09.03.2023Read Time: 8 min

Aurus Ask Me Anything with Mark Gesterkamp

Ask Me Anything with Mark Gesterkamp, Chief Business Development Officer at Aurus, together with AscendEX exchange.

Share article:

  • telegram icon
  • twitter icon
  • reddit icon
  • linkedin icon

Hi Mark Gesterkamp, it's a pleasure to have you here today to provide insights into Aurus. I will start the AMA with some of my questions and after, we will open the floor to let our community ask questions.

1. For those that are not familiar, can you briefly describe Aurus, and what problems you are aiming to solve?

Aurus, founded in 2018, is bringing precious metals to the digital assets space with blockchain technology. We’ve created an ecosystem of precious metals industry players including refineries, vaults and brokers that can interact with the Aurus platform to tokenize their own precious metals: tGOLD, tSILVER and tPLATINUM. Each token is 1:1 backed by 1 gram of physical LBMA-accredited gold, silver and platinum, stored in fully insured and audited vaults. 

(Problem): Physical precious metals are key financial instruments, having served as money for thousands of year due to their unique characteristics and ability to preserve value. Even banks hoard gold and silver till this day. However, physical precious metals are cumbersome, making them difficult and expensive to store and transfer, and therefore carry high premiums. 

(Solution): Tokenized precious metals are highly portable, transferable, and liquid digital assets. They have the advantages of physically allocated gold, silver, and platinum but do not have the drawbacks of limited transportability or high storage costs usually associated with it. Instead, it has the divisibility, fungibility, and tradability of any digital asset like Bitcoin.

2. How does the AurusX (AX) token function within the platform and why is it needed?

AurusX is Aurus’ Ecosystem token that allows holders to share in the rewards generated by tGOLD, tSILVER and tPLATINUM transaction fees. As people around the world trade and transfer tokenized precious metals, the fees are distributed to the holders of AurusX. These fees can be claimed as rewards in tGOLD, tSILVER and tPLATINUM every month.

AurusX unique functionality allows the Aurus ecosystem to be highly scalable and completely self-sustaining. AurusX is a scarce digital asset limited to a total supply of 30 million tokens, meaning, as the ecosystem grows, so do the rewards generated. 

3. Could you share the development status and progress of the project thus far? Including the major partners and perhaps some operational data.

Since 2018, we have been steadily developing our product and expanding our ecosystem of partners - with little resources dedicated to marketing, up until now. We have seen the most significant growth in the last year, having grown our team to 20 employees, d oubling our market cap of precious metals, and achieving more than 20,000 app downloads. Some other key milestones achieved: 

Key milestones achieved:

  • Ecosystem rewards activated
  • Granted a crypto and commodities trading license in Dubai (DMCC)
  • Established the Aurus Foundation (UK)
  • Launched the Aurus Mobile App
  • Partnered with largest precious metals refinery in Spain

4. Who will the users/clients be on your projects and what are some examples of use cases for them?

Previously, the only way to invest in gold involved buying from a bullion dealer for a premium and paying storage fees, or through an ETF. While ETFs provide price exposure, they do not represent ownership of physically allocated metals and cannot be redeemed. tGOLD is based on blockchain-based technology, which allows for many unique characteristics and makes gold accessible to a wider audience. The technology allows for: 24/7 trading; fiat/crypto exchange listings; peer-to-peer transfers; instantaneous settlement on all transactions. Aurus addresses various use cases; as a network of stable value transfer in the global payments market, as a reward-generating financial primitive in DeFi, and as a stablecoin in gaming.

5. What is your strategy in regard to attracting more users to your protocol?

At Aurus, we're on a mission to unlock the full potential of precious metals. We're working with innovative partners to further expand and enhance the use cases for precious metals, including payments, DeFi, gaming, and NFTs.

Our partner Tangem is piloting a Visa Payment Card that will allow you to use precious metals to make payments through the Visa network. This will greatly increase the speed, ease and volume of transactions.

We're also working with our vault partners and Chainlink to bring you Proof of Reserves (PoR), a real-time auditing system that ensures the transparency of your precious metals. The Proof of Reserve seal from ChainLink is one of the most recognized certifications that any stablecoin company can obtain, similar to the LBMA in precious metals, functioning as an element of trust and security.

6. Let’s talk about the current landscape of other projects doing something similar. What separates you from some of the competitors?

The concept of digitizing gold and silver isn’t new, it was rigorously attempted even before blockchain technology. Over the last 5 years we have seen over 100 gold-backed tokens come and go, with most failing to survive due to several reasons. Currently, the biggest players in the market are PaxGold (PAXG) and Tether Gold (XAUT). 

The fundamental flaw in these projects is that they are completely centralized, meaning the token issuer has full control over the underlying metals. A centralized approach to tokenizing assets leaves the door open for exploitation, which actually counteracts the attractiveness of precious metals - peace of mind and financial stability. 

Aurus precious metals tokens were created with sustainability in mind. The tokens are independently minted by a global network of established precious metals refineries, vaults and traders that participate in the Aurus Ecosystem. Aurus’ decentralized approach to tokenization ensures that the company can never “touch” or influence the gold traded or vaulted, meaning investors are not subject to a single point of failure.

7. What unique experience does your team bring that puts Aurus in a position to be successful?

For a start, Aurus was founded by traders with digital skills and with enough knowledge to know their own limitations and the skill set to hire the best people with the correct skill sets and experience. It has created an Ecosystem that is inclusive of all the elements of an efficient market, be that vaults, refiners, traders, investors, service providers and technical back-up. More interestingly, professional traders make their money on volatility not just buying and selling, the more the price moves, regardless of direction, it generates supply and demand and therefore trading opportunities. Aurus has used this knowledge to create the AurusX token, which generates rewards for the holder by getting a smaller percentage of each transaction in the ecosystem. The greater the number of transactions, the greater the income and greater the value of the AurusX token.

8. What does success look like for Aurus? What are the biggest risks and challenges Aurus will need to overcome to consider the project successful?

Aurus strives to create a more efficient and inclusive precious metals market with blockchain technology. While cryptocurrencies and precious metals can have many synergies, they are completely different markets, with different user demographics. One of the most common challenges that we have experienced, is the learning curve that many precious metals companies need to adopt in order to collaborate with a technology such as Blockchain; this entails not only understanding the process of tokenization and it’s benefits, but also a conscious decision to expand their current business models to support an integration with technology. 

9. Can you please elaborate on the goals you are aiming to achieve in 2023?

Yes, we have partners in (South America, London, Turkey, Estonia) currently. And we are currently in talks for expanding to the following territories, including Dubai, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Netherlands & Germany. Expansion involves a lot of strategic decision-making and therefore it can be a time-consuming process, because we want to onboard the right partner, who shares our vision and understands what we hope to achieve.

The Aurus roadmap for 2023 and beyond!

  • Expanding ecosystem - onboarding more partners in new territories
  • Aurus Ambassador Program & multilingual expansion
  • Gold-backed NFTs
  • GameFi – Gold in Gaming
  • Aurus Visa Payment Card 
  • DeFi – Grow UniswapV3 liquidity pools 
  • Proof of reserves (Aurus x Chainlink)
  • Tier-A exchange listing (AurusX)

10. As a non-project-related question, which sector of crypto markets excites you the most?

The DeFi sector excites me the most, for sure. DeFi is a very wide sector which contains several components as; DEX's, lending/borrowing protocols, stablecoins, ecosystems and even NFT's. The possibility of interrelationships from these components is what makes this sector so dynamic and exciting. There are an endless amount of utilities which can be set up in a decentralized nature and where everybody - as individual - can reap the benefits from.

For example, UniswapV3 concentrated liquidity feature allows liquidity provisions to be used extremely efficiently. This is extremely powerful for stable assets such as precious metals. 

Congratulations on the success thus far! I know our community is eager to ask more questions. Thank you very much Mark Gesterkamp for being here today and providing us with insights into Aurus. Best of luck with the project!

Follow Aurus: Website | TwitterTelegramLinkedInYoutube | Newsletter 


Recommended articles