Local start-up links fiat and crypto-currencies
Local start-up BVNK is using its application programming interface (API) driven platform to drive the integration of fiat and crypto-currencies.
BVNK is a turnkey, core banking platform for crypto-currencies and fiat that enables financial institutions and fintechs to quickly and easily create modern financial products.
The start-up company was founded in 2016 and launched to the South African market in September 2017, but development began as far back as 2014.
Founder Kyle Redelinghuys says he began building a core banking platform as a side project to unearth the unseen complexities in banking, and expanded it into a business after he received organic commercial enquiries.
"Our API-driven platform acts as a bridge between fiat and crypto-currencies, so banks and other financial businesses can securely incorporate crypto-currency into their product offering," says Redelinghuys.
"Specifically, we enable banks to provide crypto-currency current accounts, as well as complementary exchange services, by integrating with or replacing their existing core banking system," he adds.
Redelinghuys has significant experience in technology and finance, most recently as a principal consultant at Visa's Innovation Centre. He says he also headed up special projects at a prominent secure communications company, dealing with cryptography and network systems at scale. He acts as BVNK's CEO.
The executive team also consists of Assis Ngolo, who heads up engineering, and Kyle Hauptfleisch, who heads up business development.
According to Hauptfleisch, BVNK generates revenue from licensing as well as transaction fees, while the target market includes banks, financial businesses and fintechs. He notes the company has received three rounds of seed funding from private investors to date.
"We are still open to funding discussions, provided there is auxiliary value in the partnership. Our company is post-revenue and funding is only required to accelerate expansion," says Hauptfleisch.
"BVNK is an API-driven core banking platform. We have incorporated crypto-currencies as any other traditional fiat currency in order to enable financial products that would have only been found in the fiat space. A great example would be a Bitcoin current account."
He explains the technology allows for cards to be linked, debit orders to be set up against it as well as enabling the seamless exchange between Bitcoin and fiat, which means users can pay merchants in Bitcoin and the merchants can receive local currency.
"Our system can be implemented in the cloud or on-premises, and we offer a mobile application and a Web-based dashboard, all powered by our API, for white labelling. Our platform is designed for banks and financial businesses to legitimately add crypto-currency-backed products to their offering.
"We believe that crypto-currency will neither replace the existing financial system, nor will it die altogether. Rather, it will augment finance as we know it. With this in mind, we treat it with the same gravitas as fiat and have included AML, KYC and other regulatory standards," says Hauptfleisch.
He adds that until recently, crypto-currency has been treated almost solely as an investment vehicle, rather than in a transactional capacity, as it was originally intended.
"This is changing. As the market matures and the mainstream become familiarised with the technology, more and more products will be created that solve very real challenges.
"We see this as a great opportunity to work with financial institutions to provide these solutions in a manner that mitigates many of the popular concerns: volatility, acceptance and risk. By enabling credible institutions to provide robust solutions, we can accelerate the maturation of crypto-currencies, as well as finance as a whole."