One of the biggest perks of Coworking spaces is the vast network of innovative companies that exist within the walls. One of the more ground-breaking start-ups is Tokken, a secure mobile payment app for the cannabis industry, led by Lamine Zarrad. Zarrad is in the midst of creating something big within one of the largest growing industries in Colorado. Check out our interview with Shift member and banking pioneer:
Lamine, thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us. I know your schedule has been jam packed with travel these days. Could you tell us a little bit about Tokken?
Tokken is a digital bank that offers a consumer-focused, secure payment system that replaces cash. Our platform leverages the latest technological innovation in cryptography and data management to offer banking and payment services to a growing segment of the under-banked and un- banked.
Give us a little background on yourself. How’d you get into your current gig?
After six years in the Marine Corps, I earned degrees in Business Administration (B.A.) and Public Affairs (M.A.), with a focus on policy analysis and public finance. I worked briefly at Merrill Lynch before joining the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) as a Bank Examiner. During that time, I saw an opportunity to improve the banking system by incorporating the blockchain technology to create a transparent and cashless payment system that is compliant with US banking regulations, effectively extending banking services to large segments of the population—such as the cannabis industry—that are currently “unbankable.”
What is it about Tokken that inspires you most?
I am inspired to bring true innovation to the banking sector, which still operates largely by concepts that were developed in 15th century Florence. Numerous individuals and corporations are left without access to basic services offered by chartered financial institution because of antiquated risk management models. Tokken is reinventing existing risk analytics to generate accurate and dynamic models that will allow us to develop a robust compliance program which, combined with our unique blockchain technology, will allow us to extend financial services to clients who currently operate outside the banking system.
What’s up next for Tokken?
I will be a featured speaker at the PayThink Conference in New Orleans in September, a gathering of leaders from across the financial services industry. I am also looking forward to launching the beta testing round of our service later this summer.