Filling the gap vs the market standard, secondly leading innovation, addressing cross-border customers though tha banking-as-a-service; Enabling new services and integrating new technologies in order to create a high quality customised product; improving financial services and being able to generate new revenue streams, thanks to a broader and international approach to open banking APIs and blockchain.
These are the key strategy points of BKN301, startup FinTech based in the Republic of San Marino launched in march 2021.
The leader of the project is the sammarinese businessman Stiven Muccioli, who has returned to his home country after 10 years following a successful career as an investor and tech entrepreneur to launch the neo bank which provides embedded financial services and token issuing services with a B2B model.
“I sold my company Ventis at the end of 2020 for a very good deal and decided to come back to my country where I can now bring my experience and skills to drive this new startup FinTech business,” said Muccioli who launched the bank with Federico Zambelli Hosmer and Luca Bertozzi. Hosmer was former CEO of PayPal in Italy and Bertozzi was former CFO of Ventis (Iccrea Banca Group).
In the name BKN301 are hidden two keys of the project: 301 recalls the year in which San Marino was founded and BKN draws on the word blockchain, which is a critical component of the digital platform.
The oldest republic in the world has several advantages. First of all it’s in the heart of Europe, its citizens use the euro bur it is not a European member state. Another bonus is that it’s granted the right to use its own designs on the national side of the euro coins. Then it has a specific law on the blockchain technology.
“Blockchain is super secure – said Muccioli – because when you send information or a transaction from one point to another point everyone can see it and it is not possible to hack or stall the data – it is super clear and it’s open. It will bring about a huge change in behavior and infrastructure because with blockchain you don’t need third party infrastructure. You don’t need Visa or MasterCard. It’s possible to send cash or money from one point to another point without any other player in the middle. It’s very strong for efficiency and for safe transactions”.
Who will be the customers of BKN301? “We would work with other FinTech companies and telcos – Muccioli answers. – If I am thinking of our customers, the best could be telecommunication operators, banks in other countries and software companies with a huge amount of customers with payment needs. This is because we can help increase the revenue and have more frictionless transactions. The best for us is to have customers, clients and business clients with a lot of customers and a lot of payments.”
The focus is on emerging markets: “Our key message is that we want to grant access to financial services to emerging markets and to people that are not allowed to enter into the financial system right now. Also San Marino is one of these emerging markets because we don’t have payment systems, we don’t have Apple pay, we don’t have Google pay and we need to grant access to these kinds of services and mobile payments and digital finance,” said Muccioli.
The CEO aims to reach a fast growth for BKN301. “We want to double our revenue during this year and in the next couple of years we can improve a lot on transactions and customers and we dream to reach a value of € 1 billion in the next three years”.
Also the change of habits due to COVID-19 pandemic could benefit the business: “I think the pandemic could be an opportunity for us due to the change in behaviour of people as they move towards digital payments as cash is not the future for the banking system. I think in the long term, it could be a good thing for the business but in the short-term, it’s not so easy for us because there are not a lot of digital transactions as people spend less money. It’s not a super strong moment for the business but I think in the long term we’ll be fine”.