Today on FinTech Profile we are delighted to talk to Mash Patel, founder of Kurtosys, who provide digital services for asset managers. Kurtosys will be attending the FinTech Growth Forum in London Next week. See here for more details of the event hosted by Innovate Finance.
Over to Mash for his responses to our questions (in bold):
Who are you and what’s your background?
I am a graduate of Warwick University (Computer Science & Maths) and London Business School (Master in Finance). I started my career as a management consultant with PWC and worked on strategy and technology projects all over the world. I then completely switched careers and joined the commodity derivatives group at Merrill Lynch, where I was a structurer on their London desk and provided long dated derivative structures for oil, mining, airline and power companies. I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and get back into technology; the transformation of how we do things in financial services was just beginning and I wanted to be a part of it. Having raised capital in Silicon Valley, I set up Kurtosys to change the way the financial services industry thinks about the web as a sales and marketing enabler.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
CEO. I do very little other than “hold our culture and values”.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Kurtosys aims to provide the most innovative in digital experiences for asset managers. Whether that be creating a great-looking responsive website, to the increased production and distribution of fund factsheets, we want to change the way the industry adopts digital transformation. Our new platforms FundPress, InvestorPress and WordPress for Finance provide fully branded, customisable experiences for our clients to service their investors. As our tagline suitably stresses: Your Investors Matter.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are funded by two venture capital firms based in Silicon Valley: True Ventures and Triangle Peak.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The financial services industry has needed to change for over a decade now; the Internet is one key driver. I wanted to address the challenges of “Digital Transformation” in the context of a heavily entrenched (and regulated) industry. We have built an enterprise content platform specifically to address these industry problems.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Any asset manager, asset servicer or wealth manager in the world. We charge “per use” based on the consumption of our solution.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
I would personally cut the number of employees by 30%. Every pensionee in the world would benefit in retirement if we did this.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Wake up! The combinatorial effect of ETFs, regulation, investor malaise and a changing population is going to have a dramatic effect on us. Let’s not be the new “Kodak” story. Let’s change our industry and benefit every single human on earth that needs to, somehow, save money for their later years.
What phone are you carrying and why?
Apple iPhone 7. It’s simply the best.
Where do you get your industry news from?
I read all major publications to keep abreast of everything that concerns the financial industry.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Chris Skinner @Chris_Skinner
Chris is a prominent thought leader in the financial industry, hell-bent on shaping its digital future. He travels the world over to discuss his views on the future of finance – his Twitter and blog The Finanser usefully display his often humorous and insightful musings.
Whilst not a person as such, this Belgian fintech news company is the first-stop shop for all the latest fintech news around the globe, and particularly the most pertinent stories and events in Europe. Their regular newsletter is a must.
Pascal Bouvier @pascalbouvier
A VC who shares the majority of the most recent fintech news, but also isn’t afraid to offer his more sceptical opinions on matters. His articles on personal blog FiniCulture are brilliant written, so well worth a read.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Monzo and Revolut – both digital banks have found the perfect way to disrupt the industry by focusing on user experience. Users can spend spend abroad with no added fees and manage their accounts via mobile. Digital transformation is paramount to financial professionals, but also account holders that need assistance with their finances – these services are the perfect start.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
It will be interesting to see whether tech giants such as Facebook, Google or Amazon enter the financial services fray as challengers, and also whether regulation will become more relaxed after many years of aggressive regulatory enforcement. In the age of digital, the financial services industry should embrace a new era of cloud, open architecture and the API economy – we’ll have to wait and see if this happens quickly, if at all, in the coming years.
Our thanks to Mash for his thoughts today. You can connect with Mash on LinkedIn here or find out more about Kurtosys on their web site: https://www.kurtosys.com/
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If you’ve any suggestions for hot FinTech companies (startup, or established ventures) that we should be profiling, or have an opinion piece to offer, or a FinTech related event you’d like to tell us about, have a look here for more details.
New in Chainlink: More DeFi Price Feeds, Gitcoin Support, Novel Integrations, & More
Follow decentralized oracle project Chainlink even casually? Then you know its builders and community move fast and stay busy, so keeping up with all the happenings around the Chainlink ecosystem is no small feat.
No worries, though: in today’s post we’ll catch you right up by breaking down Chainlink’s biggest highlights from the past two weeks. First up, let’s talk the project’s bread and butter, i.e. price feeds.
New Price Feeds
Chainlink’s oracles help smarten up on-chain smart contracts by serving as reliable bridges by which they can access off-chain data. The most dominant of Chainlink’s “bridges” today are its price feeds, which serve decentralized finance (DeFi) apps with accurate, real-time price info.
Accordingly, Chainlink’s growing ranks of price feeds have already proven extremely useful around DeFi, and the project’s adding more feeds all the while. Recent significant additions include:
Aave’s LEND, yEarn’s YFI, and Ethereum’s rising tokenized bitcoin projects are some of the most popular tokens in Ethereum’s DeFi sector, so these new Chainlink price feeds will surely see no shortage of use in the months ahead and beyond.
New L1 & L2 Integrations
Ultimately, Chainlink is blockchain agnostic. It’s rise has largely been built atop Ethereum, but it’s capable of providing decentralized oracle networks for layer-one smart contract platforms in general. Chainlink’s recent advances in L1 integrations include work with projects like Blockstack and Reef.
Indeed, on Wednesday, September 30th, decentralized apps network project Blockstack announced it was working with the Chainlink team to “integrate Chainlink as the preferred oracle solution” for Blockstack’s Clarity smart contract language.
“Given our familiarity with and knowledge of Chainlink’s impressive team and technology, we are confident that this partnership and resulting Chainlink oracles will advance our shared ecosystem,” Blockstack co-founder Muneeb Ali said on the news.
Moreover, Reef, a cross-chain smart asset management platform built on Polkadot, also just revealed it was integrating Chainlink’s price feeds to access DeFi pricings “denominated in both ETH and DOT.”
The decentralized oracle project has also been involved with notable layer-two scaling forays lately. For example, synthetic assets protocol Synthetix, which relies on Chainlink’s oracles, is now live on the L2 Optimistic Ethereum Testnet. Additionally, L2 scaling platform Matic Network is presently working on integrating Chainlink’s tech into its mainnet.
More Gaming Integrations
Beyond Chainlink’s flagship oracle tech, the Chainlink VRF solution — which helps products generate verifiably random results on-chain — has become a hit in the blossoming blockchain gaming arena.
Just this week, Aave’s up-and-coming Aavegotchi NFT game project announced its mechanics would “make full use of Chainlink VRF,” adding:
“Each Aavegotchi summoned needs to be randomly generated with a massive variety of intrinsic qualities, including visual traits, wearables, and collaterals. These unique Aavegotchi are then able to again engage Chainlink VRF for many of our mini-games and AavegotchiDAO experiences.”
Another NFT gaming project that’s going all-in on Chainlink is Planetarium, which revealed on Tuesday, September 29th, that it was integrating Chainlink’s tech to “power cross-game Metaverse communication, in-game commodity pricing, and secure trading of in-game items.”
Gitcoin Grants is a respected ecosystem project that provides matching funds (therefore boosting grassroots donations) to open-source projects building around Ethereum. And now Chainlink’s pitching in to help the funding.
That’s per an announcement last week that the project would be providing an influx of funding to help support the ongoing Gitcoin Grants 7 campaign.
Earlier this month, Chainlink also revealed it was giving a grant to blockchain infrastructure project SimplyVC. The purpose of the funding is to help the firm “build its PANIC monitoring and alerting system for the Chainlink Network so it can be leveraged by Chainlink Nodes.”
New York Court Rules Kin’s $100 Million ICO an Unregistered Security
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Grammy-Winning DJ RAC Launches $RAC Community Token on Ethereum
Ethereum’s culture scene has boomed in 2020 thanks to an explosion of activity around NFT art, social money, and beyond. Some major mainstream creators have been paying attention accordingly.
No one fits that bill better than award-winning musician and producer André Allen Anjos, whose stage name is RAC. In recent months, RAC’s participated in all kinds of projects around the Ethereum ecosystem and even released an innovative $TAPE offering therein.
As such, RAC knows the insides of the mainstream music industry as well as anyone, yet he’s also a crypto-native DeFi user that’s well acquainted with Ethereum’s new avenues for empowering artists. Now, the acclaimed DJ is putting that knowledge to good use via the $RAC token.
On October 1st, RAC announced $RAC, a community token to be powered by Ethereum-based, limited-edition goods marketplace Zora.
The idea with the project is to create a new avenue for RAC to capture the value of his creativity while simultaneously empowering his supporters, the artist explained:
“I’ve been fascinated with crypto for years and its applications beyond currencies, and believe that it can create a new paradigm for creative ownership directly between artists and their communities. This new paradigm is what I want to pursue with $RAC and I want to put it in the hands of my existing fans and community.”
That said, the core vision for $RAC includes:
- Rewarding loyal fans who help build the RAC ecosystem
- A tokenized community, e.g. a private Discord, with unlockable perks and content
- $RAC only being earnable, not purchasable
- Usable for RAC merch discounts
- Being spendable for tokenized ad space on RAC’s Twitch account
“Crypto enables communities to capture the value they create instead of being monetized by pre-existing platforms and $RAC is an active experiment pushing the envelope on these primitives,” RAC said.
Out of the gate, 10 million $RAC have been created. The “vast majority” of these will be distributed to fans in the years ahead, but there’s already a roadmap for how the tokens will be distributed to early stakeholders.
Among these plans, 200,000 $RAC will be retroactively rewarded to RAC’s current +150 Patreon supporters, while another 150,000 will be given to the artist’s Twitch supporters. 25,000 has been set aside for RAC’s +1,500 Bandcamp supporters, and 25,000 is slotted for +200 past RAC merch buyers. In the future, RAC is planning to distribute 50,000 RAC per month to Patreon subscribers, and a further 100,000 has been set aside for every redeemer of $TAPE tokens on Zora.
Back in the spring, RAC launched $TAPE, a token redeemable for a limited-edition cassette tape of his album BOY, via Zora. As there were only 100 copies of the cassette created, there will only ever be 100 $TAPE tokens.
“This [model] enables André to realize the true value of his work, and share in the success of the BOY cassette tape with his community,” Zora said at the time.
Fast forward to this week, and $TAPE redemptions started on October 1st. This means holders can henceforth redeem 1 $TAPE for 1 BOY cassette. If any holders choose to do so, they’ll automatically earn a claim on 100,000 $RAC per the artist’s new token distribution plans. That’s a lot of upside for collectors if the $RAC price ever significantly rises.
Expect Such Experiments to Continue
RAC may be the first major artist to embrace a community token project so directly, but he definitely won’t be the last. Not with the way the winds of culture and creative empowerment are blowing around Ethereum lately.
If anything, RAC’s new token will only serve as a catalyst for bringing the attention of artists both big and small to the cryptoeconomy’s novel possibilities.
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