Matthias von Hauff, Founder & CEO of TEN31, talks about bridging the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world, the origin of the brand name, and what has been the toughest thing in the process of developing TEN31 as a brand.
When and how was the idea for ten31 born?
TEN31 is a brand name of WEG Bank. Under this name, we summarise all our fintech activities. The idea to build a line of business, which would cater specifically to the needs of the blockchain-based fintech industry, was born after closely observing the space in 2018. We discovered that there was a great need for a regulated entity to support an emerging technology.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on ten31?
We began searching for a suitable name in early 2019. After about six months of intense soul searching, we found the name „TEN31" which relates to the 31st of October, the date on which the whitepaper on bitcoin was published by Satoshi Nakamoto. We felt that the name was catchy and also had a strong link to the industry we are servicing. We also like the fact that there is a certain level of a hidden message within it.
Once you had the brand name, how did you go about choosing the domain name? There are many new extensions, like .bank for example, what made you choose a .com?
There are many new TLDs now. But .com is still internationally regarded as the „real deal". Being a bank, we are a little bit on the conservative side on some things. This is also reflected in the fact that we use the conventional .com domain.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them and communicating your message?
At present, our core clients are blockchain affiliated corporates around the world. However, it has been out aim from the start to develop the B2B business into a B2C direction as well. „TEN31" is a memorable, unique, and innovative name. We are confident that it reflects our own innovative spirit.
What has been the toughest thing in the process of developing ten31 as a brand so far? How do you overcome it?
There has not really been anything „tough" as such. Of course, establishing an entirely new brand is always a challenge. However, we see that the brand is being well received and that it raises curiosity and is easily recognized.
Would you do something differently with regards to your overall brand strategy if you could go back in time?
I would probably want to find ONE common brand for the bank, rather than having two separate brands: WEG Bank and TEN31 Bank. Maintaining two brands at the same time is definitely more demanding.
You provide a bridge between traditional banking and digital currencies, how limited are you with country regulations? How do you see the future in that respect?
The regulatory environment of the European Union helps us greatly in the sense that we can expand our business without any major difficulty across the member states. Of course, once we expand outside the EU, things become somewhat more tricky in terms of regulation.
We believe that the future will show a continuation of regulation becoming tighter around the decentralized financial space. This is something that occasionally causes upheaval, but which we do welcome for the most part. Having a clear and well-drafted regulatory framework provides a reliable setting for the markets.
Do you have any direct competitors? What steps do you take to stay ahead?
One of our main advantages is that we are a fully regulated bank within the German framework. There is a lot of great tech out there who are competitors on one level or another. But we do stand apart in the fact that we fall under what must be one of the most scrutinous regulatory frameworks in the world. Our clients can be sure that we are thoroughly inspected and that we comply with the highest standards of financial integrity.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs in the finance and crypto fields who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
I would advise them to go with a brand that makes them proud, energetic, and happy. If you can wear your brand like your favorite shirt, you are bound to present it convincingly and you will be credible.
What is next for ten31?
The moon. What else should I say?
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