Roostoo, an early stage startup based at the University of Southern California (SC), has created a gamified trading platform that helps give cryptocurrency trading enthusiasts a near real life trading experience without risking anything.
The app provides objective metrics of each cryptocurrency for users to track the development of different crypto projects.
Roostoo initially began as a crypto arbitrage and token insights app but switched to the current form in September.
Interest from African and Asian youth
Roostoo Business Development Associate, Maryam Nawaz, whose tasks include monitoring and studying feedback from users, told AfricaBlockchainMedia that their app is already generating interest with young people in African as well as Asian nations.
“We’ve found there is a lot of interest from Africa (South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, etc) and Asia (Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia), and most of our users are usually in their twenties.
“The reasons for interest in the app are varied, but in many of these places it is the deteriorating economic environment that creates a real need for cryptos. In spite of this (need) crypto communities in these countries remain small because people do not know where to start and are afraid of falling for scams,” explained Nawaz.
Risks associated with crypto trading
Cryptocurrency use or trading remains curtailed in many countries but that has not stopped criminals from exploiting the lack of regulation as well as a fear of missing out (FOMO) for personal gain.
A number of scams casting themselves as legitimate cryptocurrency startups sprang up in the last few years—particularly during the 2017 ICO craze— and many unsuspecting investors lost money after ‘investing.’
As consequence, governments and regulatory bodies have generally taken a tough stance against privately issued cryptocurrencies.
In addition, warnings against use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin continue to be issued yet the conditions that gave rise to such privately issued digital currencies remain unresolved.
It is the failure to address these conditions that draws citizens to the idea of cryptocurrencies but there has been no framework to ease them into such a realm.
Roostoo as an enabler
Roostoo’s innovation is an attempt to educate while giving the learners a real life crypto trading experience before they actually start trading.
According to findings of Roostoo’s research, it is young people who are particularly open to the idea of cryptos but they often lack the wherewithal to start trading.
Therefore the Roostoo app acts as a bridge that eases transition to the real cryptospace without risk whilst allowing users to see firsthand the benefits of crypto as they trade mock-money in real-time.
According to Nawaz, work is also ongoing to make the app more gamified and social so that it has an appeal that goes beyond just basic education. To that end, the startup is working with universities from the abovementioned countries to help generate interest for the Roostoo app.
“In line with that, crypto clubs and blockchain communities in several universities in these regions have requested us to introduce two new features: mock-trading competitions and referrals. This is because there is a demand for a good platform that can be used to engage their crypto communities, and there is no way better to do this than through a crypto contest with prizes!
App getting more support
Subsequent to that, Nawaz also revealed that the young startup recently closed a business deal with a Singaporean venture capital firm (VC) to expand the contest to include the general public.
Roostoo believes this move (by the VC) proves that its business model is applicable outside of universities or to younger generations, even as they make up the bulk of the app users.
The startup which launched in July this year, is run by a team of six mostly grad students, with one undergrad and one alumni.
Below are some of the key functionalities of the app;
- Real-time Arbitrage Data: Arbitrage is the price difference of the same token between different exchanges: such price discrepancy exists due to still inefficient and immature cryptocurrency markets. Roostoo constantly updates the arbitrage of each token every second, thus exposing in real-time market inefficiencies. In-app also provides the trending graph of past 30-min arbitrage rates to further inform users on specific token-exchange pair movement.
- Global Token Insights: The App provides most updated insightful and objectively quantifiable metrics that help users analyze each public token through different angles. Metrics include Github development activities (e.g. commits, stars, forks, watchers, contributors), and crypto community indicators (e.g. Google search trends, Reddit users, Telegram members).
- Real-time Alerts: For users who want to be notified by sudden token price movements or substantial market price discrepancies, the app will also let users set up price alerts and notifications when there is significant market volatility.