Just when you thought it was safe to enlist yourself in the API revolution, along comes Caxton with what founder and CEO Rupert Lee-Browne described as “the next generation of connectivity using the blockchain.”
“We believe the future of the API is dead,” Lee-Browne said, kicking off Caxton’s live demo at FinovateEurope 2017 in London earlier this year. Calling blockchain, “faster, more secure, and cheaper than API connectivity,” Lee-Browne explained how Caxton had used APIs to connect with its partner companies for years, but ultimately sought a better solution. “Any CTO will tell you: APIs frankly have really quite significant limitations, particularly when it comes down to implementation,” Lee-Browne said. “So our vision is to be the choice of millions who wish to send or spend overseas – either using our brand or other people’s – and blockchain connectivity is the way we’re going to be doing that.”
Pictured: Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne demonstrating the Firebird Payment Engine at FinovateEurope 2017.
Lee-Browne introduced Caxton’s new payment platform, Firebird, and explained how his team built a private blockchain overlay to Firebird and is using that blockchain to connect with third party services. For the company’s live on-stage demo, Caxton presented a partner-developed, Firebird-connected payment app and showed the behind-the-blockchain look at a hypothetical transaction between a motorcycle buyer and a seller.
Caxton CTO Russell Stather emphasized both the security inherent in Caxton’s blockchain-based approach to connectivity and the high degree of control achieved. “(With blockchain) every transaction is digitally signed by all parties involved using a private key stored on each device,” Stather said. “Blockchain itself is immutable,” he continued, “that means it is impossible to change any transactions after the fact.” And there are other benefits to the API-free route, according to Stather: “Having no API means everything is under your control. It’s on your infrastructure, so it’s your specifications,” he said.
From e-commerce merchants looking to multi-currency prices delivered and settled instantly and securely, to app developers with payment apps looking for regulated partners, Caxton is at heart a cross-border payments company looking to leverage its own success with the blockchain into better opportunities for its partners. “It is here today,” Lee-Browne said. “It’s not theory. It’s practice.”
- Headquartered in London, U.K.
- Founded in 2003
- Processed more than 7 million transactions in 2016
- Serves more than 400,000 customers with annual turnover of more than €1 billion
- Named a 2016 Customer Service Awards Prepaid Currency Card Trusted Provider
We met with Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne and his team at FinovateEurope to learn more about the company’s technology. We followed up with a few questions by e-mail. Below are his responses.
Finovate: What problem does your technology solve and how does it solve the problem better?
Rupert Lee-Browne: APIs often create problems: security risks and require a lot of maintenance. Blockchain is a revolutionary new technology that makes it safer and easier to send money than ever before. Our blockchain technology removes this risk while making it cheaper and faster for companies to process payments. It also provides a quick and easy white label payments solution for businesses looking for a fully regulated multicurrency banking platform.
Finovate: Who are your primary customers?
Lee-Browne: Businesses looking for a fully-regulated, white label payments provider.
Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your technology.
Lee-Browne: We’ve partnered with a motorcycle app called Motopay. They have developed an app for buying and selling vehicles securely. They aren’t regulated with the FCA, so they need a backend provider for client take-on, AML, anti-fraud, payment in, transaction processing, and pay out. We’re able to do all of this using our new blockchain technology.
Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?
Lee-Browne: Caxton is a payment and cards company founded 15 years ago with £25k, a phone, and an advert on Google. We now serve hundreds of thousands of customers and have a projected turnover of over £1bn. We’ve also been profitable since day one.
We have a penchant for innovation – we were the first company to offer genuine straight through online currency payments back in 2006. Then we created a proper market for prepaid currency cards. And now we are using blockchain technology to offer real fast, safe and lower cost.
Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Caxton that we can look forward to over the next few months?
Lee-Browne: We have a long list of exciting enhancements to our core banking platform planned. Sadly you’ll have to wait and see on those, though.
Finovate: Where do you see Caxton a year or two from now?
Lee-Browne: We are hoping to rapidly scale our blockchain offering to businesses across the U.K., and potentially further afield.
Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne and CTO Russell Stather demonstrating the Firebird Payment Engine at FinovateEurope 2017 in London.