Blockchain for those who have been around the Block. Baby boomers bring unique experiences and skills to a FinTech Challenger Startup.
It’s still rare to see someone over the age of 50 in a room full of 20-somethings talking about their digital business. The average age of a coder in a fintech startup is 25, while the average CEO is just 31 years old. This is contrary to a wider trend that puts the peak age for entrepreneurial activity across all sectors at 40
Earlier this week I was being interviewed by a millennial FinTech journalist and I found myself having to constantly justify our existence. There appeared to be an incredulity that anyone over the age of 35 could bring anything of value to the world of fintech, or could contribute to the philosophy of disruption.
The average age of our management team is 51.666666 recurring, so it was important to explain the unique set of skills and experiences we bring to banktotal, the new Fintech which will provide banking for the underbanked and unbanked in emerging economies.
The World Bank has set 2020, as a target year to achieve universal financial access (UFA). This initiative calls for adults everywhere to have access to a transaction account to store money, send and receive payments. We have a well formulated strategy to play a part in helping them deliver on this.
So, what can we bring? Well, first and foremost, 35 years of experience of the sector, and the macro and mico trends effecting it.
I have been advising and building financial service brands since the Saatchi brothers made their aborted attempt to buy the Midland Bank, and my Partner Dr Peter Davis was advising the Russian administration at the time of the coup against Yeltsin.
Justin James, who heads up our technology team and is the baby at 47, cut his teeth with technology when a young naval officer on HMS Endurance. We think, however, that our age and experience offers something unique.
Peter is an adviser to the OECD, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Just back from an assignment in the Indus Valley, he knows what devastation the poverty cycle can cause. Also, having run the gauntlet of the threat of Boko Haram road blocks in northern Nigeria, he has firsthand experience of how grinding poverty can be a recruiting ground for terrorism.
Whilst building a brand for an Islamic bank in a Gulf State, I was set upon by a lynch mob from the disenfranchised Shia population who were protesting against inequality and poverty. Thankfully my taxi driver came from the same town and managed to extricate me.
We have been around digital businesses since their inception. Back in 1999 I won a WPP Atticus Award for Original Thinking in Marketing for “Naturist and Veiled”. In this I predicted the rise of the sharing economy, dominance of content marketing, power of the pressure group, evolution of e-commerce and the zeitgeist social media. The predictions received a fair amount of media coverage and we got the front page of the business section of The Times. It is is our combined experience of this sector that we bring to the venture.
We are specialist in consulting and creating disruptor and challenger brands.
has been set up DVC Consultants, and backed by a Gulf based VC fund, to offer financial products to both the underbanked and unbanked in the emerging economies.
DVC Consultants specialises in consulting disruptor and challenger brands, and has set up the startup through its Strategic Alliance and Joint Venture division. Disruption is a unique way of ensuring that positive change is implemented and based on a firm knowledge of the category a brand operates within.
Earlier this year we brought these skills for the benefit of Sharia-compliant Islamic bank. We made reinvention a regular part of its business strategy, and created a disruptor brand which revitalised the bank, its brand and its financial products.
What are the market conditions?
There are two billion people in the world who still do not have a bank account. Most of them live in the emerging economies (Africa and the Asian Pacific Region making up the bulk) However, even in high-income countries, millions are unable to use banks to meet their day to day financial needs.
Furthermore, swathes of the population have access to a bank account, but do not have adequate access to the financial services that banks can provide. These people are known as the underbanked. It may come as a surprise that in the United States this represents over 25 percent of the population! Without access to what many take for granted; savings and credit, this populace remain in the vicious cycle of poverty.
Microfinance provides a much needed way for the unbanked and underbanked to access much in demand credit. This, however, often only increases the cycle of debt as banks charge very high interest rates, to off -set the risk. Debt often ends up being only partially paid, and the poverty cycle continues.
We believe, however, that microfinance is neither a panacea nor snake oil.
It is certainly an improvement on loan sharks – Peter saw that first-hand in Bangladesh earlier this month. On the other hand, it doesn’t work to create the basis for linking people with larger scale endeavour. I remember visiting a microfinance project in Tanzania a few years back which lent predominantly to women. The funding worked to help them get through bumps in the road, to fund inventory of goods to sell, or to allow them to take advantage of small-scale opportunities that came along. However, it did not help any of them to take the next step, towards larger-scale enterprise or greater security.
The thing is, though, that few people these days look on microfinance as a panacea and the problems with it are widely understood. What is interesting is how a range of other financial products are gradually emerging. For example, we found out in Bangladesh that a couple of financial institutions re developing loans especially for small-scale farmers. Usually the problem (apart from issues like collateral and high interest rates) for these consumers is that loans have monthly repayment schedules. Obviously for a farmer, he has no money until the crop has been grown and sold. Therefore, loans which repay after harvest season will be a great boon.
So what Technology are we using?
Blockchain technology has the potential to help the unbanked and underbanked by allowing them to create their own financial alternatives in a clear and systematic way. The greatest challenge banks face when trying to serve the unbanked is that many of them do not have clear identifying information, making it difficult to implement the regulatory requirements to set up an account.
Blockchain provides individuals with a digital identity for use in their banking. It makes remittances simple and efficient. Blockchain can even encourage and permit low-income individuals in different countries to save and lend together.
How does this work in practice?
We see the Smart Phone as the main weapon for combatting the poverty cycle, and thereby dealing with one of the root causes of terrorism.
Our products will use both Ethereum based and other Blockchain technology and be able to be accessed from a smart phone app.
Ethereum is an open-source, public blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. It supports a modified version of Nakamoto consensus via transaction-based state transitions.
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts; applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, a powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.
This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or futures contract), all without a middleman or counterparty risk.
We are developing products that do the following;
*enable peer-to-peer value exchange and payments using a digital wallet platform.
* enable the unbanked to have control over their financial lives and access financial services previously unavailable.
* allows users to create Rotating Savings and Credit Associations on the Blockchain.
* allows individuals to build a Blockchain powered credit score.
* enable blockchain and biometrics to create apps that would allow transactions and investment in the third world.
*earn tokens at home, using bio-identification procedures, and exchange those tokens for local currencies in an app.
* allow those without any formal identification to have an opportunity to create a digital bio-identification straight from their smartphones.
Sharia Compliant Products
With a quarter of the world practicing Islam many of our products will be Sharia-Compliant.
Our Islamic funds are investment products (such as mutual funds and unit trusts) that are based on equities that are screened, or filtered, to ensure sharia compliance.
Screening refers to the process of checking the sharia compliance of every entity included in an equity fund. The first step in the screening process is to filter out any company whose business involves industries or types of transactions that are prohibited by Islamic law. The second step in the process involves looking closely at each company’s financial ratios; a company must meet certain financial benchmarks to assure Islamic investors that it isn’t engaged in prohibited speculative transactions (involving uncertainty or gambling), which are likely leveraged with debt.
Towards the new global banking nirvana
Even simple things like building savings or receiving a loan can be difficult for these two billion people. It keeps them grounded in the cycle of poverty. Blockchain provides a secure, scalable way to serve the needs of these individuals. We are leveraging it to usher in a world in which everyone has access to the savings and credit that is an essential building block for economic growth
Our Management Team
Quentin Anderson, Executive Chairman of DVC has acted as a brand adviser and consultant to Standard Chartered Bank, Citigroup, NatWest, Kuwait Finance House, EFG, National Commercial Bank (Saudi Arabia) and Zurich Financial. Prior to starting DVC he was CEO of two WPP companies and held senior management positions at EURO RSCG.
Whilst at WPP he won their Atticus Award for Original Thinking in Marketing for “Naturist and Veiled” in 1999 which predicted the birth and importance of the sharing economy, dominance of content marketing, power of the pressure group, evolution of e-commerce and the zeitgeist social media.
Dr Peter Davis PhD is an adviser to the OECD, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. From 2006 to 2009 he co-chaired David Cameron’s Working Groupon Responsible Business Practice. Between 2013 and 2017 he sat on the Global Advisory Board of The Global Partnership for Effective Development. He has also acted as an adviser to Government Departments in China, Nigeria, Vietnam, Bangladesh and throughout the Gulf and Middle East.
Justin James has over 20 years experience in designing, planning and implementing data strategies in different industries, across global markets. He has a firm track record in leading the design and delivery of data and technology solutions/roadmaps with a pragmatic approach to strategically deliver on business objectives.
Justin’s most recent engagement was based around cloud PaaS hosting block chain and disruptive technologies providing business’s with key insights to capitalise on disruptive and industry changing technologies and echo systems to better enable and ready the enterprise.