At the moment, using cryptocurrencies to buy, sell or otherwise use as a financial resource is not a simple process. Would-be digital currency adopters must deal with unreliable exchanges, unwilling or ill-informed traditional banks, and an ever-changing regulatory landscape.
But what if there was a bank designed to deal with both fiat and digital currency? What if you could find a blockchain focused banking institution that provided legal financial services, and had the licenses and technological capabilities to give you, the consumer, the same level of service that you get from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank?
What is Bankera?
Bankera aims to become the de-facto banking solution for the new world of blockchain. By recognizing that digital currencies and fiat currencies will need to exist in tandem, Bankera has constructed a strategic approach to building a platform designed to provide financial services for both. Bankera already has a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Spectrocoin, which is a web-based Bitcoin wallet founded in early 2013.
The Spectrocoin project provides an all-in-one service to Bitcoin users who want to integrate their digital currency into the existing fiat-infrastructure. Because of Spectrocoin’s existing infrastructure, Bankera is able to leverage Spectrocoin’s licenses and payment networks to use as a foundation to build their platform upon.
What Services will Bankera Provide?
Thanks to Spectrocoin’s existing network, Bankera has been able to immediately offer a range of services to potential customers. As quoted from their whitepaper:
“The core elements of Bankera’s current technology include modules for SWIFT messaging, [IBAN and] SEPA payments, payment [debit] cards integration, bank’s ledger, Bitcoin, Ethereum, DASH, NEM modules, fraud analytics and more.”
Bankera aims to become a registered European bank and also to obtain banking licenses in other jurisdictions. For Bankera to obtain these licenses, the company will need enough capital to protect themselves from insolvency, and to be able to provide loans to their customers on a competitive scale. Therefore, their ICO for the BNK token was set with an extremely high hard cap of over $200 million. The ICO achieved 68.7% of its hard cap (~ $150 million), with the pro-rata distribution of remaining tokens going to the investors of the ICO.
Upon obtaining an official banking license, Bankera will be able to provide the same services as a traditional bank, such as loans and investment services. It is Bankera’s intention to offer these services using cutting-edge technology to maximize potential, such as utilizing AI technology to manage their client’s portfolio’s, and creating new, ETF backed “electronic money” to help keep the money’s value grow on par with inflation.
The BNK token and Benefits for investors
The primary purpose of the BNK token was to raise capital for the company, much like shares. To provide utility for the tokens, Bankera’s exchange will allow free trading with BNK pairings. So, rather than purchasing BTC with ETH, one is incentivized to first acquire BNK with ETH, and then sell for BTC.
The tokens will also provide dividends to token-holders, much like shares in a public company. As stated in the Bankera whitepaper:
“20 percent of the transaction net revenue earned by Bankera and SpectroCoin and paid to BNK token holders on a weekly basis”.
This further incentivizes investment in BNK tokens, and provides a substantial advantage for users of the platform should the platform and exchange perform well.
Negative aspects of the project
Of course, the Bankera project is not without its uncertainties. Their roadmap is ambitious, and the project is yet to obtain the banking licenses needed to fulfill their stated purpose. As these licenses can be hard to obtain, and registration processes can be lengthy, investors could be holding their bags for a long time before they see the project reach its full potential. Additionally, many “crypto-purists” may shy away from projects like Bankera, as it goes against the anti-establishment sentiment held by many within the community. An officially licensed, fiat-compliant institution is too close to the centralized banking system for many crypto-users, and the integration of fiat currencies may be necessary at this point, but many believe digital currencies will replace fiat, not work alongside it. One must also consider that projects like Ripple are trying to achieve a similar outcome of fiat-blockchain integration, and could potentially make Bankera less relevant, depending on the uncertain future of regulation and banking politics.
Ultimately, Bankera has a lot of support. Their ICO was well-received, and the MVP presented by Spectrocoin proves the project has potential. Although their founding team does not have the “celebrity-status” of many popular blockchain projects, Lon Wong, President of the NEM.io foundation, sits on their board of advisers, and believes the project has considerable potential. The 20% cut of transaction revenue returned to BNK-holders is a good way to incentivize investment in the platform, and the development team appears to be well on the way to making their roadmap a reality. As a cat, I enjoy the novel application of blockchain technology Bankera is implementing, and I believe it is an interesting insight into the future of digital banking. Because the project shares some of the same spaces of massive projects like Ripple, and is highly susceptible to the uncertainty of financial regulation of blockchain technologies, I am opting to invest in catnip instead, as the payoff is immediate and certain. Let me know what you think about Bankera’s potential in the comments below.