Power to the People: SWARM Helps to Democratize Investing
“We built [SWARM] because you want a community that over time, participates and therefore educates each other on what it should be. Overall, we should retract ourselves from being single decision makers.”
CryptoMania sat down with SWARM Co-Founder Philipp Pieper and Vice President of Marketing Chris Eberle at CoinAgenda Las Vegas to discuss the future of SWARM and how it’s looking to change the way we approach traditional project funding and portfolio diversification.
You wanted a use case where cryptocurrency and blockchain technology creates a positive impact? Well, we’ve got one for you. Pieper and Eberle have a more democratized and holistic approach to the expanding technology that powers Bitcoin and Altcoins (Alternative Coins) than most investors. Pieper believes that, “blockchain enables people to come together that don’t need to know each other, and still have a trustful situation in which they can make things happen together.” This is the conceptual foundation that SWARM’s decentralized platform was built on. The creators of the popular project wanted to allow people from different backgrounds to invest in alternative assets that could later be tokenized. Founded in Silicon Valley after Pieper moved in next to one of his future co-founders, the SWARM team has been slowly building their company with like-minded people who are enthusiastic about the newly growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.
The SWARM platform is built for cryptocurrency investors, family offices, retail investors, or even individuals who’d like to add alternative investments to their portfolio that they would normally not have access to such as pre-IPO stocks or real estate funds. Alternative assets aren’t normally publicly traded, so investors often have to provide at least $5 million and between five and ten years of capital commitment. Unsurprisingly, these financial hurdles creates a massive barrier to entry for the majority of the population. Diverse and high risk investment options are also scantily available to the general public: non-accredited investors usually have to go through expensive and unreliable middlemen to access “exclusive” opportunities. Through building a regulatory-compliant marketplace in the United States, experts or fund managers run their own syndicates on the SWARM platform, which are proposed to and subsequently voted on by the SWARM community. SWARM functions only as an enabling platform that supports participating members to make their own decisions. All of the projects that are ultimately backed become tradable asset-backed tokens, allowing fundraisers to stick it out for the long-term, or sell their coins to other members of the community. This is a fantastic example of the tokenization of our world that we are going to experience in the future; liquid democracy is going to be an incredibly important enabler as it allows the platform to facilitate a structured method of decision making.
Though the crypto and blockchain space is relatively new, it’s going to be an incredibly important aspect of financial technology — and is quickly becoming so. When asked how best to approach crypto investing, Pieper had some pretty simple but effective advice: “You have to dive in.” Education is one of the most important aspects of the industry right now and companies, seasoned crypto traders, and Wall Street veterans are still figuring out how to value both digital currencies and the tech behind them. It’s a complicated ecosystem with a technology that only appears confusing because most people have never had previous exposure to anything like it. Many new investors find that not everyone in the space has a complete understanding of the technology or markets; this issue was quickly addressed by the SWARM team as they realized that experience within the industry was the best way to understand it. “We had to eat our own dog food. We had to ask internally, does everyone here own an ERC 20 token? Because we’re building one and marketing one.” Pieper explained. SWARM isn’t interested in just fundraising aimlessly and pushing out a moderately functional product, a fear that a lot of participants of ICOs and token sales have. It’s looking to change our understanding of investing through measurable objectives and industry-specific collaborations. This project proves that a secret handshake and diploma from an Ivy League school are no longer the sole qualifications to enter the finance world.
The larger implications of this project are: the real impact in fundraising from newly empowered individuals; big-business decision-making; and personal investing. SWARM’s concept is so universal and understandable, that when Pieper explained the project to a hotel maid a few months ago, she began to cry and asked how she could help. The emotional response to SWARM has been extremely positive, if not overwhelmingly so – especially considering our entrenchment in the current global political space. By giving power to people who want to play an active role in funding compelling projects, Pieper believes that, “you’re tying in a community that sees themselves a little deeper than just a passive observer from the outside.” The desire to democratize and take back control of not only individual finances but also social manipulation is overwhelming. It could help transform the way contractors, employees, and small investors interact with large companies and contribute to a cultural or socially-demanded product or service. Pieper revealed that they built SWARM to form, “a community that over time, participates and therefore educates, each other...we should retract ourselves from being single decision makers.”
What’s next for SWARM? Approaching the big boys on Wall Street with an education and opportunistic approach. While some of the SWARM team members were at CoinAgenda’s cryptocurrency-focused conference, they had other representatives at Money 20/20, a gathering of movers and shakers in the financial services industry, networking and exposing others to blockchain and crypto. Pieper explained that it was important to attend Money 20/20, and show those in the traditional financial sector that there are indeed faces, innovative projects, and willing crypto enthusiasts to help bridge the gap between blockchain and Wall Street. “We wanted to show that crypto is not hiding behind anything and that we’re open for business,” Pieper said. "we’re there to represent and have an active conversation.”
Quotes may have been edited for length or clarity.