Charlie Karaboga fell in love with Sydney after a visit with a friend in 2013. The Turkish national then left Vodafone’s Luxemburg office for the Australian office, and though his location changed, his fascination with technology remained. He says, “the Telco industry was a little bit outdated with all the tech innovation around the world, but I was trying to keep myself up to speed and working on some exciting projects around payments”.
During a PayPal integration project, Karaboga met Jordan Momtazi, “my counterpart on the PayPal side,” who went on to work at Synthetix - Australia’s largest Initial Coin Offering (ICO). From there, Karaboga and Momtazi’s friendship, tech curiosity and constant exchange of ideas led them to build Block Earner.
Karaboga says, “I was fascinated with the crypto industry. My background [is] in engineering so seeing everything about decentralised finance – you know, the Bluechip products of the initial products of decentralised finance, and also the stablecoins, especially around 2018/19 – I think that was the Cambrian moment. Everyone talks about Bitcoin, but I think Ethereum and stablecoins brought us here, as an industry, and I witnessed the movement of DeFi [decentralised finance] around 2018/19.”
“[But], DeFi is obviously a bit technical for everyday users, so we started to hear from our friends ‘Hey, how can I get in? How can I use DeFi products?’. Jordan and I decided to work on an idea called ‘Block Earner’ so that we could give everyday users access to decentralised finance platforms and new financial products built on blockchain.
“The idea started in 2021. We raised our seed round – as you might know we got investment from Framework Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and a bunch of angel investors in this space – and then launched the product … this year  in March.”
The company is an adaptor between traditional finance and digital currency finance. Karaboga says there is a digital finance movement coming and, in the future, regardless of which type of digital currency we’ll be using, a platform is required – Block Earner aims to be this platform.
“The platform works like an investment application, normal investment or fintech application – you have a PayID address to transfer the funds … [then] we do all the background work to integrate this [with] platforms [in] the background so that you could access decentralised finance products, including easy access to stablecoins…” The company’s integration with DeFi allows it to offer up-to-date products and facilitate access to global financial markets.
Block Earner launched in Australia in early 2022 and in November 2022 launched in Turkey (one of the top five largest crypto markets in the world), before India and the UK. The team is also working on several features, including bill payments, remittance, buy and sell and a card partnership.
It's widely known as a fact that 2022 was a terrible year for cryptocurrencies, with a loss of $2 trillion in market value. However, Karaboga is optimistic and advises that the technology and demand is still significant.
“I think we need to distinguish the people factor and the technology factor here. [The] unfortunate events of this last six months, let’s say, [were] not related to the technology or the promises of blockchain or decentralised finance. This happens in unfortunately every industry but it’s painful when it happens in fintech.
“[In this] period, some of the activities will slow down, but eventually we will go back to the original idea of [a] global finance ecosystem – people using global products with digital currencies.
“This is an opportunity to regulate businesses and regulate the industry. … I see this one as an opportunity for us to learn from lessons and build something better.”
“, not only for blockchain but for [the] payment industry and internationally for all of [the] tech industry, was a difficult year in terms of post-COVID money. … We need to leave everything behind and move on in 2023, and the market is [at] the perfect timing for building.”