Money20/20 2015 hackathon

Money20/20 2015 hackathon

We just came back from the Money20/20 hackathon in Vegas. For those who don’t know it, this event brings the entire fintech developer community under one roof for 24 hours, in order to put together new disruptive payment applications. Just as last year, we had plenty of opportunities to showcase Kill Bill, thanks to the open nature of the platform. But instead of trying to extend Kill Bill, this time, we decided to do something a little different. Ever since we started Kill Bill, Stéphane and I have been talking about what a great a fit it would be for small Yoga Studios. Surprisingly enough, most of them still manage attendance on pieces of paper (you typically have to sign a sheet before practice) and recurring billing is often done by hand (i.e. once a month, you need to come with your credit card). There are a few leaders in the industry trying to solve that problem (and similar ones for gyms, spas, etc.), but the solutions offered are expensive, too complicated (some features are available on the mobile app, others on the website) and the UX is overwhelmed by extra features, most often unneeded (scheduling, reporting, marketing, etc.). For this year’s hackathon, we developped a solution for this market: The Pink Mat. The Pink Mat is a mobile Point of Sale system, running on any iOS and Android system (we expect studios to typically install it on an iPad). New customers can come in and self-register by scanning their credit card. They can then select either one-off passes (such as a 10 Class Card) or a recurring subscription...
Money20/20 recap

Money20/20 recap

Looking beyond our successful hackathon, Money20/20 was quite interesting as, for once, all of the major players in the industry were gathered under one roof. Here are my main takeaways: Tokenization is hot! Apple Pay was of course on everybody’s mind, but people were already thinking ahead. While the technology has been around for a while, Apple finally managed to productize it and advertise it to the masses. It’s going to be much easier now to build new tokenization products. This is very timely as we have been working on an open-source tokenizer, more on that very soon… Bitcoin, while being the cool kid on the block, hasn’t started to make a dent in the whole financial industry. At the hackathon, a third of the projects were Bitcoin related (I counted 20 Chain.com projects and 23 Blockchain.info ones, and there were around 120 teams). For those among us who have been in the industry for a while, this makes perfect sense: as a 16 year old, why bother integrating with a legacy and crufty SOAP API, when you can play with Go and distributed systems? That being said, the legacy giants (PayPal, MasterCard, etc.) are fully aware of it and have been working on opening-up and modernizing their infrastructure. And while the rest of the conference featured a few Bitcoin companies, hardly any of the hallway and late party discussions involved crypto-currencies. I feel the technology (i.e. bitcoind, the reference implementation) needs to mature and prove it can scale before it is seen as a serious player in the industry. There is space for open-source payments. Telling the Kill Bill story...
Kill Bill, one of the ten winners of the Money20/20 Hackathon

Kill Bill, one of the ten winners of the Money20/20 Hackathon

We just came back from Vegas and we’re pleased to announce that we were one of the ten winners of the Money20/20 Hackathon! As you may recall, we were quite excited about all the proposed challenges, since the Kill Bill platform was a great fit for pretty much all of them. We finally decided to go with Feedzai, and work on fraud detection. Antonio, who flew from Lisbon for the event, was very helpful in explaining how Feedzai’s machine learning algorithms work behind the scenes, and how they leverage data from the entire ecosystem, from banks to merchants, to fight the bad guys. For our hackathon project, we decided to tell the story about Pedro, a Yerba Maté enthusiast, who runs a subscription-based online forum on the topic. He is quickly facing fraud though, as people are using his sign-up flow to test stolen credit cards. Fraudsters, who have databases of credit cards and want to sell them to other fraud rings, need to determine which ones are still valid: these sell at a much higher price on the black market. One way to do it is to sign-up to online services, which authorize then void the credit card before storing it for recurring payments. This is quite costly for him, because he has to pay for each authorization as well as potential chargebacks down the line (because fraudsters don’t bother canceling the subscription when it goes through). In our demo, we show how we can leverage both Feedzai and cash-based payment methods on top of the Kill Bill platform, to prevent fraud, while mitigating the risk of blocking legitimate...
Money20/20 hackathon

Money20/20 hackathon

The Kill Bill team will be in Vegas next week for Money20/20 and we will be participating in the Money20/20 Hackathon. There are 9 different challenges to pick from, and we’ve been hard at work thinking through which one to work on. Let’s review the options: PayPal: Kill Bill has been supporting PayPal since day 1 via the Kill Bill PayPal plugin. It’s currently used by Ning in their checkout flow: when you select the PayPal option, you are redirected to the PayPal hosted page to accept the billing agreement (BAID). Once accepted, PayPal redirects you to Ning to setup your network, while Kill Bill sets up a payment method associated with this BAID in the background. This payment method will be used for recurring billing. Given our recent work on pure payments (highlight of the latest 12 release), it would be a natural fit to pursue that challenge and offer a deeper integration with mobile APIs and the PayPal wallet. Modo Payments: We currently do not have a Modo payment plugin, so this would be the perfect opportunity to expand our list of supported Gateways. More importantly, Modo is doing a lot in the loyalty points space: we could as part of this challenge expand the credit support in Kill Bill (CBA) to work with external points systems (think of the airline miles system, how you earn and redeem them on shopping portals). Mercury: Similarly to Modo Payments, we do not have a payment plugin for Mercury either. This would give us also the opportunity to work with retailers and POS systems. While Kill Bill is mostly used...