While banking services have grown numerous and have changed in shape and purpose, there is still an abyss between demand and supply in this sphere. While huge financial entities are trying to fill that gap they face a reality where they cannot produce the degree of flexibility needed to fully adapt their standard mechanisms to the ever changing needs of the people. However, it seems that this vacant place could be taken by a different approach – smaller but swifter, and in a way that allows it cover those needs by itself. We are, of course, talking about blockchain solutions and one of their practitioners, Ann Cuisia, and her TraXion team. Today we’re going to discuss with them the pros and cons of the current model of the conventional financial institutions and what the blockchain can bring to the table to bolster the competitive nature of the market and improve the services for the consumer.
Good day to you, team TraXion! Let’s skip the formalities and get straight to business. First off, could you describe your project and who its core members are? How did you get your start?
In a nutshell, TraXion is a transaction management solutions company that wants to help the financially underserved to gain access to financial services that are both fair and accessible for them. I (Ann Cusia, CEO) together with Jojy Azurin, (COO) co-founded TraXion Tech when we saw a huge opportunity to work together given that our respective startups were aligned to a common mission of making financial services more inclusive. We recognized the transformative power of blockchain to achieve our goal and decided to leverage on it. Hence, TraXion Tech was born!
Now let’s get to some more personal questions about your company. Who on your team could be best described as the “face” of your company? In most cases it’s usually the CEO, but perhaps your company differs? Could this person share some of his or her professional background and let us know how much TraXion means to them? Do you think this is the cornerstone of their career or just another step forward?
At the moment, you could probably say I’m the “face” of TraXion as I’ve been mostly the one who’s been going around the world attending blockchain forums and meetups. I love meeting with people and evangelizing the transformative power of blockchain. About me… well, I have about 20+ years of information technology experience and I’ve led several women to found their own startups. Prior to entrepreneurship, I rose through the ranks in banking and finance and have spent time in the payment and donation fields. More recently, I’ve been deeply involved in Philippine philanthropy and have transformed charitable giving by helping non-profit organizations achieve digital transformations by means of online giving facilities.
I truly believe it’s possible to build a world where everyone has access to fair financial services. TraXion is a major milestone in this direction that has the biggest potential impact on society.
It’s pretty amazing that you have gathered a list of formidable partners even before completing the project. If this is no secret, how did you manage to do it? Also, do you have some big institutional investors backing you? That does seem possible given your networking skills. Or if that’s not the case, is this method not optimal in this day and age when crowdfunding proves to be more beneficial?
This is our biggest difference from the other blockchain projects in the fintech space. While everyone is aiming to build accessible and inclusive platforms, the biggest hurdle we all have to face is adoption. Our unique strength is in our ability to work with the organizations that the people in the bottom of the pyramid trust with their financial assets. By doing so, we are uniquely able to scale and effect the behavioral changes necessary to make transitioning to a blockchain world successful.
In more practical terms, a lot of our partnerships came out of the relationships we’ve already established from our previous businesses, while some are entirely new. One common thing across all of these partnerships is the vision and drive to use the latest technologies – in this case, blockchain – to address long-standing business operational issues that affect service delivery.
Ultimately, the partnerships have been chosen and made because we want to bring a substantial positive impact to a wider consumer base.
Institutional investment and crowdfunding both have their places in startups such as ours. Our path has been to start with institutional backing in order to help build the infrastructure we need to grow. Crowdfunding then helps us to scale our operations further and at the same time widen our reach in a way that traditional customer acquisition programs can’t provide.
It seems that you set long-term goals and want to bring changes to the stagnating modern banking system. At the same time, with great power comes great responsibility, and that inflexible behavior of theirs could be explained by the large amounts of risk and restraints they face. On the other hand, they are not amateurs and are always looking for important trends, like blockchain technology. So let’s assume that you would not be much of a threat to the them at first, but in the future this might turn into a conflict of interest, where governments could even get involved. Where the line between competition and coexistence?
I believe that the current global economic and governmental regulations make it very difficult for the companies who are looking to change banking to compete directly with the established banking services. At the same time, existing banking institutions operate with many limitations that don’t allow them to reach all sectors of society. This is the gap that TraXion is looking to fill.
As these economic and regulatory conditions change over time (and they definitely will), we see that technology will once again change the existing dynamics. Banks will increasingly look to match the innovations they see in the market, while fintech companies such as ours will move towards providing core banking features and services. In other words, the market will inevitably transform to the point where we will see new players disrupting the banking industry and existing institutions by providing new features and improved services.
TraXion will be a major disruptor in the future, but it will also be an enabler for existing institutions in the short-term.
Now let’s talk about some of your products a little bit more. There are a lot of features that you have already released, and there are still more to come. One of them turns out to be a type of crypto-credit service. We as a team have our own share of banking experience, and we know all too well how tedious crediting procedures can be. However, this tediousness is there for a reason; risks of bankruptcy or even fraud are always present. How could this be realized in the blockchain where there are no regulations (like those for banks) and no enforcement power behind a smart contract?
I believe that prevention is always better than a cure. That is why we use reputation scoring – a set of parameters such as payment history, savings amount, etc. – to determine the eligibility of a participant much like in a credit bureau review. Blockchain technology actually makes it easier for credit providers to determine authenticity of credit applications while protecting the privacy of applicants. We also provide insurance products on the blockchain to ensure protection against fraud and/or bankruptcy. All of these are defined and enabled by the smart contracts on our platform.
Let’s stop talking about the things to come for a while and focus on what TraXion already has. Your crowdfunding/wallet and payment platforms appear to perform rather well. Why have you decided to start dealing with crowdfunding anyway? This industry doesn’t seems to be that profitable at the first glance. As for right now, how could you evaluate the performance of these projects in regards to your expectations? Also, this seems to be a slightly roundabout way of establishing the ecosystem you are aiming for. Or this some kind of long-standing, consistent strategy? “Per aspera ad astra,” as they say.
One of our core values is financial inclusion. We knew that a platform that makes it easier for individuals to fund their needs, all while ensuring that those funds are truly used for their intended purposes, would make a huge difference towards increasing funding volume and addressing a lot of legitimate funding needs. In short, more people get funded with TraXion, while their funders are more assured.
We are social entrepreneurs. We believe that profits can be gained legitimately and fairly when we provide innovative services that change the way society functions for the better. This has proven true in our crowdfunding and payment platforms.
We knew that we could build a strong ecosystem if we leverage on our existing market strengths. Having said that, it is only one of the ways we are building the TraXion ecosystem. There are other markets where we have strong presence, and we are keen on building new partnerships that will help us gain more participants.
As you have already mentioned, there are plenty of competitors among blockchain projects that strive to achieve the same goals as you. It is true that most of them do not have all of the features that TraXion brings to the table, but do you think that this type of competition is healthy? Do you think that this kind of competitive environment will yield positive results?
Competition is always good. As more competitors catch up to what we are doing at TraXion, we will already be miles ahead in terms of innovation. That’s just one positive result we are talking about. In terms of benefits for customers, competition can only result in better and more cost effective products and services. As we’ve already shown through our existing services, innovation is in our DNA.
As we all know, the financial system is the “vein” of our world that fuels the economy, and banks are the common institution within this system. On the other hand, we have a rising blockchain industry that is trying to develop itself while still being in line with the global economic ecosystem. With TraXion planning to take on a role as a major intermediary of this world, what kind of reality do you expect to deal with in the near future? Do you imagine what TraXion might actually deal with when it will reach its design capabilities? In the 90s, people thought that credit cards would never be used on the Internet, and in 2015 people thought that Bitcoin would only be used for illegal activities. We know this is a sort of a vague question, but what do you expect to face in the near future and what should we be prepared for?
I’m positive that the future will see greater inclusion due to blockchain technology and the resulting tokenization of products and services. While a lot of companies are already aware of the power of the blockchain, most are still cautiously exploring how they can integrate and benefit from it. We are making it easier for these companies to move towards the blockchain, as well as for society as a whole to reap the benefits of this technology without needing to understand how it works.
As these two things happen, organizations and individuals will experience a major shift in how they interact with one another. Transactions will become faster, more trustworthy, and more cost effective. An important consideration is how these different tokens and blockchain networks work together without users needing to store and use so many different tokens. Blockchain applications will need to be robust and, more importantly, interoperable in order to satisfy increasing user demand.
It’s a shame that our time here has come to an end, but we want to let you have the final world. So if we’ve missed something in our interview, or if there is something else you’d like to add, please do so. You are welcome to share information about TraXion, or where readers can find more information about you guys and your token sale.
Thanks for the interview! I just want to say that I’m very excited about the opportunities in front of us right now. We know that the ICO world is becoming very crowded, so it’s very important that we are setting our sights on providing real value and not just hype.
We believe in getting traction at TraXion!
I’m delighted that the market has validated our project and we are looking forward to innovating further in the financial services space. Having said that, we definitely welcom more support from the community to reach our project goals. Don’t miss our current 10% pre-sale bonus available on top of all token purchases and our upcoming crowdsale which will start on September 1, 2018. You can learn more about our project at http://traxion.tech.