BusinessOmiseGo – Banking the Blockchain

OmiseGo [OMG] once went up to almost $23 early 2018. What is the hidden force behind SEA’s leading payments company token?
Azeem SaifiNovember 14, 20187 min

For the uninitiated, Omise has been gaining tonnes of traction in the past few years, quickly becoming a major player in the payments industry, especially in Southeast Asia. Amongst others, it had struck deals with the biggest companies in the region which included CP Group’s telco company: True (Thailand). It is also no stranger to controversy, when it decided offer the lowest MDRs (merchant discount rates) to its merchants, outbidding even the more established payment players in the market such as 2C2P (invested by Japan’s GMO Partners).

It then did the unimaginable by initiating an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), by offering the OmiseGo coin (OMG) – first of its kind, in Southeast Asia, and probably Asia – while its competitors were still shunning the benefits of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Initially trading at about US$0.50, the token went to as high as US$20 at its peak!

OMG started out ahead of everyone, and was touted as a project full of potential, because of what it intended to build: its own decentralized banking facilities for the community, while offering interoperability (between various platforms). However, the project has been largely quiet of late. What lies ahead?


A payments company, ready to pull a “Binance”?

Photo by: Sam Town

The value proposition for OMG was huge; to bank the world’s unbanked. To top it off, its loyal supporters are still holding onto the fact that the token is backed by a successful payments company, in Southeast Asia.

Essentially, the whole idea made a lot of sense. OMG was to leverage on Omise’s connections with merchants in Southeast Asia, and in the process, grow adoption. However, as we all know, cryptocurrency adoption and payment will not happen overnight. Since then, other players have moved ahead in the space. The question is, can OMG still become what it intended to be?

An interesting project that might see them pulling ahead – is that they also run an exchange. This exchange, is currently open and they recently advertised for major positions, which included an open position for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Omise Exchange, right here in Thailand. While this space is becoming increasingly crowded, it is probably not the case for Thailand, Omise’s native operating country. Still, the potential remains to be seen – as OMG has not really impressed in terms of speed of execution, unlike Binance.


OMG coin, the next BNB?

An interesting take on OMG’s potential is that earlier this year, one of the world’s leading payment processors, Stripe had withdrawn its support for Bitcoin. In the process, Stripe commented that OMG might be something they are looking at. Since OMG started clearly as an intermediary product, and more as a utility token, its intentions have been very clear from the start – to be regulator friendly. This is clearly “expected” since the biggest investors in Omise (its parent company), hails from funds in Japan (which are highly regulated). Obviously, they see this as the only way to move forward in the industry; to be regulated. This could move it in the direction of the Liquid project, which we covered before.

While investors may have yet to find more love for the OMG token during the down market; pundits have been calling it the next Binance. However, it remains to be seen, as it is not difficult to raise doubts on the OMG project. The lack of progress in terms of development of the token’s use case has been mentioned repeatedly; and despite its grand dreams to fuel monetary transactions in the future, the OMG token continues to be an ERC-20 token. This is while many competitors have made moves to build their own distributed ledgers on their own blockchain. What will happen next remains to be seen.

Cover photo by: Datadash

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