In what could be termed a bold move from traditional finance to the future of finance, a former Barclays bank employee is all set to start his digital bank in Q1 2020.
Mark Hipperson, former head of technology, for more than 10 years, for the Barclays group is planning his newest digital banking venture called Ziglu. Hipperson was also a co-founder and former CTO at U.K. challenger bank, Starling.
In what is seen as the next step in the challenger bank concept, Ziglu will offer all-digital accounts that will allow multiple currencies, both fiat and digital, to be held.
Add, exchange, spend, through a debit card
Ziglu initially aims to offer a free account that will allow users to hold balances in multiple currencies. They will also be able to easily exchange funds between accounts. Forex prices will follow Interbank prices while digital assets (cryptocurrencies) will be offered at the best prices across multiple exchanges.
Ziglu account users will also be able to use their holdings using a Mastercard debit card that will work across the world. Cryptocurrency holdings can also be used for payments and they will be converted instantly to fiat at point of sale.
First stop – UK
Ziglu has applied to the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for a license for banking and issuing electronic money. Hipperson has been heading Ziglu since September 2018.
In the first stage, Ziglu services will only be available to U.K. residents. There are, however, plans to services to other parts of the world at a later stage. The company is inviting pre-launch applications from interested individuals.
A fine melange of banking innovations
Ziglu is one in a line of many such ventures that seek to blur the lines between traditional finance and cryptocurrencies. In August, a similar service, named Bitwala, was launched that offered an attached Bitcoin wallet. It has since successfully added Ethereum functionality.
While there are other cryptocurrency-backed debit card offerings in the market, what makes Ziglu stand apart is the fact that users can hold the combination of multiple fiat currencies, along with crypto and get the ability to spend any currency using a card with instant conversion at the point of sale. Whether Ziglu catches the imagination of users is yet to be seen.