Ethereum-Backed Banking Platform Set to Soft Launch in Q2

London-based BABB App Ltd. plans to soft launch its blockchain-based banking platform in Q2’17. The company is currently applying for a full banking license and is seeking to enter the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sandbox.

Built on a distributed ledger using Ethereum smart contracts, the BABB banking platform will operate a “decentralized information model” to minimize costs while maximizing data fidelity and security, the company said.

A multi-sided platform, BABB is designed to provide banking and other financial services to individuals and small businesses. Customer data will be encrypted and stored security on the blockchain where the permissions for who can access or use that will be entirely controlled directly by the customer.

It aims to provide “universal banking services for all” by using biometrics to facilitate client on-boarding and transaction authentication, Big Data analytics to optimize the quality of match-making and control risk, as well as AI-based customer self-service.

“I believe BABB’s plan to bring banking services to everyone, through the blockchain and the latest mobile technology, will both provide new features not seen in the high street banks and include many who have been excluded from the traditional financial system,” said Guido Branca, CEO of BABB App Ltd.

The platform will allow users to “leverage their social connectivity and their money in new ways” with more control and greater transparency. It will connect users to each other, allowing peer-to-peer transactions over the network. Beneficiaries and senders will be connected directly, without resorting to unnecessary middlemen or middle-layers of technologies.

BABB will be accessible through a mobile app. Users who download the app will need to provide a selfie and a voice prints to get a UK-based account upon activation. The company doesn’t consider itself as a challenger bank but rather as an enabler helping existing banks and financial institutions to innovate.

BABB App Ltd. is the latest company seeking to apply blockchain technology into banking. Another UK-based startup that intends to transform the industry is Secco Aura, a location-based, financial social networking app that allows users to exchange digital tokens that replace money in real-world transactions. It hopes to reinvent commerce and create a social network based on digital peer-to-peer currency.

Secco Aura is currently in the process of raising Series A funding with a target of March this year for a public beta launch. Pilots have been agreed for offices, campuses and shopping centers in the coming months, Chris Gledhill, CEO of Secco Aura, told FSTech earlier this month.

BABB App Ltd. is currently regulated as an Approved Payment Institution by the FCA. In June 2016, it raised seed funding and was accepted into the Level39 Accelerator Space in Canary Wharf.