Cliff Edwards joins the blockchain revolution as Chief Marketing Officer at Cred. An award-winning journalist for The Associated Press, BusinessWeek and Bloomberg Businessweek, he has held senior positions at Netflix and Searchmetrics and most recently led marketing and communications for TRON. We asked him what attracted him to the Cred family. Here’s what he said:
What’s the quickest way to bewilder your friends and relatives?
Tell them you work in the cryptocurrency or blockchain industry. More often than not, you’ll get a “that’s nice” and rapid change of subject – “How about those 49ers this year?” Those most informed might look slightly uneasy and mumble something about Bitcoin – practically begging you with their eyes not to press further.
So it was a relief for me when I joined Cred as Chief Marketing Officer. Yes, it’s a company that deals in cryptocurrency. And yes, it handles some transactions on the blockchain. But I’ve happily been able to sum up what the company does in five words: Earn money while you sleep.
I credit that to Cred’s CEO Dan Schatt, who made it such a simple proposition. When I met the former PayPal exec in March at a TRON social function, others in the room struggled to describe how their particular blockchain project delivered a sustainable use case. Dan didn’t: Crypto holders pledge their assets to Cred to secure a credit line from Cred and then Cred lends those assets to businesses around the world at more attractive interest rates and fees than traditional banks. Cred leverages the blockchain to do everything a bank does, and better, though it isn’t a bank in a traditional sense.
Cred takes a cut just like any bank would, but instead of the asset holder earning a measly sub 1% in return for depositing funds in a bank account, Cred delivers up to 10% annually. And unlike many crypto outfits I’ve come across, Cred has scrupulously dotted its I’s and crossed its T’s by pursuing the right licenses, insurance, legal and regulatory work. Remarkably, Cred is able to service customers in 183 countries.
TAKING THE LEAP
What made that even more interesting to me was that it solves a problem I struggled with during my tenure running Marketing & Communications at TRON. Many people would ask, “If I purchase one particular type of cryptocurrency over another, how do I know my investment will pay off?” Right now, it’s pretty much a leap of faith since blockchain platforms and uses case (beyond online gambling and gaming) are in their infancy. That leaves any crypto purchases marooned on an island, with little hope of rescue should the business model that backs those assets fail and others succeed.
But if you take that leap to hold any crypto, Cred offers a way for you to earn money simply by having it and loaning it out.
A PERSONAL JOURNEY
Beyond that, Cred represents another step in my personal journey to understand how technology can change the way we live and interact with each other. A good friend once told me that there’s virtually no technological advance as sweeping as the internet. It changes everything, this Silicon Valley exec said.
That’s guided my career path, both as a journalist and a company executive. I’ve been fascinated with telling the story of technological change. A DVD-by-mail company growing into a behemoth has made phrases like “binge-watching” and “Netflix and chill” part of the vernacular. An online bookseller now has people Alexa-ing and frowning when they can’t get a product in two days or less. And searching for a person, place or thing is as simple as saying a few words into handheld phones that are now as ubiquitous as Starbucks coffee shops.
Blockchain has similar potential. It’s borderless, letting you transfer money to virtually every place on the globe. It’s verifiable – I sent it, you received it. And it doesn’t need a central authority to work; you don’t need someone else’s servers and you have more control over what you share and with whom.
BANK ON FAIRNESS
For Cred in particular, serving business and retail customers is not a transaction-based, impersonal business. The potential is to help the unbanked, underbanked – and the poorly banked – people around the world, whether you have one dollar (or one of 30 other currencies or cryptocurrencies) or $10 million to your name.
Already, there are inspiring stories of Venezuelans who have found a solution to the economic suffering caused by the country’s hyperinflation — earning money from Cred to pay their bills and feed their families. Merchants with mainly cash-based businesses are turning to Cred and its many industry partners for innovative financing solutions.
The Cred logo illustrates communities filled with people coming together to make a positive impact, and that’s the philosophy I wish every business would espouse in a way that doesn’t sound false.