Swiss Fintech Awards & Fintech Germany Award Winner 2021
Built in 133 Days
Top 1 CH Fintech 2021 Handelszeitung, March 21
Zurich-based FQX is radically facilitating trade finance & money markets by using eNotes™, a disruptive short-term financing & payment instrument. In essence, an eNote™ is an unconditional promise to pay a specific sum to another party at a specific future date.
The eNote™ is based on Blockchain technology and can be flexibly sold and transferred to any third party (i.e. an investor). When compared to other financing options, eNotesTM as negotiable instruments outperform through their financial steering capabilities and global transferability.
eNotes™ are based on the globally proven, formerly paper-based “promissory notes”. The enforcement regime applicable to eNotes™ is recognized in over 165 countries. FQX is the first market-ready solution for eNotesTM built on a banking-grade Blockchain (Swiss Trust Chain) with a unique, patent-pending authentication mechanism (based on regulated and qualified electronic signatures provided by Swisscom). The eNote™ infrastructure can be integrated into financing platforms of banks and Fintechs, allowing their customers to benefit from the entire eNote™ lifecycle from issuance to settlement.
Axelra and the team of FQX delivered the solution and infrastructure for creating & transferring electronic negotiable instruments (eNI™) within 131 days. Since Q4 2020, the FQX team is working independent and we are happy to contribute when needed and to accompany FQX on their journey.
Dr. Stephan Meyer, Co-Founder & Co-CEO FQX AG
Benedikt Schuppli, Co-Founder & Co-CEO FQX AG
The FQX team came to Axelra with a first clickable prototype. The product vision and ambition we were striving for combined with an aggressive go-to-market timeline showed us that we need to cut the elephant into smaller slices and accelerate the execution by parallelization.
Thus, together we considered with which MVP scope we could combine a paying customer base for tangible value, speed of implementation and technological feasibility. We converted the result within 2 weeks directly as a low-fi prototype in the context of a workshop series - of course validated with real customers.
This made the requirements and their solutions immediately visible and understood by all. In parallel, the Tech Team has built the basic architecture and development process necessary to achieve this.
A few UX sessions later, the most important elements were in place within 14 days. The short demo with customers showed the excitement of using it coupled with the question: when can we start? That is exactly what we wanted.
In the next weeks, blockchain, backend and frontend were connected together in many small go-lives (continuous integration and deployment) and continuously developed, improved, tested and released.
Nowaday, the product and its features are way progressed - but the effort of creating a product teaser helped in clarifying the USPs and in sales. Visit fqx.ch to experience how the project evolved since.
Dr. Stephan Meyer , Co-Founder & Co-CEO FQX AG
Onboarding is a crucial workflow for every digital product. It is often perceived as an obstacle for the end-user which does not let them enjoy the core product yet. Nonetheless, it contains all assumptions that need to be ensured and established before the user can correctly interact with the product.
In order to sign eNotes legally binding, the correspoding institutional customers and users with correponding roles are identified by video identification (KYC) and further checks. With the integration of the QES Ident Services / Smart Registration Service from the Swisscom Trust Services (running on Hyperledger and in cooperation with ID.NOW) the user receives a Qualified Electronic Signature (incl. eIDAS) and legally binding sign offerings, transactions and eNotes up to this signing limit.
The initial use of Google IAM was blocked by certain financial institutions. Based on the oAuth 2.0 standard, we have therefore built our own IAM, which is successfully used here.
The cloud-based FQX application consists of a React frontend communicating with a multi-service Node.js backend. FQX uses Swisscom’s Smart Registration Services (SRS), formerly known as Registration Authority Service (RAS), to identify the user through video identification by Identity.TM. After a successful identification the user can create qualified electronic signatures (QES) with the All-In Signing Service by Swisscom. With this signature the user can issue electronic promissory notes (eNotes) which are saved to Hyperledger Fabric Chaincode hosted on Swisscom's Consensus as-a-Service (a permissioned/private blockchain consisting of nodes hosted by Swisscom and the Swiss Post).
FQX is deployed to the Google Cloud Platform. The Express.js REST-API exposed to the frontend uses different Node.js services to fulfill its tasks. Internally, the different services are communicating over HTTP with each other. The services are orchestrated by Kubernetes and the CI/CD pipeline is done with Garden.io and Gitlab pipelines.
When the user clicks the “Sign” button the following flow is triggered: The frontend calls the FQX API which checks the state and preconditions with an FQX developed state-machine. Once the conditions are passed, the API triggers the FQX QES service, which calls the Swisscom Signing Service. The user is asked to confirm the sign request with their mobile phone. In the meantime the QES service checks the status of the signature. As soon as the user confirms the signature, a callback is triggered and the signature is saved to the database. If the eNote draft has enough signatures, the chaincode client is called. The hashes and certificates are validated on the chaincode (the “smart contract” of Hyperledger Fabric written in Go-lang) and, if validation is successful, the eNote is saved to the chaincode.