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The benefits of sole-investment for billionaire Michael Gastauer’s Black Banx

kokou adzo

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analysis, analytics, business

Closing in on a decade of operations, Black Banx can serve as a case study of how to successfully navigate the highly competitive and always changing landscape of financial technology.

Established in 2014 by German billionaire Michael Gastauer and launched to the public a year later in 2015, the Toronto-based company — by way of its fully digital global banking platform — has been offering individual and business accounts in 28 FIAT and 2 crypto currencies.

Meeting the needs of international businesses, remote professionals, travelers, and just about anyone with a need to send money (or receive it from) overseas, Black Banx saw substantial growth in its customer base right from the start. In its first year, it had earned the patronage of over 200,000 customers and by mid-2023, Black Banx is now on the verge of having over 30 million total individual customers and 3 million business customers.

A concentrated effort

Working in global finance for the entirety of his professional life, Michael Gastuer quickly recognized that transactions were becoming increasingly global.

Whether it was businesses expanding to international markets, employers hiring talent overseas, foreign exchange students continuing their education elsewhere, or the slew of tourists coming in and out of different global destinations, anyone and everyone had a need for being able to transact internationally quickly and at little expense.

Given the complexity of currency exchanges and being in compliance with the banking laws of different countries, Gastauer saw to it that Black Banx, at least the onset, would be solely investing in building a borderless financial system for everyone where money  can flow freely.

The strategy has so far proven successful, as Black Banx has seen substantial growth in less than decade, offering its borderless banking solutions in as many as 180 countries and, this year, is on the cusp of surpassing its revenue from 2022. Last year, Black Banx had earned an annual revenue of US$1.1 billion, while in just the first six months of 2023, it had already earned a total of US$997 million.

According to Gastauer, the commitment to revolutionizing the cross-border aspect of finance has been what has allowed Black Banx to thrive even during these generally challenging times for fintech.

“While it would have been tempting to dip our feet in other aspects of finance such as individual and corporate loans, especially during the fintech boom two years ago, we continue to feel that easing access to banking at a global level is our biggest responsibility, and as such, any efforts we make to expand Black Banx as a business should be in line with easing banking for global customers.”

Redefining cross-border payments

Since launching to the global market in 2015, Black Banx has continued to revolutionize the way cross-border payment is done.

Employing cutting-edge technology and intelligent partnerships, Black Banx has made strides in helping eliminate the traditional hurdles connected with international financial transactions, and allowed for the facilitation of international money transfers that are now both quick and inexpensive.

Ultimately, the goal for Gastauer and Black Banx is to develop a worldwide banking ecosystem with streamlined financial services, and make cross-border payments easier to obtain and more affordable for consumers and enterprises. This is in line with Gastauer’s commitment to financial inclusion.

“Through borderless banking, we eventually want to provide the unbanked with essential financial tools via fintech solutions, and bridge the gap between them and traditional banking. This will lead to an overall increase in economic prospects, especially in areas with restricted banking access. Had we tried too much too fast, we might have ended up limiting ourselves to certain markets, which has never been the goal.”

Alway innovating

While sole investing in easing cross-border transactions has been a definitive aspect in Black Banx’s success, this has not meant the company is not open to innovation. The company continues to explore emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, and machine learning to reshape the financial sector, and Gastauer’s experience, expertise, and overall ability to anticipate industry trends positions him as a pioneering force in fintech.

To start, Black Banx was among the first FIAT currency-based fintech companies to include crypto currency as a deposit method. This was followed by launching fully fledged crypto currency trading with on its platform BTC and ETH as crypto currency.

With customer convenience as a priority for Black Banx, it has offered further client autonomy by connecting its fully fledged banking platform with the features of a crypto exchange, which enables clients  to use their crypto balance to pay third parties directly from the Black Banx platform.

Eventually, Black Banx will be expanding into other aspects of finance, and given Michael Gastauer’s commitment to transforming international digital banking, the world can count on anything new that the company offers to be something that is for the benefit of a global market.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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