Why the metaverse will go far beyond Meta

NOTE: The opinion piece was first published in Nikkei Asia on Dec 7

Users will have more choice in Web 3.0 than they do on the internet today
By John Mitchell

John Mitchell is co-founder and CEO of Episode Six, a Texas-based fintech company with extensive operations in Asia.

Mark Zuckerberg did not invent the metaverse. He does not own it, either. But his decision to rename Facebook as Meta in October is likely to be remembered as the moment when this vision for a more immersive digital life went mainstream.

Naturally enough in the light of Facebook’s real-world problems, Zuckerberg’s pivot to the virtual world has opened some eyes. Nina Xiang sounded the alarm in the article “Metaverse nightmare will strip-mine our fragile human reality” published online on Nov. 18, sketching a dystopian metaverse in which Big Tech preys on humanity, making an impassioned case that governments and users should take action to prevent “a small group of unaccountable, elite tech companies” from condemning the rest of us to life in the Matrix.

Xiang will not be the only one to highlight the risk. Governments will certainly move to regulate activity including financial services in the metaverse, just as they do the real world. And, as they spend more time in virtual worlds, users should expect to be protected by tech companies.

But metaverse users will actually have more choice in what is being called Web 3.0 than they do on the internet that we know today. For sure, some of them will choose to shop and be entertained on Meta’s metaverse platforms, which will no doubt be easy to access from Meta’s empire of social media properties.

But plenty of users, especially younger ones, are already starting to inhabit a different, more decentralized kind of metaverse. It is unlikely that internet users in the future will be very interested in platforms that confine them and their digital possessions within a so-called walled garden. They will want a metaverse that is decentralized in terms of control but hyper-connected in terms of underlying infrastructure, enabling the easy transfer of value between platforms.

If you want to see the shape of things to come, look at the world of blockchain-based games. In Alien Worlds, players compete using non-fungible tokens (NFTs), earn an in-game currency called Trilium and travel on Alien World Missions in which they control competing Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, known as Planet DAOs.

It sounds far-fetched, but as many as 3.6 million people are already playing, earning, spending and trading in Alien Worlds alone. Conventional online games like Roblox boast many more active players. Roblox has around 225 million average monthly players but these are walled gardens that allow money in, but do not allow digital assets to be moved in or out.

Crucially, the currency and assets that a player holds in blockchain-based games like Alien Worlds, Decentraland, and Axie Infinity are portable beyond the boundaries of the game itself.

The emergence of this patchwork of different but interoperable platforms, rather than the giant monoliths that Xiang fears, suggests that control over economic value will shift back toward users. The use of governance tokens to power blockchain platforms could also help to decentralize control in the metaverse, addressing another of her concerns.

Thanks to NFTs, the spaceship a player owns in Star Atlas and the Small Love Potions in-game currency they have accumulated in Axie are as transferable as the car in their garage or the dollars in their pocket.

The value embedded in a digital asset can be converted into real money via cryptocurrency exchanges and then spent in real stores. Conversely, money earned from a real-world job can be converted into crypto on an exchange and brought into a game to purchase virtual land or spaceships.

Value, then, is being set free from the systems in which it was generated. And what is possible in the metaverse will surely influence expectations of what is possible back in real life.

Having become accustomed to a plethora of units of value, and their extreme portability, today’s gamers are not going to welcome a centralized institution locking their value inside any particular system, or having to use different payments infrastructure to interact with different units of value. It would seem absurd.

And if we extended the principle of extreme portability from blockchain-based games to conventional finance, the world would look very different. You would be able to take your loyalty card reward points from one chain of stores and use them at another, or convert them into cash.

You would be able to bring your crypto holdings into a wallet provided by your bank or, one day, hold your cash directly as central bank digital currency. And you would be able to spend dollars from that wallet to buy a nice apartment in Decentraland and rent it out for Ether.

Of course, regulators and brand owners will have a lot to say about this. But the revolution in value units has already begun, and will accelerate as people and value-creation migrate to the metaverse.

Axie Infinity alone has 2.23 million average monthly players, according to ActivePlayer.io, up from just over 600,000 at the beginning of the year, while research firm IDC forecasts that, by 2030, 60% of global consumers will have made a transaction using a unit of value other than a fiat currency.

That points to an urgent need for financial institutions to upgrade existing payments infrastructure to meet changing consumer expectations and regulatory requirements. There is a lot at stake here, too: $250 billion worth of payments revenue could move to non-financial institutions by 2030 if banks cannot keep up, according to IDC’s estimates.

You may not want to play Alien Worlds, but the game’s success is a sign that we can expect a decentralized metaverse with many distinct but transferable units of value, and that this paradigm will soon influence real world finance too. If you are at a financial institution, that gives you a Trilium reasons to get ready for a future with more units of value.

Cape joins forces with FrankieOne to enhance the customer onboarding experience

Cape, the expense management platform issuing business credit cards, and FrankieOne, the regulatory enabler technology specialising in KYC and fraud-prevention, have today announced a strategic partnership to benefit Australia’s 2.3 million SME businesses. The partnership will create a more seamless onboarding process for mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks, making it easier for small businesses to open a Cape account. 

Cape, as a fintech providing a banking service in the form of a digital-first challenger corporate card, must fulfill regulatory requirements through KYC checks. This includes identifying people that have been explicitly banned from participating in the financial system, ensuring Cape products are not used to circumvent sanctions lists, as well as preventing fraudulent accounts from being created, and stopping criminals from using the fintech to launder money.  

As a digital-first provider, Cape opted for FrankieOne due to their excellent digital customer experience, including the ability to orchestrate full KYC checks without needing face-to-face interactions.

Once a customer is onboarded, transaction monitoring forms part of an ongoing process that both prevents money laundering and protects our customers from theft and fraud.

Over 350 AML/KYC data sources from across the globe are connected  into FrankieOne’s unified API, providing access to fraud-prevention and identity-verification services from over 46 countries and a single-customer view on their intelligent dashboard.

The inclusion of biometric technology will allow Cape to set itself apart from other digital banks by creating a secure environment for onboarding without hampering the user experience. 

The key results of the partnership so far are:

  • Users are verified under 5 minutes using image capture to assist customers through the identity verification process;
  • Cape went from ‘concept’ to ‘market ready’, baking FrankingOne into their onboarding process within just 6 weeks. 

Simon Costello, Co-Founder & CEO, FrankieOne, commented:

Now more than ever, SMEs need technology partners that understand their business and can provide them with flexible support with a digital-first offering. Cape is putting Australian SMEs at the center of everything they do. 

Service providers should not compromise on user experience or security, and we are delighted to be working with Cape to help them achieve these two goals while they build a state-of-the-art financial platform. 

By partnering with Cape at this important time for the market, we’re committed to showing that regulatory compliance and building a great customer experience can go hand in hand. 

Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, Founder & CEO, Cape, commented

We are delighted to be entering a partnership with FrankieOne to provide a seamless account opening process and offer a great User Experience to our early adopters. 

Cape is working to transform the SME banking market, using the latest technology to offer quick, smart and integrated services to small businesses. Traditionally, it can take weeks to open a business account, with some banks still holding face to face meetings to verify customers. Cape prides itself on allowing business owners to open an account in minutes, and is continually working to improve the onboarding experience. 

The partnership with FrankieOne allows Cape to speed up the deployment of key capability in the remote customer relationship model through a simple and efficient experience for the identification and acquisition of new products.”


About Cape

Cape is building APAC’s first spend management platform that issues virtual corporate cards designed to help companies strengthen their cash flow. Cape provides businesses with full visibility and control on purchasing to cut wasteful spending and the time taken on financial administration work relating to expense management.

Having recently formed partnerships with Mastercard and Basiq, Cape has just begun testing their payments platform & will be launching their business credit card in the coming months.

Cape will be launching its business credit card in the coming months. Founders, CFO’s & Accountants interested in learning more should join the waitlist here www.hellocape.com/sign-up.

www.hellocape.com


About FrankieOne

FrankieOne is a leading identity verification and fraud-prevention platform, bringing together ID verification, KYC, KYB, AML, fraud and credit tools into a single unified platform for banks and fintechs. The platform connects over 350 world class vendors and data-sources to provide a ‘single point of truth’ and enable data led decisioning saving billions in IT costs and improving customer experiences. Since launching in 2019, FrankieOne has acquired approximately 100 financial services customers, including the likes of Westpac, Afterpay and Zipmex. The team has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Seattle, and is backed by high-profile industry figures including AirTree Ventures, Greycroft, 20VC, Tidal Ventures, MantisVC, APEX Capital Partners and ReInventure.


Media contact 

Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, ryan@hellocape.com, +61 (0)406 252 332

MyBond launches service in Queensland

Recently, due to overwhelming demand, Queensland rental rates have increased exponentially, with higher rentals signifying higher bond payments. 

MyBond launched its unique and groundbreaking service to alleviate this problem and to assist all Queensland renters. Since the launch, MyBond has helped over 50 applicants from Queensland with their rental bonds. 

In 2016, approximately 30% of Queensland residents were renting privately. By 2021, residents of Queensland were facing the toughest rental market in over 10 years. According to market data, Queensland’s rental crisis has worsened to a point where it is now more expensive to rent a house on the Gold Coast than in Sydney, and experts predict that the chronic shortage of available properties could last for at least three year. 

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has revealed ‘extremely low vacancy rates across 80% of Queensland’. The REIQ went on to say that the ‘vacancy rates have sent Brisbane’s private rental market into uncharted territory, pushing vacancy rates down to their lowest levels since October 2012’. MyBond has responded to market conditions, and is now offering a new and alternative way of paying rental bonds. This is now available to all Queenslanders. 

MyBond is a service that is unique and first of its kind globally, that helps tenants pay their rental bond. MyBond has a simple and straightforward fee of “One Week Only”. that can pay the tenant’s entire rental bond for a fee of just one week’s rent or as little as $150* (T&C’s apply). MyBond is a fast, easy, and reliable solution with 4 simple steps: 

  1. Apply Online www.mybond.com.au
  2. You pay a fee to MyBond (equivalent to one week’s rent)
  3. MyBond pays your full rental bond
  4. The rental bond is refunded to MyBond when you move out.

Research has found that families in Brisbane have been offering above asking price and/or offering to pre-pay several weeks or even months rent in advance. This recent rental crisis in Queensland has led to the perfect time for MyBond’s launch into the state. MyBond Cofounder and CEO Ray Dib “We are able to help those in need through this tough time with an innovative new service that takes away some of the stress associated with renting and moving, and in particular on their bond for a fee of one week’s rent.”

Research from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland found that vacancy rates are down at the lowest levels they have been since 2012. MyBond Cofounder and COO Joshua Theeuf “We are thrilled to be the first of our kind in Queensland and are able to expand and help to drive change in the current rental market.”

Recent news follows: MyBond is currently available in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland and has also announced its expansion into Western Australia by the 1 December, and all other states by the first quarter of 2022


For more information, please visit MyBond’s website at www.mybond.com.au

MyBond social media:
Linkedin
Facebook 


MyBond One Week Only
Marketing Department
1800 342 342
marketing@mybond.com.au
Level 2, 198 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000, Australia 

Cirralto signs binding agreement to deliver funding services to Australia largest wholesale beverage trading platform, eBev

Aussie Fintech, Cirralto (ASX: CRO), is pleased to announce that it has signed a binding funding services agreement with eBev.com Pty Ltd to provide lending services through their online trading network. eBev is Australia’s largest online wholesale beverage ordering platform, connecting more than 350 venues, 700 suppliers and 12,000 licensed premises to facilitate more efficient trade between buyers and sellers within the beverage industry.

The partnership allows for the initial provision of debtor finance services to eBev, to enable them to facilitate the expansion of their early payment’s capabilities to their suppliers. This is expected to enable growth for eBev and its connected network. eBev has also made an application for Cirralto to deliver payment services through their trading platform.

The key terms of the agreement include:

  • Cirralto will provide funding with a A$1m limit being 10% of expected full facility limit of $10m.  
  • The initial funding limit of A$1m is intended to be expanded to a A$3m funding limit at least 3 months after drawdown and subject to review, and subsequently up to a A$10m funding limit subject to review.
  • The eBev platform is synergistic to Cirralto’s Spenda ecosystem in its ability to connect buyers and sellers, we see this as the first step in an ongoing relationship to provide lending and payments services to eBev’s network.

Both Cirralto and eBev intend to build upon this initial agreement, to include the provision of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) and payment gateway services, which will include Cirralto processing all payments made through eBev’s network. 

Cirralto and eBev are synergistic businesses with a focus on improving the buy/sell cycle for B2B trade. eBev has achieved significant growth since launching in 2015 making it Australia’s largest online beverage ordering platform.

Commenting on the initiative, Adrian Floate, CEO of Cirralto, said “This agreement is another example that showcases the appetite for our B2B finance products. The resources we have invested to build out our payments and lending infrastructure means we are now well-positioned to satisfy a vast scope of demand.

Given the similarities in business ideologies between eBev and Cirralto, I see this agreement being the first step in a growing relationship.”

The funding will be provided by Cirralto’s wholly owned subsidiary, Invigo Pty Ltd. The services are expected to go live within 10 days and are subject to the completion of the Company’s standard internal provisioning processes including conditions precedent such as provision of directors guarantees.


About eBev

Founded in 2015, eBev is Australia’s largest independent online ordering and financing platform for the Beverage Trade. With over 65,000 products from 700 suppliers, eBev’s is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything from beer, wine, and spirits to the burgeoning non-alcoholic category. Simplifying the ordering process for thousands of hospitality venues whilst reducing business administration for both venues and suppliers sees over $150 Million’s worth of orders go through the platform a year. eBev Trade now further empowers our suppliers with simplified credit functions and guaranteed payment within 3 days. https://www.ebev.com/


About Cirralto

Cirralto Limited (ASX:CRO) is a feature-based payment company capable of owning transactions from any customer up and down the value chain. Through their core product, Spenda, Cirralto delivers a fully integrated digital payment and business software solution that enables businesses to transform with fast, error-free digital efficiency.

Cirralto supplies industries with a broad range of B2B payment services, digital trading software and integrated solutions. Our goal is to convert EFT payments to card payments utilising the BPSP/BPA engagement coupled with our payments collaboration framework. Our competitive advantages deliver customers end-to-end e-invoicing integration, rapid ordering, digital trust and automated reconciliation.


About Spenda

Spenda offers one connected digital platform that equips businesses with smart software applications, flexible B2B payment and lending solutions, and integration services. Ultimately, by improving how businesses trade and get paid, Spenda’s solution enables businesses to transform with fast, error-free digital efficiency and aims to boost cash flow across the entire supply chain.

Spenda is a core product of Cirralto Limited, an ASX listed company with over 20 years’ experience in delivering B2B payment services, digital trading software and integrated solutions. For more information, please visit www.spenda.co


Media contact:

Ola Polczynski
Marketing Manager, Spenda
ola.polczynski@spenda.co

Change Financial launches brands Vertexon and PaySim

  • Change Financial (Change) officially launches Vertexon and PaySim brands in Australia
  • Vertexon extends Change’s payments as a service offering into Oceania
  • Five of the top 10 digital payment companies1 use PaySim for their payments testing

Australian based global fintech, Change Financial (Change), which provides tailored  payment solutions, card issuing and testing to banks and fintechs today announced the official launch in  Australia of its payment’s brands:  

  • payments platform – Vertexon and
  • payment testing solution – PaySim.

Change currently manages and processes more than 16 million virtual, credit, debit and prepaid cards  worldwide, serving 146 clients in 41 countries. Clients include BDO Unibank, ME Bank and eftpos Australia. 

The pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of finance as the global appetite for ease and efficiency in  payments has increased for both the end customer/ user and provider. According to Roy Morgan’s Digital  Payments Report (26 October 2021) COVID-19 has had many impacts throughout the economy and one of  the most prominent is the increase in online retail sales. 

Change CEO Alastair Wilkie said: “Banks and fintechs can tap into immense opportunities by partnering with  Change from an integrated payment processing and card management perspective. Change can help  businesses to issue cards, digital wallets, BNPL services and access major card schemes like Mastercard,  VISA and AMEX. 

The speed, convenience, ease of use, increased security and the COVID safe nature of cashless payments has led to the FIS Global Payments Report prediction that Australia will be 98 per cent cashless by 2024. Today 90 per cent of Woolworths’ instore transactions, which captures more than 37 percent of the nation’s grocery spend, are made electronically.2 

The competition is fierce. Strong demand for cashless payments has seen the emergence of digital wallets,  and the rise of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). According to Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg3, approximately  55 million payments worth roughly $650 billion are made in Australia daily.  

Known for being simple, flexible and fast, with innovative payment solutions that have customisation, client  experience and service at their core, Change is building momentum in the Australian payments as a service,  or PaaS, space, leveraging its experience from the US market.  

Vertexon, helping accelerate growth and scale globally 

Change’s versatile payments platform Vertexon seamlessly integrates with a businesses’ core systems  enabling them to easily deliver physical and digital card solutions to their customers as well as offer other  features such as BNPL, transaction processing and integrated loyalty programmes. 

Vertexon’s payments technology provides software infrastructure that allows banks and fintechs to have a  sophisticated, quick to market, payments capability such as physical and digital cards, prepaid cards  (particularly popular in the US) as well as plug-in features like transaction processing, giving customers  access to all major schemes and loyalty programmes.  

It is this software as a service (SaaS) model that connects existing licensed banks with modern application  programming interface (API) driven businesses and allows the end customer to use eftpos, Mastercard, Visa,  and AMEX as well as connect to payment networks via Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay.  

“Our payments technology enables clients to launch card programs with white labelled optionality in a cost effective manner, taking care of the operational, compliance and regulatory factors. Change can assist  clients enter new and competitive markets, their payment solutions power card programs around the globe,”  Mr Wilkie remarked. 

PaySim, accelerating speed to market 

With the predicted increase in cashless payments,4 particularly as we approach the Christmas end of year  shopping season, the need for payments testing for businesses is at an all-time high. Change’s PaySim tests  companies’ payments systems to ensure they meet the capability and performance expectations of its  customers by simulating the full transaction lifecycle, enabling companies to easily complete end to end test  of its payment platforms and processes.  

PaySim’s API enables clients to automate their testing functions and integrate with their testing and quality  assurance toolsets. 

Used by over 130 banks and fintechs across 30 countries, PaySim offers local and global banks and fintechs  the testing engine capability to help scale their businesses. It is also used to certify payment participants on  schemes, switches and local networks.  

In fact, five of the top 10 digital payment companies5trust PaySim for their payments testing and in Australia,  companies that want to join the eftpos network must use PaySim to certify their integration before connecting  to the local payments network.  

“PaySim reduces cost and risk by providing a faster path to market through comprehensive automated  testing solution and fraud protection for businesses by using robust testing processes that can simulate over  70,000 variations of switch types,” Mr Wilkie said. 

Change’s clients have access to a full suite of payments testing capability; built up over 15 years across  switches, POS devices and ATMs across schemes and technology. PaySim provides access to their  comprehensive card and instant payment testing capability through a cloud-hosted and modular solution,  with over 45 different modules. 

“I am genuinely thrilled with the success of PaySim as it highlights our commitment to the global payments  technology ecosystem and celebrates the innovation of our people and partners,” Mr Wilkie concluded. 


For media enquiries:
Sam Rockliff 
change@honner.com.au
0400 168 007 

Beccy Cambridge
change@honner.com.au
0418 681 310  


About Change Financial Limited 

Change Financial (Change) is an experienced global fintech, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)  providing tailored payment solutions, card issuing and testing to banks and fintechs. Partnering with over 146 clients  across 41 countries Change delivers simple, flexible, and fast-to-market payment solutions.  

Managing and processing over 16 million credit, debit, and prepaid cards worldwide, Change also provides the default  standard for payments testing for many Australian companies, including Australia’s domestic card payment service  eftpos.  

Change’s payments platform Vertexon, seamlessly integrates with banks and fintechs’ core systems enabling delivery of  digital and virtual card solutions to their customers. It includes integrated features such as Apple Pay, Google Pay,  Samsung Pay and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services.  

Using PaySim Change tests payment systems to help clients meet the reliability and performance expectations of end  customers. Simulating the full transaction lifecycle across multiple systems, PaySim enables banks and fintechs to  complete end-to-end testing of their payment platforms and processes from a desktop. 


Learn more about Change at www.changefinancial.com


  1. https://www.emergenresearch.com/blog/top-10-leading-digital-payment-companies-in-the-world 
  2. “Cashless Australia?: Woolworths transactions hit 90 per cent digital, bank withdrawals tank, Paypal surges,” Digital Nation, Tom  Duvall, 13 October 2021 
  3. The Australian Financial Review, 30 August 2021
  4. “Digital wallets poised to overtake contactless cards as instore payment of choice in Australia” Finextra, 19 May 2021
  5. https://www.emergenresearch.com/blog/top-10-leading-digital-payment-companies-in-the-world

honner.com.au 

Monoova launches PayTo Education Campaign

Australia’s leading business payment solutions provider, Monoova, launches its PayTo campaign today.

PayTo is a new, advanced evolution of direct debit. It will be a streamlined digital way for merchants and businesses to inititiate real-time payments from their customers’ bank accounts.

Powered through Monoova’s proprietary technology, PayTo will offer a large range of benefits to businesses all over Australia and will help to enhance their customers’ experience, giving them a lot more control.

Commenting on PayTo, Monoova’s Chief Executive Officer, Christian Westerlind Wigstrom said, “In a few years, PayTo will be the only type of payment in our everyday lives. Gone are cards, bank transfers and BPAYs. Businesses that don’t accept PayTo will look like companies only accepting cheques today: complicated and antiquated. And with good reason: PayTo will be cheaper, faster and safer for both businesses and consumers for almost all use cases. We will miss today’s payments systems as much as we miss toothaches.”

Monoova are pioneers in the payments industry, introducing many first-to-market solutions such as Automatcher – a powerful solution that enables businesses to reconcile their payments instantly and automatically.

“Our vision at Monoova is to continue to help evolve the financial services and payment space in this market and around the world. PayTo will be another powerful solution in our suite of payment offerings opening up a myriad of value-adding automation options for businesses and allowing us to power the payments of many of the world’s largest brands.”continues Christian.

The campaign is primarily focused on creating awareness of PayTo to the market and educating audiences of the benefits of PayTo to both businesses and consumers. Senior Brand & Marketing Manager at Monoova, Ben Crosariol, said “We are rolling our a series of events, webinars, customer facing education content, advertising and more to empower target audiences so they are fully aware of what PayTo is, the benefits to them and Monoova’s PayTo offering powered by our exclusive payment platform and local support”.

Since its launch in 2017, then known as Moneytech Payments, Monoova has processed more than $32 billion in business payments on behalf of its growing clientele of companies including Wise, Instarem, Jacaranda Finance and Splitit.


About Monoova

Monoova supports organisations with large transaction flows to fully automate how they receive, manage and pay their funds. Its proprietary real-time, secure platform allows businesses to access a variety of payments functions including NPP, comprehensive automatic reconciliation and easy-to-access reporting so they can secure and stay in control of their payment ecosystem.

Global research report shows Australian consumers have embraced Buy Now Pay Later but remain cautious of cryptocurrency

New report from cloud banking platform Mambu identifies five consumer financial tribes post-pandemic

Australia has the highest uptake of innovative payment service Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) of any country, with 24 percent of Australian consumers utilising the service, compared with just 11 percent globally, according to a new report from SaaS cloud banking platform Mambu.

The financial tribes you need to know report also reveals that nearly two thirds (61 percent) of consumers globally have made greater use of digital banking services over the last 18 months, and 22 percent of Australian consumers started using digital banking services for the very first time during the pandemic.

The report, which is the latest in Mambu’s ‘Disruption Diaries’ series, surveyed more than 4,500 consumers globally (including 501 Australians) and identified five emerging financial ‘tribes’ that banks need to know about in a post-pandemic world.

Eugene Danilkis, CEO at Mambu, said: “Each tribe tells us something significant about the way consumer behaviour is adapting and what banks must do to stay ahead of the curve. Traditional audience segmentation in financial services is outdated. The one-size-fits-all model, in which customers are divided based on how much they earn, or simple demographics, is redundant in a world of open finance and rich data.”

The key consumer groups identified in the survey include:

Techcelerators

Recent converts to the world of digital banking who have adopted digital services amid physical branch closures. This group is the largest tribe globally, accounting for a third (33 percent) of total respondents, and 36 percent of Australian respondents. This group is predominantly aged over 35 years.

Ethical bankers

Young, purpose-driven savers that want to make a positive impact in the world. This tribe is second largest globally, making up 31 percent of respondents, and 36 percent of Australian respondents. 76 percent of Australian consumers also say they would choose a bank that puts purpose above profit, and more than half (53 percent) say that considering social impact is important when making investments. Globally, this group is primarily aged between 18 and 34 (49 percent).

Convenience cravers

One-stop shoppers who want all-in-one services at their fingertips, at no extra cost. This group makes up 24 percent of Australian respondents (23 percent globally) and are predominantly middle-aged or older individuals — with more than half (55 percent) aged over 35. This group is least likely to pay a premium for services that save time or offer flexibility, expecting a best-in-class customer experience as standard.

Covidpreneurs

Entrepreneurs who have set up their own business during the pandemic, in need of easy-to-use and reliable business banking services. Covidpreneurs are the youngest tribe globally, with almost two thirds (64 percent) aged under 35 years and a quarter (25 percent) under 25 years.

Neo asset hoarders

New asset owners who want to use financial services to buy, trade and hold assets. This group is the smallest, but rapidly growing tribe globally. Two thirds (66 percent) are male and over half are under the age of 35. This group is most likely to own neo assets, including cryptocurrency and NFTs and most likely to agree the ability to buy, sell or manage neo assets is important in a bank. 

Interestingly, one third (33 percent) of Australian respondents considered the ability to buy, sell or manage digital assets an important service in a bank – a figure which, along with one of the big four Australian banks’ recent announcement that it will become Australia’s first bank to offer its customers crypto services via its digital app, is further evidence of the growing credibility of cryptocurrency as an asset class in Australia.

Paul Apolony, General Manager Australia & New Zealand at Mambu, said: “The stats around Buy Now Pay Later are no surprise really, as Australia has been a leader in this space for many years thanks to the incredible success of homegrown global industry leader Afterpay. What is surprising, though, is how much Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrency and other digital assets. The research shows that just 14 percent of Australians hold some form of crypto, compared to the global average of 31 percent. We’re seeing an enormous appetite for digital currencies in emerging economies like Vietnam (where 57 percent hold crypto) and Thailand (53 percent) that’s just not being replicated here yet, particularly among the older generations. However, we know that digital financial technologies are important to Australian consumers, with 84 percent saying digital banking is an important service for their bank to provide. Australia also ranks highest of all countries surveyed – at 76 percent, alongside the UAE and Thailand – as the most likely to choose a bank that puts purpose over profit.”

Added Danilkis, “If banks want to thrive in the future, they must think about how to affiliate themselves with the dynamically changing groups within society and appeal to them with products and experiences that meet their shared values and financial needs. Globally we have over 50 million end users on our Mambu platform which demonstrates the growing demand for new and digitally-enabled financial products.”

 Tom Cheesewright, Applied Futurist, added: “The banking and finance industry, which is as ‘legacy’ as industries come, has been shaken to its very core by the sudden and overwhelming demand for digital. The impact of global lockdowns propelled the world forward into its own digital future, suddenly achieving a shift in attitudes towards online banking, which had previously been predicted to take years. Banks whose plans for transformation were based on pre-COVID assumptions have been left behind by customers who have found new ways to manage their money during the pandemic, as illustrated by the ‘tribes’ identified in the report. The pressure is now on for financial institutions to demonstrate they can deliver on ethics, efficiency, and innovation.”

For a full breakdown of the five tribes and regional analysis by country, you can download The financial tribes you need to know report here.


Notes to editors

For all media enquiries, please contact rachel@whitehatagency.com.au 


Key Australian Survey Results

  • 84% of Australian consumers say digital or online banking is an important service for their bank to provide
  •  76% say the best customer experience on the market is important in a bank
  • 76% more likely to use a bank that puts purpose over profit
  • 55% are more likely to use digital or online banking now than prior to the pandemic
  • 14% of Australian respondents hold some type of cryptocurrency
  • 33% of Australian respondents say the ability to buy, sell and manage cryptocurrency via their bank is important
  • 24% of Australian consumers use BNPL when purchasing online, the highest of all countries surveyed – global average 11%
  • 21% of respondents said they are more likely to switch banks post-pandemic.

Broader APAC Survey Results

  • 71% of APAC consumers prefer to invest rather than spend their money
  • 74% stick to a budget
  • Financial security (85%), reaching financial goals (87%) and return on investment (86%) are most important when making an investment
  • 50% of APAC respondents own property
  •  38% own cryptocurrency, and 29% purchased crypto during the pandemic
  • Money transfers (91%), account balance checks (90%) and bill payment services (87%) are the most important digital or online banking services cited
  • 74% of APAC respondents are likely to choose a bank that puts purpose over profit
  •  65% used online or digital banking more frequently during the pandemic
  • 75% are likely to continue to use online or digital banking more frequently post-pandemic.

About Mambu

Mambu is the world’s only true SaaS cloud banking platform. Launched in 2011, Mambu fast-tracks the design and build of nearly any type of financial offering for banks of all sizes, lenders, fintechs, retailers, telcos and more. Our unique composable approach means that independent components, systems and connectors can be assembled in any configuration to meet business needs and end user demands. Mambu has 800 employees​ that support 200 customers in over 65 countries – including N26, BancoEstado, OakNorth, Raiffeisen Bank, ABN AMRO, Bank Islam and Orange Bank.

 www.mambu.com

CRYTPO REGULATION… ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE (BUT MAYBE A LITTLE TOO MUCH)

Twelve recommendations for the future of crypto, contained in a report made by the Australian Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, have far-reaching, and sometimes onerous, implications for the future of crypto and de-banking.

The overwhelming message from industry submissions is that Australia is lagging behind its peers and regulatory certainty, flexibility and innovation are key. The “light touch” and “wait and see” approach so far adopted by regulators has created a regulatory vacuum in Australia, while other markets (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom) have implemented regulatory reforms to cater for the crypto industry of today and tomorrow. That said, it is important to strike the right balance when designing new regulation.

This blog focuses on 6 of the recommendations we think are most important and analyses the practical implications on the industry, which may require further thought.

Our thoughts on Recommendations 1, 2 and 3 – Licensing Implications

The first recommendation is to introduce a markets licence for Digital Currency Exchanges (DCE), which will result in DCEs holding a markets licence similar to securities and derivatives exchanges (e.g. ASX). This is a substantial change and due consideration must be had in respect of:

  • Recommendation 2: Custody or depository regime to be managed under the Treasury portfolio.
  • Recommendation 3: Regulators to conduct a token mapping exercise; and
  • Recommendation 4: A new Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) company structure be created.

If all the above recommendations are implemented, there is a real risk more crypto tokens will be classified as regulated financial products, and DCEs will need to hold the following licences if any of the crypto assets they list are regulated financial products:

  • A DCE markets licence;
  • A custody or depository authorisation regime under the Treasury portfolio; and
  • An AFSL.

In addition, the ‘Payments System Review – From system to ecosystem’ (Payments System Review) proposes a new and separate tiered payments licence. Many operating in the digital currency space also provide payments services, meaning that they would also likely need a payments licence. This means a DCE could require up to 4 licences. Similar concerns exists for wallet or other custody providers that hold crypto assets and enable payments.

When viewed together, these licences would create a complex and potentially duplicative regulatory regime. We note that the Payments System Review flagged similar problems that currently exist for payments and strongly recommended that the payments regulatory regime be simplified and streamlined. These are sobering thoughts that should be front of mind when developing the regulatory framework for crypto, which may have multiple regulators, licences and regimes.

Regulators need to bear in mind that the industry will go from very low to very high regulation very quickly. We need to ensure that, as an industry, we strike an appropriate level of regulation. If we over regulate crypto, Australia will be the market of last resort, seen as too complex and too costly for the relative size of our market, which may discourage investment from global players. This is the reverse of the outcome that industry is seeking and the Government seems intent on encouraging.

In our view, there may be scope to streamline the required licences and we suggest that this be considered in light of, and in tandem with, the recommendations from the Payment Systems Review.

Another pertinent issue is Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance. The market for PI insurance for crypto businesses is essentially non-existent and, if a business is lucky, it may source limited and costly cover offshore. In our view, increasing licensing requirements for crypto businesses will not expand the PI insurance market. ASIC, APRA and industry will need to consider solutions to open the PI insurance market and consider whether alternate risk products are more appropriate.

Our thoughts on Recommendation 4 – giving DAO legal personality

The most interesting recommendation from the report is the proposal to establish a new company structure for DAO – otherwise known as a decentralised autonomous organisation, or an entity with no central leadership. Decisions are made from the bottom-up, governed by a community which is organised around rules enforced on a blockchain.

Whilst we think it is positive that the Committee are passionate about both digital and decentralised finance (DeFi), it raises a lot of questions and the potential ramifications are significant.

Regulation of DAO protocols and / or tokens needs to be thoughtfully considered. At present, DAO protocols and / or tokens are not caught by financial services regulation due to a number of technicalities. The main technicality is that the general and specific definition of ”financial products” require a “person”, “provider” or “issuer” to be involved. Currently, DAOs are not considered to be either a “person”, “provider” or ”issuer” as transactions are automated via algorithms that require validation by participants, either via proof of stake or proof of work mechanisms.

However, giving DAO legal personality may change this, meaning many of these protocols and tokens may involve the provision of financial products where before they did not. This not only means the DAO, as a legal person, will need an AFSL, but that any DCEs that list, and wallets that hold, these tokens will also need an AFSL (as outlined above).

It might be appropriate for these tokens and protocols to be regulated, but how does one practically impose licensing requirements on a DAO which, by definition, is decentralised and has no Board or management? Additionally, while it may be appropriate that these crypto assets are treated the same as other financial products from a regulatory point of view, as they have similar risks, we need to ensure that we do not overregulate the crypto sector.

We think it would be incredibly difficult for ASIC to regulate and enforce requirements on a DAO. The core function of a DAO is that there is no central leadership or decision makers. A network of thousands or millions (mostly pseudonymous) individuals across the world would be required to make decisions on behalf of the DAO. This means gaining consensus from a disparate group of people, with varying degrees of sophistication and understanding of regulation, who may speak many different languages, to nominate an appointed representative of the DAO, consenting to registering with ASIC, consenting to holding a regulatory licence such as an AFSL, issuing disclosure documents and paying Australian taxes from member entitlements. It also requires the DAO to facilitate initiation of governance proposals for these types of matters and a consensus voting mechanism.

Assuming that the issue of registering a DAO to a particular jurisdiction is overcome, it remains to be seen how ASIC would be able to regulate and, if needed, take enforcement action against individuals, particularly those overseas where jurisdiction can be an issue. In DeFI, there is also the possibility for various DAOs to directly interact with each other in relation to certain transactions and functionality e.g. Polygon interacting with Ethereum. These interactions may add further complexity as it may be difficult to determine which DAO is responsible for what interaction. It may be that ASIC will need to limit the scope of what kind of DAO can be registered in Australia.

If you would like to explore the ramifications of giving the DAO legal personality, there is an excellent article published by Mr David Gikandi, applying Australia’s proposal to UniSwap. You can read his thoughts here.

We think that it is more appropriate to regulate the gatekeepers, such as DCEs and wallets. DAOs are set-up to be decentralised and autonomous and we think it is unlikely that a DAO community would vote to incorporate in Australia. The recommendation really requires ASIC to consider how they can practically regulate a decentralised organisation effectively without stifling investment and innovation in Australia.

Our thoughts on Recommendation 5 – AML/CTF

The report recommends changes to the current regulatory framework, including:

  • AUSTRAC publishing a list of DCEs to foster confidence in the crypto sector;
  • AUSTRAC make continued overseas observations before introducing the “travel rule” for digital assets in Australia; and
  • Australia’s AML/CTF regulations should be clarified to ensure they do not undermine innovation and are fit for purpose for DCEs and any other relevant crypto-asset businesses.

Publishing a list of DCEs will help consumers to understand which DCEs are properly regulated by AUSTRAC. However, it is critical that consumers are aware that AUSTRAC registration is a simple process and AUSTRAC regulation is limited to AML / CTF only and that AUSTRAC regulation is not an endorsement or confirmation of a legally compliant business or risk mature business. Customers will still need to still approach these situation as “buyers beware”.

The ”travel” rule will require providers to include verified information about the originator (payer) and information about the beneficiary (payee) for digital asset transfers to strike an appropriate balance between risk and the operation of legitimate businesses. This can be difficult in the blockchain context given anonymity and reporting limitations.

Whilst the ”travel” rule would no doubt greatly assist in the regulatory oversight of AUSTRAC and bring DCEs in line with the traditional financial institutions, we agree it will be too difficult to implement successfully at this stage and early implementation will give rise to first mover disadvantage by creating additional regulatory burden that may not be effective. We agree with the recommendation that AUSTRAC should continue to observe the attempted implementation overseas before determining how to best introduce the changes in Australia. This will ease unnecessary cost burdens and not undermine innovation.

Lastly, insufficient little detail was included on the nature or type of changes that should be made to AML / CTF regulation. This raises the risk that any future review doesn’t focus on key risk areas.

From our perspective, a good starting point is to expand the meaning of DCEs to cover business that facilitate digital asset to digital asset exchanges. Presently, an entity is caught by the definition of a DCE, and required to enrol and register with AUSTRAC, if it exchanges fiat currency for digital asset or vice versa.

The risk with the current approach is that a large volume of digital currency exchanges have no regulatory oversight, raising the risk of money laundering and counter-terrorism risks. This is especially the case where digital assets are sourced overseas from exchanges located in less regulated markets and then exchanged for other digital assets in Australia. These transactions fall outside of the AML / CTF regime and regulatory oversight is only triggered once the last digital asset is exchanged for fiat currency in Australia by a DCE. This creates inherent risk in the system.

If digital asset-to-digital asset exchanges are included as a designated service, we believe a number of other businesses would fall within AUSTRAC’s remit, including unregulated DCEs and wallet holders. In our view, this change would further legitimise crypto businesses in Australia and hopefully alleviate the concerns expressed by banks around de-banking under regulated businesses.

Our thoughts on Recommendation 10: De-banking…

We agree that a dispute mechanism for de-banked businesses and customers will create transparency and certainty. However, this is not enough. There needs to be a policy decision to support the crypto and fintech industry and protect customers’ money. This is critical, as the crypto and fintech sectors are rapidly growing and are fragmenting traditional banking. Failure to do so may put customers’ money at risk as crypto and fintech businesses are forced to look for alternate solutions.

While we acknowledge this is a difficult nut to crack, it requires coordinated action from the Government, RBA, APRA and banks. Risk management is key and individual to the respective banks, but it should not be an excuse in and of itself. If the recommendations in the report are implemented, we suspect banks will have less scope to push risk management reasons for denying service. This is because crypto businesses will be subject to very high regulation.

Further, we think there is scope for the ACCC to look at competition considerations, particularly in light of banks entering the crypto market. Our regulatory regime should promote innovation and competition, not squash it.

Next steps

Given apparent bi-partisan support, it can be expected the Government will move swiftly. We expect the Government to open up consultation for a short period following any release of draft legislation. However, timelines after that are less certain, as industry makes submissions on the specifics of the draft legislation and its implications, and an impending election year can both apply or ease pressure to pass draft legislation – depending on whether the legislation is a key election platform or not.

Crypto is certainly evolving, maturing and possibly subject to great change! We are more than happy to help you with anything crypto, financial services regulatory or licensing, just get in touch.

The Fold Legal – Blog

Consumers lay down a US$250bn challenge to financial institutions as they seek more flexible, customized digital products

  • By 2030, the majority of consumers will have used crypto, digital or other non-fiat currencies,  according to research commissioned by Episode Six 
  • From crypto to loyalty points, financial institutions need to respond to the proliferation of new  units of value – and that means overcoming the limitations of their existing technology 
  • Failing to act means that US$250 billion of payments revenue could move to non-financial  institutions by 2030

By 2030, 60% of global consumers will have made a  transaction using a unit of value other than fiat currency, while 73% of global consumer  payments will be processed by non-financial institutions on the Internet of Payments.  

Revealed on the first day of the Singapore FinTech Festival 2021, these forecasts by market  research firm IDC reinforce the need for incumbent financial institutions to adapt their  technology quickly for a market in which consumers expect more choice in terms of units of  value – including digital assets and loyalty program points – as well as more tailored payments  and credit propositions. They also spell out the cost of failing to adapt: US$250 billion of  payments revenue could otherwise move to non-financial institutions by 2030, according to  IDC estimates.1  

“The payments industry is undergoing a massive transformation: non-cash payment volumes  are soaring, on-demand payments are gaining traction, and cloud computing and new  technology have unleashed a wave of innovation, such as BNPL,” said John Mitchell, CEO of  Episode Six. “This is creating a more level playing field for new entrants, and significant  challenges for incumbents. The research we’ve unveiled today shows why financial institutions  need technology that transfers any unit of value, as well as designed to be configurable and  easily integrated into existing financial ecosystems, allowing our clients to bridge the old with  new.”  

“Financial institutions and non-financial institutions are both vying for a key role in the  ownership of payments,” said Cyrus Daruwala, Managing Director IDC Financial Services &  FinTech. “IDC forecasts that by 2030, 73% of consumer payments will be handled by non-FSIs  though the Internet of Payments. Yet, FSIs are far from out of the payments game – they need  to reshape the role they can play in payments of the future and the next-gen payments  technology to succeed.”  

IDC’s data shows that 73% of financial institutions around the world have technology  infrastructures for payments that are ill equipped to handle payments for 2021 and beyond.  For many incumbents, that means existing payments infrastructure needs to be upgraded, payment workflows need to be more data-driven, and risk management needs to be more  flexible to adapt to the regulatory requirements for non-fiat currencies and other units of  value.  

1 Source: IDC Executive Summary, Sponsored by Episode Six, Next-Gen Payments Technology Reshapes the Playing  Field for the Industry: Driving Over 70% of Payments to Shift to Non-FSIs by 2030, Doc #AP76830X, November 2021  

Legacy tech holds banks back  

Yet legacy technology is costing financial institutions more and more, restricting investment in  vital digital transformation. IDC estimates that financial institutions’ global spending on  payments technology will double from US$39.7 billion in 2020 to US$80.3 billion in 2030.  

“Banks need to embrace the new types of payments that recognize that value comes in many  forms, but they have a lot of work in front of them,” added Episode Six’s Mitchell. “There are  infrastructure and process bottlenecks, resources are being drained on maintaining outdated  and disparate systems, and siloed thinking is preventing innovation. Risk aversion can also lead  to lost opportunities.”  

With the rise of embedded finance, and Banking as a Service solutions, non-financial players  can offer payments solutions and are increasingly owning the customer relationship. By 2030,  IDC forecasts that 74% of digital consumer payments globally will be conducted via platforms  owned by non- financial institutions.  

Converge, or crumble  

Although banks will no longer dominate payments as they have in the past, this does not  mean they may be side lined altogether. Instead, they need to rethink how they interact with  fintechs as well as the new generation of blockchain-based digital finance provides, said  Mitchell at Episode Six.  

“Users demand the unified and polished interfaces and smart data-driven products offered by  fintechs,” he argued. “Economies need the stability and consumer protection that exist when  regulated institutions provide financial services, drawing on their long-standing strengths in  risk management and compliance. For banks and fintechs, the choice, with a few exceptions,  will ultimately be to converge or crumble.”  


About Episode Six  

Episode Six is a payments technology company that gives banks, fintechs and brands the  freedom to design and bring to market leading digital payment propositions. It powers its  clients’ payments journeys with the most flexible and adaptable platform on the market today,  providing highly configurable products with user-driven e6Designer to optimize competitive  response and customer demand. Episode Six’s platform and ledger enables the transfer of  value of any kind – fiat currency, cryptocurrencies, brand value points, gold, and more. Co founded in 2015, E6 operates globally across 23 countries with an expanding team located in 

the U.S., Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Investors include HSBC,  Mastercard, SBI Investment Co., Ltd. and Anthos Capital. 4 million consumers and merchants  use products built with E6 technology. For more information, visit www.EpisodeSix.com or  LinkedIn.  


Media contact
Noel Cheung
ncheung@ashburycommunications.com
+852 9090 5165 

Dacxi and ABC Bullion form unique supply and vaulting partnership to disrupt precious metal investing in Australia

Crypto-wealth management platform Dacxi targets Aussies wanting defensive assets, without the hassle.

Global crypto-wealth pioneer, Dacxi, today announced it has formed a supply and vaulting partnership with ABC Bullion, Australia’s largest independent precious metals dealer, to provide a simple, cost-effective way to invest in Gold, Silver and Platinum.

Dacxi’s ‘precious metals’ bundle allows everyday investors to purchase any amount of Gold, Silver and Platinum as a digital token. The underlying precious metals for each token are 100% backed by the physical metal, stored in ABC Bullion’s vaults and fully insured. The move comes at a time when investors are expressing growing concern over heightened  inflation across the developed world arising from unprecedented global monetary stimulus. Meanwhile, relatively few investors have easy access to precious metals to hedge against inflation.

Modernising the world’s store of value

Precious metals have long been the world’s preferred store of value, helping investors maintain their wealth through periods of uncertainty and fiat currency inflation. 

Ian Lowe, CEO at Dacxi said, “For centuries, precious metals have been ‘go-to’ defensive  assets for investors. This is still the case today, but innovation also has an important role to play. Blockchain technology means we can democratise access to precious metals for everyday investors. The combined benefits of accessibility, simplicity, security and liquidity are compelling”. 

The rise of crypto-wealth management

The Dacxi wealth management platform allows investors to access individual gold tokens or a bundle containing different precious metals in a single transaction. The minimum investment for a bundle is just A$200, and includes gold, silver and platinum.

It’s the next logical step in the modernisation of finance, according to Lowe.

“The level of information everyday investors have at their disposal is unprecedented. Many are looking at world events and anticipating a rise in inflation that will eat away at their savings and buying power. A significant number of investors simply don’t have the means to acquire precious metals, an asset class that typically performs well over the medium to long term, and with less volatility.

The tokenisation of physical assets such as that offered by Dacxi in partnership with ABC Bullion doesn’t just simplify the process of acquiring these assets, it evens the playing field by providing universal access regardless of the amount invested. And while precious metals are an ideal entry point to digital assets, they have also performed strongly despite being considered a defensive asset. Over the last 5 years gold has risen 47.92% in value, while silver has appreciated by 38.44%.”

Janie Simpson, CEO at ABC Bullion said, “​​We are thrilled to form a supply and vaulting partnership with Dacxi which we see solving some of the traditional issues retail investors have when it comes to investing in precious metals. It allows them to purchase small or large amounts and provides a marketplace with liquidity that can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in the world. Tokenisation also solves the biggest worry for everyday investors – keeping their precious metal investment safe – as the physical assets are stored in our vaults”.

Whilst there have been many attempts to lower the barrier to entry for investment in these physical asset classes in the past, they often come with risk or complexity. 

Blockchain on the other hand is a fit-for-purpose technology for solving this problem, creating marketplaces for tokens representing virtually any kind of investment imaginable over time. Dacxi is pioneering the tokenisation of multiple asset classes, known as crypto wealth. The tokenisation of asset classes other than crypto currencies opens up previously inaccessible investment opportunities for the everyday investor, while driving exponential growth in crypto wealth.

“Precious metals were the logical choice to evolve our crypto offering, and to provide investors the opportunity to curate their own investment portfolio via the Dacxi platform. We will continue to expand the number and diversity of asset classes available. Tokenisation via blockchain provides the underlying technology to transform investing and massively increase participation. Empowering investors to invest quickly, easily, safely and without all the fees and middlemen involved in traditional asset management is a game changer. Established investors are switching, while a whole new  generation of investors are being born” concluded Lowe.


About Dacxi

Dacxi is a global technology company that empowers everyday investors to participate in the growing digital assets market. Its purpose-built platform provides access to a curated set of digital assets and asset classes, allowing investors to quickly and easily build and manage their investment portfolio. Dacxi is a global organisation with operations in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, Brazil and Singapore.


For more information contact:
Zanda Wilson
Media & Capital Partners
zanda.wilson@mcpartners.com.au
+61 411 066 554

 

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