Beans is a non-custodial payments and savings app built on Stellar. Most blockchain based apps have targeted the crypto community. We have taken a different approach and will target the general public. Inside the app all blockchain-related things have been abstracted away, offering a bank experience using blockchain technology! We are aiming to be the first app to get significant traction on blockchain payments! Next to that, we want to offer regular people a way to access crypto yield by making the process super easy.
The beans app (iOS & Android) offers:
The problem with crypto payments
For a majority of people, the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies is extremely complex and very hard to understand. News media cover stories of heavily fluctuating cryptocurrencies, feeding the uncertainty that people have about cryptocurrencies in general and their underlying blockchain technology. While struggling to learn what it is all about, the uncertainty leads to not adopting a technology that could be very beneficial to a large group of people and potentially change their lives.
Because of this, we want to enable people to start using the great functionalities that these technologies have to offer without having to bother them with complexity. Words like wallet, assets, lumens and stablecoins do not contribute to a flawless user journey, they only cause uncertainty and scare people away. In fact, why should they even know that they are interacting with blockchain technology, unless they choose to delve into it. People are comfortable using their traditional banking apps without knowing the driving technologies behind them. Why should they bother about it this time?
Our focus has been to build an app that feels like a regular banking app, but uses blockchain behind the scenes. To do this, we have chosen to let users pick a preferred currency. This currency will be used to send, request and receive payments. All payments between users, no matter the currency, will auto convert. No need to think about currencies or trustlines ever again. Payments are free, we will even sponsor the network fees through feebumps. This is how it works.
Creating an account
When setting up an account, users choose their preferred currency. A spendable balance in this currency is created. In the back-end they will hold anchored stablecoins on Stellar. By using a fixed currency we can create a very user-friendly, bank-like experience. We know which user prefers what currency and can use this knowledge in deposits, payments and payment requests. Users will never have to think about trust lines or choose what asset to send. It will all be seamless.
Beans, at the start, will choose one anchor per currency, so that users do not have to deal with this complexity either.
When a user initiates a payment, the app will find the preferred currency of the receiver and show the right conversion window. When the user fills in the amount they want to send, in their currency, they will automatically see how much their friend will receive in their preferred currency. When two users have the same preferred currency, no conversion window is shown.
In the back-end a Stellar path payment will be used to convert the funds. Beans uses fee bump and sponsored reserves to offer a bank-like experience without charging fees. This implementation gives users the experience of a general banking app, with the advantage of near-instant, feeless, cross-border transactions.
This means that if Ben sends 12 USD to John, John will actually receive 12 USD. No fees, not even network fees are deducted, giving Ben a great user experience.
At the same time, Claire can send 15 USD to Mike, who prefers Peso. The app will automatically show that Mike will receive 3,000 Peso.
Users can request a payment via a link, QR code or other native sharing functionalities of their smartphone. If a user requests money from a user with a different preferred currency, the app will automatically fill in the conversion window so that the paying user can see an estimation of how much the payment will cost them in their preferred currency. All they have to do is accept the conversion and the payment will be done in seconds.
Opening a savings account
Users can set-up a savings account in for example USD, ARS and EUR and earn up to 9% yield. More advanced users can also choose to save and earn in cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH or XLM. Conversions in and out of savings accounts will have zero fees, not even network fees. Like we said before we will sponsor the network fees through feebumps.
This way, a user in Argentina can have an ARS account for payments, while saving and earning interest in USD. As a result the user will not only earn interest but also escape inflation. Someone else can choose to pay with USD, while saving in XLM, or any other combination. Users can also choose to earn and save in multiple currencies.
The Beans app is in beta stage right now and we are adding new users every week from our growing waitlist. The beta is running on the public Stellar network, with currently around 100 users testing payments, payment request, savings and more. We’ll add more users gradually to make sure we grow in a sustainable way.
Users can download the app, create an account, choose their preferred currency and send each other funds. The app will automatically show a conversion screen when needed. We have also implemented feebump and sponsored reserves so that users do not have to deal with any of the complexity that Stellar-based wallets bring. Finally, payment requests through native links and converting into a yield earning savings balance has been implemented. We are currently working on the first steps to implement recovery through SEP-30, which means that users will not need to think about public or private keys. We are also preparing the integration of banking on- and off ramps through SEP-24.
Our goal is to operate in every country that allows non-custodial wallets like ours in their app stores. Our main focus at the start will be on South American countries. We would love to work with local Stellar anchors to bring Beans to users in their respective markets. This way Beans can be a front-end to anchors on the network.
We have raised $200.000 with friends and family and invested some of our own funds. We have spent $150.000 so far.
Goal 1: Increase features and functionality
Beans already has a lot of great features. We want to make it even better though. Our main development goals in the coming 6 months are:
Goal 2: Marketing
Goal 3: Partnerships and legal
Goal 4: User acquisition
To realize our development roadmap we are looking to hire one more Flutter developer and additionally we might need to hire some external development capacity to build custom on- and offramp integrations with for example Wyre.
We will be launching Beans through an invite program similar to Clubhouse. This will make sure we grow at a sustainable rate, as we believe the demand for our product could be very high.
We will roll-out in as many countries as possible, but will focus our marketing on specific countries. These are countries that have good Stellar anchors and an underbanked population. Specifically we will focus on countries where we can collaborate on marketing with an anchor, as their users are also our users.
As a non-custodial wallet we are not facing a lot of regulatory hurdles, but still we will need to work-out some challenges. These will mainly revolve around our yield offerings. Finally, we will need to set up a customer care team to support new users.
Use of Stellar
Most Stellar wallets have so far been a frontend to publickeys, instead of a payments product that uses blockchain to serve regular people. This has made it a little bit hard for people like our moms and dad’s to use crypto.When sending money, you have to think of what asset to send, which one your friend should receive and what trustlines might be needed for that. By abstracting away all these things, we think we have made a blockchain wallet with a bank-like experience. This way, we want to provide a way for anyone to make easy and free payments while earning yield on currencies of their choice.
Beans is built on Stellar. This is how we use the network:
See how it works in our demo video.
Our target customers have one or more of these problems:
Our initial target market will be South America, but we are aiming to roll out globally. In these countries many people encounter one or more of these problems. Also, these countries have good Stellar anchor coverage. One other group that might benefit from Beans are people that want to spend cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Lumens or Ethereum. In beans they can spend these at zero fee, even when their friends prefer to receive fiat.
For the remittance use-case we are targeting both the sender and the receiver. Someone in for example Argentina can use Beans to receive remittances in Peso and send/request them with local friends. Someone in the United States can set Beans in USD to send remittances to their family in Argentina at zero fee with near instant settlement.
To offer free payments, we will build our business model on savings and premium accounts. By providing a great user experience, we hope to take a small cut on savings rates. Premium accounts will have access to premium features.
With our product we are competing with a diverse set of players.
1. Remittance providers
On cross-border payments we’ll be competing with remittance providers like Western Union. Generally these companies offer good coverage, but high fees and slow processing times. In Beans, users will have no fees to send cross-border payments. These parties also don’t provide high yield savings accounts, something we can offer in Beans.
2. Payment apps
Apps like Venmo and cash.app have acquired a lot of users in countries like the US. However, in many countries, users don’t have access to apps like this. In many cash first countries, there is no winner on the payment side yet. Finally, these payment apps often don’t offer a way to convert into other currencies and earn yield.
3. Crypto yield apps
There are several non-custodial yield apps that focus on the general public, for example ZenGo or Argent do this. However, these apps can not provide (international) payments. The cost of the networks they run on are simply too high.
4. Centralized crypto payment apps
There are centralized solutions that offer crypto payments, for example Kasta is looking to do this. They can offer good UX, since they offer custodial solutions and don’t have to think about users managing private keys. However, these players will need to acquire licenses everywhere they launch, which is time consuming and costly. Finally, they are mainly focused on payments with crypto assets like Bitcoin. We will focus on payments with local stable coins, giving regular users a more familiar experience. More crypto native users can still use Beans to pay with BTC or XLM, their friends will automatically receive the fiat stablecoin of their choice.
Marketing and user-acquisition
We plan to go out of beta in Q4. To make sure we grow in a healthy, controllable way, we’ll implement an invite system like Clubhouse did. Users will get invite codes they can share with friends. Active users, who invite other active users, will get more invite codes. This way we try to get more clustered adoption, which is better for payments. It will also create some exclusivity.
When we secure more funding, we’ll start paying referral bonuses. To make referrals super easy, we’ll implement payments to email and phone numbers of friends that are not using Beans yet. When these friends sign-up, the bonus unlocks.
Finally, we want to work with local anchors to create local marketing efforts. Our users will also be customers of the anchor, so a collaborative approach would make sense there.
We have a partnership with Baseflow, a software development company that works for Google. This means we can easily scale up development. Next to that we are in active conversation with many of the anchors to bring Beans to their local communities. We see ourselves as a front-end to their services.
To realize our goals we request the following budget:
Beans is a pre-seed start-up with a team of 6. Wouter, one of the founders, has been involved in Stellar since 2017. The rest of the team are a mix of experienced app developers, a back-end developer, product-owner and UX designer.
Connect with us on Discord, Twitter or LinkedIn::
Wouter - General management and operations
Jop - Senior Flutter/.NET developer
Paul - Senior Flutter/.NET developer
Kilian - Product owner
Gerwin - Lead architect
Elbert - UI/UX designer
The USD valuation of the budget request in XLM will be calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on December 5, 2022 as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR). Learn more in the SCF Handbook.
*The USD valuation of the award in XLM is calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on July 5th as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR)
**The USD valuation of the award in XLM is calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on December 16, 2021 as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR)
*The USD valuation of the award in XLM is calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on September 27, 2021 as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR)
* The USD valuation of the award in XLM is calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on the date of transfer as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR)
*This budget request has not been fully awarded to the project. The USD valuation of the budget request in XLM will be calculated using the CF Stellar Lumens-Dollar Settlement Price on day of payment as administered, maintained, and reported by the cryptocurrency index provider CF Benchmarks Ltd. (using the ticker “XLMUSD_RR”) (available at https://www.cfbenchmarks.com/indices/XLMUSD_RR). Learn more in the SCF Handbook.