Blockchain consultancy Moonwhale picked for bitcoin ATM project

05 February 2019

Odyssey Financial Group has partnered with Singapore-based blockchain consultancy Moonwhale Ventures to develop a new hybrid ATM and blockchain remittance system.

The brainchild of US retail banking support organisation Odyssey Financial, which has a line in ATM ‘vending machines’, MoneyFi is a new, alternative remittance system aiming to provide greater financial inclusion and lower transaction fees through hybrid ATM and blockchain technology. To develop the project, Odyssey Financial has partnered with Singapore-based blockchain consultancy and investment platform Moonwhale Ventures.

“We believe that Moonwhale can expand the revolutionary concept of MoneyFi worldwide,” said Odyssey Financial founder and CEO Sebastian Ponceliz. “After the review of several proposals, we decided to go with Moonwhale Ventures not just only for its solid and clear ideas regarding the crypto asset ecosystem but also for the professionalism of their management.”

Founded last year by experienced IT-sector consultant Danny Christ and angel investor Stefan Bergström, Moonwhale Ventures was established to connect blockchain projects and investors, and serves tech start-ups and small and medium enterprises with blockchain implementations, expansions, fundraising and go-to-market strategies – describing itself as dedicated to driving the global adoption of blockchain technology.Blockchain consultancy Moonwhale partners with Odyssey on bitcoin ATMsFor the MoneyFi project, which aims to branch out globally, Moonwhale will provide technical, operational and financial support along with advisory on blockchain tech implementation – supported by what the firm states as an industry network in excess of 50,000 connections. Moonwhale will also take on the task of developing attractive investment and token models, marketing and go-to-market strategies.

With Odyssey’s existing and pre-ordered network of advanced and crytocurrency-supported ATMs, MoneyFi is described as essentially an app that consists of a wallet and an exchange for the ease of currency conversion and near-instant, blockchain-powered money transfers. “They are not going to be just cashiers for people to get money,” said Ponceliz, but will also issue pre-paid cards and support ecommerce together with cryptocurrency transfers.

“We believe MoneyFi has what it takes to build a world-class Internet of Money with its innovative approach,” said Christ, who is currently based out of Kuala Lumpur but has professional experience spanning the majority of Southeast Asia. “MoneyFi’s mission aligns with our core belief in blockchain technology’s revolutionary capabilities in optimising the value chain, in this case, payment and remittance services.”

Since its inception, Moonwhale has established a number of international partnerships, including, most recently, with Dubai-based tech and fintech investment advisory Burj Financial. “Despite the uncertainties over cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has been well-received within the Middle East as the majority of the countries have a positive approach towards the emerging technology,” said Christ. “Synergies are plenty between Moonwhale and Burj Financial”.

Related: Boston Consulting Group among backers of New York cryptocurrency bourse Bakkt.

Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab applications open for Asia Pacific

08 April 2019

With over half a billion dollars raised by its alumni to date, Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab is back for another round in the Asia-Pacific.

Applications have now opened for the Asia Pacific edition of Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab, a 12-week accelerator programme for promising fintech start-ups which has seen over $1.5 billion raised in venture financing globally for its graduating alumni to date – a third of that for just 41 participating companies in the Asia Pacific. Both early and growth-stage fintechs are eligible to apply, with submission closing in May.

Launched in New York in 2010 before spreading to London and Hong Kong, the FinTech Innovation Lab is described as a collaborative, non-sales environment which brings execs from leading financial institutions together with aspiring fintech start-ups for mentorship, guidance and advice – augmented by a series of workshops and panel discussions covering areas such as procurement, technology architecture, and industry trends.

This year’s principal participating financial institutions include BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse among many more leading names from the banking and investment realm, while Elzio Barreto, Accenture’s Financial Services Media & Analyst Relations Lead for APAC will serve as a mentor alongside experts from Deutsch Bank, Stott Advisory and CBA International among others.Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab applications open for Asia Pacific

“There’s now widespread acceptance that the best way forward for banks and fintech startups is to collaborate where possible, creating big ecosystems that will help unlock huge value for all stakeholders, particularly consumers,” said Piyush Singh, Accenture Managing Director for Financial Services in the Asia Pacific and MENAT, with the firm noting a shift in focus between fintechs and traditional firms over the past 18 months, “from competition to collaboration.”

“We’ve already seen banks, insurers and wealth managers partner with fintechs here in Asia, but the outlook for further collaboration and the resulting value creation is what’s making investors more comfortable to spread their bets more widely,” Singh continues. “That’s a big focus for the Innovation Lab, instigating this sense of partnership between well-established financial firms looking for the next breakthrough technology and nimble startups eager to test their solutions and push them to market.”

With the APAC Innovation Lab now entering its sixth cycle, Accenture also notes the recent global surge in fintech investments, which doubled in 2018 to over $55 billion, led by a wave of funding to mainland China. “The Lab’s geographical proximity to the mainland makes it particularly suitable for Chinese start-ups, especially for those like ours looking to expand abroad,” said Li Hao, co-founder of Chinese unicorn Wecash – which was among the Lab’s first intake in 2014.

For the 2019 edition, senior business and operations executives from the Lab’s participating financial partners will select up to ten applicants to take part in the programme, with fintech entrepreneurs developing cutting-edge products, services and technologies invited to apply. Kicking off in August, the 12-week programme will culminate in an Investor Day where particpants can showcase their technology to finance executives, investors and the media.