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Rupert Barksfield is the Co-Founder and COO of Pynk, a Founder Institute London fintech portfolio company leveraging crowd-sourced wisdom to identify and invest in blockchain projects that have the potential to change the world.

For many consumers and businesses, an initial confusion about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies quickly leads to the end of the road, because the learning curve to participate or their assumptions about early market volatility are simply non-starters in their mind. Pynk is partly banking on this very learning curve, and on how much consumers want to learn more about blockchain technologies and about making successful personal investments in crypto-backed securities and assets. No longer restricted just to early adopters, Pynk must work by correctly identifying crowd-worthy and real investments opportunities, with serious upside potential, or otherwise unlocking economic potential through digital currencies and for broader audiences of consumers and investors alike.

Pynk is a crowd-powered investment platform designed to reduce the risk of investing in both digital currencies and related blockchain startup projects at the same time, while also having the lowest entry price possible: zero dollars. At first glance, what Pynk is building may appear confusing, but it’s actually reasonably simple. According to the company's recent white paper

Pynk is building a new model for retail investment, that directs capital into emerging projects that the Pynk community determines to be worthy of support. And we’ve designed Pynk to be the world's most inclusive fund. Regardless of your wealth, race or religion - Pynk is financially inclusive, and is the platform where socially conscious digital natives can help shape a better future for all.

The Inclusive Investment Platform

Pynk is designed to offer similar benefits of other types of cryptocurrency investments, but with three crucial differences:

  1. First, Pynk is an investment fund: a fund focusing on cause-based blockchain startups.
  2. Second, Pynk offers e-learning modules and other content to help investors of all experience levels better understand digital currency and crypto securities and related asset markets.
  3. And third, users don’t have to exchange cash for tokens or mine for tokens to get started with Pynk tokens.

Users absolutely can purchase Pynk tokens if they choose, but Pynk also allows you to trade your time in the form of research for Crowd Tokens. These Crowd Tokens accrue, and are eventually converted into Pynk Tokens. It’s sort of like when you go to an arcade, win a ton of tickets, and walk out with a pretty nifty toy. The tickets are not worth anything alone, but when you gather enough, they are as good as cash at the arcade counter.

The end goal for Pynk is a community-first platform that researches startup projects, validates their potential from both a commercial and sustainability perspective – and in doing so establishes the Pynk community as engineers of a more positive future.

Digital currencies typically allow people to either invest by exchanging their hard-earned money for digital coins/tokens, or in some cases have their computers mine for tokens. Mining computers are actually conducting transactions that feed into the decentralized blockchain network, where in exchange for that computational work, the network rewards the miners with tokens. As those tokens add up, the miner/computer owner accumulates digital currency, which can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies, securities, or the normal government-backed “fiat” currencies, better known as cash-money.

Rather than powered by mining computers, Pynk is instead powered by its researchers: The Crowd. That Crowd, open to anyone and free to join, is filled with researchers who make predictions about numerous crypto, stock, securities, and currency markets. Eventually, Pynk plans to diversify its portfolio further, allowing its Crowd of researchers to analyze other markets and private equity startup opportunities that may be an ideal match for the Pynk investment fund.

Part of the ethos behind The Crowd, and behind not requiring Pynk tokens to be purchased using normal fiat currency, is that globally speaking, many people simply cannot afford to contribute financially to a crypto investment. In the spirit of building the world’s most inclusive investment vehicle, the team at Pynk took the Crowd deeply into its consideration in adding investment options, like allowing users to trade their time and expertise in exchange for investing in the digital currencies - while also of course including more traditional investors who prefer to simply exchange through currencies, cash or crypto. According to Pynk Co-Founder and COO Rupert Barksfield, 

Financial inclusivity, helping people invest using their time to help the fund perform better, and providing financial education to help them learn how a little work now is the acorn that creates a huge oak tree. In exchange for their time, they receive the same tokens for the fund as people who invest cash, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Not only is Pynk removing the barriers to entry to developing a more inclusive community, but the singular focus is built right into their name.

The switch to Pynk was super hard. Anything with crypto in its name got instantly blocked in Facebook ads and Google, so we knew that part had to go, but to move to Pynk was really a deep dive by the team into what we really are as a brand. And above anything else, we are inclusive; so regardless of what race, colour, religion or wealth, we are all pink under our skin and welcome at our door. No one is turned away, and everyone can add value.

Though the team currently has a platform available in beta, they are hard at work on a forthcoming mobile app. Much of the world accesses the web primarily through mobile devices, which would further enable more people to tap into the investment ecosystem. The team is also working hard: tackling regulatory compliance issues to make it easier for anyone interested in direct investment opportunities, developing new digital financial education content for users, all while simultaneously closing a funding round themselves.

As consumers move beyond the bitcoin-buoyed speculative early bubble days, so much market excitement remains for investors about the emerging value in future blockchain-enabled technology applications. Keep your eye on Pynk, because with the wisdom of the Crowd at its back, this inclusive fund is likely to point towards the crypto-projects that will hold the most meaningful innovations. 

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $800M in funding, and building products people love across over 180 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey


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