Bankex

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BankEx is a financial technology company founded in 2016 and headquartered in New York, US, engaged in the decentralized Bank-as-a-service (BaaS) business.[1] It is developing a Proof-of-Asset (PoA) Protocol, a standard for tokenizing assets and smart contracts for decentralized capital markets. Founded by fintech entrepreneur Igor Khmel, the company works around a blockchain-based BaaS platform that enables real-world asset tokenization and global trading.[2] In 2017, BankEx was ranked among the 50 top fintech startups.[3]

Technology

Proof-of-Asset Protocol (PoAP)

The Proof-of-Asset Protocol (PoAP) is a standard that enables a new way of handling assets and contracts, facilitating the creation of decentralized capital markets. It supports digitization, tokenization and exchange of real assets.[1][4] By employing Internet of Things (IoT) technology alongside artificial intelligence (AI), BankEx builds what it calls its "Internet of Assets" (IoA), a decentralized network that evaluates assets automatically and instantly. Users are able to keep close track of various assets and verify their condition instantly, which could reduce the cost of asset valuation, speed up transations, and improve market liquidity. Proof-of-asset is a potentially significant new concept, joining the existing main concepts in blockchain proofs, the Proof-of-work system and Proof-of-stake, and going beyond the cryptocurrency area. Therefore the PoAP could be applied globally in numerous industries, such as real estate, retail and fintech, and for non-profit organizations, and can be made available for third party providers, such as traditional financial institutions, asset owning institutions, and AI and IoT developers.[5] The company has published a white paper on its approach.

Token

BankEx has its own token, with the symbol BKX, ERC20-compatible and operating on the Ethereum blockhain,[2] Ether being the second largest cryptocurrency by value as of February 2018.[6]

Plasma protocol

Besides its Proof-of-Asset Protocol, BankEx developed the world’s first private blockchain that supports the Plasma protocol for public auditing. In August 2017, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Lightning Network co-author Joseph Poon announced Plasma, a second-layer scaling infrastructure for the Ethereum protocol, an idea supported by the company. After BankEx announced their achievement, Buterin gave positive feedback on Twitter. During the first test of the Plasma protocol conducted December 2017 on the Rinkeby test network, the transaction per second ratio was estimated to be around 5 thousand per second, 250 times faster than Ethereum’s current bandwidth that month. The working version of Plasma is expected to boost transaction speed to 100 000 transactions per second at zero cost.

Other products

Other products and services developed by BankEx include Solidity Floating Point Library, a Trust Service, a Mortgage Bond Contract proof-of-concept, and an Internet of Things (IoT) blockchain Integration Adapter.

Operations

The company is headquartered at 200 Liberty Street, New York, with business development staff in Hong Kong, Seoul and representation in Chicago, while the technical base is in Moscow. It has several dozen employees.[2]

History

Fintech entrepreneur Igor Khmel, with a background at McKinsey, Deloitte, the Citadel LLC hedge fund, and Sberbank, the largest bank in Eastern Europe, founded BankEx in 2016, [2] as an extension of Sberbank's Innovation lab.[1] The company name is said to refer to its mission to build an open-market platform where banks can exchange their products, and is also a reference to the background of some company members.

Through 2016, BankEx established partnerships with three banks and successfully deployed three fintech products on the market: Know-Your-Customer, a deposit exchange, and a crowdfunding marketplace, for example for apps. In February 2017 the company and Microsoft signed a blockchain technological development partnership[1] and the company received $120000 sponsorship from Microsoft Azure,[2] and by March 2017 BankEx had already started cooperation with nine large banks, with total capitalization of over $430 billion.

In September 2017, the company announced that Michael Ostrovsky, Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business[1] and Peter Cramton, a Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, would join their advisory board,[7] which also comprises industry experts such as Sergey Sergienko, founder of Chronobank, Sasha Ivanov, founder of Waves, Nehemia Kramer, an early stage investor in Ethereum, Chris Skinner, a leading financial markets strategist,[1] and Gabriele Colombo, Executive Director of Symphony Foundation.[7]

Hackathons

BankEx has used hackathons to advance its technology and offerings. In June 2017, for example, the company participated in the Open Fiztech Blockchain Hackathon hosted by the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, one of Russia's top third-level institutions, and announced plans to be part of similar events at two other leading Russian universities, Moscow State University and Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

In August 2017, BankEx was active at the "Blockchain: New Oil of Russia" Ethereum hackathon at Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia, and in October 2017, a demo-version of the Proof-of-Asset Protocol (PoA) was released and the BankEx technical team developed a Plasma-like Protocol in a sprint of 30 or more hours at the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon in Waterloo, mentored by Vitalik Buterin. The firm won two prizes at the ETHDenver Hackathon in Denver, Colorado in February 2018.

References