For several decades, banks and financial advisors have searched for ways to get those without vast resources to invest and save their money. An early example was Bank of America’s Keep the Change program, which rounded up purchases and moved the change to savings accounts.
A few years back, the Lawnmower app came to fruition, enabling users to do a similar thing, except their spare change went to buy a small amount of Bitcoin. It later expanded to allow for numerous blockchain assets, though it is no longer available. In the traditional investing space, the Acorns app is all the rage, enabling users to do the same thing with the traditional stock market.
Everyday Americans have been increasingly interested in venture capitalism since the dawn of the dotcom boom, and CNBC’s Shark Tank, now in its tenth season, while a poor example of how VC meetings go, has the popularity to demonstrate this fact. Occasionally, technological innovations cross the stage of Shark Tank, and this week’s episode featured a creation of interest to crypto enthusiasts: the Bundil app, a Lawnmower-style application that enables users to invest their spare change in cryptocurrency.
Passive investment options like Bundil and Acorns are an important part of the 21st-century financial landscape. In the past, the best an everyday person could do was hire someone they hoped could manage their money successfully. Too many examples of fraud and theft took place in that era to list. Whenever you put a great deal of value in a centralized location and give one person or a small group of people in full control of it, bad things can and will happen. The era of the blockchain makes such instances rarer.
Of Shark Tank’s investor lineup, Mark Cuban is the most likely to invest in blockchain technologies. However, already having money in several including the untraceable messaging platform Dust and being an advisor on the Mercury protocol, he said he’s already invested in a similar platform to Bundil and passed on the offer.
Perhaps the heel of the show, Kevin O’Leary is often mocked by his fellow Shark Tank investors and rarely actually strikes a deal on the show. Being that all the other sharks backed out, O’Leary was Bundil creator Dmitri Love’s last hope. Love was offering a 10% stake in his company for $100,000, thereby valuing the application at $1 million.
O’Leary asked a surprising question for a balding millionaire investor: “Which cryptos does it support?” Love responded that it supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. O’Leary was no nicer to Love than he is to anyone, and demanded 50% of the company in exchange for $100,000, effectively devaluing the company by 80%. He said, “You are going to fail within 36 months.” Matt Higgins suggested that Love should partner with existing exchanges to expand his reach, and Cuban notably said this was a good way to kill the business while trying to grow it. Higgins said that competing products were too easy to build.
After all the other sharks had backed out, O’Leary reiterated that he would be a 50/50 partner at $100,000, or he would also back out. Love seemed displeased with the offer, noting that “50% is a lot,” but ultimately accepted the investment from Kevin O’Leary. This effectively means that Bundil now has the star power and reach of a famous investor.
Love created Bundil as an answer to friends and family who continually pestered him about the perils of investing in cryptocurrency. It’s hard to convince people that they should risk real money on something they hardly understand. Acquiring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies comes with its own set of hurdles, so by the time an only-casually-interested party gets to where they can actually buy some coin, they’ve probably lost interest. In this way, passive investment apps are extremely important for the viability of cryptocurrency as a whole.
Love told the sharks:
“I thought, ‘Man, you know, anyone that’s trying to invest in cryptocurrency has to go through all these steps to try to figure out how to buy it. And I thought there could be an easier way for it to be done.”
Bundil costs $3 per month or $24 per year. It connects to your chosen payment method and slowly grows your Bitcoin balance. For those cautious or cash-strapped, it and other similar methods are potentially the only realistic way to introduce themselves to the important new world that is cryptocurrency.
Images from Shutterstock
Last modified: May 20, 2020 2:34 PM UTC