A stock market is essentially an accurate representation of the overall economy of a country. With that said, the United States has been the world’s largest economy for the past few decades. Despite the cyclical crashes, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indices are rising significantly faster than any other indices, making them the most profitable place for investors to park their money. However, investors outside of North America are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to investing in the S&P or DOW. This is primarily due to the high regulations set by their government regarding investing overseas in the foreign markets and investing in general. This regulatory structure causes people to stick to traditional cash, commodities, or real estate as their only form of investment. People in developing countries are discouraged to invest in the stock market due to the high requirements to qualify for a brokerage account. Among the ones who do get to set up a brokerage account, most of them are only allowed to invest in their local emerging markets, which aren’t as profitable as the S&P or DOW. For them to invest overseas, they would have to go through multiple intermediaries which ends up costing them a lot of money in fees and commissions. Other online-based brokerages such as eToro are not as reliable and are often prone to cyber attacks as they have a single point of failure. Hence, we want to solve this problem of making global trading more accessible to everyone.
What it does
BlockAxis is a blockchain-based hybrid trading platform that enables users around the globe to gain access and trade in the foreign equity markets. It mixes the elements of both centralized and decentralized exchanges and reaps their benefits. Instead of using fiat currency as the medium of stock purchases, it uses stablecoins such as DAI which are primarily designed to maintain its stable price and avoid market volatility unlike traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
How I built it
The web application is built with the MERN tech stack: React.js for the frontend, an Express.js REST API at the backend to provide necessary endpoints, and MongoDB for the database to store user data and transactions. We used the Alpha Vantage API to fetch realtime stock data + forex rates, and Web3 & Metamask for authentication and connecting to the blockchain. We used Adobe XD for UI/UX design. Our mobile application is written with React Native and is under development.
Challenges I ran into
3 out of 4 people on our team were completely new to the fintech space, so sometimes it was hard to understand blockchain concepts, not even to mention how we were going to integrate it into our app.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of combining aspects of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and stock exchange into a single app that could potentially benefit everyone around the world by making trading more accessible.
What I learned
After 3 days of total information overload, I am a true believer that the best way to learn something is to just throw yourself in. We learned how to integrate a blockchain wallet into a MERN web app, and combined it with the Alpha Vantage API for stock data and foreign exchange rates.
What's next for BlockAxis
Our vision and our mission with BlockAxis is to make foreign trading on the global markets readily accessible to anyone with basic internet and just a smartphone. In fact, over 70% of the population in developing countries such as India and Bangladesh conduct their day-to-day activities on cash and a lot of them do not even have a bank account. They do, however, have access to a smartphone. We want to enable those users without a bank to still be able to buy/sell stocks. We hope to achieve that by installing crypto ATMs across the city. The users will be able to convert their cash directly into stablecoins and make the necessary stock purchases. They will be able to save their private wallet key onto their smartphone in the form of a barcode.