Canadian startup ZED Network is looking to launch a new blockchain-powered global payments platform that promises to enable faster and cheaper remittances services.
The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering will be built on the Stellar distributed network with connectivity to bitcoin and ether as methods of payment. It intends to provide money transfer operators with an integrated suite of remittance products including a digital wallet, web app, mobile app, facility to exchange multiple currency pairs, and a back office with analytics and reporting tools for compliance and monitoring.
The ZED platform will be targeted at smaller, non-bank money transfer operators around the world, which the company claims, cannot compete against global leaders such as Western Union and MoneyGram due to technological and banking limitations.
According to the World Bank, global remittance hovers around US$600 billion per year. Western Union, UAE Exchange, MoneyGram and RIA, the four global leaders, make up for 25% of all transfers.
The other 75% is divided among a long tail of thousands of small to mid-tier money transfer operators, which are often unable to grow past their initial market and scale up due to challenges such as banking, cash glow and technology.
According to the CEO and founder of ZED Network, Alan Safahi, who also is the CEO and founder of payment platform ZipZap, the ZED platform and token will “not only benefit small to mid-size MTOs currently ill-served by the traditional banking system and subject to prohibitive licensing and transaction fees, it will also dramatically benefit millions of individuals worldwide, many of whom are unbanked and the worst affected by the current high transaction fees charged by the traditional money transfer operators.”
The company says that in the same manner that SWIFT connects banks together on a global basis, the ZED Network intends to create and power a global network of licensed money transfer operators in multiple countries.
The ZED platform will be powered by the ZED token, a cryptocurrency built on Stellar’s mining-free, distributed ledger. ZED tokens will be available to money transfer operators to buy and use solely for utility purposes of facilitating remittances worldwide.
The company says it will target gateways in Canada and the Philippines first, followed by the UK, US, Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and South Korea by the end of 2018.
A product launch in pilot is scheduled to be released in Q1 2018.