RioDeFi - Bridging Banking and Decentralized Finance
A DeFi blockchain ready-made with a comprehensive suite of tools
RioDeFi is developing a broad ecosystem of financial products that bridges traditional finance with the blockchain. Their tech boasts cross-chain swaps on RioChain, a blockchain built on the Polkadot-compatible Substrate, secure asset storage and high transaction speeds. All of this will be wrapped in an intuitive mobile wallet, with the ultimate goal to not only make cryptocurrency easy to use, but far more rewarding.
What will make this product suite stand out for most, is undoubtedly the scale of the products in active development, so let’s start by breaking down the items in the roadmap.
RioChain: Building on Polkadot Substrate, this federated blockchain will connect businesses, financial institutions and banks with ledgers. The Proof of Authority (GRANDPA) consensus mechanism will be used in the first iteration of the chain, moving to Proof of Stake (BABE) in the future. Code will be compiled natively and as web assembly (WASM), allowing dApp developers to write smart contracts in Rust C/C++, C#, Typescript, Haxe, and Kotlin languages.
RioWallet: All the features of the RioDeFi ecosystem will be accessible through a simple-to-use wallet that abstracts the underlying processes. Users will have access to features such as secure storage, fiat-crypto conversions, token swaps, staking, lending/ borrowing and more features as they come online. Using OAth, users will be able to access their wallets via their email or social media accounts.
Generic Asset Bridge: RioChain’s implementation of blockchain interoperability uses a federated approach, rather than trustless. The implementation is divided into a Generic Deposit Gateway and a Generic Withdrawal Gateway. The Generic Deposit gateway utilizes BIP-32, which introduced the process of automatically generating multiple addresses in a wallet for the same chain, based on an original private key. Private keys are stored safely, offline. The Generic Withdrawal Gateway manages the withdrawal process from cold storage.
MANTRA DAO: The first dApp built for RioChain is a community-governed DeFi platform focusing on Staking, Lending, and Governance. The platform introduces a reputation mechanism called KARMA, which is a decentralized equivalent of a credit score, rewarding users for their positive contributions to the ecosystem.
Rio dApp Store: While there is currently no information available for this, the concept is fairly self-explanatory. The store is likely to be integrated directly into RioWallet with the MANTRA DAO application listing first, followed by an e-commerce application called KQJ and BitPool, a blockchain-based predictions platform.
RioPay/ Debit Card: A contactless payment system that allows vendors to accept cryptocurrencies via the Rio Debit Card, as well as fiat currencies via NFC-enabled debit cards or phones. Additionally, integration with Moonpay enables RFuel to be bought and sold using a standard debit or credit card.
Fiat Gateway: A three-stage process of integrating banks for custodial services providing savings and lending programs, bringing liquidity via over-the-counter desks, and integrating a contactless payment system for vendors. Partnerships such as Vauld and Moonpay will provide the on and off ramps necessary for this.
RioExchange: While this is not in the most recent roadmap shown above, it’s worth noting that this was in the original roadmap. From what we understand, this will be an exchange that uses order-book sharing with other exchanges.
Decentralized Finance for the Masses
Now we’ve examined the items in the roadmap, let’s discuss their main objective: “Rio DeFi is a blockchain technology company with a mission to accelerate the mass adoption of digital assets by bridging traditional and decentralized finance.”. Furthermore, they insist they’ll achieve this goal by developing “solutions that connect businesses, financial and banking institutions with distributed ledger systems.”. More specifically, and ambitiously, they aim to help draw in the “other 99%” of the global market who aren’t currently utilizing blockchain tech for their day-to-day. Their means of achieving this: “providing software solutions that are scalable, interoperable, and upgradable”.
This only leaves one question: can they do it?
With the exceptionally well-thought out tech stack laid out in their roadmap, we believe the answer is a resounding “yes”. RioDeFi has taken the focus off the siloed debate about whose blockchain is better and shone the light directly on the end user’s needs. Sure, it’s not a particularly unique narrative, but bringing mass adoption is a worthy goal and also no small feat. Financial institutions are used widely, bringing services customers rely on such as secure storage, audited processes, good customer service, account recovery options and high liquidity of funds. Having a fighting chance at converting the masses to a decentralized equivalent requires a product that covers these bases as a minimum.
With RioDeFi, secure storage will be provided by the custodial storage of the cross-chain assets with Hex Trust. Audited processes include the audits of RioChain core runtime modules by CertiK and the transparency of transactions and cross-chain flows. Customer service will continue to be imperative to the company, with team members available 24/7 in the community, seeking out feedback on ways to constantly improve their services. Further, their weekly video updates and AMA sessions have been a huge hit. In future iterations of RioWallet, Account recovery options will be available, allowing users to back up their wallet using an identity verification process. Lastly, the requirement of high liquidity will be met through RioExchange connecting multiple exchanges through order-book sharing.
In the spirit of shining the light directly on the customer, let’s take a look at how one would benefit from using the RioDeFi ecosystem. Firstly, funds deposited in RioWallet will be able to be automatically staked, providing significantly higher yield than a traditional savings account. While staking is commonplace in crypto, direct access to a crypto-fiat-gateway via the staking wallet is rare. It’ll also be possible to borrow against deposited collateral, like a loan, if there’s a sudden need for cash, allowing the user to keep hodling their crypto. In terms of purchasing and selling crypto, partners like Moonpay and Vauld make this a far more familiar and real-world process. Interoperability, via Polkadot, will enable the user to swap between crypto and dApps across different blockchains, again directly from RioWallet.
From the perspective of the business that will utilize RioDeFi, firstly we have merchants that will accept crypto payments. Personally, we’re not particularly bullish about the prospect of proprietary crypto hardware, thanks to the lacklustre performance of projects like Elastos or Holochain. However, if their NFC payment options do take off, it will provide the customer with the ability to pay in a huge range of cryptocurrencies with the benefits of low fees, zero charge-backs and integrated anti-fraud measures. What does excite us, is the partnerships with banks that enable crypto-to-fiat transfers to be made instantly, meaning a user can simply log into their wallet using OAuth, make a crypto-fiat transaction straight to their bank account and make a payment via traditional payment terminals.
At the heart of the RioDeFi stack is RioChain, which the CEO, James Anderson states is a “layer 1 blockchain with cross-chain interoperability via our Generic Asset Bridge”. He further adds that while Polkadot is not necessary for the chain to thrive, it will boost the interoperability, speed, and better efficiency. Developers will be able to build highly scalable dApps that seamlessly message between blockchains, access price-oracles on top of benefitting from all the aforementioned features. The web assembly interface will allow them to compile code written in their chosen language. For the cherry on top, developers will receive 20% of all transaction fees generated from their dApps on the network as an incentive.
Market Fit and Tokenomics
When asked about competitors, the team will say that RioDeFi shares the most in common with Crypto.com. Crypto.com has an app, Visa card, savings program, lending service, online payment system for merchants, and recently added token swaps and coin farming (no doubt to ride the DeFi hype). There is certainly a resemblance and similar scope but the first-mover advantage cannot be understated for Crypto.com, with their products live and in use by a large user base.
The token emission schedule shows a significant portion of the tokens were distributed upfront, with the private sale completing distribution 180 days from the token generation event. At that point the token emission gradient will drop significantly, which may be the chosen entry point for conservative investors.
With both RioChain and RioWallet due to go live this month and a fully-loaded roadmap ahead, it’s hard not to get excited about this one.
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