2020 is a year most people would like to forget. A rare, once in a generation culmination of a worldwide pandemic, civil unrest, and political turmoil. It shed light to the barely understood and underestimated effects of human isolation. It is a year where technology rose to the occasion to keep us connected, entertained, and for the fortunate ones, employed. For those of us connected to cryptocurrency, it reinforced the value of sound money in a world with near endless devaluing of government money.
Today I would like to share what 2020 was like for us here at Edge, our accomplishments, setbacks, and the roadmap we built for 2021.
The first half of 2020 was strongly defined by our focus on the FIO protocol. Since the early days of our company, we strongly believed in the value of peer-to-peer, censorship resistant transactions. Our first app, Airbitz, focused on secure self custody and simplifying payments and even enabled Bitcoin payments over bluetooth and NFC. We long desired for the simplicity of sending payments to a human readable name, but existing protocols such as Namecoin and ENS were a significant compromise of privacy, and other solutions compromised censorship resistance due to their centralization, much like Venmo. FIO struck a great balance with encrypted payment requests and transaction metadata, so we worked hard to provide full support of the protocol in Q1 and Q2, including the following functionality:
- Send and receive FIO tokens
- Register FIO addresses and domains
- Connect wallets to FIO addresses
- Send FIO payment requests
- Pay incoming FIO requests
- Transfer FIO domains
We’re proud to have onboarded thousands of new FIO registrations and users and we intend to continue supporting updates to the protocol and its functionality.
More Fiat On and Off Ramps
The launch of Edge defined a new product category in crypto, the self custody exchange. In 2020 we hardened Edge around that definition by providing more options for people to get into and out of cryptocurrency. Seven more payment networks were added to provide support for more people in more countries, enabling Edge to be a single global resource for cryptocurrency. The following payment methods were added this past year:
- Apple Pay
- iDeal (Netherlands)
- Sofort Payments (Germany, Switzerland, Austria)
- UPI and NEFT (India)
- Cash from ATM (USA)
- BTC vouchers from Azteco
With the addition of the above payment methods, Edge by far provides more options than any other product or service in the world for people to on and off ramp to and from cryptocurrency.This is a testament to the success of our self custody architecture that utilizes global partnerships for exchange functionality instead of the centralized approach taken by most exchanges.
Product and Marketing
Alongside improvements to exchange functionality, 2020 was a year of refinement to the user experience of Edge. We listened to customer feedback and responded to the state of blockchain networks in implementing new functionality, features, and design. Our UI improvements included the following:
- Improve the security and redesign the flow by which users provide access to their account on new devices. Users now get an alert when another device tries to access their account, and they can approve or deny it with the touch of a button.
- Redesign transaction details screen to include richer information about transactions. New information provided includes the percentage change in value since the transaction was made, as well as detailed information on swap exchange transactions. From this screen, users are now one tap away from contacting support for the exchange operation, and seeing all details of the exchange transaction they made.
- Redesign the main screen list of wallets to show the current price of the asset as well as the 24 hour price change.
Q3 2020 marked a massive rise in the use of Defi products on Ethereum. With this rise came a noticeable increase in Ethereum fees as well as stuck or dropped transactions. In response we have optimized our fee calculations for Ethereum as well as implemented a feature called replace-by-fee (RBF). RBF allows users to replace a pending transaction with a new one with a higher fee, thereby reducing it’s confirmation time. With a simple tap of a button, users can now accelerate a pending transaction with a doubled fee.
Originally published in October 31st 2008, the Bitcoin whitepaper not only sparked the launch of the Bitcoin network, but also inspired the creation of thousands of other blockchains with different features and functionality, including Ethereum. In commemoration, we produced a tribute video celebrating the 12th anniversary of the Bitcoin white paper. We were proud to have over a dozen major advocates of Bitcoin contribute to the 2 minute video including Peter McCormack, Brock Pierce, Naomi Brockwell, Bruce Fenton, Tone Vays, Caitlin Long, Vinny Lingham, and Roger Ver. The video launch was a great success with tens of thousands of views across social media and hundreds of people liking and retweeting the content.
Alongside global turmoil, Edge also witnessed its share of shortcomings in 2020. In March, we integrated Cred, a centralized, custodial service that allowed users to earn interest on their cryptocurrency assets. This was a highly requested feature from our user base, and although the service runs contrary to our self custody beliefs, we decided to integrate the service after much due diligence. Unfortunately, on October 27th, Cred announced there was an internal incident that affected their assets under management, and they soon announced bankruptcy filings. I personally had a conversation with the Cred team and published a letter with all the known details, which you can read here.
Since the founding of our company, we have been strong believers in the strengths and benefits of self custody of cryptocurrency. The Cred incident was a wake-up call for us to continue sticking to our ideology. Services like Cred are slowly being replaced by smart contract, Defi alternatives and we fundamentally believe this is the future of financial services. With this, we have made a pledge to only provide integrated products which retain the self custody ethos we have long strived to build for our users. This topic carries us well into 2021.
Looking forward to 2021, one of our strongest initiatives will be to integrate native support for Defi services in Edge. Today, people can already trade Ethereum based assets through decentralized exchanges entirely in Edge. This year we intend to extend that functionality with other Defi services including interest-bearing accounts, crypto collateralized loans, and leveraged trading.
With crypto entering its next bull market, we will also focus on scaling our application and infrastructure to handle the next wave of new users and transaction volume. These efforts were already initiated in 2020 and will continue through the better half of 2021. We also intend to build out a major overhaul of the interface to buy and sell crypto from fiat. Utilizing our encrypted Edge security platform, users will be able to easily provide kyc personal info to multiple exchange partners for different payment methods at the touch of a button. This will greatly streamline the KYC process for users wishing to enter the financial superhighway of cryptocurrency.
These initiatives further our mission to reduce our industry’s dependence on centralized services, reducing users’ custodial risk, and providing them with censorship resistant, self sovereign, globally accessible financial services that will disrupt and replace the status quo financial behemoths.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support.
To The Moon!