Two students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai have created a new media platform to deliver trusted information and practical education on cryptocurrency markets for GCC investors. The platform, which is the first of its kind in the region, was awarded top spot in the Fintech category at the recent GCC Innovation Challenge for Entrepreneurship 2021, hosted by ProjectSet.
Known as GulfCrypt, the innovation is the work of 19-year-old business major, Karim Tarakji, and 20-year-old computer security student, Suparno Chowdhury, who united their distinct talents to develop a technology-based solution that tackles the uncertainty and misinformation around cryptocurrencies.Explaining the inspiration behind the innovation, Karim said, “While there is a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies within the GCC, there is no single trusted source of information that is accessible to non-experts in this region. What’s more, consumers that are not properly informed risk being targeted by fraudsters; sent transactions associated with illicit activities in the region were estimated at $102 million in 12 month to June 2020.”
He continued, “We wanted to develop a solution with mass appeal, combining reliable information through blogs and verified articles, with opportunities for people to educate themselves, through courses for beginners to expert level. As the platform grows, we anticipate advertising partnerships with exchanges and relevant retailers and services providers, and our ultimate aim is to deliver valuable and accessible information to anyone who wants to know more about cryptocurrencies in the region.”
While Karim is a serial entrepreneur with a number of successful ventures to his name, his partnership with tech-enthusiast Suparno was perhaps a surprising one. Suparno said, “There’s often a pre-conception about people who are fascinated by coding, that they’re just a techie and don’t have much to offer in an entrepreneurial sense, so it was good to connect with Karim who was able to see beyond that idea.”
Suparno’s input has involved integrating innovative, technological-driven features to help advance the platform’s functionality. He explained, “We are applying machine learning functions to develop automated analysis processes that will feed instant, verified data to platform users. For example, we have already developed a function that uploads real-time updates on cryptocurrency pricing so that traders can instantly manage transactions based on their pricing thresholds.”
The talented pair, who first met in psychology class, have received mentoring support from Dr. Khalil Al Hussaeni, a Professor of Computing, who remarked, “Karim and Suparno have demonstrated the impact that technology now has on the business world, and it has been inspiring to see them harness their individual skills to create something with real value. Mixing with students from different backgrounds is a part of the university experience that has been missing in the past year and the ProjectSet competition provided an excellent opportunity for us to help them make those connections.”
Around 240 students from 34 universities across the GCC entered into the competition, with 14 teams advancing to the second round, where Karim and Suparno were crowned the Fintech category winners.