Connecting the Digital Dots: Perfinal’s Virtual Account Management & the Future of Digital Currency Management
Perfinal Core banking is excited to announce its complete transition towards digital currency management, with a focus on use cases for E-money, regulated crypto, and CBDCs.
If mentioning E-money, CBDC and regulated crypto in the same conversation sounds provocative now, remember that, just a year or two ago, these different digital asset classes seemed like different universes, speaking different languages, to very different tribes.
What’s changed in the last 24 months, through economic shocks and market crashes, is that the demand for digital has grown has been joined by a newly urgent demand for regulatory standards.
Slowly but surely, E-money, CBDC, and regulated crypto don’t seem so far apart: many of the needs and concerns are shared. While much remains to be agreed, E-Money, CBDC and regulated crypto are increasingly, speaking the same language.
Perfinal is a financial technology provider. Our role is to evaluate industry needs and provide solutions. For some time now, we’ve observed the growing need for software systems capable of serving multiple asset classes, ensuring the required legal compliance, and harnessing considerable opportunities. All in the context of a continuing, industry-tectonic move to digital.
Our solution to this need, developed since first conceptualization in 2021, uses Virtual Account Management to connect these different types of digital currencies.
Businesses benefit from improved cash visibility and control, reduced transaction costs, increased automation and efficiency, and enhanced risk management.
So what is Virtual Account Management?
Virtual Account Management (VAM) is a financial and technical solution that centralizes cash management and streamlines liquidity management processes.
It involves creating virtual bank accounts on multiple levels, that are linked to a physical bank account, enabling companies to better manage their cash flow and streamline their accounting processes.
With virtual accounts set up for different business units, subsidiaries, or departments, companies gain greater visibility into their cash position.
We didn’t invent VAM at Perfinal — some of the world’s largest and most respected financial institutions have been using VAM for some time, so it’s a solidly-market-proven solution.
What Perfinal does is to leverage the potential of VAM further, combining it with our analytically-governed system to create treasury management solutions capable of far more, at far less cost.
We took an early line on the premise that E-money, regulated crypto, and CBDCs, in co-existence, represent the future of finance and digital currencies. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we transact and manage our finances, offering a faster, more secure, and more efficient alternative/complement to traditional banking.
As the world moves toward a more cashless society, businesses and individuals need reliable solutions for digital currency management. In the remaining part of the article, we go through on each use case, showing the benefits Virtual Account management brings to launch and operation.
A clearly regulated use case — E-money
E-money (according to the EU term), also known as electronic money or digital currency, is a type of digital payment that is stored and exchanged electronically. E-money can be used to purchase goods and services online or in physical stores, transfer funds, and pay bills. E-money is issued by licensed e-money institutions, which are financial institutions that are authorized to issue electronic money and provide payment services. These institutions are regulated by financial authorities and must comply with strict regulatory requirements to ensure the safety and security of their customers’ funds.
“E-Money is so fast and efficient, you don’t even know you are already using it.” Perfinal CEO, Mate Brezovszki
One of the key benefits of e-money and e-money institutions is that they provide a more convenient and efficient way to make payments and transfers, particularly for small transactions. They also offer greater security and protection than traditional cash transactions, as customers’ funds are stored electronically and can be protected by strong security measures.
EMIs apply virtual asset management (VAM) for client funds by creating virtual accounts on the customer level that are linked to a physical bank account at a commercial bank. This allows customers to segregate and track funds for specific purposes virtually. Virtual account management is basically the technology that allows E-money Issuing Institutions(EMIs) to:
- offer free transfers and currency exchange for customers, which can be a cost-effective option for customers who frequently make international payments or need to exchange currency. These services may also offer real-time exchange rates and other features that can help customers get the best value for their money.
- Internal allocation of money. This feature allows customers to split their money into different ‘pots’ or accounts, based on their specific needs or goals. For example, customers may allocate funds for bills, savings, or travel expenses, making it easier to manage their finances and avoid overspending.
A good example of VAM in practice for crypto is what Revolut are already doing: They offer a crypto trading service that allows their customers to buy and sell various cryptocurrencies through the Revolut app. Revolut uses virtual accounts to segregate all the customer holdings on a customer level, which allows customers to have complete control over their cryptocurrency investments. However, Revolut offers a nominee service, and itself owns the cryptocurrencies on behalf of its customers, and these cryptocurrencies are stored collectively with a custodian.
This means that while each customer’s cryptocurrency holdings are segregated and held separately in virtual accounts, they are ultimately owned by Revolut and stored collectively with other customers’ cryptocurrencies. The custodian that holds the cryptocurrencies on behalf of Revolut is responsible for ensuring their safety and security. Customers who buy cryptocurrencies through Revolut have the rights to the financial value of the cryptocurrency, but Revolut holds the cryptocurrencies on their behalf. However, customers will not have a separate cryptocurrency wallet or account, and they will not be able to carry out transactions themselves. From a technical perspective, the backbone of such operation is to remain the same, however, regulation is calling for additional measures for providing custody, exchange and trading services for customers.
Regulation of the crypto industry is rapidly evolving around the world, and the European Union (EU) is leading the way. In the EU, the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation has been proposed (and timetabled for Q1 2024). MiCA aims to create a comprehensive framework for the regulation of crypto assets and related activities, including virtual account management for crypto services such as exchange, custody, and trading platforms.
The application of virtual account management for crypto services will require the same security and treasury management levels as currently required by E-money institutions. This will help to ensure that the industry operates in a safe and sound manner and provides greater protection for investors and consumers.
The case of retail CBDCs
Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) can work with virtual account management (VAM) by using VAM as a centralized issuer solution, effectively issuing digital currency between citizens and central banks. VAM can also be used as a distributor layer at the commercial bank level serving retail customers, integrated to a central-bank-issued or consortium-facilitated issuance layer. This allows for the two most fundamental rights of CBDC — which are free account management and free transaction capabilities — to be easily facilitated.
The use of virtual accounts can provide a secure and efficient way to store and manage CBDC. Each citizen could have a unique virtual account linked to their CBDC holdings, allowing for easy tracking and management of the digital currency. Additionally, virtual accounts can provide a level of security and transparency that may not be possible with traditional bank accounts. Virtual account management can also be integrated with a central-bank-issued or consortium-facilitated issuance layer. This layer could be built using blockchain technology or other distributed ledger technology, which would provide additional benefits such as transparency, security, and immutability.
It’s important to note that CBDC by definition and interpretation does not need to be on blockchain! However, some benefits are possible in applying such technology. For example, blockchain can provide a decentralized and transparent ledger that can be easily audited, which can enhance the security and transparency of CBDC transactions. Blockchain can also offer greater efficiency and automation, as transactions can be processed automatically using smart contracts. A Virtual Account Management solution serving the Retail needs would eventually be integrated to such a network, serving an additional layer.
As a summary, Virtual Account Management is the connecting thread that binds E-money, Regulated Crypto, and CBDCs. It provides financial solutions that offer improved cash control and visibility, reduced transaction costs, increased automation and efficiency, enhanced risk management, regulatory compliance, and improved audit trails. VAM enables E-money institutions, Regulated Crypto trading services, and Central Bank Digital Currency to operate securely and efficiently, ultimately benefiting investors and consumers.
We are excited to be at the forefront of this technological evolution at Perfinal, actively working on projects to integrate virtual accounts with e-money, regulated crypto, and CBDCs to help clients optimize their cash management processes and gain greater control over their financial operations in an increasingly complex — and exciting — digital environment.
If you’re looking to optimize your EMI, CBDC, or regulated crypto journey, we’re here to help! Contact us and schedule a call with our CEO, Mate Brezovszki, to discuss your needs and how we can assist you.