Behind the scenes at BoT.market
25 October 2018 | Jason Mcgee-Abe
IMC is a company that already has a 1,000+ carrier membership with its bot marketplace, but Mark J. Stewart, CEO and founder at imc, speaks to Jason McGee-Abe about the company’s next era of growth.
Can you introduce Internet Mobile Communications and your involvement with the telco industry to date?
Internet Mobile Communications Ltd is a UK company, launched in 2012 and is an international telecommunications business and more recently a FinTech company. We started out trading in international voice but over the years, realised that while technology and service development had both evolved, the way that the industry works in settling international payments hadn’t. We saw this as a huge opportunity so we came up with an idea of providing a service called Bank of Telecom® (BoT). BoT is a registered trademark of IMC and the idea was simple: an automated trading platform for international telecoms companies to trade voice minutes.
We have built a global market and in three years over 1,000 carriers have joined BoT and are trading with us. This has happened organically and we are currently signing and onboarding carriers at a rate of 30+ per month. We have also doubled our revenue six years running and have a massive portfolio of clients on BoT that are spread across 120 nations, who are managed by account management teams in four countries in Chinese, English, Russian and Spanish.
You’re taking things to the next level by introducing the world’s first regulated settlements service using Blockchain technology. How will your new offering be a game-changer in the industry?
Yes, we’re very excited about the launch of the ‘BoT Market’. It’s the world’s first, regulated international settlements service. It uses our stable token BoTCoin ®- it’s stable because it’s pegged against the US$ so it doesn’t suffer from the volatility that crypto currencies on the open exchanges suffer. What’s unique is that Bot.Market is regulated by the Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA), so it’s a verified customer/trading base from an EU Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) perspective. As Bot. Market is integrated at an API level into Western Union Business Services our partner Bank, it means that it can offer same day US$ settlements to over 170 countries, and can pay money in and out in every single FIAT, virtually eliminating cash flow issues and trade risk resulting in significant business benefits. BotCoin settlements are instantaneous between Members.
We’re seriously bucking the trend and expect this to be a complete disruptor to not just the telecommunications industry but all industries, especially the banking world. We’re almost certain that we’re the only carrier, in fact the only company that has integrated at an API level into a foreign exchange platform. By partnering with FX companies, BoT.Market is cutting out the use of banks, which have inherent inefficiencies and high costs, most of which are not transparent. This can only mean significant financial benefits for Telcos when dealing with international settlements.
How will BoT.Market save the industry around $13.5 billion?
We have a saying: “Bank of Telecom kills dead money”. The idea is that we’re cutting out the dead money, which just pointlessly sits in bank accounts before transactions are fully completed and transferred. We’ve cut out bank fees and delays in transactions.
We’re a regulated company, offering instantaneous settlements and it never hits the banking system so there’s no cashflow delay and there’s 100% utilisation of cash. What we’re doing is getting rid of the archaic traditional way of doing business where there are delays and accumulative costs in carrier settlements.
There’s probably about 7,000 phone companies in the world. Imagine all of them trading and settling without paying Bank charges. Bank wire charges cost on average $60 around the world and we’re charging 87.5% less at a fixed $10 per international settlement. We estimate that the industry paid $18 billion in international transaction fees to banks in 2017, so according to our maths, we’ll save the industry $13.5 billion. That’s why we’ll disrupt the market as we’re much cheaper, faster and secure…everything your bank isn’t when it comes to international settlements!
In addition to saving money on the international settlement fee, withdrawals are also cheaper at a fixed $20 and we’re also offering a monthly bonus on BoTCoin balances, helping to protect and make the razor-thin margins go a little further. We’re also giving customers that sign up a welcome bonus of 1% up to $50,000 of the initial BoTCoin capital deposited.
What other industry concerns for BoT.Market address?
The new offering really does address the challenges that international telcos have always faced in regards to legacy international settlements processes.
Some of the key concerns for our customers, hypothetically the CFOs from MNOs or other financial/accounting heads, centre on utilisation, speed, money laundering, fraud and security. As we are the only regulated company offering this service, their fears should be allayed because only trusted Bank of Telecom trade partners – ones that they currently trade with on a daily basis anyway - are eligible to join the BoT.Market, since they have already been verified by KYC and paid via our FX partners.
From a security standpoint, BoTCoin® uses our certificated Ethereum Fork Blockchain system, which has allowed us to add an extension to enable a Closed User Group (CUG) – which members within are already verified, as mentioned above. In addition to the CUG, the ‘key’ sits outside the network, which means it cannot be hacked. The protection of that key sits within the responsibility of the client, much like your PIN for your bank card. There are also many layers of security embedded, with multiple, globally dispersed back-up sites.
Bot.Market promises to challenge Banks on international settlements to the benefit of all telcos trading internationally. It only is a matter of time for the telco industry to leverage Blockchain technology in some way. Now it’s a reality with BoT.Market and its BoTCoin®.