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Swiss ‘Unicorn’ banking app converts into Bitcoin vault as banks tried to squeeze them out

Swiss 'Unicorn’ banking app converts into Bitcoin vault as banks tried to squeeze them out
Jordan Major

Third-party applications that provide financial products are increasingly distancing themselves from the conventional banking industry, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption.

Indeed, Numbrs, a Swiss FinTech startup, blamed envious banks for the demise of its original business model as a third-party supplier of financial products. As a result, the firm has rebranded itself under the banner of Bitcoin, the digital currency that is considered by many to be the ultimate bank-killing technology.

In a recent announcement, the business heralded as a rare Swiss FinTech unicorn (with a market capitalization of at least CHF1 billion or $1.091 billion), revealed that it has evolved into a Bitcoin storage vault, reports SwissInfo.

The original Numbrs app

The original Numbrs app, which more than two million users had already downloaded, had gathered all of its customers’ financial information in one location and then offered them goods from financial institutions. Since then, there has been a significant and unexpected strategic change as all of these applications have been deactivated. 

Efforts to promote Open Banking in the European Union should have made it simpler for nimble FinTechs to connect to the financial system and reach clients according to the CEO and chairman of Numbrs, Fynn Kreuz; however, this is not the case:

“It should have allowed us to roll out our business by storm. But some banks tried their best to make the lives of third-party providers as complicated as possible and squeeze them out.”

He added:

“We came to the conclusion that increasingly complicated regulation around mobile banking and our dependency on banks prevented us, in the long run, from building the quality product that we wanted to build.”

Numbrs switches to crypto firm

Its worth mentioning in 2020 Numbrs had announced significant employment losses as a result of investors’ refusal to invest more funds in the firm. As a result, Martin Saidler, the firm’s founder, was left to supply the majority of the cash necessary to switch to a cryptocurrency company. 

Numbrs has relocated its headquarters from Zurich to Zug’s “Crypto Valley,” with many of their 70 employees working remotely from a various locations. Furthermore, it has converted an old Swiss army alpine bunker to use as a data storage facility, taking advantage of Switzerland’s reputation for private banking, political neutrality, and sensible cryptocurrency regulations.

Both Kreuz and Saidler have personally experimented with Bitcoin since 2013, and now think that decentralized digital money will become “the basis of a new monetary system” that “has the power to change every aspect of our lives.”

“Back in 2013, we had the notion of constructing a very safe storage facility in Switzerland for our own Bitcoin,” said Kreuz.  

Now, the concept of a personal cryptocurrency vault has grown to include the whole company’s business model. As a non-custodial wallet, the Numbrs app allows users to retain ownership of the private keys that provide them access to their Bitcoin.

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