Sila, a blockchain project created by the former co-founder of Simple banking app (later acquired by BBVA), has entered its beta testing phase, according to a press release shared with Smartereum on Thursday, April 4.
Sila was created in 2018 to help fintech developers and entrepreneurs easily integrate traditional financial services in their project. It provides a collection of APIs that allow developers to merge blockchain systems like the smart contract functionality with conventional banking systems like the automated clearing house (ACH) rails.
The statement explained:
“Sila delivers simple and secure APIs to accelerate financial innovation, by providing a bridge between the smart contracts functionality of the Ethereum blockchain and existing payment systems such as ACH, all in a regulatory compliant manner.”
“This allows developers and entrepreneurs to integrate speedy value transfers into their applications and bring their applications to market in a matter of weeks instead of years.”
Sila cofounder and CEO Shamir Karkal decried the difficulty fintech startups face when integrating existing payment systems to their projects.
“Existing payment systems — ACH, Visa and SWIFT — are accessible only to a handful of large incumbents, while the money transmission licensing process today is a 12-24 month process, which can kill an application in a rapidly evolving market.”
He would know. Prior to Sila, Karkal created banking and budgeting app Simple which helps users save and make personal budgets. The app was acquired by banking giant BBVA for $117 million in 2014.
The project team is laden with a vast wealth of experience in the traditional financial sector, innovative fintech space, and blockchain. Co-founder and CTO Alexander Lipton cofounded MIT Labs and was an executive at BoA/Merrill Lynch while Angela Angelovska, co-founder and legal head established blockchain law firm, DLx Law.
To integrate ethereum smart contract systems with traditional payment systems, Sila’s APIs uses a Sila stablecoin –a token pegged to the US dollar—to transfer value at the back end. However, users at the frontend interact with fiat currency.
“Our REST APIs provide a layer on top of existing payment systems, making them programmable and ultimately making Sila tokens programmable cash. We remove barriers of regulation, compliance, and development cost so that innovators can bring their apps to market in a matter of weeks.”
Sila’s API help fintech developers in five major areas namely:
- Verify ID using standard KYC processes
- Link Bank Accounts
- Issue Sila tokens for USD debited from user bank
- Transfer Sila tokens between users
- Redeem US dollars and burn tokens,
According to cryptocurrency news outlet Coindesk, the project is expected to launch fully by q4 of 2019. Before the beta testing, Sila successfully conducted a closed alpha testing.
One of the alpha participants, Justin Thomas, Founder of Friendowment described the solution as a “game changer”. “None [of the ACH processors] provide the comprehensive set of services, scalable pricing, and developer-first ethos that Sila does,” he said, adding that it took just two weeks to integrate Friendowment with Sila.