Chichin: Our Solution for Banks Using Blockchain Technology

We created a secure, efficient, and robust mobile and web solution for a banking corporation with transactional issues. Our solution helped users perform cross-border transactions between Latinamerica and the US swiftly and safely.

 

It’s no secret: nowadays, the FinTech industry is one of the most vulnerable and attackable fields. In 2019 alone, the FinTech industry had 352,771 exposed sensitive files, and the financial services sector was the most attacked, with 21% of the overall exposed data that year. As banking technology is becoming increasingly popular and vulnerable, developers must deliver mobile banking solutions that enable contactless transactions while keeping data security at the forefront. Luckily, we developers have a myriad of modern technologies at our disposal to inject into our products and add transactional features without jeopardizing safety. One of these technologies is blockchain. 

Blockchain is a secure, transparent, and immutable “chain of blocks” based on cryptocurrencies where every transaction is recorded, time-stamped, and stored in a connected sequence. These information blocks form an irreversible network, which means no one can’t modify information except authorized users. Hence, blockchain enables record-keeping, provides impassable encryption, doesn’t need an intermediary, and makes all transactions reliable and transparent. 

By using blockchain technology, FinTech app developers can create an all-inclusive, dependable payment and financial ecosystem. This ecosystem remains fast, traceable, and affordable while protecting sensitive financial data. These benefits make blockchain a very suitable technology for the payments and FinTech industries. It also allows people to make cross-border payments without intermediaries, high transaction fees, delays, and safety concerns. On that same note, we’ve noticed that banking and financial corporations are particularly receptive to blockchain-powered apps. So, when our client contacted us to explain their transactional issues, we didn’t think twice to recommend a blockchain-powered mobile and web solution: Chichin.

The Challenges

At Foonkie, one of the top app development companies, we’re always keen to help our clients find new solutions to common problems through innovative, robust, effective, and innovative custom products. That’s the reason why our client, an international bank, contacted us. Our client is an International bank located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, United States. When they reached out to Foonkie Monkey’s development team, they had a clear idea of what they wanted: a transactional app that enabled fast, easy, and secure cross-border payments. They felt (and we agreed) that most cross-country transactional apps that rely on centralized systems are costly, slow, hard to use. Also, they often require an intermediary (usually a bank) to complete the transaction via extra fees. 

Statistics show that it takes traditional banking apps from 2 to 7 days to fulfill transactions, and it costs a global average of 6.94% to send $200 between countries. Our client needed to cut any middlemen and save their clients the hassle of dealing with intermediary fees and delays. Additionally, they firmly stated that security was a priority, and they felt that traditional centralized transactional apps weren’t 100% reliable on that end. If we consider that cyberattacks in the banking industry cost $18.3 million annually per company, we couldn’t disagree. 

Also, they knew we had the experience to give them a highly functional, effective, and innovative solution for their customers and increase their traffic, engagement, and revenue due to the product we developed. Moreover, we provided them with the possibility of engaging in business with a DevOps nearshore development team. They knew we could deliver, deploy, and maintain their product at cost-friendly rates and efficient work methodologies. They got the best from the best! 

A key aspect that they also mentioned was that they noticed people often experiencing latencies and transactional issues when sending and receiving money between different countries, in their particular case, between the US and Latin America. From this point stems another crucial aspect: because payments are made across borders, they wanted a solution that annulled currency exchange issues. This, in turn, will give users access to easy transactions regardless of the different currencies in each country.

In a nutshell, we were tasked with creating a mobile and web solution that tackled these points:

  • Enable cross-border payments without latency or currency exchange issues. 
  • No intermediaries or brokers that charge transaction fees. 
  • Easy, instant, and straightforward money transferring process to avoid confusion.
  • High-security protocols. 

We based these factors on one key concept: increasing customer engagement. This would encourage them to safely send and receive money using the new app, not other banks or intermediaries. With these main points and ideas in mind, our team set about ideating a way to incorporate those features into a highly functional budget-friendly product that would help accomplish our client’s objectives. 

Our Process With Chinchin

With the goals set in place, we started gathering as much information as possible about the users, our client’s background, and our Project Owner started preparing a detailed scope of the project and the product. Our business analysts listed the requirements, expectations, and goals of the project that our staff was to keep in mind during the development lifecycle. Additionally, our nearshore services allowed us to be in the same time zone as our client, so communication was not a problem.This made the initial business plan and the MVP an easier feat. 

Our team of experts ready to set the project’s wheels in motion included software architects and programmers, back-end developers, iOS and Android developers, UI/UX designers, the QA team, and the Scrum Master. The product of all these minds put together and the previous brainstorming procedures helped us determine the technical outlines, business model examination, app branding, and other requirements at the core of Chichin.

How Blockchain Came Into Play

As mentioned earlier, blockchain technology is one of the safest and least expensive ways to enable payment transactions without the involvement of a third party or any middlemen fees. As FinTech experts, no one understands better than us the benefits blockchain technology brings to the table regarding safety and efficiency. For this reason, and the fact that blockchain can save banks up to $4 billion a year in transactional costs, we felt it would be the perfect technology to leverage all the app’s crucial aspects and features our client wanted. 

Our team of expert developers and architects decided to base the app on cryptocurrency via blockchain technology to efficiently tackle all three key points the client had set as the core of the product. It eliminates intermediaries, which results in cost savings for all stakeholders. It also removes the risk of exchange rate volatility for international transactions and transfer fees. Lastly, blockchain provides the security, immutability, efficiency, and traceability that our client wanted. 

Additionally, blockchain technology allows users to own and trade different digital currency types, which enabled us to use cryptocurrency on the product. This fact was a considerable benefit for the product’s wholesomeness because they help drive forward the efficiency, directness, and security our client wanted. Also, cryptocurrencies help bring financial services to people or areas that can’t usually access banking services. Since some of Chichin’s users live in Latin America, cryptocurrency enabled us to reach people in countries like Venezuela, where government policies and local currency devaluation affect users’ ability to send or receive money quickly. 

• Ethereum

The blockchain network of our choice was Ethereum. It came with its challenges, such as some latency, but its benefits made Ethereum the most adaptable blockchain to meet our client’s requirements. Ethereum allowed us to build a decentralized app that operated outside the oversight of central third-parties such as banks or brokers, which was paramount for our client. It also allowed us to use USDC (USD Coin) as cryptocurrency, which tokenizes US dollars and facilitates their use online and in public blockchains. This point was crucial because, as stated above, our client wanted an app that facilitated transactions between the US and Latin America. Lastly, the Ethereum blockchain has its own coding language called Solidity, which our programmers fully master. 

Our team also consisted of a QA specialist for testing and quality assurance purposes, a crucial aspect we never overlook in our development practices. At Foonkie, QA, testing, and development often happen simultaneously as one continuous process to detect errors early and avoid damage control costs later on. Also, before deployment, our QA specialist runs tests to check that everything works correctly. We usually implement both manual and automatic QA and testing procedures for functional and non-functional requirements. For Chichin, as we do with all of our projects, we used Postman, Selenium, and Azure DevOps to avoid and correct errors or other considerations.  

UI/UX Design

As far as usability and visual interface design, our team of UI/UX experts created masterful design components that seamlessly integrated with all the technical and architectural aspects of the app. It was paramount to develop a responsive product that possessed the features necessary to provide users with easy navigation and simple interfaces that helped avoid confusion. Our Art Director fully understood the complexity of most financial services and knew the importance of keeping flows and navigation as smooth and intuitive as possible. The key to developing Chichin’s UI/UX aspects was always to balance simplicity and security.

Keeping the target research and user stories at the forefront of the design process, Chichin’s UI/UX layout avoided overwhelming tasks and confusing flows. Our designers were sure to keep the transactional process as straightforward as possible, one of our client’s main requests. For that, our designers engaged in wireframing to lay the groundwork for Chichin’s functionality and establish its basic structure. Wireframing allowed our designers to have a visual understanding of Chichin’s navigational structure before engaging in further development so that our client could see and approve it beforehand. Our design team established the product’s flow, appropriate functionalities, usability, and scope after approval. They were ready to bring Chichin to life.  

Our designers created a clean look consisting mainly of white and green, popular colors for FinTech apps. The login page was efficient and straightforward, with the username and password fields marked and all relevant buttons and icons within the screen’s heatmaps. Security measures were consistently enforced with Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), notifications, and transactional alerts, aside from the security measures already inherent to blockchain technology. Furthermore, menus and buttons were clear and straightforward, and the transactional process of sending or receiving money was simple, to-the-point, and understandable. All design components enabled intuitive and easy navigation of the app and web products. We created UI/UX design for the mobile app, web app, and administrative console that aligned perfectly with the client’s expectations, ideals, and preferences.

The Result

As most of us already know, mobile infrastructure is not as developed in some countries as in others. Consequently, some users aren’t as mobile-savvy as their more developed counterparts. They still have the same communication needs, though, and some of them need solutions that make their lives easier. Chichin, our blockchain-powered app, tackles these issues and creates a pathway for efficient, fast, and secure money transfers between the US and Latin America. The product delivered was a robust, innovative, safe, and high-performing solution. It had outstanding UX and beautiful UI that met all requirements, overcame all challenges, and ultimately made our client and the users’ lives better. 

Since its deployment, 10,000 users in the US and Latin America have downloaded Chichin and signed up, creating over 900 transactions per day. We managed to make 10,000 lives easier by creating a simple FinTech product that customers can use anywhere, anytime and feel secure, confident, and glad they have a solution for their transactional needs. Our stellar product ended up eliminating expensive third-party fees and delays from transactions. It avoided extra costs and passed these savings on to users and their families abroad and those who will benefit the most from Chichin. This way, we helped extend financial services to unbanked populations or economically challenged populations regardless of the device they own, their social status, or where they live. 

Other Tools We Used

Our nearshore development team designed the product’s architecture following the scalability, art requirements, and our client’s concerns. They also determined the best implementations to maintain a high-performance back-end for the web app, mobile app, and administrative console. The technologies we decided to work with were Amazon Web Services (AWS), DynamoDBJavaBootstrap, Ethereum, Solidity, Vue.jsHTML5JQueryJavascript, and Xamarin Native. Combined with our team’s expertise and talents, these tools gave the product an outstanding balance between an engaging, beautiful look and feel and an exceptionally functional and non-functional display.

Our team at Foonkie understood the client’s needs and ideas perfectly. We adapted to the challenges in a way that allowed us to overcome them and deliver a product that met all technical and visual requirements to the T. 

Of all the FinTech use cases, cross-border blockchain-powered payments apps and web products like Chichin promise to offer seamless solutions, especially for the developing world. As more people seek better and easier cashless transaction options, the demand for alternative money transfer services will grow exponentially, and we are doing our part.

After Chichin’s Deployment

At Foonkie, we know that our responsibility towards our client and our product does not stop at deployment. To be successful, an app development partner must provide constant maintenance and support to the delivered product. We constantly analyze both performance data and analytics to keep Chichin running smoothly and keep users happy. These procedures also allow us to be on top of potential security threats, outages, or glitches detected after the final release and fix them before they become a problem. 

We also perform these preventive maintenance measures to monitor the product’s optimal functioning on new OS versions or mobile devices. Our team constantly monitors the structure and cloud services to prevent malfunctioning or breakdown and attends to new client requirements to create new features or improve the product’s functionality.

Our Experience

As FinTech experts, we know these apps are gaining popularity, and their broad adoption has also come with some challenges. Our clients know that these challenges are the reason why it’s crucial to hire experienced professionals. When it comes to building a robust, efficient, functional, and above all, ironclad security scheme for any FinTech app, you need to turn to the best. Most companies don’t usually have the knowledge, expertise, or trained personnel to build a blockchain-powered product like Chichin optimally. Building an app like this involves talents, tools, technical specifications, implementations, and IT requirements that not everyone is trained to deliver. That’s why hiring an experienced app development partner is critical.

Using cutting-edge technology and tools, our team promises to deliver a user-friendly, innovative product that keeps users happy while providing the efficiency and safety you need. Sound good? Let’s start planning!

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