Lithuanian fintech startup launches Web3 bank in Metaverse

The so-called neo-banks are usually characterized by things like lower costs for the customer and flashy, colorful bank cards, but they are really just classic banks in modern guise. An end to this deception now because a company is preparing to set up a real neobank. A bank that is literally rethinking banking. A bank where customers can store their assets in a variety of forms, whether it is cash, in-game items or NFTs. A bank that allows “buy now, pay later” in video games or accepts in-game items as collateral for a loan. It’s not just about turning old into new, it’s about making banking services available in a whole new ecosystem. Zelf – Metaverse Bank – wants to change the world with this idea. Declared exclusive to Cointelegraph Elliot Goykhmanfounder and CEO of selfhow he intends to do this.

Zelf – On the way to shared Web3

Since 2021, Web3 has seen a sharp rise in mainstream. Non-Fingible Tokens (NFT) have revolutionized the art world, Play-to-Earn (P2E) has opened up new revenue streams for players – for example, people in Asia can even quit their low-paid jobs and hire full-time players instead – and cryptocurrencies work like infrastructure for this future economic world.

Although all these worlds are directly connected, their evolution has taken place independently of each other. One reason for this is that the individual cryptocurrencies are not equally suitable for all of these applications. Let’s take Ethereum (ETH) as an example: The rapidly rising transaction fees of the blockchain network have made the triumph of the NFT significantly more difficult. The ecosystem around the NFTs is also far from suitable for the masses. Even the market-leading NFT trading platform OpenSea is still far too cumbersome in many respects. “OpenSea is a huge marketplace for buying and selling NFTs, but is this service easy to use? Can beginners easily jump in and get started? When a user connects their wallet to the platform, they do not even get a notification about new offers that have come in to them, ”as Goykhman explains the fundamental problems of the NFT industry.

P2E gaming has great potential, but it can also not be fully realized yet. A major problem is that these games are mostly launched as NFT collections and therefore receive almost no attention. The game character often leaves a lot to be desired, and the gameplay is similarly weak. Under these conditions, P2E games are far from capable of competing with major developers’ blockbuster titles. Nevertheless, the idea of ​​actually owning items in the game, selling them and thus being able to make money on games is still interesting to many people. This innovation can fundamentally revolutionize the way games are played and throw the video game market into even bigger spheres.

Are games to earn the future of gaming?

In light of this, Zelf’s ambitions go far beyond a single play-to-earn project. Instead of setting up your own development studio or waiting several years for P2E games to catch up on big titles like e.g. Fortnite and Call of Duty can compete, Even much prefer to ask the question “how to bring these games into Metaverse”. Why compete with hit titles, when you can bring their strengths to Metaverse instead? It makes so much more sense to Goykhman, and therefore he would rather work towards such a symbiosis.

“The big challenge will be to convince the traditional gaming industry to open up for play-to-earn. In a way, that was exactly what Steve Jobs was going to do when he got the big music companies selling on iTunes. “

Contrary to their fears, game makers could actually only win with this step because the current direction is “more of what we already have”. Ultimately, it’s about making existing game ideas better. Call of Duty, for example, has tried to include the successful “Battle Royal mode”, but this is just a bad copy of the original in Fortnite.

Meanwhile, the bold step of integrating a Metaverse bank would create value for everyone involved. In this way, particularly good players could leverage their skills, while P2E fans would switch to these mainstream titles in droves and significantly increase their user base. Meanwhile, game developers could bring completely new, innovative ideas into their games, and Zelf could provide the infrastructure for this new world. When items in the game become goods that can be bought, sold and traded, a whole new market and a new economy emerges. And where there is a market, traditional financial services as we know them from existing markets can also be offered: loan, lending or savings schemes.

More information about ZELF can be found here

Neobank for post-millennials

It is precisely at this point that Zelf brings “Neo” into Neobank, or it becomes the new type of Web3 bank. There is a problem: Young people often have a poor credit bureau score and can therefore only take out loans at particularly high interest rates. Zelf’s solution: Imagine being able to take out a loan on significantly better terms because it is secured with items in the game.

Another example: Players’ purchasing power could be increased by incorporating “buy now, pay later” into video games. “Unlike a normal bank, for example, we could also assign a Schufa score based on in-game performance, allowing us to see a player’s Steam profile of how high their skill is,” says Goykhman.

In addition, the neobank should not become a cryptic platform like Binance or OpenSea, which can be a closed book for many users. Instead, Zelf relies on the power of apps that are ubiquitous and used by millions of users every day: Messenger apps.

Zelf is already available for all major messengers: Facebook, Discord, Telegram and Viber. “In Tokyo, we were recently able to demonstrate that Zelf is already working with Line and WeChat. When we launch in Southeast Asia, these two messengers will also be fully integrated,” says Goykhman. “If integration with popular messenger apps sounds too good to be true, we take it to the next level. Next, we will also be usable on Instagram, iMessage and TikTok when the corresponding APIs are released. “

But integration with big messengers like WhatsApp is not an end in itself, rather “the ultimate goal is to be a ubiquitous bank ranging from the simplest SMS user interfaces to bots and full AI-powered voice control”.

A future that is still hard to imagine today, but which thanks to Zelf can soon become a reality. And why not? For in fact, it is obvious that banking services in the real world are also being transferred to the virtual world. Digital payments could be as easy as giving a friend a 10 euro banknote. Or in the words of Elliot Goykhman:

“We need to build on all the economic interfaces between the real and the virtual world.”

Learn more about the Zelf project

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