Singapore-based blockchain technology developer Pundi X and Cyprus-based artificial intelligence firm Borghese Ventures have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the implementation of blockchain technology for private and public sectors based in Cyprus. Demetris Syllouris, the President of the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus, witnessed the signing in Shenzhen, China.
“Having already signed the European Blockchain Partnership, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is firm in its stance on ensuring wider deployment of blockchain-based services as an innovative technology that can improve the lives of our communities, in full compliance with EU laws,” said Mr Syllouris.
“We welcome the collaboration between Pundi X and Borghese Ventures, and we look forward to how their services will help and improve the transparency and efficiency of our businesses in the near future. Through such partnerships we contribute to sustaining the competitiveness of the European Union within the international arena.”
Borghese Ventures and Cyprus
Established in 2016 in Nicosia, Borghese Ventures creates solutions powered by AI for enterprises. It focuses on providing solutions to four key sectors:
- tourism and hospitality
- data analytics.
Among its various projects and investments include:
- Mone365, an AI-powered digital payment solution
- Chalet 365, a luxury hospitality project which highlights environmental sustainability
- Borghese 365 Wine, which produces and distributes wine.
The MoU says that Pundi X and Borghese Ventures will work together to identify issues and gaps within different business industries in Cyprus that are addressable by blockchain technology. These sectors include:
- land registry
- and more.
Using its experience of dealing with Cypriot businesses, Borghese Ventures will survey the market to identify opportunities for blockchain-based solutions. These evaluations will not only be for private businesses. Borghese Ventures will look specifically at how blockchain might improve govermental back-end processes (an area most Cypriots would suggest is ripe for improvement).
“When processes in these industries are taken to the blockchain, businesses will have a more secure, more seamless and more straightforward experience,” said Joseph Borghese, Founder and CEO of Borghese Ventures.
“We’re excited to work with Pundi X, bridging blockchain technology between Singapore and Cyprus and implementing these solutions that will have immense benefits for consumers and citizens.”
The Pundi X dimension
On Pundi X’s part, the Cypriot business dimension is an opportunity to:
- leverage its network of contacts and relationships
- provide access to research facilities and technologists
- assist in (shape???) the evaluation and execution of Function X blockchain technology.
The Cyprus connection will also enable Pundi X establish a dialogue between European and Asian stakeholders in the ‘blockchain sector’. They include industry experts, tech developers, and its fellow startups.
In addition to these efforts, Pundi X and Borghese Ventures will explore the implementation of blockchain-powered payment solutions across Cyprus. With Pundi X’s suite of blockchain-powered products, Cypriot retailers will be able to accept crypto-asset payments.
Pundi X develops blockchain-powered devices, including a blockchain-based point-of-sale (PoS) solution, XPOS. It is this which enables merchants and consumers to undertake transactions on the blockchain in physical stores. XPOS has shipped to over 25 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uganda, the USA, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. While 100,000 devices will roll out to the global retail market by 2021, its XWallet app has >400,000 registered users.
In this context Pundi X argues that it has already implemented blockchain-powered solutions elsewhere, with merchants across 25 countries now equipped with the XPOS, a blockchain-powered point-of-sale device. Pundi X, with Borghese Ventures, will assess the feasibility of bringing this model to Cyprus.
“By integrating blockchain technology into payments, both customers and retailers can expect a higher level of security and accountability with their transactions,” said Zac Cheah, Co-founder and CEO of Pundi X. “We will be collaborating with Borghese Ventures to onboard more Cypriot retailers into our global payment network in the near future.”
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Cyprus is an established fintech hub. Limassol has succeeded Nicosia as the island’s financial capital and now has a substantial financial sector presence offering multiple international services. Nevertheless, the island – despite being a member of the EU – has certain doubters about its ‘financial cleanlines’ – including several US authorities. That said, the current Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was once a major participant in Cyprus’ largest bank.
The appeal for Pundi X of exploiting the island’s position as a nexus between Europe and the Middle East is clear. Whether it will make progress is another matter, unless that progress in within a Cyprus government ambit or outside Cyprus. To take one example, Cyprus already has an efficient, flexible credit card clearing system (the JCC) which permits easy payment for almost anything – even a coffee or a newspaper – using Visa, Mastercard or American Express and a card swipe. That will prove tough competition for XPOS, before asking:
- how many Cypriots have crypto assets they want to use for day to day purchases?
- whether the long term target includes wealthy (not necessarily Cypriot) cryptocurrency owners who want to be able to buy in Europe?