When your house starts to fade…

FinTech House Fade

It’s hard for big companies to innovate incrementally because the process often feels slow and, nearly, meaningless. There are no ‘big wins’, at least not done quickly. Repainting your house the same color it already was feels like a waste. It’s a lot of effort merely to keep things as they are. Minor updates feel like repainting your house but they matter because once you need a big update it may prove a mountain too high to climb. But if you don’t do it, time and entropy kick in and the house starts to fade.

Thanks for reading; YOU are awesome! Just hit reply if you want to get in touch 🙂

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

Rebuilding “Truth”
By Pascal Bouvier

As an investor, the more meaningful fintech opportunities I see on the horizon center around enabling a new truth equilibrium. This is why core banking systems or policy management systems for insurers are so exciting. This is why digital sovereignty – digital identity schemes, privacy schemes applying equally as direct to consumer solutions and b2b solutions – are so exciting. This is why distributed ledger or blockchain tech is so exciting, when appropriate. This is why solutions that allow us to make sense (truth) of data such as new generation data marketplaces are so exciting. Any and all of these hold the promise of anchoring us with new truths we can trust. Therein lies the real signal. The efficiency part is only noise.

 

What should be priority for banks
By Chris Skinner

Embrace technology and change the boardroom. Banks are led by bankers, but banks are fintech firms too. Banks should, therefore, have a good balance of technologists and bankers in the boardroom. If a bank’s leadership team cannot understand the difference between machine learning and deep learning, or between blockchain and a distributed ledger, how can they possibly lead the bank into this digital future?

 

Cards vs non-cards, or cards and non-cards?
By Dave Birch

The traditional merchant acquirer will transmute into a Merchant Service Provider (MSP), fits within this narrative. I can see that merchants want value-added services, a great many of which depend on collecting and analysing large quantities of data rather than just “cost plus” payment processing. What’s more, as the cost of payments heads toward zero, nodes in the value chain will have to provide those value-added services or be bypassed. So, will Visa and MasterCard be bypassed by open banking? If they do nothing, then yes. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Alipay and others will simply go directly to consumer payment accounts via APIs, and payments will begin to drift away from the 8,583 rails put in place over many years. But they won’t do anything.

 

Why insurance might finally be getting interesting
By EY

InsurTech is finally catching-on. The industry has only recently woken up to the many opportunities that new technology offers and now we’re seeing more firms investigating what phones and apps can do for them. But the insurance industry is just catching up with its customers. Consumers, used to seamless experiences from many of their interactions, are expecting to see it from their insurance companies too. The big, established players, in particular, have recognised the need to embrace new technologies to remain relevant and engage with customers. This is more crucial than ever as new players have entered the field, all with an eye on the prize. Jumping on the digital bandwagon is no longer an option – but a necessity for all insurance companies – no matter their size. 

FinTech Virality Loop and Why It’s So Scary

How Does Banking Taxonomy Works (Or Doesn't Work)

How Does Banking Taxonomy Works (Or Doesn't Work)

One of the biggest advantages FinTech have over incumbents is the positive feedback loop, particularly for marketplace type businesses such as TransferWise. These new upstarters have the edge – they are pleasant to use and they encourage virality. If people save money using TransferWise they share it on social media (see image below) praising the brand and the service, in turn, advertising it. This gets more users who do the same. By increasing the number of users using its service TransferWise is becoming a more powerful network, and business. This is a positive feedback loop. Can you imagine this happening with RBS or HSBC? I don’t know. Actually, I couldn’t find a positive endorsement on their social media pages at all. That’s why TransferWise is winning.

Thanks for reading; YOU are awesome!

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

4 Banking Business Models for the Digital Age
By Ben Robinson

Digitization of the banking industry is making new banking business models possible. But, it is the combination of regulation and technology that is making new business models a necessity. There are 4 strategic options open to banks. These vary in terms of the scope of banks’ own activities as well as in terms of profitability. The traditional universal banking model and the infrastructure provider model are both asset intensive and low margin, which makes them unattractive. In addition, the universal banking model, in that it requires the bank to manufacture and distribute all of its products, is probably unsustainable. The aggregator model offers the possibility for very high profitability with low asset intensity, but will be difficult to defend. Thus, it is the vertically integrated but open platform model which offers the best route to sustainably high margins.

 

The Bank of the Future Will Be Invisible
By Finextra

By 2030, technology will have made banks and banking invisible to customers, hidden by Siri-like personal assistants that cull data from our connected lives to fulfil daily personal and financial obligations, claims KPMG. In this vision, there is no “banking app” – access to money is interwoven with health, time management, leisure and other parts of daily life. This means that the “platform layer” – the customer interface – is likely to be provided by global technology players such as Google, Apple and Facebook. Banks can own the product layer – product, balance sheets, security and custody of assets – but a new wave of utilities – outsourcers, fintechs and existing giants such as Visa – will emerge to win the process layer, facilitating things like payments, client onboarding and KYC.

 

Banks’ Burning Platform is Obvious
By Chris Skinner

There is a burning platform in all banks, and it’s called the legacy system. That’s how I know it’s a burning platform as, for every year that passes, the embers that were ignited by internet banking have been getting more fuel on the fire. Mobile banking; digital reach; new open platforms; blockchain, cloud and APIs; machine learning, apps and analytics; and more. All of these open, internet-based technologies have been attacking that proprietary internal legacy, and the longer it goes on, the hotter the problem is getting. Like a dead fish washed onto the shores, an incumbent bank will go the same way if it doesn’t open up and join the marketplace wave. This has been a requirement for twenty years, since the internet banking age arrived, but is now a burning platform as the opening of finance through FinTech has arrived.

 

Why Facebook is a Dark Horse in the Financial Services Industry
By Elena Mesropyan

For someone who looks beyond popular news releases of the financial sector, quite different (and often repeatedly) names pop up in the background, and those are not ‘financial’ names at all – we are talking about large technology and code-first companies that were never before considered a part of the financial services industry. For an illustrative purpose, let’s take a look at the biggest social media giant of all times – Facebook. The company has been having big plans for its Messenger App and professionals across industries started paying closer attention to the ever-expanding commercial capabilities of a former chat app. The bottom line here is not that Messenger will push banks out of business, but the fact that users may not need to communicate with a bank to get a financial service if banks channel those services in a more efficient manner through a user-friendly and highly automated channel.

 

5 things that made me smarter this week

What a computer thought of the presidential debates. A team of grad students showed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s performances to software that interprets emotions from facial expressions. Sarah Slobin and Michael Tabb present the results, which, while crude, are surprisingly revealing.

Meet the Russians hacking the US election. A group known as (among other names) “Fancy Bear” has been identified for years as the culprit behind various high-profile hacks. But only now has the US openly accused it of taking orders from the Kremlin. Buzzfeed’s Sheera Frenkel describes its tactics.

Scientists might have finally found a cure for the common cold. A new vaccine is showing promising results in animal trials.

De Beers is mining underwater diamonds. A powerful vacuum on the ocean floor near Namibia has found some of the world’s most valuable gems (paywall).

Sweden is trying to revive repair shops. It’s offering tax breaks to citizens who fix, rather than replace, broken consumer products.

Thanks for reading – you are awesome!

If you like it send it to a friend. If you hate it send it to an enemy.

FinTech Summary #52 – The Banking Bazaar

Digital Banking - FinTech Summary 52

Today is the 52nd issue of FinTech Summary! What a year this have been. I have learnt a lot about this fascinating industry. Met loads of like-minded people. Made friends. I hope you have too! If you haven’t (and you live in London), hit me up and let’s grab a coffee.

I wanted to thank you all for reading; YOU are awesome!

I will be cheeky and ask for a small birthday present:

If you could share this post with at least 1 friend I will be eternally grateful (or well, at least as far as my lifetime stretches) 🙂

 

The Banking Bazaar and the Bizarre Banker
By Chris Skinner

The marketplace is the focal point for many FinTech start-ups, as they can create ‘stalls’ here that become major technology businesses like Stripe and Square. Banks have the regulatory licence to be marketplace owners. The bank just owns the space where a stall holder offers their goods and services, charging a fee. Lots of partners sell services in their market to the banks’ customers and, equally, the bank can sell lots of services to the market stallholders and their customers. It’s a good space to be. The thing is that hardly any banks see the world this way today. They want their customers locked into an end-to-end delivery of mediocre digital services in a monolith structure. The banks who try to lock out the third parties and play by themselves will do just that eventually left and forgotten.

 

The Unbundling of Insurance
By Daily FinTech

Unbundling is what digitisation does to Incumbents. Insurance industry currently has a three stack layer: Brokers, Insurers and Reinsurers. Blockchain technology unbundles the link between Insurance Companies and Reinsurance Companies. Now any investor can be a Reinsurer. This could facilitate microinsurance type policies such as crop insurance. Companies using Blockchain technology, such as  Symbiont can transform insurance risk into a security, thus making it simpler for investors. The impact of the technology like this will be the unbundling of Insurance and the democratisation of Reinsurance.

 

Bitcoin – Its Time Has Come!
By Faisal Khan

The fundamental attribute of any technology can be traced back to the triangle of choice – price, quality, speed. You can choose any two elements, and the third one will go against you. Bitcoin (and the blockchain) are able to defeat the triangle of choice. You can have higher quality (read: global coverage, equal access to all), higher speed of transfer and a lower price per transaction with bitcoin. When something is disruptive in nature, it usually implies that all the norms have been shattered. Society needs to rethink and reevaluate in light of what has transpired. We need to rethink our money.

 

How [And Which] FinTech Startups Are Breaking Banking for Freelancers
By Pavel Cherkashin

The global financial system is broken, and freelancers are getting the short end of the stick. For example, a freelancer in the Philippines who makes $5 per hour and just finished a $100 project will have to pay roughly 10% cash out. Imagine your bank charging $1,000 to cash a check of $10,000. The free banking economy goes much deeper than you may think. In fact, every third working American is freelancing. There is a huge opportunity for a new cross-border, freelance-friendly banking services to become available. Then you’ll see an even higher exit from the traditional full-time employment, which will come at a cost to traditional banking leaving them with fewer and fewer customers.

 

5 things that made me smarter this week

 
Some words sound the same in every language. An analysis of two-thirds of the world’s languages found that certain basic words are associated with similar sounds.
 
Buzz Aldrin’s Guide to Earth Exploration. One of humankind’s first moonwalkers talks about his favorite travels on his home planet.
 
What is internet culture? For some of us, the internet culture is closer to our hearts than the culture of the physical place where we grew up.
 
A world without work is coming – it could be utopia or it could be hell. Robots will eventually do all our jobs, but we need to start planning to avert social collapse
 
How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math. The building blocks of understanding are memorization and repetition.

FinTech Summary #51: Three Sexiest Words in FinTech

FinTech Summary - Three Sexiest Words in FinTech

I was working on a project for a major global bank to help them build their digital strategy/brand. They feature we discussed were impressive, but the statement was rather dull, safe, wordy. This is exactly why they are struggling to establish an industry leading brand – the unwillingness to be bold, brave and adventurous. The best branding lesson I ever got was – “If I can substitute one company for another and have the ad still make sense, it’s not a good ad.” That’s why fintechs are often ahead of financial institutions, just look at the TransferWise ad

Transferwise FYCK ad

 

Thanks for reading – you’re awesome!

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

This Week’s Summary

The Three Sexiest Words In FinTech
By Chris Skinner

Three big areas are emerging in FinTech, from an investors viewpoint: FinTech for the unbanked, the rise of blockchain technologies and InsTech. The “Sexy words” in FinTech for tomorrow will belong to IoT, O2O, big data and chat-bots. Notwithstanding a huge potential of all these developments, no breakthrough is likely in the short term. These services will be developing for years and, what is most important, we will have to learn them. Users will have to become comfortable with sharing their growing amounts of data and ask questions, make mistakes, correct them and teach firms how to understand us and be able to predict our needs. This teaching process will hinge on our willingness to engage and the amount of time and effort we have to spend on them. It takes not only developers.

 

Remember Satoshi: Blockchain Economics And Law
By Kurt Dew

Economics and law are a couple of important factors in the success of any venture. Thus the mystery. The single economic fact that resulted in the economic feasibility and ultimate significance of blockchain technology — the founder’s contribution — seems to be misunderstood. It is simply silly to ignore Satoshi’s major coup: converting potential hackers of blockchains into protectors. I hasten to add, looking at the rules governing bitcoin’s miners — the specific set of miner incentives in bitcoin — there is no doubt these rules can be bettered. I believe a skilled financial analyst could design a permissioned blockchain where protectors of the system are identified, managed, and monitored, while giving them incentives sufficient to make protecting more valuable than hacking.

 

Why Fintech Startups Might Not Want to Become Unicorns
By Julie Verhage

In mythology, unicorn sightings are blessed events. In the fintech world, they might be increasingly ill-fated. Striving to achieve a valuation of $1 billion or more may no longer be in a start-up’s best interest, according to recent valuation trends and the venture capitalists who invest in the space. Fintech firms, in particular, are posing a headache for investors as rising valuations create a limbo-like state in which start-ups become too pricey for larger firms to buy, but don’t have business models that are scalable enough for a debut in the public markets.

 

InsurTech Ventures Going After Big and Complex Health Insurance Pain Points
By Amy Radin

Innovators addressing the root of user pain points can influence how plans are selected, and health care is consumed. The levers are not easy to move. Success requires compliant ways of combining big data analytics and personalization with user-centric digital experiences. The headline of a recently published New York Times article, Cost, Not Choice, Is Top Concern of Health Insurance Customers would seem to state the obvious. People don’t see value because they don’t understand what they are buying. People are being held accountable for health decisions that they are not equipped to handle. People don’t always make rational decisions. The multiple miracles that would have to occur for a quick fix make it unlikely that we will see a simple, logical health insurance experience any time soon. We are relatively early in what is likely to be a long game.

 

5 things that made me smarter this week

Purple Skittles taste different in the US because of regulation. A federal ban on growing blackcurrant prevented the flavor from growing popular stateside, even as it became commonplace in Europe.

What Should You Choose: Time or Money? People who chose time were on average statistically happier and more satisfied with life than the people who chose money.

New Yorkers will pay $56 a month to shorten their commutes by a minute.

Paralympic runners in Rio ran faster than their Olympic counterparts. In the 1500-meter race for the visually impaired, the first, second, third, and fourth-placed runners each beat the timeset by gold medal winner Matthew Centrowitz in August.

Your smartphone works better in your right hand. Especially if it’s an iPhone.

 

FinTech Summary makes it easier to stay informed. Join the thousands who start their week with FinTech Summary digest.

I Just Got Back From The Future – This Is How Banking Will Look Like In 2025

I just came back from the future - this is how banking will look like

I just came back from the future - this is how banking will look like

Banking has hardly changed until very recently. Yes, in the early 2000’s we started slowly adopting telephone banking, then there was Internet banking, now there is mobile banking. However, all of this ‘innovation’ simply changed how we access bank, not how we bank.
I believe the upcoming changes in banking will change beyond how we access banks and change how we bank too, hopefully, making it more secure and convenient.

 

Banking In 2025

Let’s have a ride in my DeLorean DMC-12. Year 2025, GO!
Ok, sorry about some turbulence, we’re here. See that’s future you, for some reason, you need to go to the bank branch. I know, it’s 2025, but you insist…
Other you (the one from the future) quickly tells your voice assistant that you are going to bank branch; it finds the nearest one near you and loads the details to your Augmented Reality (AR) headset. You get into your flying self-driving (or self-piloting) car. Those will exist; don’t shatter my dream. The car flies you to the branch, you don’t need to worry about parking, your car will just drive away and find a parking spot nearby. You will simply hail it from your smart watch once you are leaving the building (that’s a scary thought for Uber).

 

The Branch of the Future

Apple Store - FinTech Summary

Apple Store

You walk into all white bank branch that feels like an Apple store. There are huge touch screens and iPad Vacuums (you know they are so light it’s practically vacuum so they called it vacuum because Air is considered heavy these days) on the table. You will find the nearest available iPad, launch authentication app which will scan your retina, fingerprint and 3rd party (bank employee who is present nearby) approval that you are not being forced to authenticate your account against your will. More like supermarket self-checkout experience where there is one employee who only approves age for alcohol purchases and helps if something goes wrong.

Self Service - Digital Banking

Self Service – Tescos

 

 Instant Secure Service

You’re logged in, and the app has synced with your augmented reality handset. You seem to be transferring a large amount of money, so you need to verify the transaction with your voice, the app asks you to read out a sentence and say your name. All matches.
The reason you are transferring a large amount of money is because you are moving to a new bank, you like their app better. Since it’s 2025 changing banks is as easy as changing the brand of your shampoo. All data is owned by the customer and can be provided to all other institutions via API, instantly.
Money is wired instantly because of advances in blockchain technology and settlement.

 

Bots Are Running The Bank!

Your phone vibrates. You got a new message on Facebook Messenger from your new bank saying that your new account has been activated. You can start using it right away. You only registered for it 30 minutes ago.

Chat Bot - Fintech Summary, Digital Banking

Chat Bot – Digital Banking

You respond with a thank you because your conversation feels very natural and human-like even though you are talking to bot called Jenny (you can change it Jack if you want). She asks you if you would like to enable personal finance manager support and personal accountant support, free of charge. You ask what they are and Jenny kindly explains:
Personal finance manager, Bob, is an AI-powered bot that gives you a holistic view of your finances and provides forward-looking advice. For example – good investment opportunities for your risk profile, remortgaging your house loan or consolidating your loans into a more attractive P2P loan to shave off interest payments if better deals are available.
Personal accountant, Diana, is also a bot, who has a more backward look at your finances, identifying largest expense pools, comparing spending of any specific category month-to-month to understand the changes and providing suggestions how to make more with your money.
Diana asks if you want her to help you save better with smart saving. You quickly type – ‘what’s smart savng?’ Diana is not phased by the spelling mistake and explains that smart saving will use your previous spending data to understand when is the best time for you to save and how much you can afford to put aside. It will occasionally transfer a small amount to your savings account when according to the algorithm you need will miss it least, and sends you a message on WhatsApp (you can change it to WhatsApp or even Snapchat if you want) to ask if you’re happy about it. If you say no, the money is instantly returned to your main account.
This way, Diana explains, we can develop better saving habits and taking out the most difficult part of the savings equation – ourselves. You agree.

Digital Banking - Savings

Digital Banking – Savings – Every Bit Adds Up

 

Exceptional Service

You thank Diana and got back to your chat with Jenny. You say that you would like to use both services, it’s free after all. You say thank you, because, again, it feels like talking to a friend with a very casual language and emojis. Now you ask her to change your monthly rent payments (all payee details are stored centrally, and you don’t need to reenter them even though you just opened this bank account) to include that 2% annual rent increase and then send it to your landlady. 15 seconds later you get a message that it is done. At this point, you are not even typing but simply talking to the microphone. It’s easier this way, and you are constantly authenticated (voice authentication) to carry out most operations. At the critical moments such as money transfer, you are required to tap fingerprint scanner as a second step confirmation.
Ok, you’re done, you press the 1-button logout. The session is closed (it would close anyway as soon as you step more than 5 feet away from the iPad due to NFC sync between your AR set and the iPad as an added security measure).
You tap your smart watch to hail your car and fly into the sunset… Banking feels more like shopping for gadgets than, well, banking!
Ok we need to go back now, DeLorean is running out of fuel. They haven’t invented electric time travel cars yet…

 

Back to Reality

How do you imagine banking in the future? Would you be more likely to trust your banks with services like that? Leave a comment.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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I need to go and wash DeLorean before dad finds out…

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FinTech Summary: Mobile Wallets, Selfie Banking, Economic Freedom

FinTech Summary Issue 50

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.

 

FinTech Summary makes it easier to stay informed. Join the thousands who start their week with FinTech Summary digest.

FinTech Weekly Summary | Aug 08 – 15

Protocols are very important. However, they are not a sexy topic and often misunderstood. We rarely think of email as SMTP protocol, but it is. The application that we see is just a ‘nice-wrapper.’ The reason we can send email from @gmail account to @yahoo account is because of the underlying protocols. They ensure that applications use the same language and can communicate. The recent appearance of blockchain (a  protocol) has enabled a completely new business model to create a whole deal of other protocols (nothing related to blockchain itself). This is a tremendous opportunity for innovation, and it will change many things – the first two summaries go into more detail about this. Protocols are a technical (potentially dry) topic to understand but understand it we must. It is a tremendous step in tech evolution. It is like taking medicine – not pleasant to do but will make us better later 🙂

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

Fat Protocols
By Joel Monegro

The previous generation of shared protocols (TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, etc.) produced immeasurable amounts of value, but most of it got captured and re-aggregated on top at the applications layer, largely in the form of data (think Google, Facebook and so on). This relationship between protocols and applications is reversed in the blockchain application stack. Value concentrates at the shared protocol layer and only a fraction of that value is distributed along at the applications layer. There are two things about most blockchain-based protocols that cause this to happen: the first is the shared data layer, and the second is the introduction cryptographic “access” token with some speculative value. Increasing value at the protocol layer attracts and incentivises competition at the application layer. Together with a shared data layer, which dramatically lowers the barriers to entry, the end result is a vibrant and competitive ecosystem of applications and the bulk value distributed to a widespread pool of shareholders. This is a big shift. It will prevent “winner-takes-all” situations and creates an entirely new category of companies with fundamentally different business models at the protocol layer.

 

The Theory of a Blockchain Circular Economy
By William Mougayar

We are in the early stages of a new chapter in the nature of work. The blockchain will enable us to do our jobs and be compensated inside new circular economies that have their own currency units and their own work units. Most work today is compensated via bilateral agreements between a worker and an employer according to a simple contract: you work in X job, and we will compensate you in Y currency. With more control, we would then be able to perform new types of tasks that may or may not resemble what is traditionally considered labor, and earn cryptocurrency instead of fiat currency. Already, a number of blockchain based businesses are compensating users for their ‘work’ via digital tokens. At the heart of making this possible, is the relationship between actual work done, the value created, and value received. These type of mechanics and operations will benefit and enable their users also to partake in their success via the sharing of network equity. What is happening here is the creation of mini circular economies that are self-contained.

 

Disruptive Mentality in Banking
By Vicente Quesada

The disruptive mentality for the digital transformation requires innovating, ideally without ‘muscle and money.’ What would disruptive mentally look like in banking? Charge at a 90% discount rate credit card services; link advertising performance with product demand; use voice robot financial advising; issue personalised financial products with 50 times less face value; be at least 10 times smarter with big data usage for product development and promotion, that will enable Amazon-like recommendations to increase product consumption; use machine-learning models for consumer credit risk management, etc. Disruptive mentality innovation can create a true competitive advantage for banks that embrace it.

 

Risks in the Crowdfunding Industry
By Vaishali Naroola

The UK’s financial watchdog is probing the crowdfunding sector for the second time in two years. The rationale behind this is that this sector is displaying signs similar to those that were displayed by market players in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Putting this in perspective, the global crowdfunding market is expected to reach between $90-96bn by 2025, which is approximately 1.8 times the size of the global venture capital industry today. Crowdfunding and its offshoot, peer-to-peer lending, come with inherent risks as any other financial product. These risks have to be uniformly communicated and understood by market participants before a market floor can be established. If the goal is to become better investors, let’s start by understanding these risks for what they are: pooling of credit risk, asymmetric information and limited liability and the role of the platform provider.

 

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FinTech Weekly Summary | June 12 – 19

The future of banking debate has two sides – banks will be replaced by tech companies (fintechs or apples and facebooks of this world) vs a view that challengers are just a noise and banks will replicate their features in-house or simply buy them when they need to. They certainly have capital to buy out any FinTech firm but simply having capital may not be enough. What banks are currently missing is the appeal and the ability to hire the right talent to continue the innovation. Customers expect more than an update twice a year. Buying a challenger will provide banks with great interface/platform for that moment. But will the core team stay or will they just cash-in and move on to find another challenger? Who will replace these people? Same resource that created the initial tool/app that fell behind?

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

Big Banks Will Look More Like Google by 2025
By Don Raftery

In the ongoing battle of big banks versus fintech companies, there will be an ultimate victor: the incumbent. By 2025, leading banks will operate as digital financial superstores that blur the line between technology companies and banks. Even as large banks reassert themselves in a digital age, they will face competition from new market entrants eager to apply far-flung communications networks, artificial intelligence, cloud-computing platforms and other technology advantages to the world of banking. Virtually, the only thing standing between banks and giants like Google and the telecom providers will be a banking license.

 

Could Apple Be Your Next Bank?
By Alessandro Hatami

If Apple decides to launch Apple Banking, it would give banks a real run for their money. Apple has a better grasp on user experience and customer engagement than most businesses, not just banks. The attractiveness of the banking sector for Apple isn’t in its financial return. Apple’s interest is in becoming an even more integral part of its customers’ life, creating an even higher barrier for them to switch hardware provider. In a few years, we could see that not only does the world’s biggest taxi service not own any cars, and the world’s largest hotel chain not own any property, but also that the world’s greatest bank doesn’t have a banking license.

 

Digital Is All About The People
By Chris Skinner

I got caught up in a conversation about building a new digital bank the other day, and was asked how I would organise the project. I’m a simple guy and go back to basics. Basics of any company always comes back to people, process and product. There are no barriers, so build the bank with passion and vision based on the human outreach through digital foundations. Once you have that journey outlined, you can start to fill in the blanks. The blanks define the processes required to connect the human contact to the digital foundation. It will determine how many humans and buildings are needed in the digital structures, if any, and will provide the roadmap for building the new bank.

 

5 Factors Experts Say Drove Bitcoin’s Rise to $700
By Charles Bovaird

The price of bitcoin surged close to 20% over the weekend spanning 11th June and 12th June, and this robust appreciation grabbed the attention of many experts who were quick to give their two cents on the rally. Market observers provided a wide range of explanations for this climb: the ongoing ‘Brexit’ uncertain, the rising visibility of blockchain technology, the impending halving of rewards paid to key participants in the bitcoin network, concerns about China, supply demand mismatch. This could be any of this factors or combination of some/all of them. But Bitcoin is certainly becoming a currency that is affect by geopolitical factors.

 

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FinTech Weekly Summary | May 01 – 08

This week I’d like to share a short post from Seth Godin, a well-known marketing expert, that I read this week and has really resonated with me. I think this is really relevant for FinTech community. FinTech firms tend to overly focus on customer feedback, especially the ones’ they couldn’t convert. However, we should instead focus on the ones that we won over already and ask them for guidance. See Seth’s post below.”When someone doesn’t say yes, they’ll often give you a reason. A common trap: Believe the reason. If you start rebuilding your product, your pitch and your PR based on the stated reason, you’re driving by looking in the rear view mirror. The people who turn you down have a reason, but they’re almost certainly not telling you why.

“When someone doesn’t say yes, they’ll often give you a reason. A common trap: Believe the reason. If you start rebuilding your product, your pitch and your PR based on the stated reason, you’re driving by looking in the rear view mirror. The people who turn you down have a reason, but they’re almost certainly not telling you why.Fake reasons: I don’t like the color, it’s too expensive, you don’t have enough references, there was a typo in your resume. Real reasons: My boss won’t let me, I don’t trust you, I’m afraid of change. By all means, make your stuff better. More important, focus on the unstated reasons that drive most rejections. And most important: Shun the non-believers and sell to people who want to go on a journey with you.”

Fake reasons: I don’t like the color, it’s too expensive, you don’t have enough references, there was a typo in your resume. Real reasons: My boss won’t let me, I don’t trust you, I’m afraid of change. By all means, make your stuff better. More important, focus on the unstated reasons that drive most rejections. And most important: Shun the non-believers and sell to people who want to go on a journey with you.”

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

It Doesn’t Matter If Craig Wright Is Bitcoin’s Inventor
By Joon Ian Wong

An Australian entrepreneur, Craig Wright, has written an extensive blog post claiming to provide cryptographic evidence that he is bitcoin’s inventor, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s easy to see why so many are scrambling to parse Wright’s claim. Bitcoin, after all, has ignited an explosion of activity in the usually dull expanses of the international financial system’s back offices. Bitcoin itself has become a spectacular success: All the bitcoin in circulation today is worth about $7 billion; and indeed, it was the best performing currency of 2015. But while the question of Satoshi’s identity is a fascinating internet riddle, with more than a tinge of Keyser Söze-like mythology around it, the truth is, it doesn’t really matter.

 

How Peer-to-Peer Changes The Financial World
By Chris Skinner

Another factor of reimagining finance for the internet age is the very nature of person-to-person connectivity and peer-to-peer networking. These two factors are very different and also different in the nature of how people are connecting. In the developed world, we have the viral connectivity of the smartphone; in the developing world, we have the basic connectivity of the mobile phone. Soon, both will transition into smart and mobile objects from cars and televisions to heating systems and refrigerators. The banking system meanwhile is still stuck in a world of debit and credit transactional structures of volume and value based upon people paying for things. As we move from paying for things to consuming parts of things and as our devices order those things on our behalf, the banking system needs to rethink.

 

FinTech Doesn’t Just Disrupt Banks, It Makes Them Platforms
By Josh Constine

It’s easy to move your money between banks. What’s annoying is moving your apps. Even down on the credit and debit card level, e-commerce products from Amazon to Uber have added friction to switching banks. You’d have to go in and update your accounts in each of these apps. Now fintech is doing the same with apps jacked directly into your bank account. That could allow banks to focus more on new customer acquisition and upselling than retention, because users are inherently becoming entrenched with their existing bank.

 

What Fintech Exits Tell Us About The Bubble Question
By Bernard Lunn

The hype talk on stage presentations is contrasted with behind the scenes talk about bubbles and down rounds and layoffs. We have been trashing the Fintech hype all through 2015, so we are clearly not perma-bulls and feel OK and now are offering a positive point of view amid all the gloomy talk. There is a new sober realism, neither hype nor gloom since we have some hard data to analyse recent exits to understand the market better.

 

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FinTech Weekly Summary | Apr 10 – 17

Currently, the vast majority of FinTech services are too complex for the masses. We haven’t shifted our mindset from talking about features to highlighting benefits. This is one of the main marketing principles. If you’re hosting your website, you don’t care how many parallel servers are running your code; you care that your website will be accessible 99.9999% of the time. When you buy a glass of orange juice, you care that it is fresh and not what size oranges were used to produce it. Benefits are what we care about but in FinTech we are still talking about features. Starting to market services such as Smart Contract, Blockchain and Digital Identity Management for their benefits will make them much more appealing, and, crucially, more understandable to the masses.

Have a wonderful week,
Alex

 

Forget How Blockchain Works, Talk About What It Does
By Martin Hagelstrom

We all should know by now that 2016 will be blockchain’s biggest year yet. The key to this transition has been the rebranding of distributed ledgers and digital currencies under the larger banner term “blockchain”, a word that has become so common, it is suffering from a bit of fatigue. In short, we need to forget about ‘how the technology works’, and focus on ‘what the technology does’. We may all love the tech, but if we really want to attract the masses, we should focus on the use cases for those masses. Ask yourself how would to describe the Internet today? Are you thinking about TCP and package routing or are you using words like chatting, Facebooking and Skyping?

 

Fintech’s $138 Billion Opportunity
By Ryan Falvey

The same trends that are powering the explosion of consumer technology — mobile engagement, improved data analysis and new customer acquisition models — are also breaking down some of the historical barriers to entry in financial services and enabling completely new approaches to engaging and serving customers. A better future of consumer financial services is possible — one where providers compete on the ability of their products to improve the financial health of their consumers. But for that reality to come to fruition, all of us in fintech — financial institutions, regulators, founders and investors — need to recognize the financial health problem consumers are facing and work together to realize the innovation that’s possible.

 

From Wall Street Banking, a New Wave of Fintech Investors
By Liz Moyer

Finance is where they built their careers. Now some of banking’s former stars are pouring millions of dollars — and in some cases staking their careers — into new technologies that are shaking up everything from lending to payments to investing. Former finance executives say that they are bringing their experience to start-ups to steer them on the right path. They are part of a wave of investors who sank $17.8 billion into financial technology, or fintech, in the first nine months of 2015, an 88 percent increase from the same period in 2014, according to a new report by Accenture. The three top technologies were cloud, mobile and analytics, the report said.

 

The Changing Face of Digital Banking
By Gopal Iyer

The banking industry embracing the digital phenomenon has two distinct models, neobanks and challenger banks, both of which are trying to reach out to customers with an attempt to smoothen and enrich the banking experience. Going forward, digital banking will revolutionise the way we consume banking services and products. The fintech space is certainly going to be disrupted by this new age of institution, which promises to transform the face of lending and borrowing mechanisms.

 

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