Emma, the U.K. money management app (or self-described “financial advocate”), is launching a cryptocurrency feature by integrating with a plethora of exchanges so that you can easily track your cryptocurrency balances. The idea is that a modern PFM type app should support cryptocurrency if it wants to provide insights into a user’s whole financial life, not just fiat currency sitting in traditional banks or on credit cards.
At launch, the supported cryptocurrency exchanges are Coinbase, Bittrex, Binance, Bitstamp, Kraken, Bitfinex and individual Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses. However, for now the functionality is “read-only,” meaning you can’t make transactions within Emma or buy more cryptocurrency. For that, you’ll still need to visit the individual exchanges, at least for the time being.
“We see cryptocurrency as the next emerging asset class,” Emma co-founder and CEO Edoardo Moreni tells me. “At this point, there are more than 3 million people who have bought Crypto in the U.K. It’s pretty evident that we need to start accepting this as any other type of financial product, in the same way we treat current accounts and credit cards. If Emma is able to help people control and manage a current account, she should be able to do the same for any type of financial product or service”.
On the issue of read-only access, Moreni explains that Emma’s founding goal has always been to build the best financial tracker in the market, hence why the startup hasn’t yet developed any “write-access” features for any of the bank accounts it connects to (or the newly added cryptocurrency exchanges). However, now that Emma’s read only mission is “solid and almost complete,” this will soon change.
“We are going to release several write features in both spaces, traditional and crypto,” says Moreni. “Open Banking will be extremely useful for the former. In terms of the latter, we are already talking with a few providers to introduce write transactions and also the ability to save in cryptocurrency, based on behavioural rules and risk appetite. We see this as a huge opportunity and if we are those who help people understand and invest in crypto for the first time, it fits with our core mission”.
That mission, says the Emma founder, isn’t just to design a really useful aggregator, but to use the aggregated data to help Emma users better manage their money and in the longer term improve their financial well-being.
“We see aggregation as the internet 25 years ago,” he says, “a massive playground which we can use to build technology that has an impact on people’s lives. Our main focus is financial improvement. There is no technology out there that helps you getting out of an overdraft, teaches where and how to save or makes you invest for the first time. We believe this is what Emma is all about.
“We are not trying to be the default interface for a generation or the mission control centre of our finances. We want to build a technology that helps people improve. At the end of the day, that is where the real value is and this is what we are pursuing. This is not and will never be the job of banks, whose goal is to build great financial products, which Emma can interact with”.
To that end, Emma’s list of current features includes:
- Manage all your money in one place (current & savings accounts, credit cards and now crypto)
- Sync budgets to payday (“this is the most requested feature in the U.K.,” says Moreni)
- Find and track recurring payments – as well as predicting future payments and notifying when prices go up and down
- Notify you before you go into overdraft
- Detect hidden bank fees, such as markup on foreign transactions
- Spending insights broken down by category or vendor
- Smart alerts for various transactions
- Real time currency converter
Meanwhile, Emma raised a seed round of £500,000 in July 2018 led by Kima Ventures, one of the first investors in Transferwise, and Aglaé Ventures, the early stage program of Groupe Arnault.