UNBANK – Peer-to-Peer Banking Solution

User-friendly mobile application for crypto-payments

1. Project Summary

Name of company: Unbank

Sector: Chain Banking / Payments / Finance 

Project Period: May – Dec 2019

Mission of the project: 

Unbank is a Peer-to-Peer banking solution allowing users to store and manage multiple currencies - fiat money and cryptocurrencies of various blockchain networks - in a single user-friendly mobile app and make near-instant and free payments within a direct network of retail merchants.

Final Result: 

  • Users can make real-time payment within a direct network of merchant at no costs, seamlessly evolving on the Stellar Blockchain
  • Users can easily use multiple currencies (fiat currencies as well as cryptocurrencies living on different blockchains) thanks to an in-built Custodial Exchange
  • Users and merchants are incentivized to support the growth of the ecosystem thanks to state-of-the-art token economy mechanisms such as cashbacks schemes.

Xdev technologies: P2P Payments

BC technologies: Stellar, Ethereum, Bitcoin 

Maturity Level: Minimum Viable Project

2. Project details

Summary of the project

The mission of Unbank is to allow its users to do operations as they would with traditional banking, but using blockchain technology. With no centralised entity controlling their assets – Unbank is a technology provider, not a bank – users can easily make payments in-store and online, save money, make transfers and withdrawals internationally nearly instantly and with no fees.

The first release is supporting EUR, BTC, ETH currencies as well as Unbank’s currency Libery (LBI), and integrates a token-economy reward scheme based on Cashback-offers to support the growth of the network.

Context

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), half the world’s population is currently under 30 years old and, 10 years after the financial crisis, they are still wary of banks. In 2017, 45.3% of participants in the WEF’s Global Shapers Survey said that they “disagree” with the statement that they trust banks to be fair and honest. In fact, of more than 30,000 millennials surveyed, only 28% said that they agree.[1]

In response to this loss of faith in the banking system, and the growing consumer desire to gain control on their personal assets, Unbank is building an ecosystem of merchants, clients, persons and corporations being able to transact outside of the banking system. Based on state-of-the art blockchain technology and latest token-economy research, Unbank is empowered to trigger the so-called “self-banking” revolution.

Pain Points

  1. Clients loose ownership on the use of their funds : Weekly amount capping or transfer constraints (i.e. capping amounts or extra recipient information) limits the use of their funds, while the bank uses the deposited funds to grant loans ;
  2. Clients have no confidentiality on the use of their funds ;
  3. Banks accumulate large amounts of personal data with high risk of hacking as central points of failure

Solution

Unbank is a technological solution based on the Stellar Blockchain to allow fast and cheap transactions, with everyone on the network reaching agreement about transaction validity within a few seconds. Unbank has developed its own direct network of merchants and users, cleverly incentivized to help grow the ecosystem thanks to an efficient token-economy reward scheme based on cashback offers.

To support multiple currencies outside of the Stellar Network (fiat currencies, and other crypto-curencies such as ETH or BTC), the solution has an in-built custodial cryptocurrency exchange, managing gateway wallets on behalf of their clients to process deposits and withdrawal. An Anchor system then acts as bridge between these existing currencies and the Stellar network so that users can seamlessly process transaction from and to their in-app stellar wallet.

Challenges

Unbank’s innovative product and practical approach to enable mainstream consumer finance on the blockchain technology, has required to address several technical obstacles :

  • Performance : In order to allow for mainstream adoption, the solution needs to support high volumes, low costs and high speed transactions. We have recommended the use of the Stellar Blockchain, as the consensus process runs every 3-5 seconds and is organized in mini-networks (called quorum slices) to allow high efficiency and scalability.
  • Crypto-exchange : In order to allow seamless integration of multiple currencies, we have built a technical solution very similar to a centralized exchange, coupled with an Anchor entity that ensures exact representation of the users holdings as a tokenized Unbank currency on stellar. To support a currency, Unbank internally runs and maintains a blockchain node for each underlying blockchain the currency is native on.
  • Storage security : A very high security is needed as Unbank holds crypto on their wallet ultimately, in order to mitigate risks of hack and data loss. We have recommended a combination of hot & cold storage, with automatic re-allocation mechanisms : 95 % of the funds are stored in a cold, off-chain, multisig 2-3 or 3-5 wallet, and  5% of the funds are stored in a hot, on-chain, wallet able to process clients
  • Legal Compliance  : All operations involving conversion of fiat money requires to comply to KYC regulations against AML and TF. Our solution is connected to a KYC provider solution to comply with these rules, but also integrates a rule engine component to find and flag suspicious operations.

[1] http://www.shaperssurvey2017.org/static/data/WEF_GSC_Annual_Survey_2017.pdf