ST JULIAN’S, MALTA—U.K.-based Pynk sounds like an attractive proposition: the core team behind the people-powered investment platform are digital startup veterans; it has funding from Canadian venture capital firm, Loyal VC; regulatory compliance; and it’s a graduate of two top digital accelerators.
Its credentials and the pitching prowess of co-founder Rupert Barksfield certainly impressed the judges at Malta’s AI & Blockchain Summit. Pynk won first place in Thursday’s startup contest, and Decrypt caught up with Barksfield to check out how it works.
“Pynk is the only investment vehicle in the world where you can invest time or money,” said Barksfield. “People across the world are not being allowed to access these products because, potentially, they’re poor.”
Essentially, Pynk is harnessing the power of 10,000 people, each with their own predictions about the market, and a proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) called Rose to put your investments in the black, said Barksfield.
Using the platform, people input their predictions about how the Bitcoin market is going to move tomorrow—whether the price will go up or down. The AI algorithm gobbles up that data and informs the team how they should trade on that prediction, he explained.
“The people that invest money benefit, and the profits are shared with everybody,” he added.
The responses are evaluated by Rose using the responders’ prediction history (how many times they got it right), as well as “various geo-political aspects,” which are based, said Barksfield, on the responders’ location.
Location and historical accuracy are the only factors that the AI is given to chew on. But the results, he said, are “incredibly accurate.” To date, he said they’ve been about “87 percent accurate in calling market moves anywhere between 3-9 percent.”
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Right now, the platform is focused solely on Bitcoin. But, from next week, it’s expanding. The team is adding the Nasdaq composite price and also the price of gold. And, towards the end of the year, they’re planning predictions on the property market. In 2020, early-stage blockchain companies are on the agenda.
“That’s the bit we’re really excited about, so we’re acting like an early stage VC,” said Barksfield. “We’re going to—essentially—do due-diligence on projects.” In other words, Pynk will be using the power of the crowd to judge whether these blockchain projects are actually any good.
Pynk has only been in business since May 2018, but has come a long way during that time.
“One of our biggest challenges has been regulation, because we’ve wanted to be regulatory-compliant from day one,” said Barksfield.
He said they’ve now solved that challenge, but can’t reveal how without compromising Pynk’s competitive edge: “We’re working with some really smart firms in the U.K. that have given us the regulatory compliance that we require.”
The company was incubated at the Founder Institute, the world's largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program. In addition, it was accepted into the FinTech accelerator programs of two leading U.K. banks: National Westminster Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
“Pynk has the potential to build a market-leading FinTech business, joining the likes of Revolut and Transferwise,” said Michael Kosic, a partner at Loyal VC.
But the company wants to be more than a FinTech company. According to Barksfield, its name reflects that ambition:
“Pink is the most inclusive color in the world, because underneath all of our skin, regardless of race and where you are in the world, we’re all pink,” he said.
Can’t argue with that.