Blockchain has been receiving a deluge of media attention in recent weeks, and Sydney-based startup Hashkloud is capitalising on the growth of the technology by launching its offerings with two financial institutions in Bangladesh.
Hashkloud is working with Dhaka Bank to launch its Serviskloud platform within the next week, in a partnership that will use the blockchain as a software connector to consolidate the integrity of the data that is transferred between banks, as well as securing transactions between the bank and its customers.
The startup has also recently signed with the United Commercial Bank in Bangladesh to explore how its services can help the bank utilise the blockchain platform.
Launching in new markets
Hashkloud was founded in 2015, after co-founders Tarique A Bhuiyan and Dr Reza Ali met while Bhuiyan was completing his research doctorate on the effect of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies on business verticals. Since then, they have established a team in Australia and Malaysia, and will be looking at setting up their main operations in Bangladesh soon.
Bhuiyan told StartupSmart he leveraged his past knowledge of the Bangladeshi fintech sector to spearhead this Bangladeshi launch. Previously, he held the role of chief executive and information officer at bKash, a startup that was owned by BRAC bank, the largest SME bank in Bangladesh. He’s also held senior management positions at Accenture, St George Bank and ING Direct.
Bhuiyan advises startups should have an in-depth knowledge of the market before they contemplate overseas expansion.
“You really need to understand the market before you venture in to it,” he says.
“Even if you’re launching the same product not all the markets are the same.”
If founders cannot afford to spend an extended period of time in a new market, Bhuiyan suggests partnerships are the best way of gaining market insights.
“Find a suitable partner there and understand the market through them,” he says.
Starting out simple
The launch of the Serviskloud platform will mark one of the first real-world cases of blockchain technology being used in financial institutions, but Buiyan notes the importance of starting out small when entering a new market.
“We are not using blockchain for the sake of using cryptocurrency,” he notes, saying Hashkloud is making a “conscious decision to take it step by step” when implementing blockchain technology.
“We’ll be using it as a software connector first, then slowly we will be [utilising the software for] a more complex blockchain role,” he says.
The future of fintech
Hashkloud is currently the only fintech startup offering blockchain solutions in Bangladesh, and Bhuiyan believes Australian financial institutions will “definitely” utilise the blockchain in the future. Some of the world’s largest banks have already started considering the platform.
On Tuesday, IBM announced it was building blockchain technology that will be used by seven of Europe’s largest banks, which includes HSBC and Rabobank, to facilitate international trade for small and medium-size enterprises. The technology will be built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source bitcoin framework, and will be launched at the end of the year.
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