A trip to Spain recently reminded HEC Paris MBA student Henry Tan of all the fun you can have traveling with friends—and all the hassles involved in keeping track of who paid for what.
So when an App that could divvy up expenses and seamlessly accept payments was pitched as a business case to work on at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit Hackathon, Henry quickly signed up.
That was a smart decision. Henry and his teammates won big in the April 2022 competition, walking away with two of the hackathon’s top prizes, worth a total of 2,000 €.
“We solved a problem that everyone can relate to,” Henry says. “For me, the pain point is chasing everyone around and saying, ‘Hey, you owe me 30€.’ Then you have to talk about what currency or what App to use to pay them back. Especially on a weeklong trip where you have to manually input everything you paid for, it’s an unnecessary waste of time.”
“The use of Blockchain as a financial tool is very powerful,” Henry Tan says. “After the MBA, I want to use it to develop something much more impactful and beneficial to society.”
In the span of the hackathon’s 48 hours, Henry and his team designed DSplit. This Blockchain-based App connects to your wallet, securely validates and records every transaction, and automatically calculates the exchange rate for all currencies, including cryptocurrency. Under the team’s proposed business model, DSplit generates profits for its creators by taking a 25% cut from any surplus slippage fees (the difference between the expected price of a trade and the price at which the trade is executed) generated during the currency conversion.
As a J22 HEC Paris MBA student with a background in consumer finance in both the United States and his native China, Henry was able to contribute his business acumen to the team’s winning proposal. “A lot of my team members were developers,” he says. “They know the technology and what it can achieve, but they don’t know how to develop a business case.”
That, he says, is what’s so exciting about the future of Blockchain for business students. “Blockchain has a massive potential,” he says. “It’s already making society more efficient and fair. Now anyone with an internet connection can make a financial transaction without needing a bank account. You no longer have to work with a gallery to show your art. But people are needed who can bring their own business ideas about how to use Blockchain technology.”
Which helps explain why, even though the hackathon’s judges heaped praise on DSplit, Henry says actually creating the App is not something he would personally pursue. “The use of Blockchain as a financial tool is very powerful,” he says. “After the MBA, I want to use it to develop something much more impactful and beneficial to society.”
Towards the endgame of eventually founding his own Blockchain-based startup, Henry will complete the MBA’s Entrepreneurial Project during his Term 4 studies. He’s also working to make as many like-minded connections as possible. That’s why he participated in the PBWS hackathon, and in the other Trek Week events organized by the MBA Blockchain Club. That included 2 days at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, 1 day at Paris NFT Day, and a talk with the CEO of Coinhouse.