Financial IT speaks to Todd Clyde, Chief Operating Officer, Token.
Token Chief Operating Officer (COO) Todd Clyde is responsible for many different aspects of the company, including sales, client services, support, and finance.
Todd spent 33 years in the enterprise and financial software industry, including twelve years at Accenture and 21 years at four successful start-ups that included a $1bn exit. He joined Token three years ago after meeting Founder Steve Kirsch and hearing his vision for modernising payments in a bank-friendly way. According to Todd, the opportunity to participate in two of the biggest disruptions to hit the payments and banking industries in many years, open banking and cryptocurrencies, was too good to pass up.
We spoke to Todd about why he believes these disruptions will create a huge market opportunity and enable Token to make lasting positive change to payments.
Financial IT: Can you please tell us more about Token’s background?
Todd Clyde: Token was the first company to execute a payment through UK Open Banking APIs and was the first company live with all UK banks for API-based payments. We are not an end application, but an infrastructure provider, supplying an infrastructure layer that makes it very easy to access banks for data and payments.
Our mission is to modernise payments in a bank friendly way. First, we would like to make it more convenient for customers to make payments from bank accounts, rather than using a card, through open banking.
Then, we will focus on simplifying sending money around the world, ultimately making it as simple as it is to send an email. This will be achieved through a new payments offering powered by stablecoin technology.
Financial IT: Why Token is unique compared to other companies?
Todd Clyde: Token is the only open banking solution that provides software for the entire value chain. Unlike other service providers that solely aggregate access to banks or provide APIs, Token uniquely provides third parties with a single API to access all banks for payments and data and provides APIs to banks for compliance and premium payment capabilities. Moreover, our Smart Token technology provides sophisticated payments functionality which enables our customers to capture a much larger market with bank payments. This creates great benefits for everyone in the value chain – banks, PSPs, merchants, developers and consumers.
Furthermore, we white label our entire solution to allow other players in the existing payment value chain to bring account to account payments to their customers. This solution was selected by Mastercard to power a component of its Open Banking solution.
One of the main differences between Token and other companies in this field is that we emphasize payments, when every other company chasing open banking is focused on data and data aggregation use-cases. Our narrow focus has enabled us to develop deep functionality that makes acceptance of bank payments elegant and easy.
Financial IT: What emerging trends do you see in the industry today and how does Token address them?
Todd Clyde: It’s important to distinguish between disruptions and emerging trends. The adoption of open banking and cryptocurrencies are two of the biggest disruptions to hit the payments and banking industries in many years, and encompass many emerging trends.
The two most important trends we’re seeing in open banking relate to banks’ attitude towards open banking. European banks are increasingly looking to go beyond the bare minimum of PSD2 compliance and are considering how they will compete in this new world. Token is responding to that by enabling banks to both comply and compete in the new world of open access to banks and lower cost payments.
This trend has created further interest from banks in premium APIs that go beyond compliance and enable greater open banking capabilities, such as variable recurring payments. Token is responding to this by providing banks the premium APIs that enable them to do more, and to lead and differentiate themselves in the market.
Financial IT: What are the future milestones that the company wants to achieve?
Todd Clyde: First, we’re aiming to continue with the great success we have enjoyed over the last year, where we emerged as the market leader in open banking infrastructure. For example, we conducted the first payment in the UK through an Open Banking API; are the only PISP live with all 17 brands of the CMA9 banks; have won several high-profile industry awards; and signed over 60 new customers in the last nine months alone. Most importantly, though, we are being selected by large providers of payments infrastructure – we’ll be making some big announcements in the second half of this year.
Second, we are looking to raise more money to further accelerate our connectivity to banks, enhance our product, and expand our geographic focus.
Third, we are looking forward to announcing the pilot of our bank-grade, stablecoin for payments, which will help banks to defend against Facebook’s Libra. This milestone will allow us to fulfil our vision of addressing both payments initiation and payment execution.