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Crypto Banks: 14 Startups To Watch In 2019

  • 18 February 2019
  • Sam Mire

Isn’t banking already enough of a headache?

There’s lines at the ATM miles long, the tellers are surly, and no one understands these so-called “service” fees. Getting burned by the likes of Wells Fargo is enough to make the bank of First National Mattress an appealing alternative.

If you can believe it, cryptocurrency banking is even less intuitive . But there’s major promise that it could be the wave of the future.

Banking solutions for the underserved crypto community have popped up like bamboo shoots, leaving more options than ever before.

Crypto banks vary in form and function. Some offer digital versions of the bank note, some platforms extend credit to customers with crypto portfolios as collateral, and others have crypto-enabled debit and credit cards for everyday use. Crypto banking is on its way to becoming as practical as legacy banking. This is yet another step into the mainstream for digital currencies.

Here are the companies making waves in the crypto banking space.


WoortonWoorton

Woorton provides liquidity to those buying and selling significant digital assets, namely cryptocurrencies. With the backing of the European Union and a team of institutional investors, the French startup provides liquidity in large trades between “crypto-fiat pairs”. They execute over-the-counter trades, using several order books to ensure fair pricing when exchanging fiat currencies for digital ones. Their in-house trading bots rely on algorithms to locate trades and execute them quickly. Woorton users can also take advantage of their updates on market trends and related analyses. Their ability to arbitrage, buying and selling from different trading books, using proprietary algorithms is what Woorton says allows it to offer industry-leading value to its users. Because they handle large trades only, positive differences in locked-in pricing can be a significant competitive advantage.

Date Founded: March 2018

Funding Type: Venture-backed


ZoozBitZooZbit

ZooZbit is an Israeli holding company overseeing several financial and banking services for cryptocurrency owners. ZH Bank is ZooZbit’s answer to crypto banking, and it contains several features. The ZH MasterCard is a credit card that allows owners to decide whether to pay for a transaction using digital or fiat currency, where the choice is relevant. Their Electronic Money Institution (EMI) feature enables ZH Bank users to accept payment in the form of cryptocurrency. With SWIFT eligibility, customers can engage in international transactions through intermediary banks, handled seamlessly through the ZH Bank platform. And, the built-in e-wallet allows participants to transfer funds among any other digital wallets they may have, while managing both their fiat and digital assets. The platform is aimed at merging the often fragmented banking systems that divide individuals’ currency portfolios. The ZooZbit private token sale concludes on January 24th.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


TangemTangem

Tangem’s flagship product is a new-age “bank note” that customers can use to put their digital wallets to practical use. The physical card, which can be used with near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones – which is most smartphones – only needs to be held in proximity to a payment device to work. Once users download the Tangem app, they can use the touch technology to check the balance of their digital wallets and pay for goods and services. Users who are concerned with the card falling into the wrong hands should know they’re protected with evaluation assurance level (EAL) 6+ protections, one of the highest that can be applied to modern IT devices. The card comes with no fees, transactions are processed immediately, and there is no record trail for third parties to purchase.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


Block BankBlock Bank

UK-based Block Bank aims to make credit more available, speed up transaction times, and lend pseudonyms to those engaging in those transactions. The Block Bank foundation is centered on the BBRT token, which is backed by real assets. The BBRT’s value is not subject to exchange rates, regional laws, regulation, or other factors that tend to muddy free trade. This freedom relative to many fiat currencies make Block Bank suited to serve as a form of credit to underserved populations. For populations facing potential sanctions – say, from a closed-minded government – the ability to remain anonymous also quells many concerns. And, by avoiding fees that come from third-party lenders, costs are minimized for all parties engaging in a transaction.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


CyberTrustCyberTrust

Right now, it’s difficult for banks to purchase Bitcoin, so CyberTrust is working to help interested banks acquire digital currency. Those banks that do acquire Bitcoin and other currencies do so through intermediaries called custodians. That is essentially what CyberTrust is, too – though they hope to fill the role more effectively than their competitors. The custodian-bank arrangement reduces headaches for banks that don’t have the infrastructure, IT capability, or regulatory leeway to invest on their own. Banks’ crypto purchased through CyberTrust is secure, as its stored inside a demilitarized Swiss bunker. The CyberTrust brain trust also works as a brokerage for those that are either inexperienced traders or, aren’t able to complete trades on their own. Its collective offerings makes CyberTrust one of the players helping merge traditional and crypto banking.

ICO: December 5, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


BankeraBankera

Bankera is a Lithuania-based digital bank built using blockchain technology. The service was created to fulfill three of the primary banking-related needs: deposits, loans, and investments. Users will be granted an international bank account number (IBAN), a personal debit card, and access to traditional payment services. Customers will be able to make payments in both crypto- and fiat currencies, and eventually even new forms of GDP-linked currency. Bankera also seeks to gain an advantage through higher interest rates for each deposit made into a customer’s account. Additionally, users will have access to investment tools such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and crypto-funds.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


BSAVEBSAVE

London-based BSAVE wants to help users make additional revenue from their cryptocurrencies. By granting interest on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the platform encourages saving. Users put their funds in into a BSAVE savings account and receive daily interest payments, according to the BSAVE team. The platform appeals to short-term savers by foregoing any financial penalties for withdrawals. This is meant to provide liquidity that is not available in several competitive savings platforms. The BSAVE Defender account is available for those who are wary of downward trends in the price of Bitcoin. Users with the Defender account can lock in the dollar value of their portfolio at the time of deposit so that they are protected from adverse changes in the market.

ICO: July 25, 2015

Funding Type: Private


CashaaCashaa

Cashaa is a blockchain-powered platform that handles both digital and traditional banking needs. Users can manage their cryptocurrency and fiat currency portfolios with a single Cashaa account. The platform offers users several benefits that are unlocked by owning CAS tokens. Users who buy in can transfer funds internationally, withdraw funds using a Cashaa ATM card, and exchange unlimited funds through the platform. Additionally, users can give and receive microloans, and the more CAS Tokens they own, the higher their credit score will rise. Cashaa has racked up several awards and accolades since its creation in 2016, including being named one of KPMG’s Top 50 Emerging FinTech Businesses of 2018.

Date Founded: June 24, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


BABBBABB

London-based BABB is a bank to “power the microeconomy”. They are in the lab working on a platform that users can use to open a digital bank account and unlock several related financial services. BABB has yet to acquire a banking license, but if and when it does, the final version of the platform will be expansive. The platform will include a mobile app that users can access to receive and send fiat and digital currency. A linked debit card known as “The Black Card” will allow BABB customers to spend money from their bank account globally. And, customers will be rewarded for successfully recruiting friends and family to the network. BABB also hopes that central governments who issue their own digital currencies will partner with them to further expand the offerings on the app and card.

ICO: February 6, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


PeculiumPeculium

Peculium is a savings management and investing platform built with blockchain technology. The savings aspect of Peculium is known as AIEVE, an artificial intelligence engine that is an integral part of how users manage their savings. The platform also incorporates Big Data and machine learning to provide insights to users based on the data they (willingly) share through the blockchain. AIEVE is meant to replace traders, who monitor market trends and invest accordingly. Though this vision will undoubtedly take time to develop into a reality, the ambition of the mission is respectable. Beyond AIEVE, Peculium will soon offer its version of the digital wallet, SINGULUS. ALTERUS is the last of the Peculium products and remains in development. It will be a smart contract platform for corporations and financial institutions.

Date Founded: September 2017

Funding Type: Private


NauticusNauticus Blockchain

Nauticus Blockchain has a defined vision with six banking and eCommerce innovations built using blockchain technology. One pillar of the strategy is the Nauticus Exchange, an exchange with over 100 cryptocurrencies and six fiat currencies. The Nauticus blockchain mining center will let users mine remotely as another revenue stream and will be powered with renewable energy sources. The Nauticus worldwide eCommerce aspect will allow fast, secure payment across borders using the Nauticus app. A Merchant Payments Platform will leverage ApplePay and AndroidPay-like technology to provide low-fee payment to contractors and clients. Global know-your-client (KYC) verification will help provide fraud protections, while the Nauticus ICO Gateway will allow reputable clients to issue new tokens using the platform. It’s a wide-ranging, ambitious vision that Nauticus hopes will attract a wide array of both crypto and fiat-inclined customers.

ICO: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


FLYCOINFlycoin

Flycoin is a kiosk producer trying its hand at creating ATMs for cryptocurrency. Those who use the kiosk can, turn physical cash into digital money on the spot, whether that means sending money via PayPal or converting fiat dollars into Bitcoin. There are still logistics that need hammering out, but Flycoin is one of the more promising kiosks for digital currencies currently in development.

Date Founded: February 1, 2018

Funding Type: Private


coinmeCoinme

Coinme is aiming to build the “largest crypto ATM network in the world”. Their approach is two pronged: physical Bitcoin kiosks and private client services. Thanks to Coinme’s partnership with Coinstar, anybody can now buy Bitcoin at any of their kiosks. All a purchaser has to do is select “Buy Bitcoin” at a Coinstar kiosk, input their phone number, and pay with cash. Their client services offerings constitute advisors for investing in digital currencies. Those who want to invest between $10,000 and $500,000 qualifies customers for one-on-one advising in approaches to purchasing over 200 different cryptocurrencies. With the physical kiosks and client advisory services, Coinme is approaching cryptocurrency investing from both the low and high ends of the financial spectrum.

Date Founded: 2014

Funding Type: Venture-backed


blockchainBTMBlockchain BTM

Blockchain BTM is making it easier to purchase cryptocurrencies in person. Their point-of-service (POS) kiosks let users scan their Bitcoin wallet on the Blockchain BTM app to easily link their existing account to the kiosk. They also allow the purchase of digital currency on the app. Their roster of locations continues to expand.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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