Matchmaking for tech platforms

When 1920s funnyman Groucho Marx asked, “Marriage is a wonderful institution – but who wants to live in an institution?” he tapped into a common theme: the partnership between two people can become restrictive and onerous, lacking in benefits for both parties.

Because business collaborations are sometimes compared to marriages, this rather negative prejudice often follows. But when OAX looks for a partner, we’re not setting out to institutionalise the relationship: quite the opposite. We’re looking for ways of creating something that benefits everyone over the long term – delivering positive results for users, operators and the wider economy.

A new ecosystem

The advent of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies created a slew of new concepts and buzzwords across trade, industry and finance. Commentators widely predicted a revolution in business, with new models replacing the accepted concepts of corporations and utilities that go back to the industrial revolution starting in the 1760s.

A strong theme among all this is the notion of partnerships rather than takeovers or mergers. While in the early days many saw digital challengers as a threat to established players like banks and exchanges, as these entities become more familiar with each other and explore ways of adjusting to each other’s presence, we’re seeing companies looking to work together – perhaps mixing the banks’ financial muscle and client networks with digital challengers’ innovative technology and nimbleness.
This is driving platformification, where banks offer APIs that enable FinTechs to develop new products and services to the benefit of both; we’re seeing the development of ecosystems, where networks of stakeholder organisations share resources in symbiotic relationships beneficial to all in ways they couldn’t achieve alone. This is after all in line with the principle of decentralization, where concentrations of capital, liquidity and expertise are giving way to inter-reliant nodes on flexible, resilient networks.

Survival of the fittest

The cryptocurrency industry is dynamic, where adaptability and versatility are key qualities. In the early stages of cryptos’ development when pioneering stakeholders were setting out their early propositions, their key concern was how to use digital assets and create value. While this potential was still under exploration, regulators started to take notice and indicating areas where they may need to get involved – requiring the early innovators to respond, anticipating regulators’ possible actions and taking decisions based on them.

The crypto companies that prosper are the ones that evaluate upcoming changes and take strategic action that serves the company’s long-term prospects in a changing environment. Partnerships with like-minded organizations are a practical option for stakeholders to continue being agile and relevant: sharing resources and know-how to provide consumers with workable solutions. And the same approach works for responding to consumers’ evolving requirements – for better security, faster transactions, and more intuitive interfaces, for example.

Finding the perfect partner

OAX has been focused on the technical development of decentralized exchanges, but we know success in taking digital assets mainstream can’t be achieved by one party alone. Therefore, we also look for partners to help develop and match the regulatory requirements and consumer services that will smooth our path to success. Cross-promoting each other’s’ work enables us to join forces and accelerate this process. To develop something that hasn’t been done before, our strategy is to work with partners across the spectrum – and because gaining mutual benefits requires mutual input, we’re open to working with companies who want to use our core innovation – our technology.

This approach is a great way of tapping into the pools of expertise that are developing among start-ups to address industry challenges. Cryptocurrency wallets, Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer (AML/KYC) providers, transaction monitoring, and trade surveillance are the types of business we’re looking to partner with.

Being the perfect partner

In embracing the partnership principle, we’re fully aware that this is by nature a two-way dynamic. Potential partners also have needs they wish to respond to, and we want to benefit them to the same degree that we gain from them. We’re aware that banks and exchange parties’ interest lies in our Layer 2 Exchange protocol’s ability to solve the speed, scalability and trust challenges inherent in digital asset trading. And we’re aware that we can help developers of wallets, KYC/AML providers, and providers of monitoring and surveillance to take the next step toward acceptance in the marketplace. For their own ideas and technologies to prosper, they need to tap into what we can provide – giving us the potential for a fruitful partnership going forward.

Rather than looking to Groucho Marx to summarise our approach, we prefer Henry Ford, whose innovations created modern mass-production techniques and transformed manufacturing way beyond the auto industry. “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success,” he said. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”