So-called neo-banks are usually characterized by lower customer costs and flashy, colorful bank cards, but they are really just classic banks with a modern guise. This lure is over now, because a company is preparing to set up a real neobank. A bank that literally rethinks banking. A bank where customers can hold their assets in various forms, be it 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 – the Metaverse Bank – wants to change the world with this idea. Declared exclusive to Cointelegraph Elliott Goykhmanfounder and CEO of zelfhow he intends to do it.
Zelf – On the way to common Web3
Since 2021, Web3 has had a meteoric rise in the mainstream. Non-Fingible Tokens (NFT) have revolutionized the art world, Play-to-Earn (P2E) has opened up new sources of income for gamers – for example, Asians can even quit their low-paying jobs and hire full-time gamers instead – and cryptocurrencies function as an infrastructure for this economic world of the future.
Although all of these worlds are directly related, their development took place independently of each other. One of the reasons for this is that individual cryptocurrencies are not equally suitable for all of these applications. Take Ethereum (ETH) as an example: the rapid increase in blockchain network transaction fees has made the triumph of NFTs much more difficult. The ecosystem around NFTs is also far from suitable for the masses. Even the market-leading NFT trading platform, OpenSea, is still way too heavy in many ways. “OpenSea is a huge marketplace for buying and selling NFTs, but is this service easy to use? Can beginners easily get started and started? When a user connects his wallet to the platform, he does not even receive a notification about new offers that are offered to him”, as Goykhman explains the fundamental problems of the NFT industry.
P2E games have great potential, but that can’t be fully realized yet either. A big problem is that these games are mostly released as NFT collections and therefore attract little attention. The character of the game often leaves a lot to be desired and therefore the gameplay is weak. Under these conditions, P2E games are far from being able to compete with successful titles from major developers. Nonetheless, the idea of actually owning in-game items, selling them, and thus being able to earn money through the game is still appealing to many people. This innovation could fundamentally revolutionize the way games are played and catapult the video game market into even larger spheres.
Is gambling to win the future of gambling?
Given this, Zelf’s ambitions go far beyond a single game project to win. Instead of founding your own development studio or waiting several more years for P2E games to catch up with big titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty can compete, Zelf much prefers to ask the question “how do we get these games into the Metaverse”. Why compete with blockbuster titles when you can instead bring their strengths to the metaverse? It makes so much more sense to Goykhman, which is why he prefers to work towards such symbiosis.
“The big challenge will be to convince the traditional games industry to embrace gaming to win. music on iTunes.
Contrary to their fears, game makers could actually only win with this step, as the current direction is “more of what we already have”. Ultimately, it’s about improving existing game ideas. For example, Call of Duty tried to include the hit “Battle Royal mode,” but it’s just a poor copy of the Fortnite original.
Meanwhile, the bold step of integrating a Metaverse bank would create value for everyone involved. This way, particularly good gamers could capitalize on their skills, while P2E fans would switch to these mainstream titles in droves and significantly increase their user base. Meanwhile, game makers could bring completely new and innovative ideas into their games and Zelf could provide the infrastructure for this new world. When in-game items become commodities that can be bought, sold, and traded, a whole new market and economy emerges. And where there is a market, traditional financial services can also be offered, as we know them from existing markets: borrowing, lending or savings plans.
Neobank for post-millennials
It is precisely at this moment that Zelf brings the “Neo” into Neobank where it becomes the new type of Web3 bank. There is a problem: young people often have poor credit ratings and can therefore only take out loans at particularly high interest rates. Zelf’s solution: imagine being able to take out a loan on much better terms because it’s secured by in-game items.
Another example: the purchasing power of gamers could be increased by incorporating “buy now, pay later” in video games. “Unlike a normal bank, we could, for example, also assign a Schufa score based on in-game performance, which would allow us to see a player’s Steam profile how high their skills are,” says Goykhman. .
Also, 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: messaging 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 messaging apps sounds too good to be true, we’ll take it to the next level. Then we’ll also be usable on Instagram, iMessage, and TikTok once the corresponding APIs are released.
However, integration with major 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 voice control entirely powered by AI”.
A future still difficult to imagine today, but which could soon become reality thanks to Zelf. And why not? Because in reality, it is obvious that the banking services of the real world are also transferred to the virtual world. Digital payments could be as simple as handing a friend a $10 note. Or in the words of Elliot Goykhman:
“We must rely on all the financial interfaces between the real world and the virtual world.”
Learn more about the Zelf project
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