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Catching up with BILLON: Bringing innovative blockchain technology into the financial mainstream

We featured the BILLON project in the October 2020 issue of Research*eu and learnt about their innovative blockchain technology that allows all Europeans, regardless of age, wealth or nationality to participate in the ever-growing digital economy. Robert Kaluza, e-money CEO of the Billon Group based in the United Kingdom and Poland, fills us in on how far their technology has advanced and their most exciting recent developments.

Digital Economy

BILLON (Disrupting the economy – FinTech blockchain solution revolutionises direct payments. Secure, low-cost and simple bank-free payments for everyone) was all about opening up access to frictionless, secure, simple and low-cost digital payments to everyone, and the way they did this was to develop blockchain technology that didn’t rely on any intermediary, such as a bank or card provider. They successfully obtained licences to process e-money transactions in their native Poland (the first to do so) as well as the United Kingdom, and won several major industry accolades because of their blockchain technology.

Continued international and domestic success

But how are they doing now? “We’ve just completed a key milestone in our technological development by launching the Unified Enterprise DLT System,” says Kaluza. “This platform consolidates our previous solutions using blockchain to manage various asset classes – national currencies, documents and other tokens – into a single high-performance distributed ledger.” This means Billon will be unable to unlock the full potential of its enterprise blockchain technology by connecting separate flows of money and data into one truly seamless process. Billon’s idea for blockchain transactions with national currencies also gained acceptance from some of the leading financial institutions in Europe and the United States. “FIS, a world-leading provider of banking IT, invested in Billon and used our blockchain technology for instant money transfers in its new Modern Banking Platform,” Kaluza continues. “Leveraging the FIS system, we’re also working on a cross-border payments system with Raiffeisen Bank International to enable instant bank-to-bank money transfers between Austria and other CEE countries.” On the home front, Billon’s Polish e-money licence also secured some great deals. ERGO Hestia, a leading Polish insurance company, applied Billon’s mass payout solution to deliver instant refunds of premium overpayments to clients, whilst another client, a food delivery company, used Billon’s e-money capabilities for the instant digitisation of cash collection. This allowed couriers to deposit cash anywhere, receive funds instantly and have an immutable audit trail. Kaluza does admit though that the pandemic has delayed some projects. “But I’m convinced that we’ll come out victorious as providers of technology that is accelerating the digital transformation.”

The importance of EU funding

Overall, the EU funding provided to Billon gave it crucial help in gaining visibility on international markets (whilst Europe and the United States remain the key priorities, they’re also tentatively exploring the possibility of expanding their business presence to Singapore) and established brand awareness in a crowded blockchain/DLT arena. “With EU funding we have been able to really move beyond the concept stage and develop strong partnerships with companies like FIS and Raiffeisen,” concludes Kaluza. “This is something that very few blockchain companies have achieved and this wouldn’t have been possible without our participation in the Horizon 2020 programme.”

Keywords

BILLON, blockchain, e-money, Unified Enterprise DLT System, FIS, DLT