The growth of financial technology never slows down, so companies in this space must “adapt or die.” And that’s the motto that HUMBL has been living by as they work around the clock to help build a platform for Web 3 technologies.
HUMBL was named in Forbes as one of the “Rising Startups to Watch” in 2020, as well as one of Southern California’s “Cool Companies” and is rapidly becoming a brand known for doing things differently than the status quo in Silicon Valley.
Here’s what Brian Foote, CEO of HUMBL, had to say about his company, his team, and the technologies they are building to compete with big tech and big finance in the blockchain era.
What technologies won 2020 and what are you expecting will make a big splash in 2021?
The year 2020 was about distributed development in a COVID-19 environment. Zoom for meetings, Slack for messaging, Upwork for freelancers, and so on. We built our business on some of these platforms.
We think 2021 will be about financial technology services and the personalized use of blockchain.
If you look at when technologies like web, mobile, and cloud first came out, these technologies started with tons of trial and error and proliferated edge cases in their first few years.
Then all of a sudden you have companies like the FANGMAN group in big tech, that came along and started packaging these vast global web technologies into really manageable clicks for the customer.
Posting a picture on Facebook, selling an item on Amazon, or playing a song on Apple iTunes, and that’s when you start to see these decade-long super cycles of mid-market adoption.
That’s the “threshold moment” we believe we are at in the next cycle of blockchain and fintech and we hope to be one of the multi-decade brands to help package those technologies at HUMBL.
What are some easy to understand examples of this?
The migration of personal and physical assets onto blockchain. We think stocks, bonds, credit markets, art, collectibles, land, and real estate will all get tokenized on the blockchain.
There are only so many times you can commoditize a barrel of oil until the market starts seeking other determinants of value to trade on top of, particularly younger Millennial and Gen Z audiences that are bored by traditional financial instruments of previous decades.
When that happens, you will not only get new digital trading, futures, secondary, and derivatives markets, but improved global capital flows into areas that need it. The implications for peer-based commerce and investment constructs on blockchain are pretty cool.
What implications will that have for society and financial markets?
The average consumer has 60-90 apps on their smartphone and that does not chart well in market research in the era of mass customization.
We think the consolidated ability to discover, list, trade, track, invest, pay, review and book tickets within “super apps” will be table stakes over the next several years in developed markets.
It’s already happening in China with AliPay and WeChat Pay, so this is nothing particularly novel in terms of the marketing construct for consumers.
We are trying to architect HUMBL in a way that is customizable and modular as a plugin, very similar to plug adapters when you travel by region.
We are also a matching engine to referral partners in the areas of service where it makes sense for the customer, so you don’t have to exit the digital realm no matter where you are on the network.
What are the limitations on your business moving faster to this Web 3 reality?
Compliance and regulatory are a major focus for us and will dictate how fast we can move with our platform. HUMBL is an extremely compliance-focused organization and we hope to be a best-in-class example for regulators of doing innovative new things with technology, at their direction here in the United States and abroad.
What are the key things to consider during this transition?
Equal access to technology, as well as financial inclusion for everyone across the global income pyramid. The GDP of all UN 2030 Agenda countries, particularly in the emerging markets, will depend on this. We think that comes through both smartphones and local pickup hubs.
For example, The Tonga Royal Family hosted us in the Oceania Region for a few weeks and we learned so much from seeing how real the amplification effects are for reducing the cost to send money, borrow money, and become a digital merchant, even in lower connectivity zones.
However, I think it’s also important to note that some of the happiest and most innovative cultures in the world are in low connectivity zones; so I also think that we need to be mindful that big tech can be just as harmful as it can be helpful if it’s consolidated in the wrong hands regarding censorship, citizen controls, and personal data protection.
What did you notice about the global markets you traveled to when researching HUMBL?
That growth over the next decade is likely going to come from the innovations of the emerging markets. The governments in these markets are supportive of entrepreneurs – working rapidly to deliver improved customer access, savings, lending, and capital formation through technology because they know it can get their countries in the game of cross-border commerce and inbound investment into their regions.
What are some trends you are seeing in the markets overseas?
Government migrations to the digital economy and digital forms of their national money. We recently responded to a public sector RFP in Asia to develop a super app that would process millions of synchronized transactions per day across peer payments, travel bookings, ticketing, and merchants in their country, in one mobile application. Absolutely no idea if HUMBL will win, or if the project will go through, but this kind of visionary stuff is coming down the pipeline.
Your vision for Web 3 seems to really be resonating with global audiences, what is so captivating about the next era of technology?
When you have proven Wall Street guys like Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, saying that Wall Street should be “scared shitless” of the coming fintech proliferation and blockchain innovations, it tells me that we’re on the right track with the positioning of our consumer, payments and financial services products.
I think people dig that it’s happening with teams of men and women like HUMBL spread out around Zoom calls and labs and co-working spaces around the world, like the early days of the world wide web, when it was more decentralized and cooperative.
We feel a tremendous sense of pressure to build and deliver, but we’re also trying to remember that we’re helping build the future for a much broader mission.
A Final Word From The Author
HUMBL is on the cutting edge of working to pair consumers, merchants, institutions, and governments together in the digital economy.
There’s going to be a lot of movement in the decade ahead, both in the United States and in emerging markets.
It’s sure to be an exciting ride, with HUMBL playing a major role in the next wave of web technologies on the global stage.