This interview is part of our new Blockchain For Payments series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and payments.
In this interview we speak with Ken Sangha, CEO of Open Platform, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the payments business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Open Platform? Why and how did you begin?
KS: The essence of Open Platform was conceived of in a previous company with an application that was running in the mobile gaming space. We were fans of blockchain technology and wanted to see such a unique technology be applied to applications like ours, as we identified it as a payment option that we felt both developers and consumers would appreciate. For one, developers can mitigate certain challenges they observe with traditional forms of payment and payment architecture within their application.
On the consumer side, consumers can choose to pay with an alternative to credit cards in the form of currencies that host benefits such as low fees and their native digital format. However, we realized that the infrastructure for application developers to take advantage of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, the way they can advantage of other technologies made convenient through APIs was absent.
At that point, we began by identifying infrastructure tailored for developers to start getting familiar with bridging cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies into their applications.
2. Please describe your use case and how Open Platform uses blockchain:
KS: Open Platform is centered around the underlying infrastructure that makes integrating cryptocurrency convenient on behalf of developers for their applications. To enable the appeal of decentralized technology to developers, we’ve developed open source infrastructure that includes APIs, an open source blockchain and tools like our Scaffolds and Scaffold generator. We’ve also completed a number of these technologies with various SDKs supporting JS, Go, Python, for instance and utilized modern technologies such as Kotlin early on. Google has very recently switched to Kotlin as their preferred language for Android development.
Focusing directly on the payment use case of Open Platform technologies, our open source API allows developers to deploy payment schemes that correlate with both their products and the data required from the sale of their products in exchange for cryptocurrencies that exist in a decentralized environment.
This enables the developer to integrate cryptocurrency payment options in both their centralized and decentralized application backends in a way that abstracts away complexities of the development process, eliminating the need for developers to learn the specific requirements and native language of each blockchain they want to build on. In addition, we have developed our own high speed and interoperable blockchain to complement developers in our vision to make it easier for them to push blockchain-based payment technology forward.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
KS: An international technical solutions development company has chosen to utilize Open Platform’s open source infrastructure in a product under development. Their vision is to enable the acceptance of cryptocurrencies on behalf of their software clients who wish to pay utilizing cryptocurrency.
KS: We are most interested in the area of payment-related technologies and advances that global firms like IBM, Visa and Mastercard seem to be focusing on and developing a library of patents for.
For instance, Visa's B2B Connect is an end-to-end payments network targeted towards global banking transactions, as Visa is not a bank it could benefit to advance within the domain of transfer protocols and leverage that to banks. Visa is utilizing a combination approach of digital identifiers based on distributed ledger technology and the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric technology. IBM, which has already acquired 140 patents in the blockchain distributed ledger technology space, is a partner on the Visa project. Further investments in distributed ledger technology startups by Visa show that there is a deep interest in the payments aspect of what decentralized protocols could enable for the future of payments and payment security.
5. Where will Open Platform be in 5 years?
KS: We hope Open Platform’s open source contributions and protocols will be in use by application developers building the next generation of applications. We also hope that our technology and efforts help provide the initial bridge required to drive interest in developers utilizing these underlying protocols and their ecosystems to drive adoption by consumers, creating greater forward momentum for the industry as a whole.