We’re delighted to announce that Meeco has won the Fintech Australia 2021 Finnie for Excellence in Blockchain/Distributed Ledger.
Recognition for excellence is wonderful, and as every successful venture knows, it’s often the tip of the iceberg, with years of experimentation underneath.
Meeco‘s Finnie recognition is backed by seven years of lesson-learning, pioneering experiments, and commercial Proof-of-Concepts. This has enabled us to launch a production ready decentralised identity and verified credentials solution, with Wallets now available in both the App Store and Google Play.
We’re now busy working on an SDK and other components to enable our enterprise partners to build ecosystems of mutual value. Please get in touch if you’d like to learn how Meeco can support your organisation or ecosystem.
Meeco’s win is a result of strategic collaboration with eftpos and Hedera Hashgraph and an incredible group of people including Ben Tabell, Rob Allen, Sean Smith, Nigel Clark, Tim McHale and Greg Scullard along with the Meeco team.
Micropayments: Store – Share – Pay
The micropayments innovation was supported by eftpos’ executive leadership and headed up by Rob Allen*, who at the time was the eftpos Entrepreneur in Residence. Rob was able to draw on extensive years and expertise in payments with a desire to lower the cost of transactions for ecosystem partners.
The objective for the micropayments Proof-of-Technology was to prove multi stakeholder value for customers, merchants and service providers. To do this eftpos partnered with Hedera Hashgraph and Meeco to bring this potentially game-changing micropayments technology to Australia.
The aim being to enable consumers using a digital wallet to make micropayments for web content including articles and music from streaming services. This enables significant possibilities for media and entertainment companies allowing customers to pay for articles on a per-page basis, or a pay-per-song/podcast model for streaming services whilst delivering:
- Faster and fairer micropayments
- Feasible merchant fees as % of transaction
- Ability to link to a stable coin, without the need for consumers to understand crypto, essentially as simple as topping up and using a debit card
- Identity preserving and Attribute Based Credentials, e.g. proof of age using a decentralised (self-sovereign) identity wallet to minimise data collection and maximise data value.
Our distributed journey: the back story
Meeco’s blockchain journey started back in 2014, the same year we launched our first production applications. It was still early days for Bitcoin. Ethereum, then the new kid on the block promised a world of new use cases. It was this diversity of possibilities that inspired us to join the decentralised community.
However, as it would be another year until the Ethereum network would launch, we were keen to start proving people and business value. So we decided to do our first Proof of Concept; an employee onboarding and identity use case using the Bitcoin network. We shared our findings with some friendly financial institutions and heard “Bitcoin and blockchain were fads” and there was low confidence of any viable application for enterprise adoption.
We took the feedback on the chin but were not deterred. We were used to hearing similar things about personal data innovation. We acknowledged it as an indication that the market wasn’t ready, so we turned our efforts to internal research and development.
By May 2018, our R&D efforts culminated in “Zero Knowledge Proofs of the modern digital life”. In this whitepaper, we imagined a tokenized future where ecosystems of value would emerge and Meeco would play a part in the access, protection and exchange of identity and personal data in a more transparent environment.
The whitepaper outlines Meeco’s approach to enabling a commercial, legal and technological bridge between highly regulated, trusted economic actors (government, financial services and telecommunications) and a personal data ecosystem that could include people and things. Essentially, the ability for all these actors participating directly in the value chain that they enable through what we coined as the “API-of-Me”.
This approach is now emerging as an important foundation for Web 3.0. The aim of our paper was to highlight three important shifts we believe will drive the evolution from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0:
- An evolution from platform to ecosystems – a move away from “winner takes all” towards collaborative network that address the significant challenges of our planet and modern digital lives
- Ecosystems built on peer-to-peer networks which will include people, organisations and things – each requiring the means to authenticate, authorise and provide use-case specific access for transparent outcomes
- Mutual incentives as a core component to foster adoption, drive growth and reward participation,
Following the publication of our whitepaper, we started practical experimentation across a range of use cases, blockchains and distributed ledgers including Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda, UPort Ethereum and Hyperledger Indy (Sovrin).
We put these technologies through the paces – either in our R&D lab or in real-world Proof-of-Technology pilots with generally good outcomes. We gathered key insights into some of the challenges around cost, speed, key management, security, scalability and environmental footprint.
Then in 2020, through our eftpos collaboration, we were invited to join the Micropayments Proof-of-Technology using our decentralised identity solution (at the time built on Ethereum) with the aim to redevelop using Hedera Hashgraph.
Why Hedera Hashgraph?
By January 2021 eftpos had joined the Hedera Governing Council, having successfully conducted the tests to determine the feasibility of a digital Australian dollar stable coin for micropayments. As the wallet provider, Meeco played an integral part in this world-leading initiative, and it was through this experience that we also forged our partnership with Hedera.
Whilst our technology is ledger agnostic, we soon realised that making a commitment to a network would enable us to focus on interoperability and tooling so that our Wallet and Exchange solutions could be deployed out-of-the-box.
Our Hedera decision was based on five compelling reasons; fast, fair, secure, stable and, importantly, clean. Hedera has the lowest environmental footprint, which puts it head and shoulders above other ledgers. Clean and green are critical considerations to enable technologies with low impact to our planet. Increasingly, enterprises are looking to sustainable technology from both a corporate social responsibility and innovation point of view.
Post the micropayments Proof-of-Technology, we made the decision to adopt Hedera Hashgraph to enable the public release of our decentralised multipurpose Wallet. Partnering with Hedera has enabled us to go beyond decentralised identity and incorporates four key capabilities in our Wallet:
- Verifiable Credentials
The FinTech landscape in Australia and beyond
Despite Australia being a long way from the rest of the world, we’re a nation of innovators and fast adopters of technology. Initiatives like FinTech Australia, and the recently established eftpos FinTech Advisory Committee chaired by Ben Tabell are great examples of industry and FinTech collaboration. The Finnies awards are yet another way to globally showcase the financial and technology innovation coming out of Australia.
Meeco were also proud recipients for the 2020 Finnie for Excellence in Industry Collaboration & Partnerships, for our expansion into Europe and collaboration with KBC Bank: the leading Belgian retail banking group. KBC’s mobile app, (which includes a digital vault powered by Meeco), was recently named best mobile banking app worldwide by independent international research agency, Sia Partners.
This year Meeco was nominated alongside AgUnity, BOULEVARD Global, CommChain, Hutly, Oxen, Pellar Technology and RelayPay.
Thank you to Swyftx for sponsoring the award and FinTech Australia for celebrating Australian fintech excellence. It is an honour to be recognised two years running!
So now our efforts turn to the future and helping our partners develop trusted identity and data ecosystems. Feel free to reach out and discuss what future you would like to build.
Rob Allen is now SVP, Ecosystem Acceleration for the HBAR Foundation where he is supporting entrepreneurs to launch and scale successful and sustainable business on the Hedera Network.