You must have heard of bitcoins and “The Internet of Money” before but do you really know what they are, and how useful they can be to you, in your daily life? Did you know that in fact, they could be a new revolutionary way to enhance freedom of speech in parts of the world? We have met with Jean Amiouny who told us all about these new financial technologies and his brand new startup, Shake.
A taste for technology, finance and … entrepreneurship
Jean was born and raised in Montreal but his interest for digital innovations makes him a real citizen of the world. After graduating from McGill in Civil Engineering, he decided to go to Dubai for a few years and quickly got attracted by the startup way of life. He started a project in the payment industry, White Payment. “What was really stimulating in the project was that banks are not so innovative in the Middle East so there was a real market for digital payments”, explains Jean. In the end, although Jean came back to Montreal, he had caught the bug of entrepreneurship…
Using innovation to make payments more simple
As he sat last autumn with Roy Breidi who would become his partner, they started brainstorming on finance, digital products, cryptocurrencies and bitcoins… the main question that held their attention was “How can we use bitcoins to buy our daily life products?” What makes bitcoins so interesting and promising is that digital currencies are so much more usable on a day to day basis: using the Tap & Pay system, you only need the app on your phone to pay for your coffee.
“A bitcoin account is very similar to an email address in its process: just as you can send emails from anywhere, you can send bitcoins from different “wallets” to anyone”
Another important factor of simplicity is that developing bitcoin services does not require to integrate financial processes of each country (SEPA in Europe, ACH in the United States): payment becomes universal. Is all this new technology free? Not really but it does not cost you more than the more traditional one: when you use your Shake account with Starbucks or Provigo, for example, the merchant pays an interchange fee to Visa that makes its way back to Shake.
To find out more about this part, check this very insightful article by Code Love.
Shake, a startup for a young, digitally aware and international public
What makes Shake really original is that it is a virtual bitcoin debit card with no foreign transaction fees, no fraud, and tap & pay. Jean and Roy created Shake thinking of fellow young executives who travel a lot but complain about foreign transaction fees, who are addicted to their smartphones but very concerned with fraud issues.
Indeed, Shake’s public comes from all parts of the world and the system support more than 20 currencies. In developed and financially mature countries, more and more people are more interested in technology and innovation and believe that eventually, most financial services will integrate bitcoins and “blockchain” services. Another important public for Shake lived in emerging countries – in Africa, in South America – where governments have a higher control on financial services and where bitcoins can allow anyone to have financial assets that can be moved.
A promising future for the digitalization of our daily lives
Bitcoin payments are already well developed in some parts of the world, especially in Europe. The continent acts as a pioneer for digital innovations: did you know that Estonia had made all government services digital? You can actually become an e-resident of the country in a few clicks and each citizen has an ID card allowing to vote and to complete annual tax reports online.
As far as Shake is concerned, the team started communicating on the service, they were at McGill Career Fair last week. They are also currently testing the virtual card in different countries (you can check a quick video of the first tap & pay move in Brazil) to improve its process and you can join the list and test their product by writing them on firstname.lastname@example.org.