Exclusive Interview with Richard Ells, CEO of Electroneum


2019 has been a year of progess and achievements for Electroneum, who in July successfully made announced some major upgrades which saw them become the world’s most eco-friendly crypto.

Their work with NGO’s such as Ubuntu Pathways and the WONDER Foundation has subsequently led to UNICEF Director David Bull CBE joining the ETN ranks in a bid to end financial exclusion around the world. This addition to the Electroneum team speaks volumes for the progress the cryptocurrency has made since it’s ICO in 2017.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Richard Ells covering a number of topics including a birthday, their work with NGO’s and Electronuem adoption. Below is the interview in a Q and A format.

Richard Ells, CEO, Electroneum
Richard Ells, CEO, Director and Founder of Electroneum

You recently celebrated your second birthday as a company. Taking some time to reflect, what would say have been the biggest achievements over the last two years?

Well, honestly speaking, we have many achievements. Firstly, we still hold the record as the number one ICO in terms of number of participants: 115K. In a matter of weeks, we had over 750,000 users and currently, we are a top four crypto in terms of number of registered users with 3.4 million. Also, we were the first cryptocurrency to become KYC/AML compliant.

We are the only cryptocurrency to launch their own smartphone with our built-in mobile app, which rewards users with up to US$3 in ETN. The reward system is aimed more at people in developing countries and to drive mass adoption through educating them on how easy, safe and practical crypto is.

In July, we implemented a massive upgrade launching our proprietary Moderated Blockchain, powered by our unique Proof of Responsibility protocol. The fork made Electroneum one of the most secure cryptocurrencies in existence. We are currently insusceptible to 51% attacks. Electroneum has never suffered a breach of security and now we are insusceptible to double-spend attacks. The Moderated Blockchain means we have added a centralised layer to monitor the network and crush any attack immediately at the slightest irregularity. The Proof of Responsibility protocol also provides an extra layer of security because it enables us to select who mines ETN. We have decided that trusted reputable NGOs be our miners, which ensures we have validators who are committed to ensuring the security of the network. At the same time, they are NGOs that are aligned with our vision to help people in developing countries with long-term assistance. Ubuntu Pathways, WONDER Foundation and Project Child have been internationally recognised because they actually do help children and women as well as their families break the cycle of poverty through education and career assistance. The upgrade has also made Electroneum the greenest cryptocurrency in existence. Mining ETN requires no more energy than that equivalent to the use of one lightbulb. This means that through the upgrade, we reduced the electricity required to mine ETN by millions of times.

Very few crypto projects can genuinely say they have not only survived the crypto winter but also still have their ICO funds still available for further research and development. Even fewer cryptocurrencies are actually developing ways to help those who are financially excluded by helping them access the global digital economy. We are adding value to the end user, a fact that has been praised by Dr Scott Stornetta, who endorsed our hybrid blockchain, applauded our efforts to add value to the end user and lauded our regulatory compliancy, saying cryptos that want to succeed need to think of complying with rules and regulations as a way to drive mainstream adoption.

We are currently, internally testing our global freelancer platform AnyTask. We are aiming to launch the platform in Q1 2020. It will provide instant access to the billions of people who are currently marginalised from the global digital economy and the 1.7 billion who are unbanked. AnyTask does not require sellers of tasks to have an account, unlike all other freelance platforms out there. Buyers of tasks do not need to have crypto to hire a freelancer for a task as they will be able to pay with a credit or debit card and the seller will seamlessly receive ETN that they will be able to use for everyday items and services. They will be provided with the option to exit ETN. We expect to reveal more details of this early next year. TaskSchool will also be launched by mid-2020. It will provide people with free courses via their smartphones or laptops that will show them how to perform tasks they can sell on AnyTask. ETN Everywhere is our merchant incentive program that is aimed at compelling merchants and service providers around the world to accept ETN as payment. We already have thousands of merchants in many countries who accept ETN.

Anytask, electroneum
Electronuem are currently trialing freelancer platform AnyTask

You work with a number of NGO’s (non-profit organisations) such as Ubuntu Pathways in South Africa, UK based WONDER foundation and now Project Child in Indonesia. Can you talk about why you believe blockchain can be so beneficial to developing countries and the role that Electroneum are playing in this?

Blockchain has brought back trust to many NGOs because of the immutability of its records. It provides those who donate a clear path of their donations from end to end. In our case, NGOs are benefiting from being miners as they receive ETN block rewards that help them have greater impact on-the-ground where they deliver assistance.

The feedback we have gotten from our NGO miners is that ETN has furthered their impact in helping thousands of people break the cycle of poverty. This is very encouraging if you considered that it has been less than half of a year.

Our NGO miners are also looking forward to AnyTask as they too believe that it will help make a significant difference to people in developing countries as it will give them the opportunity to live better. It will also help their local economies as people earning more through AnyTask will have more ETN to purchase everyday items and services at local shops, such as haircuts, car washes, taxi rides, food staples and more, bring greater prosperity to their communities. NGOs are also looking forward to helping with TaskSchool as they are keen to provide as many educational resources as possible to provide people with the skills they need to benefit from our global AnyTask platform.

Electroneum Ubuntu Pathways
Electronuem are helping better lives with their NGO work

According to your site, you currently have 3,393,267 registered users which is a hugely impressive number when it comes to adoption. What do you attribute to this strong growth over the last year?

Electroneum is the only crypto mobile app with an instant payment system that rewards its users with up to $3 in ETN a month. But more importantly, people have realised that ETN has a real-world utility as it can be used for mobile top ups. The mobile app is very easy to use and that has also been fundamental in bringing in more users. A cryptocurrency that people can actually use will definitely attract users. Electroneum has prioritised adding value to the end user. That means ensuring they understand cryptocurrency, trust ETN and can use it.

Are you also seeing an increase in Electroneum adoption when it comes to retailers and other organisations utilising ETN?

As I have previously mentioned, yes, we are gradually seeing more and more merchants and retailers joining the ETN community accepting our crypto as payment. They see the benefits. They have observed an increase in customers to their shops. This will undoubtedly be much more significant in Q1 2020 when AnyTask is publicly available to people around the world.

ETN Everywhere will fast-forward this for us as more and more merchants and business join our community

We have undoubtedly gone from knocking on doors to explain who we are to people approaching us to praise the work we are doing and proposing ways to work together. We still knock on doors, but we very rarely find that those behind them do not know who we are.

With 2020 right around the corner, what challenges do you anticipate over the coming year and what are you most looking forward to?

Every year, every company faces challenges. We look at the word challenge as a positive term. We take it to mean an opportunity showcase what we can do, to innovate and come up with more ways to continue disrupting from within an already disruptive industry.

Our biggest challenge we are most looking forward to is the launch of AnyTask, TaskSchool and ETN Everywhere and ensuring that we are successful in creating an ecosystem that helps local economies in developing countries prosper. We are working very hard to ensure we achieve our greatest objective, which is to help people in developing countries and help end financial exclusion. The entire Electroneum team is very passionate in what they are doing as they all want to make a difference in the world we live in today.

Electroneum Logo, ETN
Electroneum are keen to continue to innovate going into 2020

Is there any other exciting news you can share with us?

The launch of mobile top-ups has proven to be very successful. After South Africa, Brazil and Turkey and more recently, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, we have proven there is a true need for this service. In Brazil, we have a month-to-month 21% increase in the number of mobile top-ups. Thousands of dollars are being spent daily by our users in Brazil. It is too soon to give stats on the other countries. South Africa served as a proof of concept for this service. There, we learned how to modify the app to make the onboarding process much quicker and easier. We were there on-the-ground understanding the needs and concerns of the people. We also realised that meeting people in person makes a huge difference.

It brings greater trust to our project and gives us the understanding we need as we move forward with AnyTask, TaskSchool and ETN Everywhere. What I can say as a final statement, is that yes, there are many more exciting things to be announced next year. More listings of ETN on more crypto exchanges, our cold storage Ledger solution, and major partnerships with governments, banks and corporations are also expected to happen before the end of 2020. However, due to NDAs we cannot give further details at this time, unfortunately.  

I’d sincerely like to thank Richard for his time

Alex Libertas
The Daily Chain

For more Electroneum content on The Daily Chain see below:

Electroneum Add UNICEF Director in Bid to End Financial Exclusion

Meet WONDER Foundation, Electroneum’s newest trusted ETN miner that helps thousands out of poverty

Electroneum and Ubuntu Pathways join forces in ground-breaking deal

Electroneum Announce Major Upgrade

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Alex Smith
Alex is the Founder of The Daily Chain and has been in the space for just over two years. Fascinated by the community and everything that blockchain has to offer, Alex dedicated himself to creating content and contributing back to the industry.

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