The Financial Inclusion Summit Series: Issue no. 18

Interview with ARYZE

 

The “dream” – how it started

The first spark occurred during a trip to Tel Aviv, Jack Nikogosian and Carl Jenster were on a rooftop overlooking the city, musing with the possibilities for a truly digital version of national currencies. The question they asked: “Why are our own national currencies so analog, while cryptocurrencies provide amazing technical and business opportunities?” At the time, the idea landed upon something they originally called “eKroner”, which would be an electronic format of the Danish Kroner, existing on distributed ledgers and blockchain.

It wasn’t until they met Morten Nielsen that they were urged to think bigger. Morten Nielsen is a former JP Morgan and UBS investment banker where he held senior positions in London, Paris and Tokyo, working mostly with hedge funds, fixed income, derivative marketing and structured products. Since then he has also gained a great knowledge about blockchain related applications, digital assets and stablecoins as well as crypto funding and has today positioned himself as an expert in these areas.

Morten joined Jack and Carl, and quickly brought them up to speed on the realities of banking and financial systems, while highlighting the shortcomings that modern banking has. Together, the three laid the foundations for a project that had potential to give “money” a much-needed facelift. Even in the early days, ARYZE set out to reform the way that we pay, bringing cash into the 21st century, and giving it all the benefits that modern technology can afford.

One topic that was close to heart throughout the early phases was the challenges with high fees for remittances. The founding team agreed that it was no longer necessary for developing countries to be subjected to some of the highest fees in the world for sending money home to struggling families. Not only did these present an attractive market for the firm going forward, it was also an opportunity to improve the lives and finances of individuals in these regions.

 

Area of focus

Remittances for consumers, corporate supply-chain payments, and programmable money solutions.

 

 

Challenges in the geographical areas of influence

When looking at areas where remittance payments will be the focus, the primary challenge is shifting the attention away from the usage of physical cash. For populations that historically have relied a lot on the transaction of physical tender, digital alternatives may seem less trustworthy and intangible, but in reality, many benefits will come from the transition; added security, improved health, cost of administration, more barriers to criminal activities, and improvements across the board in terms of efficiency and financial inclusions, to name a few. ARYZE sees the ASEAN region, as well as South Africa and India as attractive markets, where these challenges are prominent.

One of the driving factors for these challenges is the definitive lack of a proper digital infrastructure for payments – once this is in place, financial technology innovation follows naturally.

“Our intention is to promote and drive financial inclusion in regions where people are unable to get a bank account – in our modern world, a smartdevice and access to the internet is all you need to get started with financial services.”

 

Co-operation and partnerships

“We intend on being the engine-room for the future of global payments and fintech solutions. That being said, we have a strong desire to collaborate with partners that can ensure that we deliver the best in class services, security and assurance to our clients. To that end, we are seeking banking partnerships to support our international operations, as well as partnerships and collaborations with ISPs, telecommunications operators and businesses, which will help us service our unbanked customers in areas that are behind on technological adoption.”

 

Successes

“Having won Best New Danish Fintech Startup 2018 at Copenhagen Fintech Week, and closing the first successful Danish ICO (Initial Coin Offering), we have gained the traction needed to propel our development forward. In our infrastructure, the first Digital Cash has moved and our model for onboarding unbanked users shows great promise. ARYZE is a company that is committed to educating and promoting new technology, transparency and equality, which we have followed through on multiple occasions in international media and at prestigious conferences/events. Our amazing team has rapidly grown and will continue to grow as we begin preparations for launching our platform next year.

 

About the Nordic effort

“Bringing our experiences from Denmark and the rest of the Nordic region, we have found that our local populations are quick to adopt digital technology, as we were among the first to have digitally connected banking systems (which still have their challenges). Our small populations and collaborative mindsets have led to tremendous breakthroughs in innovation, making the Nordics a great place to test new products. Especially in Denmark, efforts by the government and financial institutions have been focused on partnerships, accelerators and funding, which in turn encourages an entrepreneurial mindset. When looking at a global perspective, our Nordic DNA gives us a platform on which we promote fairness, trust, equality and high standards for consumer-centric product development – in the end, this is what will propel us into the world arena for competitive fintech innovation.”

 

The Financial Inclusion Summit takes place in Oslo, Norway, on 28 March 2019. To find out more or request an invitation, visit: https://financial-inclusion.com/#register

Follow us on @FinIncSummit #fintechforall

 

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