Following the successful IPO and the launch of its own cryptocurrency, the NAGA Coin, German FinTech company The NAGA Group AG has been churning out financial innovations to become the hottest player in the industry. Tech Company News spoke with Executive Director and Forbes 30 Under 30 list member Benjamin Bilski about cryptocurrencies and his company.
Q: Please introduce your company to our readers in a few sentences.
A: We are a publicly listed FinTech from Hamburg which was founded in 2015. Operating under regulated structures with EU financial market licenses, the NAGA Group unites financial, crypto and virtual goods markets through blockchain technology. We unify these tremendous markets and create the best products for our clients, both one-stop and globally, so that they can turn their passion into wealth. What distinguishes us from competitors is the fact that we offer services and applications that are not isolated, but instead interconnected through the NAGA ecosystem.
Q: You said your company unites various markets via blockchain technology. What does Financial Technology mean to you?
A: For us, FinTech means paving the way towards financial freedom and total inclusion. NAGA considers itself a driving force in technological innovation, and with our products and services we want to reshape financial markets and make them accessible to people who are excluded from the current system. Much can be achieved through the sophisticated use of blockchain technology, especially in developing countries where the penetration of mobile devices is much higher in comparison to banking infrastructure. But beyond that we open up new opportunities to invest in and trade with yet untapped assets, such as virtual good. In this spirit, we see a world of abundance that is just popping up thanks to blockchain.
Q: Which innovations have you already launched on the market and which projects will follow?
A: We have already successfully placed a number of products and services within NAGA’s overall and interconnected ecosystem. One of the company’s central products is our social trading network NAGA Trader (formerly SwipeStox). Behind it is an app that combines social media experience with stock exchange trading. Members can follow other members and copy their business and financial decisions – and of course attract followers themselves and exchange ideas with them. Whoever succeeds in convincing followers to copy their trades receives a bonus, regardless of whether the respective trade is successfully or not. This service is powered by extensive possibilities for discussion and information.
Second, with NAGA Virtual (formerly Switex), we created the world’s first independent virtual goods market place. Third, we launched a crypto currency, the NAGA Coin. It is based on the same modern development standard as Ethereum. The NAGA Coin is the heart of our ecosystem because it is the toke that unifies all components of our ecosystem. Then we have the NAGA Wallet which combines all services and products within our digital wallet. The virtual goods and currencies – crypto and classic – are stored and transferred, and transactions are also conducted in it. The great advantage of the NAGA Card, however, is that its fully connected with the entire NAGA ecosystem and profits can be turned into cash withdrawals at common ATMs, an online purchase or flight tickets. Last but not least, our NAGA ACADEMY recently welcomed the arrival or its first certified course. It will officially start in the third quarter of 2018 in cooperation with the renowned Alexander College (Cyprus). Our aim is to fill any educational gaps concerning financial and stock market issues.
It is firmly anchored in our corporate DNA to always have new products in the pipeline. This also includes investment and asset management on a robo-advisory basis.
Q: Finally, let’s talk about crypto! Do you think, for example, that Bitcoin can become a generally accepted means of payment in Germany and other countries? And where do you see the advantage of the NAGA Coin?
A: Bitcoin is the pioneer, but unfortunately also technologically outdated. Nevertheless, Bitcoin is one of the most stable cryptocurrencies – despite the recent volatility. More modern approaches based on blockchain technology naturally offer more security and a much faster and less energy-intensive development.
All in all, cryptocurrencies are the future! That Bitcoin will be recognised internationally or in Germany as a means of payment purely on the virtue of being so well known would be pure speculation at the moment. The fact is, however, that various countries are now open to cryptocurrencies and these countries have already been approved cryptos as means of payment. As with other significant changes – just look at the introduction of paper money or the triumphant advance of digital money in recent decades – such developments are not linear. Especially when capital markets have considerable influence. On the other hand, I do not wish to condemn speculation, because the high level of attention and strong demand make the success of cryptocurrencies possible in the first place.
The NAGA token already has one major advantage in comparison: it is accepted as a means of payment in the rapidly growing NAGA ecosystem. This means that users can trade shares, CFDs or various official currencies as well as cryptocurrencies in NAGA Coin. The result is that no one has to wait for acceptance because it already exists. The integration into such an ecosystem represents an important basis while at the same time limiting the availability of a cryptocurrency, because in this way a positive value development is also possible in the medium and long term.