Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 9th June 2020

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There is No Interest in Fiat Currencies!

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

In these difficult times it is hard to find consensus on anything.  However, just about everyone agrees that as a result of this Virus and subsequently when the money printer goes Brrr we are in for zero or negative interest rates for a very long time.

This has profound implications for the Fiat money world.  For years Interest rates were like the “Killer App” for Banks and Fiat money.  You parked spare cash there, paid or all your daily bills and earned some pocket change.  Now, that is all gone and new Fintech players have just had a societal barrier of entry removed.  

At the Institutional level a similar thing happened, when the money was not allocated to Investments it was parked as cash or Government Bonds and earned interest.  That too is now largely gone.

This raises a couple of interesting questions, are CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies) a friend or foe in the competition between traditional Banks and Credit/Debit processing cards on one side and Fintech on the other?  

As Francis Coppola put it this week in an article on Facebook/Libra’s change of direction: 

“IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY, YOU DON’T TIE YOURSELF INTO THE EXISTING SYSTEM.”

CBDC are being proposed in two flavours 1) Direct to consumer or 2) via a licenced entity such as a Bank (as they do with physical cash today) or a potentially in the future Fintech player.  Facebook has decided the second path will be the one chosen.  But there is a third way outside of the whole existing system itself and maybe with a little “Interest” thrown in for good measure.

The second question the new “normal” zero interest rate environment raises is for Investors.  How and where do they hunt for yield?  Crypto, Stablecoins and Fintech now have a great opportunity to provide the answer outside of the old system. 

Finally, what may all this look like in 3 years time.  SEBA the first regulated (FINMA) Swiss Bank that manages both Crypto and Fiat Launches Crypto-University in Switzerland to ensure more of us understand what this new world looks like and how it operates.

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Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

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Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 2 June 2020

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Are the Regulators and Fintech falling in love?

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

This week we look at all of the activity in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) and predict how it will play out.

As thought of as a first date, the Facebook/Libra and Regulators had a shocker.  The in-laws (Politicians) got involved, lots of yelling and screaming, even threats were made.  But now things look a little more encouraging.  The new Version 2.0 of their whitepaper is a lovely bunch of flowers promising to use CBDC (or equivalent) as the basis of the Libra coin.

But from the other side what choice do Central Banks really have?  They need a partner.  Imagine if CBDC’s were direct from the Central Bank to you.  Who would do customer care?  Who would do AML/KYC?  The moral hazard of Gamekeeper turned poacher as well as a massive makeover to friendly maître d’ beggars belief. It’s not going to happen. So now, in the pragmatic light of a new day, both sides realise they need each other.

Finally, I thought it interesting to reflect that in China the Central Bank (PBoC) which is moving to launch a CDBC in the coming months has strategic partners WeChat and Alipay.  Maybe they are ahead of the game and we are all going to end up in a very similar place. 

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Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

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New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

The post Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 2 June 2020 appeared first on Daily Fintech.

Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 26 May 2020

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The case for Stablecoins as the driver for massive change.  

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

This week we go all in on the bullish case for stablecoins and why they are the key catalyst to changing our financial system.

Firstly, they are already doing very well and have improved dramatically during this COVID-19 crisis with the total supply now passing USD $ 10 billion.  See this excellent chart below and in the the following medium post by Lou Kerner 5 Reasons Why Stablecoins Will Be $1+ Trillion In Market Cap In 5 Years

Stablecoin Supply
Today, these stablecoins are just basically digitised USD.  The Fed is printing plenty so expect more of it to find its way into the Crypto world.

  • In this Cointelegraph article, The Bank of France successfully tests its Digital Euro.  Digital Euro at the Bank of France  The Bank of France is one of some 80 Central Banks who have active CBDC projects underway.

 

 

Returning to our central theme that stablecoins will not only be popular but the catalyst for change we have two opinions from completely different ends of the spectrum.  Grayscale, the world’s largest digital asset manager, claims that increasing interest in CBDCs highlights the value proposition of Bitcoin, in this article at Decrypt Bitcoin boosted by surging interest in CBDCs, says Grayscale which includes this excellent table on the differences between Bitcoin and CBDC.

CBDC Table

At the other end of the spectrum China Bank­ing News, said that one of the chief ad­van­tages of Chi­na’s new CBDC (which will be launched later this year), is its abil­ity to enable nu­anced and fine-tuned con­trol of cur­rency flows, permitting greater in­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the Ren­minbi with­out the need to fully open the coun­try’s cap­i­tal ac­count. CB­D­C’s enable China to achieve a middle road of par­tial con­vert­ibil­ity and lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of their cur­rency.  China’s New Digital Currency Will Foster Internationalisation of the Renminbi

In summary, stablecoins including CBDC’s will enable innovation in both the State and Private Sector spheres, growing the entire Crypto ecosystem.  

Hopefully, you have found something interesting, new and of value in this weekly summary.  In the meantime, stay safe and sane as we fight our way out of lockdown! 

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Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

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New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 19 May 2020

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Will the State/Regulators block non government stablecoins to retain their monopoly?

 

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

The big news this week was Telegram, the popular chat service which raised something like USD $1.7b at the peak of the halcyon ICO days, announced that after a protracted legal battle with the SEC, it has killed their TON Token project.  Pavel Durov the CEO and Founder at Telegram announced the shut down via his blog here What-Was-TON-And-Why-It-Is-Over

More on that below, but it raises the question for would be entrepreneurs, that even if you do consult expensive lawyers and follow their advice through a legal process will the State just squash you anyway?  Therefore, is the Facebook/Libra project ultimately doomed?  Some very interesting comments from the ECB’s Yves Mersch this week where he essentially said that the ECB is not putting in place a Central Bank Digital Currency (CDBC) but preparing itself in case it has to!  This article in Fintech Bulletin gives a good overview of the ECB’s and Yves’s position.  An ECB digital currency – a flight of fancy?

  • In this Cointelegraph article: Pantera (Silicon Valley based Crypto VC/Hedge Fund) Founding Partner, Dr. Steven Waterhouse, says out loud what some of us have been fearing. “The idea that some random startups are going to build their own stablecoins, perhaps with hundreds of millions of installs of a messenger client, whether it’s Facebook or Telegram or someone else, potentially challenge the sort of central bank digital currency or existing central bank currencies? […] That’s got to be triggering for regulators. So I think that’s why we’ve seen such a strong reaction to both Facebook Libra and also Telegram.”  Pantera Capital Founder Says Regulators ‘Triggered’ by Grams and Libra

 

 

  • Libra/Facebook: Then in an interesting development that is going in the other direction, the State got behind Libra when the Singapore Government owned sovereign wealth fund, Temasek announced that it is backing the project.  This Reuters report provides plenty of background on both Temasek and the progress of the Libra project.  Singapore’s Temasek joins Facebook-backed Libra project

In closing, in one place where we know the State has a monopoly and is very transparent that it intends to maintain it,  work is continuing at a rapid pace.  This excellent explainer of the People’s Bank Of China (PBOC) project by the South China Morning Post will keep you up to date. What is China’s cryptocurrency alternative sovereign digital currency?

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 12 May 2020

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Is the long march to Digital Currencies and Stablecoins inevitable?

 

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week just passed:

This week, we look at the continued push by the western private sector technologists to gain ground in the new money arena and the restraining role of its State regulators, along with the Chinese State driven approach (hence the Chairman Moa reference to “long march”) who is also wanting to play a geopolitical disrupter role.

Firstly, in the rapidly expanding and innovative world of DeFi (Ethereum ecosystem and protocols) we see a new initiative known as Liquity, a new lending protocol that promises a fully redeemable stablecoin.  The work is still continuing at a pace down at the base protocol layer with lots of new ideas and initiatives.  Some will most certainly fail, hopefully some will succeed spectacularly, all without State money and direction.

Then the restraining side.  The ECB has realised just how successful Facebook’s Libra could be and released a paper calling for proactive stablecoin regulation.  ECB Stablecoin Regulatory and Stability Review   We conclude that the malfunctioning of a global stablecoin’s asset management function could pose risks to financial stability given its potential size and interlinkages with the financial system. In order to reap the potential benefits of global stablecoins, a robust regulatory framework needs to be put in place in order to address these risks before such arrangements are allowed to operate.”

Finally, China, undaunted by COVID-19 is continuing it’s push not only with the rollout of its stablecoin technology but also at a geopolitical level as it looks to leverage its position and create an alternative to the US Dollar.

 

 

So a final thought, is the restraining by regulators giving banks time to decide if they will be leaders or followers?  This excellent clip from Darrell Duffie, professor of finance at Stanford Business School posits that Digital is inevitable and that Banks will be involved at the point the losses incurred by disrupting themselves and adopting Digital are outweighed by the  cost to their core business from new and emerging competitors like Facebook.  youtube link

Simply put, it is a loose, loose game for the Banks.  Maybe a handy pandemic to sweep up all those loses with some State support might be a great opportunity?  Something to ponder as we look for a path out of lockdown.

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 5th May 2020

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What will the long term effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic be on Stablecoins?

 

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

Historically, Pandemics accelerate and intensify pre existing trends.  For those wishing to get an excellent primer on the history of Pandemics and their effect on our societies, take a look at this video by the Economic historian Dr Stephen Davies on YouTube.

When we turn to Trading, this often means the bid for so-called safe haven assets is stronger and probably far more lasting. Think gold, the Swiss Franc, the US Dollar and the bonds of ever-rarer, rock-solid national borrowers. Riskier plays, by contrast, may well see more skittish demand profiles.

Now at the Financial markets infrastructure level, will the sometimes staggering march to Digital pick up the pace?  Will all of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) projects be upgraded or will they wither on the vine? This week we focus on this topic and try to get an assessment of the implications of the current pandemic for the future.  

 

  • This assessment from ING is that CBDC will be a more likely option post-Covid-19. The bigger role of governments and the close cooperation between them and the financial sector in combating the economic fallout will guide discussions about CBDC in the context of the role the financial sector has in serving society.  ING //think.ing.com/ 
  • Libra does not have the Fed!  In this Coindesk article an Ex-IMF Economist claims that Libra has a flawed model as it has no lender of last resort and makes the assumption that during a time of crises like what we are having that it would need this extra firepower.  Libra Has a Flawed Crisis Model

 

  •   Stable coin demand surgesOne of the most curious and subtle developments of the COVID-19 global pandemic is the surging demand for stablecoins. This article from CoinTelegraph covers that recently their total supply hit an all-time high — roughly $7.5 billion — with demand for Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) soaring. Surging Demand Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

Finally an interesting chart: Virus versus the VIX! 

VIX v Virus

So let’s end on a happier note, according to this chart the Virus peaked a month ago and market stress as measured by the VIX is easing with it.  I trust you enjoyed these articles and found something new and interesting.  

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 28 April 2020

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Payments are still the big Use Case.

 

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week:

What is the big Use Case for Crypto?  Is it as a Safe Haven, a non correlated asset that you can run to when everything else goes to hell in a handbasket, or an Alternative Investment in which you can earn outsized returns or finally, is it (or will it) be a key component of our daily “earn and pay” infrastructure?

Well this week we saw real movement on the Payments use case front with Facebook making a large strategic investment into India.  This is important from both a product perspective, as it gives them that important “last mile” linkage and also from a political perspective as they gain a powerful local ally. 

Interestingly, we also got an authoritative study from the Economist Intelligence Unit on the acceptability of all the different types of payment methods and Crypto did surprisingly well.  People are not terrified by all the scam and hack stories with 20% saying they expect to use Crypto as a payment method within the next 12 months. 

Finally, we continue to see investment going into the space.  Investment flow is the most important indicator as it is a real “Skin in the Game” measure of the future prospects.

 

  1. Facebook’s $5.7bn bet on India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.  The social media giant becomes a shareholder in cut-price Indian mobile internet company Reliance Jio.  Facebook’s largest foreign investment gives it a foothold in rural India and a powerful local ally.  Read in BBC News: https://apple.news/AV37YgpACThOLu1jGljcVmw
  2. 20% of people said they don’t currently use them but plan to in the next year, higher than any other payment method studied in research, a trend that may accelerate as a result of #covid19. Read report  https://econ.st/2z5SkYm (Via @cryptocom)
  3. This Bloomberg report highlights another entrepreneur from a  traditional Financial infrastructure background launching into the new  Ex-Deutsche Banker’s FXcoin to Offer Bitcoin Transactions

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All rather positive in a time when there is a lot of negative news about in other areas.

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 21 April 2020

Is Regulation a necessary barrier to Innovation?

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Here is our pick of the 3 most important Domain news stories during the Period:

The big news of the week was the release of Facebook’s Libra revised whitepaper

In it they have significantly wound back the innovation levels to satisfy Regulatory concerns.  Is this good? Are Regulators just being cautious  because of the sheer scale that Facebook/Libra will operate at?  Would Regulators be proportionate with a normal start-up that starts small and develops over time be able to innovate freely or are they at risk of retrospective action?

Clearly some politicians and regulators believe that innovation and money should never be seen even in the same room.  Or if it does it should be the state that does all the innovating. Is that even possible? Well we are about to find out as the People’s Bank of China (PBOK) this week made good on the tantalising snippets and puffs of white smoke we have been seeing and announced their MVP is preparing for it’s first trail run.

The other interesting geopolitical point is that we are clearly seeing some coordination happening.  Out of the ashes of the 2008 Financial crisis the G20 established the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to promote the reform of international financial regulation and supervision. The differences in State approach are highlighted in the table from the Bloomberg article linked below which outlines the PBoC approach and progress.

The week began with the FSB outlining it’s position and requesting feedback 

Addressing the regulatory, supervisory and oversight challenges raised by “global stablecoin” arrangements: Consultative document

The FSB’s recommendations call for regulation, supervision and oversight that is proportionate to the risks, and stress the need for flexible, efficient, inclusive, and multi-sectoral cross-border cooperation, coordination and information sharing that take into account the evolution of “global stablecoin” arrangements and the risks they may pose over time. They apply the principle of ‘same business – same risks – same rules’, independent of the underlying technology.

Responses to this consultative document should be sent to fsb@fsb.org by Wednesday 15 July 2020.  So set your clocks, soon after this date projects will start delivering (Libra says it’s on track to be live and licenced by December).

  1.  G20 sets ground rules ahead of Facebook’s Libra stablecoin  The world’s leading economies need to plug gaps in their rulebooks to avoid digital currencies like Facebook’s planned Libra stablecoin from undermining financial stability, the Group of 20 Economies’ (G20) regulatory watchdog (FSB).  Read here from Reuters 
  2. China’s Central Bank to Run Simulations of Digital Currency Use.  PBOC has given the green light for some commercial lenders to run trials of its digital currency, according to people familiar with the matter, bringing it a step closer to becoming the world’s first major monetary authority to issue its own digital tender.  Read here in Bloomberg 
  3. Demand for Stablecoins has increased dramatically.  The big thing on Wall Street after the last 30 days, is that everyone is overweight in cash.  They have sold heavily and now are looking to selectively re-enter the market. Crypto has done the same and maybe with some of that same money (don’t know but we will see).  That fits our hypotheses that stablecoins are not a competitor to Crypto but a necessary add-on allowing people to sit on the sidelines for a while before re-entering the market. This article from Coindesk explores the topic further: Money Reimagined: Stablecoin Demand Foreshadows Financial Disruption

So this week, many questions, some answers, but it is also clear the train will soon be leaving the station.  Hopefully, you have found something interesting, new and of value in this weekly summary. In the meantime, stay safe and sane!  

New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

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Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 14 April 2020

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Does the concept of Stablecoins advance or hinder Crypto Adoption?

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Domain news stories during the Period:

Welcome to my first review of the weekly news on Stablecoins.  I chose to focus on this subject because I firmly believe they will be the gateway drug to Crypto.  I love Crypto, the Tech, the distributed nature, the possibilities but unfortunately the mainstream is not really that into it. 

Now, like a scorned Romeo we can all postulate as to why, the Tech is not mature, the use cases not properly explored or people just don’t get it, yet.  But, to me the gap between our current “real” world and the “virtual” Crypto is too large for the mainstream and they will need a bridge and a nudge before they will put down whatever they are doing for just a second and join us, the early adopters.

So Stable coins can be that bridge, enabling us at our own pace to stroll from our local Fiat currency into a new world and then back again as and when it suits us.  Suddenly, Crypto is not such a binary leap for the brave and adventurous at heart, but soon will also be a safe play for those of a gentler nature.  

First, let’s briefly explore the topic of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC’s).   Besides the Fed (the big Daddy of Central Banks) there is a lot going on here. The ECB, Bank of England (BoE) and of course the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) all have active projects that will deliver some sort of MVP by the end of the year.  However, maybe the most interesting is the BIS (sometimes referred to as the Central Bank for Central Banks). For those of you who want to understand more about the topic of CDBC’s, I suggest this link to a recent BIS paper as a good starting point. Impending arrival – a sequel to the survey on central bank digital currency

Three articles that caught our eye.

  1. This week Banque De France (French Central Bank) produced an Request For Proposal (RFP) for their project, check it out at this Finextra article which also includes a link to the actual RFP. Banque de France plans CBDC experiments
  2. BoE held a webinar on the current state of their thinking and asked for feedback, you can catch up with a recording of the webinar and other related documents here Central Bank Digital Currency: opportunities, challenges and design
  3. And finally, even in these bleak times according to this Reuters report from Deutsche Bank Analyst Mike Dolan the pandemic may actually hasten adoption of CDBC’s RPT-COLUMN-Pandemic shock may hasten central bank digital cash: Mike Dolan

Hopefully, you have found something interesting, new and of value in this weekly summary.  In the meantime, stay safe and sane!  

New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

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Introducing Alan Scott as the Daily Fintech Stablecoin News Curator

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During January we started a new format to curate the most important news in big waves of change in Fintech. The logic was explained in this announcement.

We started this new format in Security Tokens, because we believe that this is a big wave of change. So we worked hard to find an expert to guide us on what is happening in Security Tokens and we found that expert in Sheldon Freedman.

Another big wave of change iin Fintech is Stablecoins. So I am delighted to announce that, starting tomorrow,  Alan Scott will be your Stablecoin News Curator

We believe in constraints because sipping from a firehose is a time suck for the busy senior leaders who rely on Daily Fintech to deliver just enough information to get on with their job.  So once a week your News Curator will choose the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories. This requires judgement and that only comes with deep experience in the market, which is why we are so happy to announce that  Alan Scott will be your the Daily Fintech Stablecoin News Curator

We chose news about Stablecoin because we believe that this is a tsunami sized wave of change where there is a big demand for quality information. It is also a complex subject and so we worked hard to find the best expert, wherever they are in the world (location is never an obstacle for us,  because we have been running a decentralized remote working operation since we started in 2014) and we found that expert in Alan Scott. Alan and I first started working together over 12 years ago and I have enjoyed talking to him about all subjects related to cryptocurrency and FX, particularly Stablecoins. Alan is that rare combination, both deeply knowledgeable and an outside the box thinker. He is a serial entrepreneur and senior executive who has “walked a mile in your shoes”.

Seeing the news that matters each week will help busy senior leaders to position well for the Stablecoin tsunami of change. 

Last week I interviewed Alan to get his views about Stablecoin. So I was delighted when Alan agreed to be our Stablecoin News Curator.

Please welcome Alan Scott. He will be your guide to the Stablecoin tsunami of change. Please tune in each Tuesday to learn what matters in the Stablecoin market. For more about Alan from his LinkedIn profile:

“Technology builder and seller with senior leadership roles developing electronic FX (eFX) systems since 2003. Involved in all areas from Leadership, Sales, Systems Design, Development and Implementation of leading systems at my own company called Velsys (33% Deutsche Bank owned), and then latterly at 360T and Integral.

Currently MD EMEA at 24 Exchange. 24 Exchange 24 Exchange is an electronic communication network (ECN) for over-the-counter (OTC) products. The unique model created by 24 Exchange where Standard Chartered Bank operates as a central dealer addresses major challenges in the NDF markets. These include fragmented liquidity due to jurisdiction, high transaction cost, information segregation and inefficient collateral management.

Standard Chartered Bank acts as a liquidity provider, liquidity taker, prime broker as well as Central Dealer. Standard Chartered Bank is a strategic investor in 24Exchange.

Prior was CEO/Founder SmartMoney. SmartMoney was a start-up focused on bridging the divide between Crypto and FX. Its mission is to build a unified system that is truly fair to both counterparties in a trade and not biased to one side or the other.

Member of the ACI Committee For Professional Conduct (CFP), responsible for the model code and adherence to the Global Code amongst other things and the FX Committee since 2014, in addition, Chair of the Crypto Working Group subcommittee under the CFP.

As the CEO of Velsys, led the development of a new cloud or SaaS based eFX solution called V-FX. Velsys developed from an Australian based company to a global technology specialist with employees in Singapore, London and New York.

At 360T a leadership role providing technical and business analysis input in to the on-going design and development of Product, System and Liquidity Management.

In summary;

Product roadmap and Architecture for complete front to back FX eCommerce system, covering key business functionality such as:

o Risk and Position Management with Auto Hedging,

o Internalisation and Aggregation,

o Integration with Credit and Back Office systems including Post Trade, STP,

o Pricing including skewing and spreading,

o Web GUI design, look and feel,

o FIX and proprietary connectivity.

Connectivity and integration experience with all of the major FX platforms (360T, FXall, Bloomberg, Reuters, Currenex, Integral).

Liquidity Management and knowledge of the systems used by the major market makers or Liquidity Provision banks (Deutsche, RBS, UBS, Citi, JPM, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and HSBC).”

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