UK Fintech Startup Secco Wants To ‘Reboot’ Bankingby Fintech News Singapore December 7, 2015
You think a bank needs a branch or an app? Think again, because UK-based Secco will offer none of these, and not even an interface actually. Instead, Secco will operate as an underlying service hidden in all the apps we use everyday.
This new challenger bank wants to “re-invent banking” by using a distributed database – similarly to the bitcoin blockchain -, to spread data around everyone’s phone, allowing it to “live on all of the devices of the customers that make up the bank.”
“This creates a hyper resilient back-end, removing central points of failure,” according to the company.
Secco and each user will each hold a cryptographic key. Both of these keys will be needed to confirm and process a transaction.
“At the core of Secco is a private distributed database of customer data, including money balances. Customers maintain control of the data. It’s theirs.”
This distributed database is dubbed a “blocktree”, an awaiting patent that is said to be solving many of the bitcoin’s blockchain problems.
“The blockchain is a linear structure, it’s very rigid,” Chris Gledhill, CEO and co-founder at Secco Bank told CoinDesk. “A blocktree gives you the ability to branch off these separate, mini blockchains to do offline transactions which can be merged at a later date.”
Prior to founding Secco, Gledhill worked as an innovation technologist in the Digital Innovation & Payments team at one of the UK’s largest banks, Lloyds Bank.
Among its notable features, Secco will allow users to become “data broker” by allowing them to treat data like money, providing the means to save, spend, lend and invest it.
“At the core of Secco is a store of value, the difference being in a digital economy your data can be just as valuable as your money,” Gledhill wrote in a post entitled ‘Banking Reinvented.’
“With data comes identity. With Identity comes reputation and what is more valuable than one’s own reputation — and where will you store/manage it? I believe this should be the role of a bank.”
According to Gledhill, users will be able to deposit money and data, implying that one’s value will be measured not only in monetary terms but also based on elements such as knowledge, experience, education, connections, and so on.
“The technology exists today to give us individual ownership and control of our money and data and that is what Secco will provide,” Gledhill said. “Right now banking is very much an accountancy activity involving transactions – moving money between piles, updating ledgers, tracking returns/losses.”
Next year, Secco will release Aura, a location-based app that will give users the ability to trade data with others in a range of 60 meters. This will allow for instance, an individual to receive a business voucher in exchange of a tweet or another form of non-financial transactions.
Announced in September, Secco is an early-stage, pre-licensed challenger bank based in London that seeks to be regulated as a UK bank. The company is currently running a seed investment round.
Image credit: Mobile device, Shutterstock.com.