Applications for the Stellar Community Fund’s Round Eleven are now open, and the submissions are flying in! Hear from former SCF winner, Beans, and learn what makes a winning project and how SCF has opened doors for them.
What is Beans? Beans is a non-custodial wallet app that enables people to send money internationally at zero fees. Founded by fintech entrepreneur Wouter Arkink, Beans aims to be the digital blockchain wallet that even your parents can use, no problem.
Wouter has always been interested in payments. Ever since Bitcoin was first introduced to the world, he kept a careful eye on it. He noted that, despite the groundbreaking implications of blockchain and cryptocurrency, transacting with Bitcoin was too slow for casual payments. And even if you wanted to send payments in Bitcoin, you first had to find someone willing to accept Bitcoin in payment.
Then a few years ago, on a trip in the Philippines, Wouter found out firsthand how expensive it was to convert his euros into pesos. Searching for alternatives, Wouter used a wallet app (coincidentally powered by Stellar) to purchase euro tokens that he then converted into peso tokens, quickly converting them into physical bills at the local ATM machine.
Although Wouter was lucky and tech-savvy enough to find and use a blockchain-powered solution, others looking to exchange currencies or make international payments might not fare so well. The learning curve when it comes to using blockchain is steep, such as understanding the concept of public and private keys. This is when Wouter came up with Beans.
Beans prides itself on being free and easy to use. Designed similarly to Venmo or CashApp, all a user has to do is download the app, select their currency of choice, and deposit funds from their bank account. Once all that’s done, the user can search whoever they want to send money to by their username and initiate the payment! No additional hurdles, and the payment arrives in the recipient’s currency-of-choice.
After his initial encounter with Stellar, Wouter began to research the blockchain. He found that no other blockchain offered the combination of near-instant settlements, local on/off ramps, and the ability to sponsor fees. To ensure that Beans users had the best experience possible on the app, it was crucial to Wouter that they didn’t have to pay fees. Instead, Beans shoulders the more-than-affordable cost by sponsoring each wallet account, with transaction fees on Stellar costing fractions of a cent.
“On Stellar, you have this one integration that gives you local on/off ramps everywhere in the world. And that's very powerful to have as a non-custodial app. If you had to build this all yourself, that would be a lot of work. Or you become a custodial solution, which presents its own set of very difficult challenges. ” – Wouter Arkink, CEO and Founder of Beans
By participating in SCF and becoming part of the Stellar ecosystem, Beans has been able to connect with other ecosystem partners such as Anclap and MyKobo, exploring the option to connect to the on/off ramps they offer in Latin America and Europe.
If one has a great idea of what to build on Stellar, then there’s no excuse to not participate in the Stellar Community Fund, Wouter says. For starters, the feedback one gathers from the community in a short period of time is invaluable in either accelerating projects or pinpointing areas of improvement. Having the opportunity to win funding doesn’t hurt either.
After winning funding in SCF Round 10, Beans will focus on polishing their payments product before releasing it on the App Store and building out additional functionality. Growing the app at a sustainable pace is a top priority for the team, since the Beans app is in beta stage. The beta is running on the public Stellar network, with currently around 100 users testing payments, payment requests, savings, and more.
Meanwhile, Beans also plans to participate as a verified member in SCF Round 11 and continue the cycle of giving back to the Stellar community. Wouter is excited at the increasing quality and quantity of SCF applicants, hoping to identify projects that may turn out to be valuable partners in the future.
And for those interested in participating in the Stellar Community Fund, you can find more details on how to apply for Round 11 here: https://communityfund.stellar.org/