Blockchain opportunities with Notarify

Notarify is one of the leading international Blockchain service providers, with a network of thousands of customers and present in different countries. Since its foundation in 2018, the company leverages an integrated model that provides solutions for data and document notarization in Blockchain: from storaging to sharing, from identification and KYC to electronic signature.

Notarify services touch different areas of expertise: from Fintech, Insurtech, and Legaltech to services dedicated to training and education, through software integration, and even for public administration to simpler services such as the commercial or logistics area.


On the funding side, they have raised almost one million euros thanks to two crowdfunding campaigns and they are currently expanding in the Italian market with important partnerships. Furthermore, they have already opened offices in Luxembourg and the Arab Emirates.

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The crammed pipeline of Criptalia projects for 2021

Criptalia is a regulated company of CrowdLending founded in 2018. It immediately began to develop a proprietary technological infrastructure, including integration with Blockchain. Criptalia allows SMEs and startups to access a facilitated channel of liquidity collection in a fast, simple and… Fintech manner through its platform that now has an audience of thousands of members. Giuseppe Scapola, Head Of Business Development of Criptalia, explains how it is growing and what goals it has.

What are the most important results achieved in 2020 in terms of platform collection?

We started with operations in February 2020, right in the middle of a critical period for the global health situation. Today, after about 10 months, we have reached important goals. This year we also closed a round of 500 thousand euro capital increase supported by Digital Magics and Cdp Venture Capital Sgr-Fondo Nazionale Innovazione.

How many projects have you closed so far and above all what kind of projects are they?

This has been a special year for everyone. We started in the peak period of the pandemic and despite this we achieved important results: we closed 15 projects for a total of almost 1.5 million euros.
Working in favor of real companies, SMEs with concrete growth projects and supported by a solid business plan, we allowed the acquisition of funds for realities that could then immediately start production lines such as surgical masks to fight the pandemic. We have facilitated the purchase of sheds to launch new production lines for the making of high quality flour, a product that had an increase in use especially during lockdown.
These are projects with a high impact both in the entrepreneurial fabric and in society in general.

What impact has the pandemic had on your business? How did you “react”?

At first it left us with a moment’s hesitation: just when we were leaving, we felt the weight of this problem on us, impacting the whole world with devastating effects, particularly on many businesses, especially those dealing with retail customers. Fortunately, we live in a high-tech world, and so does our platform. We decided, however, to continue operating and raising liquidity for our businesses at such a difficult time: a time when they needed it most. It is a fundamental part of our “mission”: we want to impact the real economy by generating a virtuous circle.

What are your goals for 2021?

Our goals for 2021 are very ambitious. The European Crowdfunding market is about to change and will finally be regulated at a European level, considering Europe’s statements regarding these issues.
Criptalia is also based in Spain and we have been authorized by the Spanish National Market Commission (CNMV), the Spanish equivalent of the Italian CONSOB, and are ready to operate in that market as well, opening up to Europe and going beyond national borders thus starting an effective expansion of our platform.
We also have an already dense pipeline of projects to propose to our investors and we want to further expand our team of analysts to help us in the increasingly important process of analysis due to the growth of collaborations with “heavy” partners and our impact on the market.

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Wizkey: a year of life, many goals, many projects

Already in its first year of life Wizkey received the Horizon2020 “SealOfExcellence” award for the highly innovative solution proposed but not only. This fintech is generating a lot of interest and has ambitious projects for the coming months, Founder Marco Pagani tells us.

Since the launch of your project, how have you grown?

In a year we have grown a lot, both internally – at a team and product improvement level – and externally, expanding the commercial network. The team is the main asset of WizKey: we have worked a lot in training, attracting senior advisors from excellent companies to help us in the most strategic areas, such as business development and attention to regulatory aspects. Together with the growth of the team the product development continues; the WizKey Define platform is now ready to support the credit market players. We are completing its implementation in both factoring and bond issuance. We will then proceed with the implementation of the AI for the automation of due diligence processes and the construction of a blueprint to link us with our customers’ APIs and facilitate the exchange of information. Product development follows commercial development. We work according to the lean approach, where customer and partner feedback is essential to drive priorities along in our technology roadmap.

Which of your products/services have attracted the most interest and by which target group?

The digitization of the credit market that we propose has attracted market players: in recent months we have received excellent feedback on the design of the platform and its main functionalities. The concept of permanent data room, the privacy-focused design and the certifications on the documents accompanying the credits have been particularly appreciated.
Alongside work on the secondary credit market, the world of factoring is our second area of commercial development which is opening up interesting scenarios: we are receiving numerous requests for experimentation following our presentation at SAP’s annual meeting last February. The third area of application, bond issuance, is still in the developmental phase and we hope to move shortly to the testing phase together with our strategic partners.
We did not expect the request received from several operators,far from our main sector, to prepare with them a “white label” product to be customized on business verticals of which wechad not thought. In the coming months we plan to start with a project on the secondary luxury market.

Have you started or are you starting open innovation projects? Or with what kind of stakeholders would you like to implement them?

We are currently not following open innovation projects, but we would like to find new partners to continue the development of the platform in the field of bond issues. We would like to launch a user-friendly end-to-end solution, especially for SMEs, starting from in 2021. We are well structured and able to develop/create a path of mutual growth with these market operators: in our team we have all the necessary skills (legal, IT, financial and commercial) required to structure operations of this type, as well as a deep knowledge of the critical issues acquired during/thanks to our previous work experience.
We have experimental projects that would allow financial operators to provide credit partly off-balance-sheet: in this case our partner would be a large merchant bank with blockchain experience, such as Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan.

You have recently received the Horizon2020 “SealOfExcellence” award for your highly innovative solution. Can you tell us more?

It was an important recognition of our work. When we started the project we had clear in mind what line to follow and we carefully analysed the ECB’s guidelines in the secondary credit markets, which are our starting point. Receiving the “Seal of Excellence” confirmed both our interpretation of the ECB’s recommendations and the design choices we made: the decision to use a public blockchain was a brave choice that has been rewarding us. We believe in the decentralisation of processes and the value of data, therefore privacy, all points confirmed by the responses we received from the market.
The recognition that the project is of great interest and utility, both nationally and internationally, is a crucial stimulus to move forward with technological development and our commercial efforts.

According to a recent report on the spread of blockchain knowledge in Italy, released by Tech Economy, more than half of the Italian people have at least heard about it. In a year the number of people who say they have never heard of it has decreased from 52% to 31%. From a cultural point of view is there still a lot to do as far as you’re concerned? Are you doing anything about it?

To date, many companies have decided to adopt blockchain technology and exploit its potential. Here we return to the topic of the actual need to use it in your business. There are companies that have found in the blockchain a tool allowing them to obtain an effective improvement of processes and/or a radical change in them, thus generating added value. Others have instead decided to approach this technology to follow a trend. This is a point to think about. The term “blockchain” continues to be a buzzword that has acquired a greater “collective awareness”: there are more in-depth studies by those who approach the subject and a desire to investigate its application potential in depth.
WizKey has studied this technology a lot, understood it and turned it into a core asset structurally integrated into its business processes. We still dedicate a lot of time to research and technological development, especially in the blockchain area and we make our knowledge available to the public because we believe that training is the real key to the conception and large-scale implementation of new business models through technological development.
We also dedicate a lot of time to dissemination in the blog section of our website and in the coming months we will be organizing a series of interactive workshops, producing live video and live prodcasts, looking for comparisons and interactions with different operators both on the Define product and the technology behind it.

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Is bitcoin the digital equivalent of gold?

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The Digital Gold Institute is an R&D excellence center for teaching, training, consulting, and advising about scarcity in the digital domain, which is bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. It considers bitcoin as the digital equivalent of gold. If one considers the role of physical gold in the history of civilization, money, and finance, then it is clear how disruptive its digital equivalent could be in our digital civilization and the future of money and finance.

Among its current partners, DIG has consulting firms such as Prometeia and Deloitte, a lobbying group on crypto-assets such as CryptoValues, it also has a joint venture with the Milano-Bicocca University known as Crypto Asset Lab. This fintech addresses the entire industrial, institutional, and corporate world: if they do not have a solid understanding of bitcoin and crypto-asset yet, it helps them with an orientation roadmap and a journey to robust awareness.

DIG was self-founded, it was born from our professional as well as economic efforts. However, founders have now received a purchase offer that they are evaluating and that they could accept in the coming months.

OPEN INNOVATION

The partners the team hopes to get in touch with, also through Fintech District, are of the kind we have been already working with: financial and insurance groups, asset management funds and regulators. These are the partners who benefit the most from our contribution: with DIG they can increase their understanding of bitcoin and crypto-assets.

TEAM

In the team, there are people in their fifties, like me, who are the top senior, but also people about 30 years old, so the resulting average age is probably about 35-40 years old. Right now, the background is very technical and technological: there are people with master’s degrees in physics, mathematics, mathematical engineering, and computer science. There are also few people with master’s degrees in economics. They are always looking for brilliant people with a strong commitment, better if they have a technical background.

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Criptalia, a fintech in New York: ideas and contacts for the future

Thanks to the GSP wanted by MISE and organized by ICE, Criptalia has taken part in a 3-month program in New York, at ERA, one of the main accelerators of startups in the United States. This opportunity has made it possible for them to take part in a number of workshops and mentorship sessions, as well as attend some events organized by ICE and the Italian Consulate in New York. Diego Dal Cero at the end of this experience, remembers the decisive moments and talks about them with us.

ERA accelerator: what did you like about their approach and what was particularly useful to you?

Their approach is very practical and concrete: we really liked the fast pace, the very direct and constant feedback, and the support of many mentors, including several founders of startups that in this day and age are seen as “unicorns”. ERA is probably the best accelerator on the east coast of the United States, and amongst the leading ones in the world, with a value of over two billion dollars.

Of the numerous ICE / Consulate events, is there is one that has particularly satisfied you and why?

The Italian Trade Agency and ICE have shown us their unconditional support right from the start. Various events were organized during which entrepreneurs from the Italian community in New York, journalists and also potential investors took part. The first was a few days after our arrival, and the last one a week before returning. Our Demo Day. It was very constructive, also because it allowed us to see how we have changed and how our way of presenting ourselves during the acceleration process had improved. The event of the 30th September was the most rewarding because it somewhat represented the presentation of our progress and the end of the process.

You presented Criptalia during an event on Wall Street talking about the differences and points of view of the blockchain market in Europe and the USA. Can you explain your opinion of us?

Every day In New York there are a lot of events, on blockchain and fintech, even more than once a day. We’ve attended a lot of meetups and presentations, and we’ve seen that Europe is in some ways ahead in fintech, even though the US market has huge numbers. Another difference is in the attitude of the regulators. During one of the many presentations, we also had a chat with the SEC’s insiders and were amazed by their mindset which is basically very business-oriented”

Criptalia in the USA: What do you think about business development as a result of this experience? Pros and cons of this experience and suggestions for improvement?

We will certainly open in the USA, in fact, we are already opening the branch. The goal is to be active by the third quarter of 2020 in the state of New York. Right Now we are pushing very hard on the European market, starting with Italy and Spain. The American Direct Lending market for Project Finance we are heading for is ten times as large in volume as the one in the whole of Europe. The difficulties are many but not insurmountable: each country has different characteristics and regulations, and therefore organizational complexities that need to be studied in depth.

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WIZKEY: interview with Marco Pagani

WizKey is building a decentralized finance infrastructure for structured finance transactions such as assignments of credits, securitizations, factoring and the issuance of covered bonds among others. WizKey uses blockchain technology to do so and, more specifically, the public blockchain of Ethereum. CEO and Founder Marco Pagani explains the reasons for this choice: “Ethereum is a global open-source platform for smart contracts. Ethereum is, among public blockchains, very flexible and secure for the number of nodes and developers working on its code”.

The WizKey team is made up of lawyers, people who worked in finance as traders and IT programmers. By combining their multidisciplinary skills together, they are deploying a decentralized network to meet the needs of banks and enterprises.

“In our previous work experience, we noticed many market inefficiencies due to some characteristics of structured finance transactions – says Pagani – First, inconsistencies of databases and uncertainty about the information set of receivables and structured finance transactions. On the other hand, there is no reliable register for tracking receivables while they are being bought and transferred from one side to the other”.

The beta test of the platform started in the second half of April. It has been made available to three banks, a big pharmaceutical company, and an important arranger of financial transactions in Italy. The goal is to receive comments before September/October 2019 in order to fully industrialize the platform in 2020.

Although it started in Italy, this project has a global vision as it is based on a decentralized network which was created to be borderless and allow operators, including banks and enterprises, to operate, regardless of their country of origin. At the moment, WizKey is working with Italian operators, but next year it aims to experiment with foreign partners and, in a third phase, to go beyond the European borders.

In June 2019, WizKey, attracted by the potential for new partnerships and the opportunity to find new industrial partners and ideas, joined Fintech District. Next autumn it will take part in an event organized by the State University of Milan on some legal issues related to the blockchain, then it will reach Malta for the Blockchain Summit and finally Singapore for the Fintech Festival.

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Distribute mutual funds through the blockchain. Gimme5’s Word!

A come A will distribute mutual funds in Italy through the blockchain. This feature has been tested on Gimme5, the company’s app to invest and save starting from 5 euros; the first saving app interested in exploiting the blockchain.

Thanks to this new feature, Gimme5 will be able to carry out subscription and redemption transactions of mutual fund units and related payments in real time using smart contracts based on the blockchain.

AcomeA carried out the test through Fundsquare’s FundsDLT platform, based on blockchain technology, and through Fabrick‘s Open Banking platform. The positive result obtained shows that it is possible to simplify as much as possible the execution of transactions and that the blockchain is able to bring efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the processing of orders on investment funds.

To find out more, we interviewed the real protagonists of this project, two members of the Gimme5 team who work behind the scenes and are not often asked about the results achieved: the Lead Developer and the Gimme5 Data Manager. Fabio Arlati and Giuseppe Codazzi, tell us about this historic result and the first subscription of mutual fund shares in Italy through blockchain technology.

What exactly is the test you carried out?

The test consisted of the reception, valorization and registration of transactions for the purchase of fund shares exploiting the potential of FundsDLT and Fabrick. This allowed Gimme5 to test a cheaper, faster, more efficient, and, thanks to the very nature of Smart Contracts, certified process.

What does it mean for the fintech sector?

Apart from the obvious technological and innovation aspects, the most important achievement is the collaboration with Fundsquare and Fabrick. With the success obtained, we have demonstrated that fintech can be a concrete sector with strong cooperation between the parties, benefitting the industry itself and its customers.

In Italy, our test it is the first one, but in Europe, several European groups operating in the asset management sector have already conducted similar experiments with FundsDLT; however, it is the first time in Europe that more players in the fintech panorama have been involved.

What benefits will it bring to users?

As this is the first test, the timing of approval and change will be long because it is necessary to innovate also in terms of process management. The first advantage will certainly be the level of usability of the service. The user will be able to enjoy an alternative and more efficient purchase method, which can be completed in a shorter time period. Furthermore, there is the argument of costs: Gimme5 has already cancelled or reduced all costs to a minimum, including operational costs. This lighter infrastructure will further increase the benefits for our customers.

How will your business change after this result?

Undoubtedly, the use of such a model can guarantee Gimme5 to exploit an increasingly efficient infrastructure, both in terms of process management, times, and costs. Moreover, the fact that all three players involved want to be platforms speaks volumes in terms of future objectives. Gimme5 has always been in favour of opening up to new partners and also to new markets: we have international aspirations.

What were the strengths of the collaboration with the other two platforms? And the most critical aspects?

The strengths are certainly linked to cooperation. Each one of us brings the best to the entire supply chain, making the process more efficient in all the aspects. In fintech, there is a real opportunity to work as a team and I believe that this has already been an excellent starting point.

There were no particularly delicate moments. Of course, there was a lot of attention for the timing. In projects of this kind, with three players involved, each one rightly had its own objectives and priorities. It all started almost a year ago, we have come a long way since then and will certainly continue to do so.

Are you looking for any information about Gimme5? Read the interview with product manager Flavio Talarico

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Criptalia: interview with Diego Dal Cero

In 2017, Criptalia was born from the idea of moving traditional financial products to blockchain in order to obtain time and economic advantages in its management. The products considered all belong to different asset classes, they can be equity, credit or bonds, but are all, however, managed and transmitted on the blockchain.

For this particular Fintech, 2018 was the year of development. CEO and Founder Diego Dal Cero explains that in recent months his team has been involved in carrying out all the operations necessary to comply with various regulations and also so as to be able to operate in the market with all the safety requirements for the consumer and for companies that use these products.

In 2019 Criptalia will go for the first time on the market, in both Italy and Spain at the same time, and then also in other European countries within the year. “We do not exclude emerging markets like that of Latin America” adds Dal Cero, who says he is satisfied and honoured to have joined the Fintech District community: “It is entering a truly unique ecosystem not only in Italy but also at a European level; it is something that unites our passions, technologies and the future of the fintech sector. We will try to be an active part of this important community “.

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Neutrino: interview with Giancarlo Russo

Neutrino is an innovative Italian startup that since has been dealing with intelligence in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain since 2016. CEO Giancarlo Russo explained to us in simpler words what he does: “starting from the public data of the blockchain we make a process of data enrichment to provide value-added information to the stakeholders”.

At the moment, Neutrino works above all with the regulatory and supervisory authorities, for the control of operations in cryptocurrencies, but also together with financial institutions that operate in cryptocurrencies, supporting them in their activities of compliance and monitoring of transactions.

For many months now this startup has become part of the Fintech District, seeing in it the opportunity to be part of a network of companies coordinated by a strategic partner that can facilitate the knowledge with the most important players in the sector.

“For those of us who work with cryptocurrencies, a theme still considered a niche – adds Russo – the Fintech District is an excellent opportunity to get visibility and to be introduced to subjects who will have in the medium or short term the need for services such as those we offer “.

Recently Neutrino has expanded abroad, starting to have a good customer base throughout Europe and also in the main markets where the theme of cryptocurrencies is predominant. Three examples? Switzerland, Malta and the United States. This startup does not intend to stop in these countries and is planning to start commercial activities in Asia to reach a market that is very different but is very developed and that, according to Russo, needs a presence on site to be adequately covered.

In the coming months, in the meantime, the Neutrino team will be engaged in conferences in Malta and in Switzerland. In general it aims to participate in international events in which the theme of fintech may be relevant, particularly concerning new applications in the field of anti-money laundering and also related cryptocurrencies.

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DandYlion: interview with the founder Mario Alberto Casiraghi

On the 6th of September we will host the first Italian DandYlion meet up. DandYlion is a community bringing together thinkers, innovators, and agents of change from Tech and Financial worlds. In this interview the founder Mario Alberto Casiraghi explains how DandYlioners garnered significant traction on the London crypto scene and partially reveals what he will tell us during the event at the 6th of September. To participate you can register here.

How was DandYlion created?

Thanks to my experience in financial services, I have been able to observe in detail the functioning of the economic and market system at the base of the world economy. During my five years in investment banking, I realised that the current system was not keeping up with the technological and social development seen in other sectors and I looked for a solution. From that moment on I started to study blockchain technology, of which I soon understood the potential. When I shared my thoughts with friends and colleagues I realized that they arose interest and stimulated discussion. From simple conversations we moved on to private round tables and then to meet up in London.

dandYlion

What is your mission?

Our vision is clear. Educate – Collaborate – Disrupt.

  • Educate: it is one of the main problems both in the financial world and in the blockchain world. DandYlion aims to become an educational channel by closing the gap between the two worlds.
  • Collaborate: We are a community dedicated to innovation focused on the aggregation of talents and on the creation of an environment suitable for sharing and comparison
  • Disrupt: our main goal is to create a group of people who share DandYlion’s vision and turn it into a community committed to changing the situation in some economic areas.

What will you talk about during the meeting organized with the Fintech District on the 6th of September?

We will cover most of the relevant topics in the recent past and present: Overview Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, The Challenge of Scalability, The ICO Market: Emerging Practices and Regulation. We will also bring some experiences from the field with professionals who have already completed token sales during their careers.

To whom is the meeting addressed?

The event is aimed at crypto and blockchain enthusiasts, but also at those interested in the innovation sector more in general. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn about one of the great trends of the present and the future.

What do you think of an initiative like Fintech District?

I am very happy to collaborate with Fintech District and satisfied in seeing this kind of initiatives in Italy. In our country innovation is not always the centre of attention as it should

Make sure you have a place at the meeting, sign up HERE. If you wish to stay uptodated about news, events and initiatives of the Fintech District, subscribe to our newsletter HERE