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Interview with Husam Yaghi

Tell us about Ateon

I Co-Founded Ateon (www.ateon.net) in 2016 to offer FinTech solutions to clients in Saudi Arabia.  Ateon was the first company to offer Blockchain-based FinTech solutions in Saudi Arabia and among the first in the region.

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain is the future as it offers infinite solutions to many of our unsolved problems and allows for an increase in speed and security in them.  Blockchains are resistant to data modification since the alteration of one block requires consensus across the recorded chain or ledger. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet.

Financial transactions are its core implementation at the moment… what services/solutions are you offering your financial services/banking clients now?

Yes, Bitcoin was the first application to utilize the power of Blockchain.  Then came cross border transfer and p2p payment.  With such applications, antiquated processes were eliminated, intermediaries were elimination.  Later on, startups began to pop out all over the world with innovative Blockchain based products.

At Ateon, we focus on identity management, health records management, documents management, students’ academic records, court proceedings, land registry, and financial inclusion.  We also offer, Single Sign On, Immediate settlement and reconciliation of financial transactions; management of VAT, taxes, Supply Chain, and Logistics.

How is Blockchain enhancing the Fintech space and when will it become the “new normal”? Will banks who don’t adopt it writing their own suicide notes?

I am certain, that businesses which do not start implementing Blockchain will receive the Nokia curse. Change is inevitable and those who do not adapt will surely be left behind. Blockchain is here to stay, because it is the value layer of Internet.

Traditional banks are slowly becoming obsolete as digital banking and Blockchain-based solutions have rendered them uncompetitive.  Kodak was once the pioneer and leader in the photography space for many years.  Why did Kodak fail? Simple, they failed to adapt. The common phrase goes: “history always repeats itself”. The same will happen with banks. Some leading financial organizations have admitted the impact and threat of cryptocurrencies.  Some regulators; like SAMA in Saudi Arabia, has paved the way for local financial houses to offer Blockchain based services.  SAMA signed a partnership with Ripple; which is accelerating the deployment of Blockchain applications.

Where does it leave the likes of Visa/Mastercard?  Can Blockchain provide the complete end-to-end payment solution?

Blockchain is a technology; like the Internet.  Solution providers like Ateon build applications which utilize the power of Blockchain.   We have the first in the world card scheme on the blockchain rails, from our technology partner, Sofitto.  Not only does our solution provide end-to-end digital payment services, but it also supports traditional payment tools as well.  With a solution like ours, payments are settled instantaneously and for a very small transaction fee.  In addition transactions are automated and secured in real time to eliminate fraud, increase transparency and automate taxes collection if needed.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has proved that credit cards as we know them will disappear soon.

Now tell us a bit about yourself?

I see myself diligent, someone who works on a project with all his energy and tools.  I am blessed to have a supportive visionary educated boss, a homogeneous Ateon family, some of the best Blockchain technology parts, and visionary aggressive clients.

What’s your greatest fear?

As a President, I have to deal with the fear of others and convert them to positive energy.  Personally, I have too many worries to list, yet they motivate me to work harder. My job is to conquer fears and to place Ateon where it belongs, at the top.

What’s your ‘secret sauce’ for success?

Confidence and knowledge is my secret sauce. I was able to foresee success at a time of economic adversity.  Also, it is essential to work with the best team, partners, and clients.

What do you think are the most important attributes of successful people?

Passion, determination, and having a supportive wife and kids.

Do you have any regrets?

Over-working and the lack of balance between work and family.

What’s the most challenging thing about the business you’re in?

Building the right team who are as passionate and dedicated. Ateon offers Blockchain custom solutions. Blockchain worldwide is still at infancy.  It’s hard to find fervent believers who can peddle with you.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Homegrown innovation, technologies hot out of the oven.  I enjoy being able to forecast where the world is heading and seeing Ateon as number 1. I enjoy the prospects of leaving fingerprints in lives.  I am blessed to have the full support of both the Chairman and CEO of the Alhamrani Group. Building a new company within a conglomerate is a great advantage: I am able to capitalize on a well-established brand and to focus on quality of service before revenue.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

At a professional level, I challenged the status quo and got Ateon in international press before its first anniversary. At a personal level, I raised teenage entrepreneurs who pitched to Fadi Ghandour at age 13 and 14.  My daughter is into social philanthropy with her Smiles Initiative.

 

NOTE:  you may read the original interview here: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/technology/391109-how-ateon-became-saudi-arabias-first-blockchain-systems-integrator

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