Current, Alternative Payments, and the Case for Hybrid Finance

One of the great things about the return of FinDEVr was the opportunity to showcase the men and women behind the technology innovations that are driving fintech today. From veteran CTOs to up-n-coming developers, FinDEVr was a great opportunity to learn from – and celebrate – the talent behind the technology.

At FinDEVR this year, I had the opportunity to chat with Trevor Marshall, Chief Technology Officer with New York-based fintech Current. Starting out as a financial wellness solution for young people and their families, Current has grown into a neobank challenger that offers mobile payments, online banking, and other financial services. The company secured $220 million in Series D funding in April and, this month, announced a partnership with decentralized finance platform Acala. This first-of-its-kind alliance establishes a new category of finance, hybrid finance (HyFi), that leverages applications from both traditional and decentralized sources.

“We created Current because we could see how money was being re-networked through new technologies,” Marshall said. “Our initiative with Acala allows us to flex this muscle we have been developing for the past six years.”

Marshall’s interest in alternative payments was on display in 2015, when he built a Ripple payments prototype for Current. After gaming out the prototype’s flaws, he tried an Ethereum-based process – which he also found insufficient for Current’s needs. With this week’s partnership with Acala, Marshall believes that the ability to introduce in-app decentralized finance solutions into the Current platform may now be soon at hand.

“In some ways, this partnership is really just the beginning of the actual rollout of what we’ve been building toward this whole time,” Marshall said.

At FinDEVr, Marshall talked about recent innovations in payments, specifically how technology is enabling new types of payment transmission options. He also explained how fintechs and other companies are working to integrate alternative payments, including cryptocurrencies and API-based processing into their offerings.

Here’s a sample from our conversation. The full interview with Trevor Marshall will be available On Demand in the days to come.