Fintech Friday: Billon 08 May 2020

Robert Kaluza, Co-founder and COO of Billon, recently spoke with Efma’s Boris Plantier about his company’s origins and how they are pushing the boundaries of distributed ledger technology.  

What led to the creation of Billon?

Billon’s founder, Andrzej Horoszczak, began formulating central ideas behind the company working as a programmer and investment manager on Wall Street and in the City before the 2008 crisis. Andrzej developed skills as a cryptologist and financier, allowing him to see the flaws of the existing payments infrastructure: outdated IT, spiraling costs and vulnerability.

He learned about it first-hand years later in 2010, as the CEO of a health & wellness portal that sought a solution for convenient micropayments but was frustrated by the cost and clumsiness of card and bank transfers. While evaluating Bitcoin and other early blockchain projects, Andrzej was inspired by the promise of distributed architecture, but soon realized that regulators and banks required a different approach. He then assembled a team of experts, scientists, and consulted with regulators to leverage the core concepts of blockchain technologies with a remit to look beyond its limitations. This first team included me - I came from Orange, where I worked as head of strategic analysis of the Warsaw office, as co-founder. We set up to build a new type of distributed ledger, based on blockchain technologies, which was both high-performance and able to comply with payment regulations, with capabilities for both national currency payments and publishing documents as well.

After years of work as an R&D project, Billon Group was incorporated in December 2015 in London to commercialize the technology. The remainder of the board joined soon after. David Putts, a three-time banking CEO, joined to secure fundraising and international partnerships. Jacek Figuła from Cisco joined to drive commercialization. And since January 2019, Wojtek Kostrzewa, a seasoned C-level executive with almost 30 years of experience in leading banks and media, joined as CEO while Andrzej remains the largest shareholder and CTO and Chief Visionary Officer. Today, the company is based in London, but retains its Polish roots as the majority of the staff work in the R&D center in Poland.

Could you present Billon's offer?

Billon created a new high-performance distributed ledger technology (DLT) system which unifies national currency transactions, documents on-chain, and identity management into a single system. We help businesses that need tools for digital acceleration, digital transformation, and instant and seamless money transfers. Billon solved roadblocks preventing other blockchain protocols from mass business use and already has proven solutions in open banking core engines, instant incentives and loyalty solutions, micropayments, and GDPR-compliant document and privacy management. As a result, we are uniquely suited to unleash the transformational capabilities of blockchain technologies, especially now in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences.

We believe that the radical digital acceleration resulting from the physical lockdown will accelerate the need for DLT solutions. As remote businesses boom, other companies drop physical interaction, and government relief programs need help and technology, we are uniquely suited to capitalize on those trends.

Some of the possible (but not all) use cases are:
• Digital transformation of sales and onboarding processes, with remote signature, KYC, storing and managing legally binding documents, and payments for the process packaged in a unified complete solution.
• Corporate governance and remote board rooms, with storing corporate documents on blockchain and remote voting for board and shareholders.
• Publishing high value documents, like high school diplomas and certificates, as “on-chain” digital copies to help people prove credentials to work when they cannot obtain a physical form.
• Mobile app coupled with a DLT data sharing platform that would allow small businesses to evidence loan needs and access government emergency funds.

What's coming next for Billon?

The next months will be incredibly turbulent for the economy and Billon is no exception. However, we have a great starting point, with a technology uniquely suited for the coming times and an excellent team. We must fight for new contracts and grants, as government and EU institutions will release massive funding to find solutions allowing the economy to survive. So our main milestone here is to secure new opportunities, mostly COVID-19 related, economically viable and can be done with technology we already have. We will also prepare to open up our platform for third party developers and commercial partners, with the help of our next round of financing, likely to take place in 2021.


Blockchain Fintech

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