Traditional banks have held a monopoly over finance, making it tough for people in developing countries to access financial services. Government sanctions worsened financial exclusion. Decentralized blockchain technology offers a solution through Web3 banking. There are some people who make Web3 banking experience as easy as simply using your messenger.
Marat Minkin, co-founder of TONBanking, a Web3 bank in the Telegram ecosystem built on the TON blockchain, talks about the potential of Web3 banking to democratize finance and promote financial inclusion in developing countries. He explains how TONBanking combines the best practices of neobanking, TON blockchain security, and usability, and Telegram’s advanced tools to create a future-proof banking solution.
Hello Marat, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about your background and how you got involved in Web3 banking?
Of course, thanks for having me. I have a background in business and entrepreneurship, having founded a recruiting agency and an internet advertising agency.
My interest in Web3 technology and TON started a few years ago at the TON Community meetings in Moscow. There among enthusiasts and developers, we discussed the future potential of the Telegram messenger and blockchain. At that time I already was working with crypto exchange and I saw that there were not so many trusted services.
At that time I met my business partner and shared with him an idea to create a new crypto service on top of the TON blockchain with the Telegram interface where users can make all the transactions safely.
That’s when I co-founded TONBanking, a Web3 bank in the Telegram ecosystem, which combines the best practices of neobanking, TON blockchain security, and usability, and Telegram’s advanced tools to create a future-proof banking solution.
How your decentralized bank is different from other projects in this area?
We created a secure decentralized financial service with token that has high level of liquidity. All the assets that are credited to the account are hedged with the smart contract and are backed by the liquidity token. We implemented native token TONB to decrease transaction fees. We created our balanced system with the help and expertise of the TON core dev team. As the result we’ve created a decentralized bank where people can transfer crypto in a few clicks in their messenger.
What is the mission of the project you’ve created?
Our mission at TONBanking is to help people gain access to financial services, regardless of their location or financial status. According to a recent report, over 1 billion people worldwide still lack access to basic financial services, creating significant economic and social barriers. We believe that traditional banking institutions have failed to serve the needs of most of the world’s population, and we see Web3 banking as a way to bridge this gap.
And anyone’ll be able to send anyone on your contacts list funds through the TONBanking infrastructure – whether that’s money for gas, services or a restaurant bill.
Why have you chosen Telegram and TON blockchain to build your own project?
When it comes to selecting a network, I think the most important thing is the people who are behind it. TON Network has a fantastic community of active developers who are constantly creating new products and advancing the project. This level of enthusiasm and growth isn’t found in other networks, which is why TON was the best choice for us. There are different circles in the community like early adopters, investors, and developers along with 700 millions of average Telegram messenger users who can also potentially join our project.
Tell us about the nearest plans for TONBanking, what do you plan to do after the launch? Will you integrate your product into the messenger?
Now we are implementing a validator, then we will add payment by cards so that we can pay for purchases with fiat in retail. This will allow us to connect merchants who will sell goods for crypto. TONBanking milestone: staking and merchant services, closed testing for offline acquiring feature, and onboarding of merchants/partners are planned for Q2 2023.
In the plans, of course, we want to deepen the integration into the messenger – to be added to the Telegram context menu. But in general, when we open a bot in Telegram, we are already quite integrated.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in building TONBanking, and how have you addressed them?
One of the biggest challenges we faced in building TONBanking was finding investments. But we successfully overcame this trouble through the private angel investments and now our platform is deployed in the testnet and being prepared to move to the mainnet.
Overall the process is clear as we are working closely with the Telegram and TON developers. We are collaborating on the further integrations to make user experience even more transparent and simple.
That’s very interesting. What is the future of Web3 banking, and how do you see it evolving over the next few years?
We expect to see increased demand for Web3 banking solutions, leading to greater innovation and competition in the market. For example Decentralized Identity. With decentralized identity, users can own and control their identity data, which can be used to verify their identity and facilitate secure transactions.
Also, Web3 banks allow borderless transactions without the need for intermediaries. This can be particularly useful for individuals who are unbanked or underbanked, as it allows them to access financial services that were previously unavailable to them.
Decentralized banking offers Automated Financial Services through smart contracts that are faster, cheaper, and more efficient than traditional banking services. For example, smart contracts can be used to automate loan approvals, reducing the time and cost of processing loans. Overall, I believe that Web3 banking will play a crucial role in shaping the future of finance and creating a more equitable and sustainable world.
How do DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) fit into the Web3 banking ecosystem, and how can they be used to drive innovation?
DAOs are a perfect fit for Web3 banking because they are decentralized organizations that run on blockchain technology, allowing for decentralized decision-making and governance. Web3 banks can provide financial services and support to DAOs, helping them to manage their funds and streamline their operations. Additionally, Web3 banks can offer innovative financial products and services to DAOs, such as zero-fee banking and smart contract-based lending, which can drive innovation and create new business opportunities.
That’s a great point. I know that you are deeply involved in charity activity. How can Web3 banking and charity work together to create a positive social impact?
Web3 banking can help promote transparency and accountability in the charitable sector by creating secure and transparent donation systems. By utilizing smart contracts and decentralized platforms, Web3 banks can ensure that charitable funds go directly to the intended recipients, reducing the risk of fraud and mismanagement. This can also help to build trust between donors and charities, leading to increased donations and greater social impact.
How does Web3 banking address environmental concerns, and why is this important to you?
Web3 banking has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of traditional banking by reducing the need for paper-based transactions and the energy-intensive processes involved in maintaining centralized banking systems. The transportation of cash and documents between branches contribute to carbon emissions. Additionally, the production and disposal of credit and debit cards, ATM receipts, and other banking-related materials result in significant amounts of waste.
As an ecoactivist, I believe that it is crucial for us to adopt sustainable practices in all aspects of our lives, including banking. By creating more environmentally-friendly financial systems, like Web3 banking, we can help mitigate the effects of climate change and create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.