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Adapt or die - how fintech is changing the banking space

In this episode, we are talking with Kieron Cartledge, the Global Sales Director at Baanx, where we’ll discover how they’re bridging the gap between crypto and fiat!

Episode 4: Adapt or die – how fintech is changing the banking space - graphic1

Episode 4: Adapt or die – how fintech is changing the banking space – with Kieron Cartledge

During our conversation, Kieron told us about his role as the Global Sales and Project Director at Baanx, a B2B2C provider of API-driven, crypto-friendly financial services. We also discussed the challenges for Baanx’s development in such a highly competitive banking market, what makes them unique, what they have achieved so far, and what are their plans for the company’s growth. Listen to the podcast to discover how they’re bridging the gap between crypto and fiat! 

The fourth episode in a nutshell:

  • Kieron’s professional journey
  • The story and mission behind Baanx
  • Baanx – how does it work?
  • The strategy behind B2B & B2C approach
  • The model of a fully remote company
  • Inside the crypto space
  • The future of fintech
  • Needs & challenges of the e-commerce start-up
  • Technology behind Baanx
  • Project pipeline

About Kieron

Kieron Cartledge is an absolute lover of everything digital! From crypto and NFT to even gaming in the metaverse, which is perfect as we already know this stuff after our lesson with Kelly Vero! 

Kieron is a Global Sales and Projects Director at Baanx – more efficient and faster than traditional fintech and banking. They are creating the bridge between the old and the new and both disrupting and improving the world of financial services.

Kieron has also started his weekly newsletter called ‘Crypto with Kieron’, where he shares his thoughts and explains some aspects of the digital world – we highly recommend checking this one! 

Recently, we also asked her a few questions to get to know her better – read them here.

Transcript

Intro 0:00
Welcome to the How We Innovate podcast presented by Applandeo, hosted by me, Wiola, and my co-host, Bryan. On this podcast, we talk with leading innovators, pull back the curtain on their industry, and get to know how they use technology to achieve success, as well as share the stories behind them and their businesses.

Host – Bryan 0:23
Yeah, so we have a really special episode today for our fourth episode, Kieron Cartledge, the Global Sales Director at Baanx. Kieron, how are you doing, sir?

Guest – Kieron 0:33
I’m very well, indeed. Thank you very much for having me. It’s much appreciated.

Host – Bryan 0:37
Dude, you’re our first sales guy. So you know, I’m on the business side of Applandeo here. So I hope we have a pretty interesting conversation today. So yeah, so Kieron, how about you just give us a brief overview, maybe a little bit about your experience, and then we could get into it?

Guest – Kieron 0:53
Yeah, sure. So I’ve been with Baanx pretty much since the beginning. Just to give you a bit of sort of a background to Baanx, we’re a B2B2C solution provider, providing financial services primarily within the crypto space. We’ve launched things like MasterCard, and Visa debit cards into crypto programs, and digital exchanges and that side of things. And from my experience, I actually don’t come from the crypto world originally. I actually originate from the recruitment world, and sort of more generic sales. Myself and Garth, who’s our CEO worked together for a number of years. And he asked me to sort of join Baanx, I saw the beginning of it, really enjoyed it, what they were doing. He asked me to come over from a sales point of view. I said yes, jumped to the opportunity, obviously, to work in such an innovative space. And I’ve been here ever since. And I’ll never ever look back. I don’t think. I’ve seen the business growth from four members of staff to over 100. So yeah, it’s been a great experience. And there’s plenty more opportunities for us to grow in the future.

Host – Bryan 2:00
That’s kind of interesting. So you didn’t really come from like, a crypto-ish lover background, right? So have you come to love your the crypto space or how’s your relationship with the crypto space?

Guest – Kieron 2:11
I love it. So, when I say I didn’t come from sort of a crypto background, I mean, I didn’t come from sort of the environment or a different company, you know, similar guys that have joined us by recently have come from that space in the FinTech background. Myself – I was just a recruiter. And, you know, that’s just kind of how it was. I was good at that. But it just, I got bored of the nine to five, you know, day in day out same old, same old, this space is ever-evolving. And obviously, it all started with that humble little thing, Bitcoin. And since the humble beginnings of Satoshi, obviously it’s grown to be an absolutely incredible space to work in. And you’ve got things like the metaverse, you’ve got gaming within NFT’s, you’ve got all this really cool innovative stuff staking you can make money in a sec. So as well as sort of just be involved. You don’t have to understand crypto to be in the crypto space. And I think that’s kind of what we’re trying to help do. You know, we’re trying to sort of as a business, and with our clients’ help as well, but we’re trying to sort of bridge the gap between that fiat and crypto world, we’re trying to bridge that gap between understanding crypto, you know, crypto and, what it is and the real world. We’ve seen adaptation and adoption. Sorry, not adaptation, but adoption from governments, we’ve seen adoption from big businesses like PayPal, all moving into space. And that’s because it’s the future. Let’s be honest, Web3 is the future.

Host – Wiola 3:41
Can you tell us a little bit more about like, how has it started? The story behind Baanx?

Guest – Kieron 3:52
So Baanx originally, really that sort of vision. And it’s quite a funny story, really. I’m not going to do as detailed but the vision was basically Garth was an investor in a lot of cryptocurrency at the time theory of Bitcoin being the main thing. And it was like, wouldn’t be great if I could actually spend this. And he was like, I’m gonna build a bank, I was like, you should build a bank. And he came in the next day and got out his whiteboard and started drawing out these all these cool ideas of what to do. And Baanx was born. And originally we were going to be a B2C model, similar to like your crypto.com app. But after building all the technology and working with Visa and then start bridging out into MasterCard and things like that and have to work really closely with these these big businesses, we was like, this isn’t for us, we should be doing the other side of it. We shouldn’t be on the consumer side, we should be on the on the business to business to consumer side and we build the solutions for all the clients out there that would, you know, it took so long to get the licensing and the compliance aspect of well it’s such a such a struggle, and we were like ‘We should offer this to other clients’. And that’s sort of how it became, how Baanx became a B2B2C, the B2C market probably wasn’t for us. And you know, we built all this cool technology. And it’s just sort of grown from there, really.

Host – Wiola 5:14
So basically, you’re building this very flexible modular FinTech platform.

Guest – Kieron 5:21
Correct. Yeah.

Host – Wiola 5:22
Right. That’s very customizable. And it obviously includes many elements, you have this B2B components and the offering for B2C. And this is actually pretty, you know, complex platform that maybe you can tell something more about that.

Guest – Kieron 5:46
I mean, it is complex in a sense, yeah. We’ve got three main solutions, I would say, here at Baanx, we can offer the full suite of products in three different ways. One being API driven. And then the other ones being sort of more iframe display solutions. And we know that clients, it’s not an off the shelf product, you know, we know clients want it sort of slightly different. And each client has their own sort of way of working and how they want the solution to work. So we built this modular system where you could basically toggle things on and off. And some of our clients aren’t custodians, they don’t custody their own assets. And so we can toggle the wallet systems off, they can use their own wallets, if they don’t have that solution, we could turn it on, it’s all been built in a way that we can service the masses. And, you know, on the other occasion, we do bespoke work as well, you know, you kind of have to do some times to make it a little bit more user friendly for the end users and the clients platform itself.

Host – Wiola 6:49
What like, what is the goal of Baanx? What are you looking to solve in a marketplace?

Guest – Kieron 6:56
So we are solving the whole solution of spending and on-ramping. So the full sort of lifecycle, I would say, of a user in cryptos, they wanted to be able to on-ramp, and they want to be able to spend in the real world. And that’s what we’re doing. That’s the solution we built. And we are bridging, as I said before, and I’ll probably use this term quite a lot to be honest because it’s my favorite ever term, but we bridge the gap between fiat and crypto. And we are a bit in the middle that takes crypto into the fiat realm and into that fiat space. And the technology that we use behind that is driven by the API’s, it’s driven by Visa, MasterCard, we work with a cloud, the partners as well in the background to really bring that solutions to life.

Host – Bryan 7:44
I think that also is interesting, right? Because a lot of this crypto stuff and digital, it could get complicated for people, right? So like, whenever I tried to explain like the blockchain or Bitcoin to my grandmother she’s like, or even my parents sometimes, right? It’s just like, it’s a gap. That’s just the knowledge gap is just very wide, right? So you guys are trying to bridge that gap, right? So how do you try to explain to more like traditional finance people, like digital assets, or blockchain and stuff like that, like, have you have you had any success? Obviously, if you’ve had success, right, but like, what’s that sort of thing? What sort of strategies or stories do you try to use to make it seem more simple?

Guest – Kieron 8:28
Yeah, so well, good question, actually. It’s kind of comes naturally, I think. I think from my own point of view, you know, you’ve got to look at it from a point of view of an end user right now we’re working with a lot of the clients we’re working with right now are in that crypto space, and a lot of their users are in that space. And I have the same issue when it comes to sort of explaining it to my grandparents. And you know, because of all of the you hear the horror stories, and that’s all that ever gets shown in the mainstream is the horror stories. They don’t they don’t show the success stories of how people have come from nothing and build themselves up to you know where they are. And the way that I would always say that, or the way that I was used to sort of successor is you got to look at things like the unbanked nations, those nations out there like El Salvador, for example, or Africa. It’s a very, very harsh environment for some of them to be honest, and it’s an unbanked nation. Now, if you take those as an example and say, they could use cryptocurrency, and it is more stable in their own currency itself, even though Bitcoin fluctuates so quickly in Ethereum, and all of these digital assets do fluctuate, he is more stable than them using their own traditional currency. And they could or they have to buy it, they can stake it which somewhat happens like an interest. So the crypto the crypto world is exactly in a way somewhat similar to the fiat realm. You know, you can buy crypto stake it you earn interest, and you can say credit lines out, you know, banks have built a system, which is called the crypto draft, which works exactly the same as any sort of overdraft. You know, and it is a fully sort of fledged financial product, but without the hassle of the main banks. Do you see what I mean?

Host – Bryan 10:20
Yeah, and you know, I’m really excited to see what happens in El Salvador, right. So it’s kind of such a grand experiment on such a big scale, right. You know, last what was it October, or earlier last year that El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender, right. So yeah, you know, and even bitcoins been around legal tender for a few months, and more people have Bitcoin wallets than actual bank accounts in El Salvador, right, so.

Guest – Kieron 10:45
Exactly.

Host – Bryan 10:46
Right. So just the scale of what they’re trying to do. It’s, I’m pumped for it, right. So I’m super excited for El Salvador’s future.

Guest – Kieron 10:54
Yeah, I mean, it’s one of those things that El Salvador probably like a really good example, the recording of so now they’ve, they’ve sort of opened it up for the countries. I mean, these talks to Turkey, I’ve seen that more recently in the news that are gonna go down that route and pale, if the UK went down that route, that’d be amazing. But you know, you have seen the adoption as well from from bigger sort of more well known brands as well, Pay Pal, being one of them is another good example of crypto adoption. And those guys obviously doing the educational piece, we here at banks and our marketing team here, we do a lot of the educational pieces myself, I write quite often. And when we publicize round about the education, the safety, people don’t understand it to be fair, you know, they need to have that understanding. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not just here as a service provider to our end clients, but also as well to to the end user of that incline. And a lot of the clients that we work with we we choose them, we choose them, because they offer that educational aspect, as well as the investment aspect, you know, and I think people look at cryptocurrency and digital assets is just an investment tool. They’re not just an investment tool. It’s the future, it can drive, it will drive the future of web3 and the metaverse and everything else that comes with it.

Host – Wiola 12:19
From my perspective, one of the, you know, major aspects of building financial products is building that trust among your customers.

Guest – Kieron 12:30
Correct.

Host – Wiola 12:30
And make build a product that are trustworthy? And how do you see that process at Baanx? Like what do you do to actually, you know, make trustworthy products?

Guest – Kieron 12:43
Yeah. So when it comes to building trust, and things within our product line, you know, we built a proof of concept first. We didn’t just go to the market and go, here’s a product, you want to buy it sort of thing, or here’s a product run implement it, we built a proof of concept. And we took that proof of concept to larger organizations, including some of our lead investors one and things like that, we work quite closely with very, very well known blockchains in the industry, such as Tezos, as I’m sure you might have seen in the news tells us have become more and more well known as a brand. And that’s how we build the trust, we work with the right enterprises, I would say and then also from a security point of view, our software is audited all the time, to be honest. And you’ve got the regulation aspect. So we’re regulated here in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. We’re in process now we’ll go into all the regulators out there in Europe. And also as well into the US, we want to do this right. And there has been sort of examples of where it has been done wrong. And a lot of the time, that’s because they’ve not worked with the right regulators, they’ve not worked with the regulators, they’ve tried to push against it. And if that happens, you know that you lose trust in the market. And hence why we want to work with them is also as well, not just educating the end user, but it’s educating those regulators around what we should be doing from a security point of view. And that’s, that’s what we do as a business. Our team here is very well, you know, very well versed in this industry. And yeah, I think that answers the question, maybe, but yeah, I’d say that’s the sort of key things there is working with the right regulators, make sure we’re following those the right regulations and policies and procedures, etc, that are outlines especially from like a compliance point of view, etc. And then also, as well, from a technical point of view, it’s ensuring that we’re safe. And we’re impenetrable especially with you know, you see all the time in the market and we are auditing our software on a regular basis.

Host – Bryan

Yeah, I think that’s a good place to like, pivot, right. You mentioned FinTech and all that, right? So in terms of crypto adoption, right, in terms of FinTech, do you think it’s now at a point where it’s either adapt or die? Like, you know, traditional finance has to adapt otherwise that’s it. It’s similar with PayPal, right? Because PayPal was the first big alternative. Right? So they were the first big fin tech company right? And, you know, Pay Pal after so many years, even from my own experience, they’re just fees were outrageous compared to other now there’s so many cheaper alternatives. Right? And, you know, I guess they kind of saw the moment where yeah, we kind of have to adapt or adopt crypto or otherwise, that’s it. We’re done as a company. That’s the way I felt right. So what other type of future trends do you kind of see in FinTech?

Guest – Kieron

Yeah, great. You know, it’s a do or die sort of scenario right now. The blockchain it’s been around long enough. It’s fast. It’s adaptable. It’s not just being used as well for financial services. If you see what I mean, it’s been used for other things as well like smart contracts and investment models. And we’ve seen things like LFTs, the metaverse. I think that is the future of fintech. And what you would think is the metaverse now is becoming this sort of completely decentralized VR reality place. And we’ve already seen big brands as well move in there. You know, we’ve been talking like I did last night, Samsung, they’ve got shops within these spaces. The next thing is Baanx. The next thing will be Baanx and fintechs will start moving into the metaverse, we will be able to go into the metaverse in a virtual reality and be able to actually do our banking will be next. In my opinion. I see that as a future trend.

Host – Bryan 16:42
Yeah. So I think, especially with you, Kieron. I think this is a good question, right. So from your perspective, right, you know, obviously, you do a lot of B2B stuff. So from your sales perspective, how are you trying to find these partnerships? Do some of these partnerships come to you? Are you actively looking for partnerships, obviously, but like, what are some of the criteria you guys are looking for in order to have like a business relationship with clients?

Guest – Kieron 17:14
Strong Q&A, is probably the key key factor there strong community, very well known presence. I mean, just give you not trying to plug anything in here. But like some of the clients that we do work with are well known within the crypto sector as well as in the real world. Some of the names that are very well known now, obviously, I’ve already mentioned Tezos sponsored by Manchester United, so that’d be well known and and people are seeing them a little bit more from a brand awareness point of view. We’ve got Ledger, who’s obviously massively well known within the crypto space has been one of the most secure.

Host – Bryan 17:49
That’s my cold storage wallet, so.

Guest – Kieron 17:50
Exactly, yeah. So they’re another one of the guys there, you know, we we actually use some of their storage in our system, from a security point of view, because Ledger are the number one when it comes to crypto security, or even just like, yeah, and obviously, that’s sort of the key things that we look for a great community that is has a great following. And that will support the adoption over time. Is another is probably the two key things I would say when we’re looking at sort of who we want to partner with, and why we want to partner with them.

Host – Wiola 18:24
How you convince them to partner with you. What’s your selling point?

Guest – Kieron 18:35
[laugh] Yeah, I think our USP really is the fact that we’re in this space. We’re in we’re in crypto, we’re also starting to branch out into the more traditional finance in banks as well. And I don’t mean Baanx as Baanx, but traditional banks, and we’re starting to offer solutions there as well. We’re actually we’re now being seen as the go to, rather than chasing clients. And it’s coming the other way now, and we’re seeing that sort of more and more as we started to grow. Yeah, I’m sorry. What was the question again?

Host – Wiola 19:16
The question was Akoin. How did it start? How that partnership started?

Guest – Kieron 19:23
Oh, Akoin.

Host – Wiola 19:25
Yeah, give us an example. You know, we are curious here.

Guest – Kieron 19:32
Akoin is really funny one. In all honesty, and yeah, so Lynn Liss is their CEO at Akoin. I reached out to her a few times via email, just say we want to sort of work with you. I even reached out to Akon and I managed to find Akon’s email address.

Host – Bryan 19:51
Is it [email protected]?

Guest – Kieron 19:51
[laugh] It isn’t. I’m not giving you how, so nice try. No, yeah, it was one of those things where like, I’ve reached out a few times and got no response. And it was, I think, actually reached out on Twitter. And I was like, you know what, last ditch effort, I’m gonna reach out on Twitter, and then I’m going to reach out and telegram and that’s it. If they don’t come back to me then it is what it is sort of thing.

Host – Bryan 20:18
So it was king of a miracle.

Guest – Kieron 20:22
Yeah! And she came back to me, we had a call, we shared a lot of the same energy, the same sort of synergies, what they’re doing in Senegal, and places like that is absolutely amazing, and what Akoin is about, and we spoke earlier on about the unbanked, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re trying to reach that sort of unbanked nations. And, you know, Akoin is going to be the coin of Africa, let’s be honest in the long run. And that’s sort of how it came about. And then their card has recently been launched in a beta phase, it’s not yet out there to the masses. But it will allow the users that are sat within the Malala Medical Center to not only Medical City, sorry, not only to spend Akoin inside the city, but take that card outside the city and spend it elsewhere. And that’s what are our goals are really we want to mass adoption and just give make sure there’s no sort of stopping point for people. Yeah, I have met Akon and he’s a great guy. I think that’s kind of what you’re getting out there. But yeah, he’s a great guy to speak to. He’s got some amazing sort of outlooks. And in the future, there’s gonna be some other sort of really cool products coming out there as well with with Akoin that Baanx are working on with both Akoin and Lynn and John.

Host – Bryan 21:45
Yeah, and I think one of the things that I think crypto struggles with even still now, right is just the usability, right? For a lot of people. It’s still complicated, right? It’s not as user friendly as other traditional finance stuff is, right. But I think crypto is getting there. Right? And I think, especially with your partnership with Ledger, right, where, you know, I have a crypto.com card, right? So for me, when I want to go to fiat, right? I have to sell the crypto and go to fiat, right. But with the ledger card, you guys are having it automatically convert at the time of purchase. Right? So you know, I think that is just a huge step, I think in terms of the usability of crypto in general.

Guest – Kieron 22:24
Yeah, I mean, we use a system that we’ve built, we call it dynamic wallet solution, or DWS. And, you know, kind of wanted to clean something from Amazon. And so we call it DWS and the way the dynamic wallet solution is, and how it works is users can have five different wallets attached to their card at any one time. Now, when a user goes to the to, let’s say, Tesco or you know, any of the sort of supermarkets or even like online purchasing, Amazon maybe and, and uses their card, what we do in the background is we have multiple parts there. So as they spend, we can take funds from one part and give it to the merchant. So the merchant will receive fiat, and then the user at the time, at the time of transaction, we liquidate the asset for the user. So the full system really is. And from a user point of view is users are spending crypto in the real world, when in actual fact, what we’re doing is we’re liquidating at the time of transaction, which is nobody else is doing that. And it’s not as easy you would think, and there has been people tried to do it in the past and it not work. And obviously, there’s things in there that I can’t really sort of go into in too much detail from a technical point of view. Otherwise, I’m literally giving away our whole system. But yeah, it works really, really well. And, you know, we’ve got permission from Visa and MasterCard to do it this way. And they’re really excited about it. We do work really closely with them as well on a lot of the stuff that we’re doing.

Host – Wiola 23:52
And how big is your technical team?

Guest – Kieron 23:57
So the business as a whole, is I think we’re at 110 members of staff now. And we started with four, when now 110. And there’s 60% of our staff members are within our technical team. And our technical team is obviously made up of three core teams, that all sort of work on different aspects from implementations of third party third party applications. So things like our KYC provider, for example, they manage that, then we’ve got one of our teams look at sort of our app development for our white label app solutions. And then we have our team as well that look at sort of core developments as well. Where in terms of the team was like spread globally. We are in pretty much every continent, I think, to be honest, in terms of the T, we’re a completely sort of digital business. There’s no sort of, we’ve got offices. I mean, I’m setting one of our offices right now. But people have the choice and I think that’s one reason why people enjoy working here. We’re not, you know, an old school bank where you got to go to a business, you’ve got to go into a building. And we’re digital fintech. We’re in the crypto space. You can work from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection.

Host – Wiola 25:15
Soon you all will be working in Metaverse anyway.

Guest – Kieron 25:18
Exactly. Yeah. I think that’d be a cool idea. You know, we can match our office, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna take that actually, that’s my idea. That wasn’t your idea. [laugh] And I’m gonna go and see if we can build that next. We’ll call it our office. And they’ll put Regis to shame on it. So yeah.

Host – Wiola 25:39
So you mentioned the dedicated team working on your app, mobile app. So what’s the main role of your app at Baanx?

Guest – Kieron 25:49
When we first started out, we built the Baanx app, now the Baanx app was a concept. It was there to show how the system would work when it came to speaking with clients, and investors and things like that. And it is adapted massively over time. And that app now is still there. You can still see you still demo it, still play with it. But our major apps now is the Tezos crypto life app. So as I’ve said before, you know, Tezos foundation became an investor in Baanx. And as part of that we were building the Tezos crypto life app. And the Tezos crypto life app is it has everything within that one system, which is our wallets, that cards functionality, and as well as the ability to send and receive crypto via the normal wallet address. But one thing as well, that we spoke about earlier was the adaptation and sorry, the adoption, and how do we sort of get this to to the masses, and how your parents got to understand it, we built a system called Text bit. And Text bit allows you to text cryptocurrency, anybody in your phonebook through the Tezos crypto life app. So you can go in there and you can literally send so for example, I do this all the time in the office and somebody will buy McDonald’s for dinner. And I’ll go do you want cash or crypto that is always my, my sort of response – cash or crypto. And everybody will always say crypto, and I will literally send them 10 pounds worth of bitcoin for what I’ve just purchased via text message. And what we do is we tether the wallet addresses to that number. And if a user doesn’t have the Tezos crypto life app, it sends them a text message to download it. This is how we, you know, this is how you started adopting and showing people like my mom how crypto works because they’ll download the app and it’s received instantaneously they do KYC which you have to at bank and it’s received and sustainably set them in the wallet they can then get a card and go and spend it and but also part of the app team as well. It’s part of the Tezos app and I could go on tangents for days and is obviously our crypto draft product, which is allows you to stake let’s say one Bitcoin and then draw down on that Bitcoin and spend it in the real world just without actually having to sell your cryptocurrency to acts almost as a as an overdraft. That’s the best sort of comparison I can give is an overdraft or a credit card. It isn’t a credit card for a disclaimer. We’re not allowed to say that and it isn’t a credit card.

Host – Bryan 28:27
And this is not financial advice, right? You always have to say that.

Guest – Kieron 28:29
This is not financial advice in any way shape or form. Please do your research before you invest. [laugh] This is just you know my own personal opinion on my products. I am not giving financial advice.

Host – Bryan 28:44
You always have to add that disclaimer.

Guest – Kieron 28:47
Every time every site every piece of marketing I’ve got to add the same thing so yes.

Host – Bryan 28:52
So it’s the app still in beta are you guys is it launched or?

Guest – Kieron 28:56
No, the Tezos crypto life app is available to download and the waitlist is there for the cards. First cards will be launched in the coming weeks. But the app is available to download you can go in there you can load it with crypto, you can load it with fiat buy crypto you can exchange and you can do everything apart from spend just yet because the cards are seconds away from being completed and the waitlist is out there. So if you do want to get a card and I am plugging now if you do want to go get a card join the waitlist.

Host – Bryan 29:30
And this is a big part of your B2C offering right at Baanx, right. So this is directly from Baanx to consumers to the to the users, right? So I think this is a good way to like so when Andreas or your coworker Director of Brand Marketing, shout out Andreas, when you’re moving to Baanx, I was like, okay, let me look into this. And a lot of it was B2B Right? So from my end user, right, so I’m a crypto so B2B that really it was a lot to comprehend right, from my perspective, because I’m understanding from the consumer side, right, so. So how are you guys trying to balance between like your B2B stuff and your B2C? Right? So are you looking maybe at like a 50-50 split in terms of how the company or is the B2B still, hopefully the majority of what you guys are doing.

Host – Wiola 30:23
He actually said it’s B2B2C. Right?

Host – Bryan 30:27
Okay.

Guest – Kieron 30:27
Yeah. Too many B’s, too many C’s, too many two’s, too many of everything. Yeah, we’re, we’re a B2B2C. And you know, we that’s how we’ve always positioned ourselves in the market. As a B2C product, we have Tezos crypto life, that is our B2C product, we manage that on behalf of Tezos, right. But I would say our key focus is the B2B aspect, we are a fully managed service as well as a business. So we look at everything from the onboarding. And we do all of the compliance, the regulatory aspect, all of that side of stuff throughout the whole system, right through to the onboarding, etc. So our corporates, from a B2B point of view, I don’t go back to that. But our corporate from a B2B point of view don’t have to worry about anything apart from marketing and bringing their users to the systems. And that’s literally all they have to do. Really, and, and then for a B2C point of view, we work with them to build their brands. And you know, it’s still our product at the end of the day as well, even though it’s the face of them, we sell our products, we build the brand from a consumer point of view. And we work with the brands that we work with, whether it’s Leger, Tezos, Akoin, Refinance, any of these sort of big corporates we’re working with, and we work with them to market that and we offer the full support from first line to third line, you know, everything is everything is working with the business to get to the consumer, hence the B2B2C. The only sort of consumer facing app that we have that we manage fully is the Tezos app right now. And which is our is now become our cornerstone demo product.

Host – Bryan 32:13
So there’s no ideas or to go back to just that plain Baanx app. So is, you know, is so is that sort of that’s it?

Guest – Kieron 32:23
It’s still there it’s still used, from our point of view, you know, it’s about building a huge user community together. And that’s what, cryptocurrency was all about in the in the originals, you know, it was about sticking it to the month, a little bit, you know, you go back to the old school sort of way of thinking, and that’s what we’re, you know, that’s kind of what we’re doing but with the, with a network of different corporates, if that makes sense. So yeah, from a B2C point of view, we still do the B2C aspect is just we do it alongside our B2B’s, rather than just as a standalone part from the Tezos crypto life app. Go download it today.

Host – Bryan 33:09
There you go. Not financial advice.

Host – Wiola 33:14
So for B2B, you’re building these API’s or other crypto company businesses to use? Is that right?

Guest – Kieron 33:22
Yeah, so it’s driven by open API is driven by iframe integrations. And to be fair, iframe integrations are just an off, you can literally plug and play. It’s completely sort of the way that the system is built, it’s built so that we can change colorization imagery. And the whoever the client is, is able to just sort of display in their app or display on their web system without actually having to build anything. It’s just plug and play, and away they go. And then also, we’ve got the mobile applications, which is, which is a white label mobile app, which looks it’s the skin of, obviously, the client brand, and some sort of Tezos crypto life app, Baanx app. And there’s other apps that are coming out shortly, but I can’t say anything just yet. But there are some being released with some of our other clients.

Host – Bryan 34:14
And in terms of the crypto space in general, or financial tech, right, so what are a few things that you think are lacking at the moment. Like with things that you think could be improved? Yeah, and in terms of something like that, right. So obviously not everything’s rosy. Right? There’s are there are some issues in every market, right. So are there some things that just come to mind? What do you think that ‘okay, that needs to be improved’? Because when you think about it, we’re still in such an early market, right? So when you think about crypto, Bitcoin have been around 10 years, right? And old financial systems have been around for 100, right? So yeah, there are still a lot of growing pains. So I’m kind of interested to see like, maybe what do you think are some growing pains?

Guest – Kieron 35:00
The Green aspect is probably a big growing pain. You know, if you look at sort of the, the blockchain sector as a whole is seen as quite an eco friendly system when it comes to mining etc. And I would say that’s sort of one of the key sort of teething issues that we need to sort of adress a lot. And blockchains out there like Tezos and so on, are adopting this quite heavily and pushing this forward. I would also say the regulators, the regulator’s themselves need to sort of look at what what needs to be regulated. And I think sometimes you can have over regulation in a sector and to be to remain decentralized as cryptocurrencies you got defined sci fi, and, and to remain decentralized, I think the regulators need to look at how can they actually regulate a decentralized environment properly? I think at the moment, there’s a lot of over overkill in the sector, personally. And, yeah, I think that’s the sort of key teething issues. And I think that’s about but then also, as businesses like Baanx and others out there need to actually work with regulators, they need to work with chains to make things better for everyone, at the end of the day, and yet, the adoption needs to be there. I think, to get more and more bigger clients adopting this like that, sorry, bigger corporations out there adopting this, like PayPal, and there is talks of all the ones in the news that I’ve seen more recently that are looking to adopt big banks are looking to sort of move down a blockchain space, I think it was Santander, don’t quote me, that we’re looking at sort of turning the Ledger into a blockchain, rather than an old school digital Ledger, you know. And the payment network just needs to be improved to the you know, faster, more, more user friendly. And that’s happening, but slowly, I would say.

Host – Wiola 36:53
And like comparing it to traditional, the payment process in traditional banking, how is it like how different is it?

Guest – Kieron 37:02
Yeah, so if you look at sort of the traditional bank, or fintech, actually, like open banking, now you’ve got Swift, the more older payment rails as well. And they’re sort of the key things that he used in traditional finance, when it comes to blockchain, it is controlled by those that use it, it’s quite, it’s completely decentralized. And some chains out there take longer than others. And some transactions take longer than others, it depends on the gas fees that you pay on the on the mining, etc. But, you know, we have seen payment rails come out there, similar, you know, that are coming out into the sector, like salon, or like, stellar dash, all these ones that are super quick payment rails, and they are built for payments. And then you’ve got this sort of the daddy of all which is Ethereum. And but the Ethereum network can get quite highly congested at times, which takes transactions take longer. But that’s in my opinion, on the same as if you’re sending overseas payments from one country to another. And the differences between the two is, it is faster, it is easier. And the fees are, on average, a lot less. And there’s nobody sort of telling you what you can and can’t do with your money as well. Does that make sense?

Host – Bryan 38:17
Yeah. And I think so maybe in terms of maybe this year, and maybe next year, so what’s on the roadmaps for Baanx, right? So obviously, maybe you can’t share too much, but what are you like, super excited for? Because you know, in crypto space, in the FinTech world, a lot of thing, it moves very fast, right. So, you know, so what are some things that you’re really excited for?

Guest – Kieron 38:40
To have the Ledger system out there in the market, the cards to go live, we’re doing this sort of beta internal testing in the next couple of weeks with internal staff members, both here at Baanx and the guys over at Ledger. So that’ll be massive, which will include our crypto draft the long term stuff as well, we’re doing sort of long term crypto drafts, we’re looking at things like rewards in crypto, like how you can go to the shop spend in like, sit in merchants and actually get cashback in either our native BXX token, or you can get it in Bitcoin or something like that. I know there’s similar sort of products on the market for the way that ours will work is slightly different. I’m not going to go into too much detail today. I want to give away the whole sort of pie. But yeah, it’ll be so much more exciting, more user friendly. And also as well, Apple Pay and Google Pay, you know, being able to use a debit or credit card. It’s a debit card – sorry. That is connected to a crypto wallet in Google Pay and Apple Pay. And right now we’ve got Google, we’re just waiting on the final little pieces for Apple and then I think there’s only like two programs in the whole entire world that have Apple Pay that allow you to spend cryptocurrency, and one of them is like you said it’s a it’s a preloadable card. So in actual fact, it’s not directly linked to any crypto, we’re looking at adopting as well, where the actual transactions will happen on chain. And that’s also something really cool. That’s, again, not ever been done yet from my understanding anyway. Some publications will be coming out about that shortly. So transactions will actually happen on the card on the chain directly to the wallet in a completely decentralized environment. That’s some of the core stuff that’s coming out. And will probably grow in terms of numbers as well as a business in terms of the amount of staff members that we have, we were just about to open another office in Sofia as well. So there’s loads of cool stuff coming out, you keep an eye on our social media, and just keep an eye on some of our clients and what we’re doing there.

Host – Bryan 40:48
Cool. And, you know, I think there’s something we didn’t even really mention it was the Bsanx’s token. Right. So, you know, that’s kind of controls the whole Baanx’s ecosystem, right? What are you guys doing in terms of maybe user outreach and stuff like that, just to make sure that people know about the coin, you know, where is it traded and stuff like that?

Guest – Kieron 41:09
Yeah, so Baanx have a token, it’s the BXX token, you can buy it on Uniswap. You can also buy it on Mexi, which is a digital sort of centralized exchange. And also, while you can, in the Tezos crypto life app, you can stake it for certain periods of time, it’s 3 to 12 months, you can stick the asset for receiving a decent yield back. And so if you do buy hold, and again, it’s not financial advice, but that would be my recommendation. And the BXX token does power the whole ecosystem, whether that be our own products, or our clients, the BXX token is the powering asset behind the scenes. This again, as I said before, about the cashback, ask aspects we’re looking to that will be part of it. The BXX token will power that as well. And, again, like he’s available to buy on Uniswap or on Mexi. And if you do want to sort of have any of the news, follow us on social media, if you type in Baanx Group on Twitter, or Baanx_BXX on Twitter, you’ll find us there. And we’re also on Telegram – any questions you’ve got just let us know.

Host – Wiola 42:29
We are living in the difficult times. We are like trying to avoid, you know, politically involved topics. But obviously, we can’t really avoid the topic and how this all affecting the, you know, the market. The fintech market right now.

Guest – Kieron 42:46
I mean, us personally, we’ve got staff members that are based in the Ukraine. We do have Ukrainian staff members. And for us, it’s been about supporting them massively. As a business, you know, we’re like, we’re global. But our Chief Product Officer is Ukrainian and, and some of our major key players are Ukrainian, it’s been about supporting them. And I think what we’ve seen is the cost of the pandemic, and the cost of things like the wall that’s happening right now, all of which is absolutely, you know, horrific, you know, I’m not, let’s not get into too much, but it’s horrific sort of situation right now. And because of that, we’ve seen things like the silicone shortage, which has slowed down the manufacturing of debit cards, and debit cards, credit cards, or anything card related, really. And we’ve seen sort of the, we’ve seen that the microchip shortage because of the cost of things that are happening as well, which is, which lengthens the process of developing and manufacturing cards. We failed to do it in eight weeks now you’re looking at maybe 10-15, sometimes, depending on how integrate the design is. And I would say that’s sort of been a key teething issue for us. And the way that we’ve done it is we’ve adopted and we’ve adapted, and I think that’s the great thing about fintechs whether that be Baanx or other fintechs out there, the we adapt, and we adapt very, very quickly as businesses, whereas traditional banking services don’t adapt quick enough. As we’ve seen there’s too much red tape that they have to jump through as fintechs. And even in the crypto space, we can adapt a lot quicker than anybody else. We don’t have the bigger overheads, for example. We can adapt a lot a lot quicker and we can offer support to, so for example, we offer support to our Ukrainian staff. One of the big things that you’ve seen is that the payment rails have been shut completely in traditional banking in places like Russia and we had to adapt, we’ve had to sort of say – Look, we can’t do transactions over there. And we’ve got to move the outfit completely. And I’ve seen all the, all the other clients that we work with that are, you know, operating similar towards globally and who’ve had to adapt. But we’ve been able to adapt a lot quicker and pull the triggers a lot quicker than let’s say, Santander or Barclays or, you know, your biggest sort of banks. And yeah, is that they’ve been the main struggles, I would say is, yeah, but in all honesty, we’ve not seen a huge effect. Right now, the pandemic initially was bad. Mainly because we’re having people, you know, staff shortages and things like that. Myself, I had it, I had COVID, I was out for a week. And when I came back, my inbox was so overrun, it was unbelievable.

Host – Bryan 45:55
You’re still playing catch.

Guest – Kieron 45:56
I’m still playing catch up. [laugh] And, well, the fact that we, you know, we’re a digital enterprise that everybody’s able to work from home, it didn’t affect us, as badly as what it did with Bricks and Mortar fintechs. Sorry – Bricks and Mortar financial services, whereas fintechs were able to adapt. And for us, it was kind of the norm, to be honest, working from home as normal. So, yeah.

Host – Wiola 46:22
Yeah. We’ll be going towards the end soon. So you know, for a nicer end, on a positive note. [laugh]

Guest – Kieron 46:33
Let’s not end on that note.

Host – Wiola 46:35
No, no. We have a couple of questions to you. The first one, the first one, let me ask the first one. What is your favorite cocktail?

Guest – Kieron 46:47
My favorite cocktail? That’s a really weird question. Cocktail. I mean, I’m partial to a nice little Sex on the beach, I can’t lie. I like the fruitiness. To be honest, I just think is a really funny name. Or Harvey Wallbanger let’s be honest, it’s got to have it’s got to have a weird way.

Host – Bryan 47:08
What’s the Harvey Wallbanger?

Guest – Kieron 47:10
I don’t know what’s in it, it just tastes alright, so yeah, he’s got a weird name. You can get a shot called the Squashed Frog. And it literally looks like a squashed frog. And when you when you neck it’s sort of like all congealed in your mouth and taste. Tastes nice, sensation terrific. But you’ve got to try a Squashed Frog.

Host – Bryan 47:39
If I take anything from this conversation it’s to try a Squashed Frog. So there you go.

Guest – Kieron 47:45
At least it was helpful. [laugh]

Host – Bryan 47:50
And Kieron, so also a big part of our podcasting. So you’re the fourth guest and every guest we’ve had before has been a DJ in the past or I’ve done something DJ related. Have you ever been a DJ?

Guest – Kieron 48:06
Yes.

Host – Bryan 48:07
Really? No. It continues.

Guest – Kieron 48:11
Yeah. So my grandparents actually run well, you know, God rest his soul right now. But my granddad was a disc jockey back in like the 70s. They own they own a little shop in Chesterfield called case electronics or Sandy. Okay. And it was all about DJ equipment, selling disco lights, DJ equipment, things like that, and you still to hire equipment. And I think it was like 15 I think was 13 that’s when I did my first gig. And then I stopped doing it. I used to do it in a local pub. But yeah, I did used to DJ for a little bit yeah, it was only like a year a certain like a few years or so that like one or two gigs a year but yeah I did. Good virtual DJ. You know, some pine is.

Host – Bryan 49:02
So you basically DJ-ed for a year to just make sure that you were yes for ‘Have you DJed?’ on this podcast. So thank you. We appreciate you continued this trend.

Guest – Kieron 49:12
Don’t worry. Anytime.

Host – Wiola 49:16
Okay. What comes to your mind when you think of Poland?

Guest – Kieron 49:22
What comes to mind when I think of Poland? A lot of the stuff is there quite an inspirational country right now, this moment in time. Definitely taken the most sort of Ukrainians in you know, under their wing. And that humanitarian effort right now is just astronomical. If you publish out there, you should be proud and that’s what I’m saying. And for that humanitarian effort right now with the war in Ukraine. Again, we brought it back for wrapping up.

Host – Bryan 49:54
I think that’s a good point to end, right – polish pride, there we go. So Kieron, thank you so much. Any last words?

Guest – Kieron 50:03
No, just thank you very much for having us. Don’t forget to go and download the Tezos crypto life app, go and buy yourself some BXX and get a stake in it. And yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. I hope it’s been insightful. And if there are any questions I didn’t answer and any of your listeners want to hear. Do pick those up on social media – more than happy to answer any questions.

Host – Bryan 50:28
Awesome. Thank you. That was Kieron Cartledge – Global Sales Director of Baanx. Thanks for hopping on.

Guest – Kieron 50:35
Thank you very much.

Host – Wiola 50:36
Thank you.

Ending 50:38
Thank you for listening to How We Innovate, a podcast by Applandeo. Get your apps and web apps built today by visiting applandeo.com. We’re Applandeo!

 

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