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Exclusive: Vault’s CEO Austin Kimm on Crypto Banking and the New VLT Token

Exclusive: Vault's CEO Austin Kimm on Crypto Banking and the New VLT Token
Paul L.
Interviews

We’ve had a word with Austin Kimm, CEO of Vault, a company that offers white-label digital and crypto banking products and APIs, making the launch of digital/crypto banking services and apps for various entities including banks, fintechs, and institutions much faster and cost-efficient. Kimm shared insights on the current climate in the B2B sector, dug deeper into Vault’s business approach, connection to Choise.com and Choise.ai, as well as the soon-to-be-launched VLT token and their innovative concept of a marketplace.


Could you give us insights into the performance of the crypto B2B sector during the first quarter of 2024? Given the market’s volatility post-Bitcoin’s new all-time high, subsequent drops, and its dip below $58,000, how has this influenced the interest of potential clients like startups and banks, and consequently, impacted your business?

In the B2B sector, particularly in crypto B2B, there is almost no distinction between crypto seasons. While B2B staking protocols may experience fluctuations in activity during crypto winters and summers, Vault’s integration of traditional finance and crypto ensures a stable client base regardless of market conditions. Our business model is highly resistant to fluctuations in the crypto market.

Besides, Vault is not a provider for crypto-only businesses. The future development of the cryptocurrency environment involves its integration with traditional financial services, known as TradFi, such as payment cards and bank accounts. We envision significant progress through the convergence of crypto payment cards and bank accounts into a unified ecosystem. This integration makes crypto more accessible to non-crypto-native individuals, enhancing its usability for spending, offloading, and purchasing through conventional means.

Indeed, during periods of increased crypto activity, more crypto companies emerge due to improved financial conditions. However, the overall market trend, whether crypto winter or summer, does not significantly impact Vault’s operations. Despite launching in the middle of the last crypto winter, Vault continues to onboard business clients consistently, unaffected by market fluctuations.

In summary, the price of Bitcoin and market cycles are peripheral factors in Vault’s provision of B2B solutions integrating crypto into traditional finance.

Which of Vault’s product solutions are currently experiencing the highest demand?

The Vault solution comprises three interconnected products, referred to as the ‘Holy Trinity’: payment cards, IBAN, and crypto. These products seamlessly complement each other, catering to customers’ diverse needs and preferences. Whether clients are crypto enthusiasts intrigued by the integration of crypto into traditional banking or traditional finance users seeking to explore crypto, the synergy between crypto and cards remains the focal point.

For many clients, the appeal lies in the ability to use crypto and payment cards concurrently, facilitating convenient crypto spending on the go. Additionally, the geographical reach of our services sets us apart from competitors, as we offer global payment card services spanning over 200 countries. Unlike regional-specific providers, our approach prioritizes global accessibility, enabling clients to think beyond local boundaries and tap into international markets.

Consider a company based in the Philippines, where remittances play a vital role due to a large number of overseas workers. While the company’s focus may be local, a significant portion of its user base resides outside the Philippines. With Vault’s global card program, individuals can seamlessly transfer funds between countries, revolutionizing cross-border transactions. This use case exemplifies the unprecedented convenience afforded by our platform, bridging geographical barriers and simplifying financial interactions worldwide.

In essence, while crypto serves as the foundation, the core appeal lies in the seamless integration between crypto and payment cards on a global scale, transcending regional limitations.

Vault has recently become a part of an ecosystem, Choise.ai, along with Choise.com, both founded by the same team. Could you tell us more about that?

Vault and Choise.com, along with some other projects, form an interconnected Choise.ai ecosystem, with each project providing distinct services that complement one another seamlessly. Vault, essentially born out of Choise.com, leverages the platform’s foundation to offer a range of financial services tailored to businesses’ needs. As a result, Vault shares its revenue with Choise.com, acknowledging its foundational role in Vault’s existence and collaborating on various aspects such as customer support and supplier management.

Despite being separate entities, Vault and Choise.com operate in tandem, each with its own focus. Rather than merely funneling revenue back into the Choise.com ecosystem, the goal is to enhance integration between the two businesses, encouraging users to support both systems. This symbiotic relationship creates a virtuous circle, where users of one platform are incentivized to engage with the other, fostering mutual benefit and growth.

Additionally, the Choise.ai ecosystem extends beyond Vault and Choise.com, incorporating entities like Charism.io, a DeFi earnings protocol. While Charism faced challenges during its launch, its technology remains relevant and will be integrated into Vault’s services for white-label customers. This integration further strengthens the ecosystem, as users familiar with DeFi environments may introduce new clients to Vault’s offerings.

In summary, the collaboration between Vault, Choise.com, and other entities exemplifies a harmonious Choise.ai partnership aimed at mutual growth through lead generation and motivation programs, creating a dynamic and interconnected ecosystem.

CHO is serving as the backbone of Choise.ai, and,  we’ve heard, Vault intends to share up to 20% of its revenue with CHO holders. Can you confirm if the company has already landed multiple multi-million contracts and acquired over 50 clients? Because if all of this is true, the community must be full of anticipation.

Vault offers a comprehensive ecosystem for white-label clients, who then provide these services to their end users. Our income fee structure ensures mutual success for both the white-label client and Vault. Setting up a new client involves significant preparatory work, although our streamlined system expedites the process.

While other providers may charge setup fees ranging from $50,000 to $250,000, Vault’s fee structure aligns closely with industry standards. For a comparable price, Vault delivers a full suite of solutions, including IBAN accounts, crypto custody, and exchange functions, alongside payment cards.

Each client commits to a minimum three-year contract to facilitate mutual growth. Additionally, clients must meet a minimum subscription fee of approximately $10,000 per month, ensuring their commitment to the platform.

With every client onboarded, Vault anticipates generating an additional $360,000 in revenue over a three-year period. However, the potential revenue exceeds this baseline, as evidenced by clients ordering tens of thousands of cards in advance.

Clients have the flexibility to add a markup to Vault’s fees, enabling them to generate additional revenue. Vault’s rapidly expanding client base, currently at approximately 50 clients with an additional five or more joining monthly, presents significant revenue potential, with some clients expected to surpass $400,000 in monthly revenue.

Active user engagement drives revenue, with each active user generating an average of $20 per month. With a substantial user base, revenue potential can reach millions monthly. 

Up to twenty percent of this revenue will be allocated to Choise.ai for platform support, benefiting CHO token owners through rewards and loyalty programs. This revenue-sharing model enhances the attractiveness of the overall ecosystem.

Speaking of tokens, Vault is about to launch its own token, VLT, in less than 60 days, right? What will its use cases be? 

The new token, VLT, diverges from traditional tokens. It’s not purchasable, lacks pre-sale discounts, and isn’t available on decentralized exchanges for early acquisition. Instead, it’s intricately linked to a rewards program tied to the CHO and Choise.ai infrastructure. CHO, designed as an earnings token, still retains its core value proposition, albeit in an evolving landscape where stability has been disrupted by market shifts like Luna and FTX.

While CHO remains primarily an earnings token, the focus now extends beyond earnings alone. VLT aims to be an active token utilized by users. By engaging in various platform activities, users can earn rewards, not limited to staking but also encompassing transactions made with Visa cards, loan activities, and other actions akin to traditional reward programs in the financial sector.

The VLT token is dynamic, adapting to evolving user behaviors and ecosystem needs. The token’s utilization will be closely tied to Vault’s success and the usage patterns within the Choise.ai ecosystem. We could also activate different rewards programs that might vary monthly, incentivizing actions beneficial to users. Finally, although initially linked to CHO, its scope extends to various actions, subject to ongoing evolution and refinement.

Can you perhaps give us some hints about the things that you are currently working on and which are about to be announced in the coming period? We’ve caught wind of whispers about a marketplace…

I mentioned the core three products, the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Vault: cards, bank accounts, and crypto. However, there’s more to offer. Our goal is to provide clients with a granular approach to services they desire. For instance, within Choise.ai, users can save and stake crypto to earn rewards. It’s logical to integrate these functions into the Vault ecosystem. Yet, not all may desire a savings account. Hence, we introduce a marketplace. Here, one or two providers offer various services like rewards programs and trading platforms. Clients can opt-in or out as per their needs. This ensures customization without overwhelming users. We aim to replicate the comprehensive functionality of apps like WeChat or Alipay, but with customizable features. While the core functions remain, we offer additional features tailored to clients’ preferences.


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