The Powered by Modulr series celebrates the innovative ways our customers use our infrastructure in their mission to build the Instant Economy.
Mode is a digital banking platform that aims to combine the benefits of traditional and digital finance for its users. Powered by Modulr’s payment infrastructure, Mode is able to offer its customers regulated fiat accounts and enable the instant transfer of fiat and crypto funds.
A brilliant idea born from a simple problem
Mode was founded in 2018 with a vision to transform the financial ecosystem. It launched its first product in 2019, a flexible crypto-backed lending solution for businesses.
For Janis Legler, Chief Product Officer at Mode, choosing to set the focus on digital assets was a natural decision. He’d been fascinated with Bitcoin for years and was particularly interested in the lofty problems that people were using blockchain technology to solve.
As Mode continued its development, Legler noticed some persistent problems in the wider cryptocurrency space. Many start-ups were overly ambitious and looking too far into the future. They were trying to use blockchain technology to solve problems that didn’t exist yet.
Meanwhile, mainstream consumers had no easy way to invest in cryptocurrencies – it was hard for people to know which companies to trust, which currencies to invest in, or how to use the complex crypto exchange systems that were prevalent on the market.
He realised there was a simple problem that no company in the crypto space had solved – providing users with easy access to Bitcoin through a simple, secure and regulated platform. So, Mode set out to change that.
Finding a payments partner that could deliver
Mode now has an ambitious vision, but in its early days it came across many challenges to find a traditional banking provider that could fulfil its payment needs. Many banks didn’t understand the specific requirements of the crypto industry. But the Mode team knew that finding a reliable payments partner was critical to their success.
“When you’re a crypto business, finding a strong and credible banking partner is one of the most important things to do – but it’s also one of the most challenging. Many banks don’t understand crypto, or don’t have the risk appetite. So we approached Modulr, explained the services we wanted to offer and they really listened to us,” says Janis Legler, Chief Product Officer at Mode.
The Mode team were attracted to Modulr because of its technology, its regulated status with the FCA as an E-Money Institution (EMI) and its existing partnerships with industry leading providers. At that point, Modulr didn’t have any crypto businesses as clients – but they agreed to discuss Mode’s vision and collaborated to find a way forward.
“We share many values with Modulr – a belief in compliance and regulation to protect customers’ funds while using cutting-edge technology to drive innovation. This made them a natural fit for us. By collaborating with Modulr, we have one of the strongest payment partners in the industry by our side,” says Legler.
Providing fast, easy and secure access to bitcoin
The team at Mode set out to build a trusted and reliable environment where investing in cryptocurrencies was transparent and efficient. They built the Mode app and it went live in November 2019, allowing users to invest in Bitcoin in just a few taps from their smartphones.
The Mode app is designed to make the customer journey as simple as possible. Mode users are able to sign up and complete the required KYC compliance checks in just 44 clicks through an AI-enabled verification process. In 70% of cases, users are verified in less than 2 minutes. The total sign-up process usually only takes around 3 to 5 minutes.
Once signed up, Mode users are each provided with individual UK sort codes and account numbers to transfer in funds to their Mode account in less than a second (in normal circumstances). Mode users are then ready to instantly buy and sell Bitcoin. The entire top up process is designed to be fast, easy and intuitive. And it’s all made possible by Modulr’s 24/7 payments infrastructure and direct participation in the UK’s Faster Payments scheme.
“We want to become a truly digital banking app. To achieve this, we need a best-in-class technology provider that enables 24/7 payments and an API accessible platform, under the highly regarded FCA regulatory umbrella. The financial services industry standards are very high, so we can’t deliver anything less. We’ve found all of that in Modulr,” says Legler.
Building a new-generation digital banking ecosystem
Looking to the future, Mode has ambitious plans for growth. Having solved the challenge of giving users easy access to Bitcoin, the company is now setting its sights even higher.
Mode recently released the Bitcoin Jar, a new feature which allows users to earn interest on their Bitcoin holdings and have it paid weekly into their accounts. It also has several other projects in the pipeline, including peer-to-peer and third party payments, as well as account-to-account money top ups through Open Banking, which will add further value to customers and expand its reach.
Mode is currently developing a key project focusing on a new and innovative payments function, allowing Mode users to spend their digital assets as they would with a regular bank, engage with their favourite brands and receive tailored and exclusive offers and rewards.
“We’ve already grown from being a crypto gateway into an app that offers banking capabilities. Our goal is to keep developing our product and solve even more problems for customers. Payments, whether it is a payment to a merchant or a transfer to a friend, they happen in all parts of everyday life – we want to facilitate those transactions for users ubiquitously, in a secure, seamless way,” says Legler.
Mode’s aim is to create a new-breed hyper-connected ecosystem that combines the best of banking, payments, investment, loyalty and digital assets, and here at Modulr, we’re excited to help Mode realise its innovative vision.
To find out more about our offering to digital asset providers, visit Modulr for crypto.