FinTech Summary: Mobile Wallets, Selfie Banking, Economic Freedom

I want to share a quote with you that I read this week and it has really resonated with me. This is the reason why I write this newsletter:

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische

Thanks for reading – you’re awesome!

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

Building A Mobile Wallet That Customers Want
By Faisal Khan

There should be no doubt that as a society, we are more dependent on our mobile phones than ever before. Our smartphone represents the core of how we communicate and interact. It is truly an extension of us. A digital wallet isn’t the end of cash. Though many would like it, unfortunately, in many, many developing economies, for various reasons, cash remains king and it won’t be disappearing anytime soon. A hybrid coexistence of digital and analogue cannot be emphasised enough. Both ecosystems are here for the next couple of years, with the cash society slowly losing ground to the digital society. A well-designed mobile money wallet solution will take this into consideration and interface with cash-based transactions.

 

How Digital Currency Will Change The World
By Brian Armstrong

Digital currency may be the most effective way the world has ever seen to increase economic freedom. If this happens, the implications are profound. It could lift many countries out of poverty, improve the lives of billions of people, and accelerate the pace of innovation in the world. Economic freedom is one of the great meta-problems of our time (right up there with A.I., quantum computing, and cheap renewable energy). If we can create more economic freedom in the world, it will serve as a giant economic stimulus package for the world, accelerate innovation, reduce wars, make the poorest 10% better off, overthrow corrupt governments, and raise happiness.

 

How The Financial System Crushes The Poor
By Chris Skinner

The reason for thinking this is that poverty and inclusion is yet another area, like identity and clearing and settlement, where technology is not the solution. It can assist in creating a solution, but it’s just part of the solution. The first part – before the technology – is the willingness to use the technology to create a solution. We have things bubbling away to do this, such as the United Nations Digital Identity Project, but it’s going to take a long time. Bear in mind that 1.5 billion don’t officially exist – their births have never been recorded – and there are still 757 million adults (including 115 million 15-24-year-olds) who cannot read or write a simple sentence. That’s a sizeable portion of the world’s population who, even if you gave them the technology, may not be able to use it effectively.

 

One of the World’s Biggest Banks Is Swapping PINs for Selfies
By Lucinda Shen

The world’s 6th largest bank by assets is making use of selfies in a bid to increase both security and convenience. The “selfie” will be matched with a photo from a passport or driving license. On the flip side, the rise of digital banking solutions has also resulted in cuts in physical branches and layoffs. Banks, suffering from weak revenue, have sought to lower expenses while investing more funds in digital and services that can’t be handled by computers.

 

5 things that made me smarter this week

Science is getting to grips with ways to slow ageing. But what does that mean for our society?

What Happened When I Moved My Company To A 5-Hour Workday. A little over a year ago, Tower Paddle Boards started letting employees leave by lunchtime and offering 5% profit-sharing.

How Tech Giants Are Devising Real Ethics for Artificial Intelligence. For years, science-fiction moviemakers have been making us fear the bad things that artificially intelligent machines might do to their human creators.

Bees Buzz for Their Supper. The familiar buzz of a bumble bee is one of those summer sounds that is easy to take for granted. But for the bees, buzzing has a purpose.

It’s official: giant pandas are no longer endangered. Pandas have been one of the world’s most popular totems of the need for wildlife conservation may now become a symbol for the movement’s success.

 

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Alex

I'm a #26 Global FinTech influencer. An Economist by profession, I have worked on both sides of the table - tech startups and global financial organisations. I love football, technology, travelling and photography.

  • Val

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for great article! Since I am not too much into digital currency as you are, tell me how will digital currency help poor countries to get out of poverty? And how this will accelerate innovation?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Val, thanks for your comment! There is no single way how this will change but many ways that will combine into a positive influence for the poorest countries in the world:

      • Economically more efficient – digital money has low transaction costs which is great for the poor because they need to do financial transactions with small amounts of money. Also, it’s inflation proof since it is not connected or pegged to any one currency.
      • It makes it easier to start a business
– anyone with an idea can have customers around the world in just a few hours. It reduces the friction of accepting payments, and helps companies expand globally.
      • It enforces property rights – many people today are unable to safely store wealth without it being stolen or confiscated. Digital currency will allow anyone to be in control of their own money (see brain wallets). In this sense, digital currency will “bank” the unbanked of the world.
      • It promotes free trade and globalization – digital currency excels at cross border transfers. It breaks down barriers for people in different countries to trade with each other (for example to get a loan, or hire someone to complete a job).
      • It reduces corruption and bribery
– with fewer gatekeepers and intermediaries to start a business, there won’t be as many places to apply pressure or curry favor.
      • It provides access to stable currency – digital currencies are more volatile than the dollar or euro today, but their volatility has decreased every year (and are now approaching the levels of some fiat currencies). In the coming years, digital currency will be more stable than many of the 180+ fiat currencies in the world.

      Hope this helps!