What Is Bankera?
Bankera is a full-suite blockchain-based banking replacement developed by cryptocurrency exchange/wallet company SpectroCoin. Bitcoin was hailed as a replacement for traditional banking, but it’s only a currency (and a difficult one to spend). Consumer banks offer a full suite of financial services, such as loans, IBAN deposit accounts, payment cards, and more. Bankera uses blockchain technology and cryptoassets to provide these traditional banking services.
London-based SpectroCoin (not to be confused with SpectreCoin) was founded in 2013 by a group of Lithuanian developers as an all-in-one Bitcoin solution to provide frictionless financial services. The team created a blockchain-based cryptocurrency exchange, wallet, and payment card that’s accepted anywhere bitcoin is accepted, along with other European merchants. It also provides merchant services to partners. It since expanded to support over 30 crypto and fiat currencies in over 150 countries.
Bankera is a soft fork of SpectroCoin that launched June 2017. It leverages the tools the team developed to create a full-service banking solution on the blockchain. With SpectroCoin’s heritage and a clear eye for what it takes for banks to survive in today’s complicated global regulatory environment, Bankera looks like a homerun.
But it also has a lot of work ahead before it can compete with the “too big to fail” banks around the world. Let’s start our exploration of this ambitious project by examining the cryptocurrency market performance of Banker (BNK), Bankera’s native cryptocurrency coin.
BNK Cryptocurrency Summary
The Bankera pre-ICO occurred from August 28, 2017 through September 19, 2017, at which time 2,500,000,000 were sold to accredited private investors. The ICO was held from November 27, 2017 through February 27, 2018. ETH, BTC, USD, XEM, and DASH was accepted through the ICO. The Bankera ICO sold approximately 5,250,000,000 BNK (70 percent of the 7.5 billion available for sale) and raised approximately 150,949,194 EUR.
Per Bankera, the remaining BNK was then distributed among initial pre-ICO and ICO investors. A secondary coin offering (SCO) is planned when the price of 1 Banker token surpasses 0.1 EUR in value. This SCO of 7.5 billion would bring the total circulating supply to 17,500,000,000, with the remaining 7,500,000,000 being withheld by the founding and development team.
According to the white paper, 20 percent of Bankera and SpectroCoin transaction revenue will be paid to BNK holders on a weekly basis. This makes it “mineable” through Proof-of-Stake revenue sharing.
BNK trading is currently reserved to the HitBTC cryptocurrency exchange, at which approximately $30,000 worth of BNK is traded daily. Its trading pairs are BTC, ETH, and USDT.
Of course, BNK is also tradeable on SpectroCoin, the proprietary exchange it forked from. Here, it’s useable in the entire SpectroCoin ecosystem, making it fully tradeable with over 30 crypto and fiat currencies. Over 800,000 EUR worth of transaction volume is processed daily through SpectroCoin.
The SpectroCoin wallet is the official BNK wallet, although third-party ERC223-compatible wallets will accept BNK too. Because ERC-223 is backwards compatible with ERC-20, this includes ERC-20 wallets too.
Profiling the Root of All Evil
Banks do more than just launder…I mean store…our money. They actually provide a slew of services. With USAA, for example, you can get a savings account, checking account, mortgage, insurance, auto loan, make investments, and more. Because of this wide range of offerings, USAA is regulated by a lot of state and federal regulators.
Everyone from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commision to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Housing and Urban Development & Federal Housing Administration, and the New York Department of Financial Services have a hand in regulating bank matters, as do each state and federal Attorney General.
In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Countrywide, and Bank of America in my 20’s. I worked in mostly operational roles, although I’m also familiar with customer-facing roles like credit card collections, debit card fraud, and even membership rewards customer service. After blowing the whistle, I worked with investigators from many of these regulators.
Not only do banks offer a wide variety of financial products and services, but they offer them on a lot of platforms. Bank of America has a powerful mobile app, AI-assisted customer service, and a broad network of ATMs and physical branches providing customers everything they need.
Even smaller regional banks and credit unions like Navy Federal Credit Union offer many of these advanced technical features.
For Bankera to pull off its ambitions of replacing banking with a blockchain-based solution, it’s going to need to satisfy regulators, customers, and investors. It’s not an easy feat to pull off, so let’s find out what tricks the project has up its sleeves to go to war with the big boys of banking.
Fighting the Devil with a Demon
SpectroCoin wasn’t trying to build a cryptocurrency bank, but to compete in today’s flooded blockchain market, the team built a cryptocurrency exchange, web-based wallet, debit card provider, payment processor, foreign currency exchange, and more.
Listing a cryptocurrency on an exchange market requires interacting with the network’s API. Exchange wallets basically have to mine all the cryptos they hold. And they have to connect to networks like SWIFT to process fiat payments.
With this infrastructure already in place, the SpectroCoin team decided to fork in order to create two separate products. This maintains a divide between the asset-exchange market and consumer banking services.
While SpectroCoin continued focusing on building its smart-contract support up, Bankera was created to become a fully regulated banking entity. Supporting and maintaining a network of APIs is similar to the sidechain support proposed by members of the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance. In this aspect, the team wisely pivoted its exchange’s capabilities into a banking blockchain competing with blockchain 3.0 projects like Polymath, Wanchain, Pundi X, and OmiseGO instead of exchanges like Huobi and Binance.
By splitting the project, SpectroCoin will continue developing crypto support, while Bankera can focus on integrating its blockchain into both brick-and-mortar and e-retail. Like Pundi X, the more merchants the network onboards, the more payment options are provided to consumer users.
Regulators will also be appeased – crypto publications focus a lot on whether cryptocurrencies are currencies, commodities, or securities. The reality is all crypto and blockchain projects are going to be heavily scrutinized by more than one regulator in the U.S. alone. Big banks earned their stripes battling every level of government simultaneously. Much of my job at Bank of America was adapting to regulation as fast as the government could issue it.
If cryptocurrencies want to replace banks, they’ll need to prove they can withstand heavy government scrutiny while providing innovative services to consumers and defending against outside attacks.
If Bankera can pull it off, it’ll prove it’s in the same league as the big boys, with all the fortune and consequences that comes with that position.
Bankera is the banking fork of the Lithuanian-built, London based SpectroCoin exchange. Financial services, whether fiat or crypto, are highly regulated, and this move allows for sharing of resources and nimble navigation of regional regulations around the globe. Bankera’s success hinges on these key factors.
- Banker (BNK), the native cryptocurrency of Bankera, is an Ethereum-based ERC-223 token. This upgrade is backwards compatible with the ERC-20 standard.
- Bankera and SpectroCoin provide cross-platform support for over 30 crypto and fiat currencies. There’s an exchange, wallet, and debit card, with more banking services like loans and investments on the way.
- Bankera also has a retail POS platform for physical and e-retail stores to help facilitate crypto payments on both sides of the marketplace.
With these pieces in place, Bankera is well-positioned to become a major player, at least in the European marketplace. However, one can only wonder if the team is ready for what that position of power actually means.