AltaFin Combines Crypto and Real World Assets
Up until the past year or two, cryptocurrency has struggled to find a space in the ‘normal’ business day to day. When Bitcoin started in 2009, a marginally small number of people saw it as the next big thing. In 2013, TechBuzz co-founder and writer, Austin Craig, traveled the world on his honeymoon using only bitcoin, and struggled to find people who knew what bitcoin was, let alone people who took it seriously. But now, new and inventive ways of using and implementing crypto pop up daily. The world is catching up and crypto has found ways to expand and become relative in many industries.
It’s a really exciting time for crypto,” says CEO and co-founder of AltaFin, Jeremy Crane. “The whole gaming industry is taking off and NFTs are causing a new set of business opportunities. At this point in the crypto space, we felt it was the perfect time to bring those assets that exist in our current financial world, but not in the crypto financial world, and figure out how to marry them.”
Crane met Rob Fuller when Fuller hired Crane’s design studio to build an app and website for a different company app called HouseFolios. Fast forward a few years after the project, Crane pitched Fuller on joining him to combine their knowledge, Crane with crypto and Fuller with real estate, and created AltaFin, a cryptocurrency enabled fintech.
AltaFin launched in August 2020 in Lehi, Utah.
In February 2022, AltaFin launched another DeFI product, a lending protocol called Earn. Essentially, Earn allows crypto holders to lend their crypto to AltaFin and AltaFin will give them a 12% yield in return. While lending protocols are normal in the crypto space, Altafin is different because it uses real estate as the real world asset to drive the yield, bringing outside capital into crypto.
Earn is a long term yield product, AltaFin pays 12.55% APR on a 36 month term. Crane points out that Circle, one of the largest and most stable crypto coin companies, can only offer 6% APR on an 18 month term.
“It’s very competitive and exciting,” says Crane. “At the end of the day, we're making this yield available to a broader community. Traditionally, if you want to have access to real estate, you either need to be a high net worth individual, or you go onto a platform like Fundrise, and still may need to be accredited to have access to those tools. Our product is great because you can have fifty dollars or you can have fifty thousand, it doesn't matter, you always have access to the yield.”
Earn natively uses Ethereum or Polygon, with other chains currently in the works. To invest with Earn, users trade their crypto assets for the AFN token and choose their preferred contracts. The longest term is 36 months with an APR of 12.55%, as mentioned before, and the shortest term is one month with 6.55% APR. All principles are returned in USDC at the end of the term contract.
AltaFin makes investing in both crypto and real estate manageable for first time investors. It’s also a hedge for heavy defi investors who want to put a percentage of their portfolio into a stabilized return.
The company is currently bootstrapped with three founders, Crane, Fuller (CIO), and Ammon Warner (CTO). They brought on five new engineers in the last six months, all students at BYU as Warner is also a BYU student. When asked about talent acquisition, Crane explained, “new talent 100% wants to do everything in crypto." On top of this, he added that more experienced engineering talent faces a steep learning curve moving from SaaS engineering to crypto engineering.
Decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, introduced the concept of treasury, a concept AltaFin has adopted. All assets are put together into a rolling fund and seen as a whole, and not as specific assets.
“The crypto community brings with it the concept of transparency,” says Crane. “They want to know who the owners of the projects are. They want to know where their crypto is going. Instead of focusing on specific assets, we’ll be very transparent about the financials, basically the balance sheet. So, yes, we do have real estate under contract, and it's in our assets, but mainly we're continuing to move forward with our mission and using that to drive the yield that we will pay for our products.”