Sila, the all-inclusive API platform for the development of FinTech and new economy applications, today announced the launch of its open Beta program.
Sila delivers simple and secure APIs to accelerate financial innovation, by providing a bridge between the smart contracts functionality of the Ethereum blockchain and existing payment systems such as ACH, all in a regulatory compliant manner. This allows developers and entrepreneurs to integrate speedy value transfers into their applications and bring their applications to market in a matter of weeks instead of years.
Sila CEO, Shamir Karkal, was previously a co-founder at Simple (now part of BBVA after a $117M, acquisition in 2014) and spent two years as Head of Open APIs at BBVA before co-founding Sila. "Existing payment systems — ACH, Visa and SWIFT — are accessible only to a handful of large incumbents, while the money transmission licensing process today is an 12-24 month process, which can kill an application in a rapidly evolving market," he said. "Blockchain has provided a revolutionary method to transfer value, but the industry still needs to connect to existing banking facilities to move forward - and that's where Sila comes in. Our REST APIs provide a layer on top of existing payment systems, making them programmable and ultimately making Sila tokens programmable cash. We remove barriers of regulation, compliance, and development cost, so that innovators can bring their apps to market in a matter of weeks."
Sila offers extensive Ethereum smart contract functionality and value transfer via ERC-20 tokens, ensuring the low-cost, rapid and secure movement of value within an application. Developers gain access to a wide range of payment systems, allowing them to optimize value transfers to suit their customers. The mechanisms are abstracted away and wrapped in a simple and intuitive API toolkit, supported by SDKs in popular programming languages. Sila tokens are pegged to the US Dollar via a centralized, 100% reserve held in liquid US treasuries. This mitigates the volatility commonly seen in cryptocurrencies and ensuring swift money transfers within applications.
The modules provided in the Beta Sila's API cover 5 key areas, removing all the hurdles of integrating the current financial system into an application:
Verify ID: Register a new user with a unique handle, and verify that their identity using standard US financial institution KYC processes
Link Bank Account: A new user's bank account(s) is verified and linked, allowing US dollars to be debited or credited via ACH
Issue: Debits US dollars from a specified account linked to a user's bank account, and issues the corresponding amount of Sila tokens to the blockchain address tied to the user
Redeem: The inverse of the issue command, this burns the specified amount of Sila tokens at the blockchain address of the handle, and credits the linked bank account with the corresponding amount of US dollars
Transfer: Triggers the movement of Sila tokens from one blockchain address to another. There are no limits on the amount of tokens that can be transferred
"Sila's ability to integrate with smart contracts in an intimate way was a game changer for me, as it allowed me to combine the flexibility and speed of the blockchain with the traditional payment and banking systems that users are most comfortable with," said Justin Thomas, Founder of Friendowment and Sila Alpha customer. "I spent a few months assessing ACH processors in an effort to find a cost effective solution that could support Friendowment's requirement to hold and manage funds on behalf of customers. While some options exist, none provide the comprehensive set of services, scalable pricing, and developer-first ethos that Sila does. It took just two weeks to integrate Friendowment with Sila and we're now ready to take it to market."
Joining Shamir Karkal as co-founders is an all-star team composed of heavyweights from various industries from the legal field to the nuclear power sector: CTO Alexander Lipton is an MIT Fellow and a Visiting Professor of Financial Engineering at EPFL, and previously ran Bank of America's global quant business. Chief Legal Officer (CLO), Angela Angelovska-Wilson, is a co-founder of DLx Law, the leading blockchain law firm and had a distinguished career at Reed Smith and Latham & Watkins. COO Isaac Hines comes from the energy sector where he oversaw upwards of $200m in nuclear power projects at various nuclear reactors, including another Oregon startup, NuScale.