Nuo, a lending startup, is launching a “neo-bank” to attract more retail users, Coindesk reports.
The three founders of Nuo, Varun Deshpande, Ratnesh Ray and Siddharth Verma, are calling the new digital banking platform Juno. According to them, Juno will be built on top of ethereum, rely on the Nuo protocol and is expected to launch in either February or March of 2020.
Deshpande said, “What Juno will be able to add is a very simple user experience which is required for retail adoption.” He added, “If there’s anything that can take DeFi [decentralized finance] or crypto mainstream, it would be an interest rate.”
Nuo will not be the first company to create a savings product. Dharma, another lending startup, revealed it would relaunch its services with stablecoin accounts that offer returns based on the Compound lending protocol. Dharma currently advertises an interest rate of 7.7 percen, whilst two other lenders, Celsius and Nexo, offer returns on USDC deposits of 8.2 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Juno plans to launch initially in the U.S., Europe, Singapore and Japan, and the platform plans to partner with online money transmitters in each of these geographies for on-ramp capabilities, Deshpande told Coindesk. Furthermore, he added that partnerships with local banks in each market could one day lead to debit cards and free cross-border payments.
Juno’s investor buy in, included participation from Dragonfly Capital, ConsenSys Labs, Astarc Ventures, Singapore Angel Network and several angel investors, including Balaji Srinivasan, the ex-chief technology officer of Coinbase and former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). It raised $3 million in venture capital in a round jointly led by Polychain Capital and Sequoia Capital.
Nuo currently has $25 million in deposits and $20 million in loans disbursed. Deshpande says Juno’s deposits will be insured by a price volatility insurance fund that Nuo is building and smart-contract insurance.