The thing about running a listed company is that you can’t release product with issues and certainly not security issues. This is the valid point made by the CEO of French innovative consumer electronics manufacturer, Archos. Loic Poirier, a seasoned executive with a history of international management in the world of innovation, is measured when he speaks about the company’s move into the cryptocurrency world.
“We are not a startup, far from it,” he says. “For the past fifteen years we have been leading the world in innovation in consumer electronics for people and for homes. We have been ahead of Apple in product design and responsible for the launch of the Android ecosystem.”
This innovation is startling. Archos delivered an MP3 player in 2000, six months before Apple, and an MP4 player before the Apple Ipod in 2005. With Google it developed the first Android Tablet in 2008 leading to start of the Android ecosystem.
The company has consistently been ranked 5th in Europe thanks to a solid R&D division, a strong supply chain and a long-term manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China
“We began looking at the cryptocurrency market about two years ago to figure out how we could get involved,” he says.
The result was the Safe-T mini, a hardware (HW) wallet for cryptocurrencies. “We were not innovating but providing a better solution in this case.”
The Safe-T mini has a number of features which mark it above its competitors. It has cryptocurrency memory, is fully produced in France so all aspects of the product design and build are monitored and Archos has an innovative idea on distribution.
“We are talking to Exchanges and ICOs – we believe it will be the fastest way to get HW wallets into customers’ hands. There are approximately 100 million people globally who buy or sell cryptocurrencies occasionally, and there is a subset of between 40/50 million who are active users. Yet of both those numbers only 2/3 million have HW wallets. Why is this?”
Poirier posits there are several reasons behind the lack of take-up. The current products are not easy to use and are difficult to find. A customer cannot currently walk into an electronics retailer and buy one. He also believes that, in time, purchasing wallets or even getting them for free will come with the exchanges.
Right now, Archos is rolling out across Europe, adding countries on a daily basis. Archos is working closely with Amazon and has its own online shop. By the end of the first week of July it expects to have online shops available in 27 different European Countries.
Poirier stresses that, while the shops will be live this week, the shipping date is July 17th.
Archos will seek to partner with retail outlets in each country, thereby removing that obstacle to purchasing over the counter by consumers. Archos will provide full training and support for these outlets.
This is just the first step for Archos in its innovation. “We have surveyed more than 1000 cryptocurrency users and asked them what they want next. The results are feeding into our extensive R&D team to come up with leading, innovative products.”
There are three main drivers for its innovation which will not be announced until Q4.
“People want to use a touch screen to do their trades. They want mobility while maintaining security. And finally, they want a single platform that eliminates the need for multiple platforms, usernames and passwords.
“Right now, if you have an account with Binance, Bitfinex etc it is very difficult to keep track of all your trades. A unified platform will be a game-changer.”
Poirier asks the question: “Is blockchain a fashionable technology or will it offer a structural change for corporate business models?
“We think it is the latter. That view is driven less by the price of Bitcoin or even the overall value of the market cap. We look at the liquidity of the cryptocurrency marketplace. The daily liquidity is running between $20/$30 billion. That is far greater than the volume of the traditional fiat exchanges in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt combined. That is what convinces us.”
What next? Well the Archos CEO is close-lipped but promises some very exciting news in November with product shipping in 2019. Watch this space.
Learn more here:
Visit the Safe-T Mini dedicated page
Purchase online via the Archos shop
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