With the financial services landscape shifting fast, Globiance, a banking platform catering to clients across the globe, was set up in 2018, with its eye firmly fixed on what the future may hold.
Indeed, its founders were “motivated by the desire to forge a bridge between the traditional financial industry and the extremely promising digital currencies,” such as cryptocurrencies, its CEO, Oliver Marco La Rosa, explains.
With an acute understanding of the shifting sands, the company was unafraid to venture into servicing sectors usually considered riskier and provide virtual currency offerings.
“Currently, we are witnessing a major shift in people’s priorities when it comes to taking charge of their financial freedom.
“Since time immemorial, traditional systems have failed to provide substantial returns and this has led to the digital revolution which has further given rise to elegant decentralised solutions,” he explains, saying that these solutions are being harnessed to facilitate digital banking solutions for crypto and other high-risk industries.
“Our primary business is to exchange crypto and fiat currencies. In order to ease these transfers, we offer our own IBAN ranges (LT, GB, FR, ES) to clients.
“This is especially useful in high-risk industries. We also offer multi-currency wallet accounts via our Singapore EMI. Once our clients pass the seamless KYC/KYB procedure, they get to enjoy limitless transactions. We also have corporate cards connected to the accounts which have up to a €500,000 monthly limit,” Mr La Rosa explains.
He sees the company as “working relentlessly to bring positive change in the world,” although he stresses that the company has faced a bit of an uphill battle in asserting its space.
Despite this, he says, “we take pride in the fact that we have a great team,” which has aided the firm in tackling the difficulties it encountered.
He cites the experience of the firm’s founders – Mr La Rosa himself possesses 13 years’ experience in the banking sector, while Irina La Rosa (Mudreac), the company’s chief people officer, and Mr La Rosa’s life partner with a background in psychology, has worked in many customer-facing roles in the past.
“She now plays a crucial part in vetting new suppliers and business partners,” the CEO says, while the platform itself is handled by two other co-founders, Alexander Pfau and Sascha La Rosa, who possess more of a technical background.
“Together we make a fantastic team and, hence, despite facing several setbacks initially, we continued to work hard and rely on each other and successfully launched our first platform in May 2019,” he smiles.
Through this main platform, the company made it a mission to “bring value to our clients around the world. We began our journey by simplifying their banking needs by introducing them to top banking providers.
As we grew and the demands of our clients reshaped, we realised that it was more optimal for us to divide our services into two parts and better combat the regulatory challenges,” Mr La Rosa continues.
Indeed, a short while after the establishment of the company, GlobiancePay was launched – as an offshoot of the main portal – offering financial services for the Globiance Exchange platforms and external clients. “The success of GlobiancePay is largely defined due to its assistance in high-risk industries,” Mr La Rosa says.
“The other big challenge we took on are clients who reside in certain regions that lack fine banking solutions. Crypto is the first choice to enable daily transactions and allows financial freedom through access to an ecosystem of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)”, Mr La Rosa says, adding that this mechanism allows individuals to benefit from the smart contracts that are running in the automated systems.
“A digital revolution of this kind unfolds a sense of surreal financial freedom to a wider audience and even opens up pathways to neglected 1.7 billion people – as per 2017 Global Findex – who don’t even own a bank account.”
In stressing the importance of this ecosystem, Mr La Rosa explains that in early 2020 “DeFi protocols were launched on the Ethereum main net. Since then, exponential growth can be observed in the Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi smart contracts.”
Moreover, “as per a recent article by Coindesk, DeFi is not a $100 billion sector. Yet, we believe that we are at a fairly early stage as there is still a market of about $640 trillion to $1 quadrillion of traditional derivatives and financial marketing waiting to be disrupted.”
Dealing in new markets has its difficulties, he continues. “The biggest challenge that our industry faces is regulation. We are delighted to be regulated in Europe and Singapore, and we are seeking a licence in other important markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Korea,” he says.
In terms of more recent advances for the firm, Mr La Rosa explains how it has taken over a Singapore EMI “with the goal of providing more services directly to the Asian markets.
Our decision to set a headquarter in Singapore was strongly due to the fact that the Singapore Dollar is an extremely valuable currency for Asia’s trade finance. So, Globiance is now working on its own Singapore Dollar based stable coin in a partnership with XinFin.
We are optimistic to propel digitisation forward while smoothing trading with our SGDX stable coin,” he explains, adding that the firm believes that “stable coins bring the level of credibility that is required for mass adoption.
Since many users don’t feel absolute certainty towards cryptocurrency, stable coins assure that their money will have the same value later as well.”
These products have been well received by the firm’s clients, the majority of whom are businesses, he says. “We have a great relationship with them as some of them have been with us since the beginning.
Our exclusive services include taking the time to personally handle each client and offering them custom solutions. We also provide services to retail clients.”
Moreover, and in response to these clients’ needs, the company introduced a Crypto Processing Gateway in April. “It is a high demand product as it essentially replaces credit card payments.
As you might be aware, there are high risks involved in offering credit card payments such as card fraud, chargebacks, and rolling reserve in which the card processor holds a part of your money back for a certain period of time.”
And, “Globiance has successfully integrated crypto processing as a checkout option. So now, clients can pay with crypto instead of their credit cards.
This amazing feature is useful for all businesses and mainly effective for high-risk industries. By design, our product can be utilised at lower fees, no risk, no rolling reserve, and offers definite transactions. It is available in a white-label version for the merchants and can be seamlessly integrated into their platforms,” the CEO explains.
“These integrations are deployed in a short span of time and are offered without any set-up costs. Our solutions of crypto payments are highly beneficial for high-risk merchants today.
The volatility of crypto assets is nullified as those are automatically converted into fiat currencies. This solution is also available for banking and payment service providers.”
Since the company deals in high-risk industries, Mr La Rosa is at pains to emphasise the procedures it goes through to vet its clientele.
“We understand the sensitivity that surrounds cryptocurrencies and how regulation is always in question. That’s why our KYC/AML procedure operates at the level of highest security, leaving no grey area when more and more regulations will be tightened.”
Furthermore, to ensure the safety of all stakeholders, “users have to go through KYC/KYB and AML checks, powered by our partner, ShuftiPro, before they are allowed to trade.
“We conduct the KYC procedure with ultimate accuracy and similar to the process customers usually go through while remotely opening bank accounts.
“We also integrated the coin analysis services of Ospree, ensuring the safe origin of coins traded on our platforms. Our own compliance department ensures the safety of all business partners and clients dealing on our platforms.”
Shifting to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, Mr La Rosa says the company has “been fortunate”, with the crisis spurring a rebalancing of work and family commitments. This was also precipitated by the happy news that Mr and Mrs La Rosa have welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their family.
Indeed, “the recent adoption of remote working has given us a better chance at balancing our work-life, and another key advantage of having a remote team is that we get to work with brilliant people around the world. Our current team members are residents of Germany, Malta, the UK, Singapore, Turkey, India, Brazil, Australia and Argentina.
“This framework aligns perfectly with our mission – providing financial freedom to people around the world – whether they are our clients or team members.”
A change has also been seen in the type of clients being accrued by the company due to the pandemic.
“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, more individuals and institutions have realised the importance of digital banking. Hence, there’s also increased adoption of digital currencies as people have more time to learn about how crypto works and how they can invest in it. We can see a rise in trade of not only Bitcoin but other altcoins as well.
“To be able to see this financial revolution in our lifetime and be a crucial part of it has given us immense satisfaction. We are excited about what is next to come,” the CEO says.
Looking ahead, the company is working on opening its very own bank – GlobianceBANK. “We are very excited to share that in Q3 this year, GlobianceBANK will go live. As we set up our own bank, our clients will have access to banking solutions with added possibilities of storing their funds across multiple accounts and jurisdictions to ensure safety and accessibility at any given time.
“Besides enabling us to provide more and cost-efficient banking solutions demanded by our high-risk clients, Globiance will also allow us to trade securities as we add new features to our platform,” he explains.
The bank’s goal, he continues, “is to facilitate access to all underlying banks via a combined interface, listing IBANs of multiple banks together with the client’s crypto and fiat assets for a complete overview of one’s finances with the ability to initiate crypto and fiat payments in all directions.”
However, the company does not “plan to replace our banking partners but we believe in working with several banks in numerous countries and integrating more each month.
This will allow our clients to have one platform with all banking services available in one place. In the end, onboarding with an additional bank through Globiance and doing daily business without the need to log in to multiple banking platforms to check balances and execute transactions,” Mr La Rosa asserts.
However, despite this territorial reach, the company is keeping its feet on the ground. Indeed, the company believes “that it will be in our best interests to slow down for the rest of the year and consolidate our newly achieved heights by working on improving our platforms and services further and by growing our client base in our new markets.”
This approach will ensure that the progress made continues to be consolidated.
“Despite the peaks and valleys, Globiance is one of the few platforms that have a global approach and features multiple integrated individual bank accounts and cards for each client,” he stresses, reiterating, that the focus “is on providing the best possible user experience for buying and selling crypto, combined with the ability to instantly withdraw fiat to the integrated accounts, and personal client support that assists more than emails.”
This article first appeared in the summer edition of iGaming Capital
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