated with and an AriseID identification number of the user who is using our platform. We don’t want to store anyone’s money nor do we want to know their identity. We simply want to make sure they aren’t stealing someone else’s information to use our platform and I think that’s fair. Because our mission is to protect your identity and that goes as far as protecting others from using your identity as well”, said Rice.
AriseID is set to release publicly towards the end of this month on Android and iOS-based devices and is available through test packages to beta users.
According to Rice the journey took many turns with a blockchain industry that seems to be expanding like wildfire on a daily basis. “When we first started looking at what we wanted to build with AriseBank we knew we had to be connected to every single cryptocurrency available on the market. So we had to start tearing each one of these blockchains apart to see how they worked. In the end, we found many security holes and many tools like GitChains were created in process for the blockchain community”, said Rice.
Rice, an ex-white-hat hacker who has an extensive history in battling what many in the consumer world see as the “bad guys”. Like the hackers who in the past year have stolen data from what were trusted fintech companies like Equifax. “What we found with most blockchain softwares, were that most of them had the same flaws and ran on, oftentimes, old outdated unsecure packages. Many of these blockchains were very heavy and bloated platforms that were full of inherent risks. Obviously we couldn’t redevelop these blockchains because we didn’t control the underlying codebases of these blockchains. So we developed a read-only operating system and completely open sourced it. We call it AriseOS”, said Rice.
AriseOS is another first for the AriseBank team, a solution that they claim to be the first-ever blockchain operating system, built just for running blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum. With a read-only file system, it makes life very difficult for hackers according to Rice and brings legitimacy to running blockchains in farmed environment, similar to solutions like Ubuntu’s “SNAP” provided to users of Ubuntu’s server OS.
Rice is no newbie to the blockchain revolution. He cut his teeth with a lot of other developers and suffered at the hands of the same security issues that brought down Mt. Gox in 2014. “The reality is we didn’t know what was about to hit us back then. No one really knew until it was too late. Bitcoin was making everyone rich at the time. Then Mt. Gox got hit and everyone down the line went under in the process. There are a lot of conspiracies out there but I can tell you, it isn’t a conspiracy as to how networks like our’s or Mt. Gox were hacked. There have been and still are major security issues that are running rampant on networks of blockchain-based services all over the world. Ethereum nodes are hacked every second of the day as an example. Exchanges like Bittrex are also hacked every single day. This is the way of the wild west, you just have to be ready for it and continue innovating ways to keep your customer’s data safe. Sometimes the safest way is to simply never ask for or store information that might become a liability to the customer or the company at the end of the day. This time around, that was my solution to the problem. I simply didn’t want to liability for Arise, which in turn helped us innovate many platforms in the process”, said Rice.
Building from his past mistakes Rice put together a new team and focused on security and compartmentalizing every aspect of AriseBank and its sub-platforms, to make sure that there was no way a security issue on a single network node could spread beyond that. “We open sourced everything we did. All of our tools, the OS, the APIs, everything under the sun and we made them available to the community through the standard MIT license. We wanted to give back to the community and help others with security issues as much as possible, because their success is our success. The reality is the blockchain is a sea of change, not just for finance, but for all of technology and as an industry, we have to protect it and evolve with it”, Rice said.
Browsing through the AriseBank website can feel a bit daunting for the average person. There is so much to see that it already feels like your working with a billion dollar bank rather than a young startup. While also boasting the largest developer toolset and APIs in the industry, AriseBank is definitely one of the most promising ICOs I have personally seen hit the market. It is quite clear that a lot of effort went into their platform, even with a simple glance of their homepage. The first billion dollar ICO is sure to turn heads, bring out government agencies like the SEC and many critics to boot but Rice isn’t worried about it.
“I’m willing to talk to the SEC about their views on the blockchain. I think we would agree on many things but one thing we will never agree on is their current comparisons to the stock market and how they view most digital assets as securities. I’ll argue to the death on that topic. This is an industry that made me, that fed my family and helped me in ways that I cannot explain and I will go to war for it”, said Rice.
“Nobody is standing up to these guys. People will see that I will. People like Jamie Dimon need to be dealt with as well. The real fraudsters are the bankers and the guys who sit in plush offices on Wall Street. To me, the people who are innovating in the blockchain space are some of the brightest people in the world and should be left alone. If the SEC wants to investigate something, they should start with Wall Street and what happened in 2008. It’s definitely not sitting in a room full of servers. It’s time to have this discussion and I’m demanding that discussion starting today”, he said.
In the end, Rice is no stranger to the hard knock life or government agencies. His new autobiography detailing his journey from the street life to the boardroom and the downfall of his first blockchain company, hits bookstores including Barnes and Noble on December 3rd, 2017.
“These types of situation are not scary to me. I’ve been through it all and I’ve seen it all. You can’t stick anything in front of me that scares me. Our motivation is to change the world and to give back to a growing blockchain community that is not only thriving, it is truly changing everything around us. Someone has to do something on the other side of the fence though and I’m happy to take that as a responsibility. We don’t want to take from anyone - we only want to help develop the future. It’s really that simple and today, we’re excited to re-enter an industry that has changed enormously since we first met in 2012. We’re excited about Arise, more excited than we have ever been about a single project that we’ve worked on over the years. This one is special and one that we are never going to give up on. Because once we put it out there, it cannot be destroyed. That’s the true meaning of decentralization. Arise is here to stay”, he said.
AriseBank has also recently announced a partnership with BitShares. BitShares blockchain boasts the world’s first and oldest decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.
BitShares (BTS) is a smart coin production factory with hundreds of innovative financial products and compliant ICO offerings. It currently holds the record for over one million blockchain transactions per day dwarfing the performance of Bitcoin and all other blockchain networks.
The BitShares Decentralized Exchange (DEX) is arguably the most compelling feature the platform has to offer. The DEX is a fully decentralized asset exchange, meaning you have total control over your private keys and your assets. Decentralization of the exchange protects against failure because any attack or failure impacts only a single user and their funds.
Users are in control of their own security, not having to rely on a vulnerable third party or centralized trading exchange. The BitShares Decentralized Exchange (DEX) offers high-performance, capable of handling the trade volume of the NASDAQ while offering the benefits of a decentralized system.
Blockchain technology and decentralized systems will fundamentally transform how business is carried out in the future. Investors and entrepreneurs who want to stay up to date and ahead of the competition need to understand these new decentralized platforms like BitShares and how they can leverage the technology to empower their business.
For updates on the AriseBank and AriseCoin ICO, you can follow them on Twitter @AriseBank and @AriseCoin or visit their their official website at www.AriseBank.com.
Learn more about BitShares by visiting www.bitshares.org.