What does the perfect wallet look like? Smarter!

In major media outlets, references to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become commonplace, yet crypto adoption still needs to overcome several hurdles. From exchange hacks and scams to building a clear case that makes a convincing argument about crypto’s value proposition for most people. But, the biggest hurdle is the simplicity of the user’s experience. […]

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This Week in Fintech ending 19 June 2020

This weekly summary from our 7 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives. To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want […]

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Introducing Howard Tolman as the Daily Fintech Alt Lending News Curator

During 2020, Daily Fintech started a new format to curate the most important news in big waves of change in Fintech.  One of the big waves of change in Fintech is Alt Lending. So I am delighted to announce that, starting next week,  Howard Tolman will be your Alt Lending News Curator We believe in […]

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XBRL: digital transformation of reporting, systemic approach to non-financial information and ESAP

Today, we share long-form substance about three topical news items.  1 IMA publishes report on digital transformation of compliance and reporting The Institute of Management Accountants published a report advocating for a data revolution that would transform business reporting, oversight, auditing, and monitoring systems. Increasingly complicated and fragmented regulatory environments make compliance overly burdensome for […]

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Misconceptions regarding pandemic business interruption cover- contributing to preconceptions for future programs?

These may not be ideal times for the U.S. commercial insurance industry.  Sure, that is stating the obvious as COVID-19 business interruption claims encounter denials of cover, and now civil unrest damage claims overlay the undercurrent of BI disappointment. It is hard to imagine that the trillion-dollar Covid-19 issue can be significantly affected by a billion-dollar […]

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Fintech Funding Flat In APAC

Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia Venture funding in fintech unsurprisingly went quiet in the Asia-Pacific region during the first quarter of 2020. According to a report released by S&P Global Market Intelligence, funding […]

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Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 16th June

Stablecoins.001

Are Stablecoins just replacements for cash?

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

Where is the innovation in CBDC?  This week we look at the Chinese Central Bank’s CBDC and see that it operates in the same manner as cash today.  That is, Minted by the Central Bank (PBoC) and distributed to consumers by Commercial Banks.  There is no direct access from the consumer to the Central Bank.  If you want to change your money (either cash or held in an Account) into the nice bright new Digital coin, you will have to visit a participating Bank to perform that exchange.  

Likewise the other roll-out reported on this week by the Central Bank in Lithuania.

The problem faced by Central Banks if they were to fundamentally change the system, is explored by the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia Working Paper Central Bank Digital Currency: Central Banking for All?

The first lines of the Abstract: “The introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) allows the central bank to engage in large-scale intermediation by competing with private financial intermediaries for deposits. Yet, since a central bank is not an investment expert, it cannot invest in long-term projects itself, but relies on investment banks to do so.”  

In other words both Central and Commercial Banks have different skills sets that compliment each other.  One is protective, the other risk or Alpha seeking. 

So will CBDC’s just replace cash using the same Institutional rails we have today?

  • Beyond the Cashless Society: Chinese Professors Explain CBDC “DCEP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment) was first brought to the table as part of a broader financial digitalization vision of the Chinese government,” said Dr. Ben Shenglin.  “Chinese regulators have long been trying to build a digital finance and payment infrastructure; meanwhile, they were not happy watching all these decentralized and speculative cryptocurrencies circulating in society. Secondly, the central authority may have wanted to create an alternative for ‘too big to fail’ third parties like Alipay and WeChat Pay. Lastly, the timing is interesting; PBOC may have been pressured to issue the currency after the announcement of other large-scale digital currencies, like Libra,” explained the Dean.  “In DCEP, there is a two-tier process: PBoC cooperates with private Chinese banks and exchanges cash with DCEP, and private banks will exchange the DCEP with the public,” Ben Shenglin said.

 

 

A low note to end on is that we may end up with CDBC’s containing less innovation than we hoped for and a few people will end up owning a lot of them.

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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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The revised pessimistic projection for Digital wealth AUM does not make sense

Efi Pylarinou is the founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019.

Consulting practices call for 5yr predictions on all sorts of topics. The so-called Robo Advisor subsector in investing has not escaped these studies.

Back in 2016, was when Vanguard was making its first leapfrogging attempts in a space that Betterment and Wealthfront had brought to market. Personal Capital was also shaping up the hybrid version of `digital investing`. Deloitte, CB insights, Aite Group and others were predicting assets under management by 2020 (which at the time, seemed far away for all of us).

Predictions ranged between $ 2.2 trillion and $ 3.7 trillion in assets to be managed by Robo-Advisory services by 2020 and $16 trillion by 2025.

Permit me to take the mean of the range predicted for 2020 (trillions of USD are being transferred from the government to the `people` anyway as we speak) and round it up to $3 trillion for 2020.

2020 – Well we are in the second quarter of 2020 and we are just reaching $1 trillion. Urs Bolt, highlighted the latest report by BuyShares that says we are heading to $987billion. So, we are at 1/3 the 2016 prediction even though the S&P500 is up 30+% and the Dow is up 28+%, since Jan 2017.

 

What is more remarkable is that the current 5yr outlook compiled by BuyShares and based on Statistica data, predicts that in less than 5yrs the AUM will grow x2.4 times, reaching $2.4trillion (Statistica).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 11.13.33Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 11.13.47

At first site, it may seem to you an optimist outlook. However, it is actually a heavily discounted view from that set out back in 2016 when the sector started attracting more VC investments and incumbents. The first predictions were from 0-$3trillion in less than 5yrs and then from $3trillion-$16 trillion in the second 5yr phase (x5+ times).

And now this study is saying,

let’s cut the 5+ times growth rate in AUM to more than half. And let’s cut the AUM managed over the next 5yrs by 85% (we had said $16trillion and now we say $2.4trillion).

Let’s step back and look into the mirror as if it is 2025. Of course, digital onboarding and automated asset allocation offered currently via ETFs will be 100% an option everywhere and probably free.

The more interesting and meaningful question is about the evolution of the ETF market itself which has been the bread and butter of all the digital investing offerings (lumped under the `robo-advisor` umbrella be it with or without human advisory services); and whether artificial intelligence will actually transform digital investing.

1⃣ Will `robo-advisors` continue to build their businesses mainly using ETFs? Their low-cost core value-add has been interchangeable seen as a win for passive investing and mainly via indices.

2⃣ Will the 12% of the $4.7trillion ETF market (based on 2018 year-end data, see here) grow and to what extent?

3⃣ Will active ETFs grow given the current macro environment? ANTs are just emerging and are a step back from the transparency trend and the zero-commission trend. ANTs are active non-transparent and on average their expense ratio is 70bps. Their position reporting is much better than mutual funds (quarterly). Their cost-adjusted and risk-adjusted-performance will have to be seen going forward. They are currently only 2% of the ETF space (see here).

4⃣  Will artificial intelligence finally take over the asset allocation and the decision of switching between direct indexing or stock picking or momentum.

A few facts to consider:

  1. The ETF space grew sustainably in 2019. Statistica reports $6.18trillion by year end of 2019. That is a 30% increase. Of course, by the end of Q1 2020, the ETF global industry experienced a c. 16% drop ($5.4trillion) which was 100% due to the drop-in asset values. ETFs actually experienced in Q1 net inflows of c. $120billion. These were inflows during the major March selloff. Source
  2. An update on my calculations of the assets under management by digital wealth services points to a c.30% increase (by 2019 year-end), which matches the ETF increase. Source
  3. The actual role of artificial intelligence in all the Digital wealth offerings, is still minimal. Even the large incumbents with sizable digital wealth AUM, like Merill Edge or Vanguard, are still in the initial phase of digital transformation in wealth management. Vanguard actually has done very little on the needed digital integration front. Merill Lynch is probably ahead with its new CEW – Client Engagement Workstation – that integrates market data, client information, account servicing tools and some narrow artificial intelligence tools (chatbots).

For 2025, we should be making predictions of the extent that Artificial intelligence will be making better decisions for my asset allocation than I do, or my private banker, or my financial advisor, or my digital wealth service provider.

What has gone wrong in Fintech that pushed the original projections of $16trillion AUM in 2025, to $2.4trillion?

Where are the trillions of currencies that are being transferred, going to end up?

Isn’t the digital transformation of the mutual fund industry what will happen over the next 5yrs? Whether it is through DLT as an infrastructure of the mutual fund administration or by the tokenization of fund structures or the disintermediation of the European banks who dominate mutual fund distribution or all of the above? And wont all this lead to an exponential growth of the `Digital wealth` AUM?

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Bye-bye SWIFT

 

qre-blog-what-it-stablecoinCreated in 1973, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) developed a secure network to send and receive information about financial transactions. Today it’s used by more than 11,000 financial institutions in 212 different countries. More than $5 trillion go through Swift’s network every day. As you can expect, several projects and companies around the world are trying to unseat Swift. With cryptocurrencies and specifically stablecoins, Swift has faced some initial competition that will only get intense as they mature. A couple days ago, Bank Frick, a European bank, said buy-buy to Swift. The bank in Liechtenstein will now use the USDC stablecoin, to power cross-border transactions. Cryptocurrencies and peer-to-peer banking offer fast alternatives to the Swift network, and could help build a world currency unfettered by cross-border barriers.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com.

Swift is currently the primary service provider when it comes to cross-border payments, remittances, clearing and settlement. It has a monopoly. If a bank needs to carry out cross-border business, the principal requirement is to access the Swift network, or to find another bank that’s already connected.

International transfers are slow, expensive and uncertain. The actual movement of money takes a few days. There is a complex rebate system among banks, and senders don’t know exactly how much the receivers will get, as the banks take a cut. Undoubtedly, Swift has improved its entire payment and settlement system over time, through numerous initiatives, including the innovative global payment initiative (GPI).

Bank Frick added support for the USDC stablecoin, allowing its clients to deposit, as well as buy and sell, USDC using their bank. By adding USDC, the bank will enable customers to process USD payments quickly, compared to the traditional payment rails using Swift. Since its founding in 1998, Bank Frick has revamped into one of Europe’s preeminent blockchain banks, offering crypto trading and custody for institutional clients miners and mining firms. The bank ventured into the crypto space in 2018.

Coinbase and Circle launched USDC in late 2018. The coin is designed to be pegged to the US dollar, which gives banks an opportunity to capitalize on both the transfer speed of digital assets and the reliability of USD. Since the start of the year, USDC has added over $230 million to its market cap, bringing it to around $750 million.

The payments industry has now began to realize that stablecoins offer a way to rethink existing business models, services and even the nature of money itself.

At this time, stablecoins are the fastest growing segment of crypto, surpassing $11 billion in market cap, doubling in size since the beginning of the year. In just two months, stablecoin assets in circulation grew by 70%.

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Stablecoins may sound like something simple, I mean they’re just digital versions of the dollar, yet they represent a massive opportunity. They offer a huge improvement, orders of magnitude better than existing systems, when it comes to moving dollars versus using a bank. They’re cost effective and fast, as transactions are settled in minutes, instead of days. While trading has been the primary driver for their growth so far, their future will be driven by the superior user experience they offer.

They will be become the defacto cryptocurrency on ramps and off ramps. A January, 2020, survey by Bank for International Settlements showed that over 80 countries were working on CBDCs. Banque de France will begin interviewing applicants to work with it on experiments in the use of a digital euro in interbank settlements. These experiments will also explore integrating central bank digital currency (CBDC) into the clearing and settlement of tokenized financial assets.

Libra recently pivoted away from it’s own currency, to a series of single-currency stablecoins, each tied to a different fiat currency. Libra won’t be pegged just to the USD, rather it will be pegged across many of the world’s significant currencies. We’ll see dramatic improvements in the on-ramps and off-ramps for cryptocurrency and Libra will likely emerge as a major player in the space.

The advantages of using the stablecoins compared with the established payment systems can be reduced to a few simple points. When you look at SWIFT from the banking and financial institutions’ perspective the argument for continuing to use them is based on a “better the devil you know” way of thinking and a prevailing conservatism in the financial world.

The rivalry between the old and the new is just getting started and it will decide how cross-border payments will be handled for decades to come.

While stablecoins first originated in the world of cryptocurrencies, they have now become an independent concept of their own. They are a moving target with tremendous potential to fundamentally change the financial system. It remains to be seen whether stablecoins are going to coexist, complement, or takeover existing payments.

Given the antiquity of SWIFT and the lack of access to traditional institutions in many developing countries, there is a possibility that stablecoins could just become the first blockchain product that’s actually used by a large number of people. Truth be told, stablecoins are faster, cheaper and more reliable than Swift. The only problem they have is that they’re not yet been widely adopted.

But it’s safe to say that the revolution is already in progress, and in the years to come, the market for digital dollars will grow exponentially, as more regulated entities like Bank Frick will start to adopt stablecoins.

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This Week in Fintech ending 12 June 2020

This Week in Fintech ending 5 June 2020

This weekly summary from our 8 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy and occasional opinion columnist.

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Tokenizing Everything, even People. Are you ready?

We are a the dawn of a new age, with tokens. From art to buildings, to the way we invest in assets, tokenization is changing everything. The new “token economy” promises to change how we create and distribute value. Asset tokenization is disrupting finance and several other industries, breaking up ownership into fractional stakes that can be owned by multiple parties. This new ecosystem is already taking us in directions we can’t even imagine. Over the past few months, an area that’s been emerging, is the “personal token’. A personal token is a way to tokenize yourself, by creating a token on a blockchain that assigns a value to your personal reputation. A personal token is a digital currency that is issued by an individual to effectively borrow against his/her own future. While still a fairly niche sector within crypto, platforms are emerging that allow individuals to create their own tokens and leverage smart contracts to provide token holders with an array of value propositions.

Editor note:If your first reaction to Personal Tokens is that it feels like indentured servitude,  look at how consumer debt works. At least somebody buying Personal Tokens is taking a risk.

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Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Ten highlights from Mainnet2020 by Messari

I had the pleasure to attend some sessions from the Mainnet 2020 event last week. Ryan Selkis`s guitar playing as an alternative signal to wrap up the talk or the panel, was one of my favorites.

Messari, looks like a data, news, research business in the cryptocurrency, blockchain space. But what is not evident (yet) to everyone is their vision and how they are executing on it. They are very much focused on Transparency and an open-source approach. Ryan said Messari wants to become the Edgar in the new economy.

Editor note: These 10 points are bullish for crypto but also highlight the tough competitive nature of this market

Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 9th June 2020

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market. Alan’s provocative statement is There is No Interest in Fiat Currencies! The money quote is “For years Interest rates were like the “Killer App” for Banks and Fiat money.”

Wednesday Jessica Ellerm @jessicaellerm, our Australia-based Fintech entrepreneur and thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy & CEO/Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia wrote Gig Workers Are On The Rise Post COVID. Fintech Pirkx Stands To Benefit

All around the world, companies and their employees are adjusting to very different working conditions compared to those that existed pre COVID.

For institutions, adapting and surviving over the past 4 months and into the future has meant significant transformation at lightning speed. For some that has meant making productive ‘work from home’ actually work, be it swiftly getting on top of technical issues or implementing technology that helps line managers deal with the complexities of managing people from afar. For others, it has meant pivoting their business, laying off staff and completely rethinking revenue forecasts.

Editor note: The gig economy, a megatrend pre pandemic, is now “on steroids” and any venture enabling that will do well.

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Thursday Patrick Kelahan @insuranceeleph1, our US based Insurtech expert (a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners who also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’) wrote NPV be damned- here’s a delightful IPO you can love

One can seldom say that reviewing an SEC Form S-1, IPO registration statement, is interesting.  Sure, you can learn much about a company that is planning an initial public stock offering, but that level of excitement is reserved for financial banks and investors.  But that expectation has been shattered by the form recently filed by digital insurer, Lemonade, Inc.  Not only is its filed Prospectus Summary a full eighteen pages long, it contains the words ‘delight’, or ‘delightful’ ten times.  As was the case five years ago, Lemonade has taken what was stodgy and made it, well, different. 

Editor note: The Lemonade IPO shows that the IPO window is open and will put Insurtech onto the front page.

Thursday Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL: Nowcasting, restaurants in lockdown and ESG reporting in melt-up

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.

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Friday Bernard Lunn @LunnBernard, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Interview with Howard Tolman about the future of Alt Lending

Alt Lending is all the lending that does NOT primarily go through the bank channel. 

Banks have been pretty good at lending to consumers who have traditional full time jobs, to big corporations and to sovereigns/governments. That leaves everybody else to all the Fin, Tech, FinTech and TechFin companies who do Alt Lending. That is a big wide open market. 

Lending is the beating heart of financial service. Alt Lending is a big wave of change.  So I was delighted when Howard Tolman agreed to speak to me about how Alt Lending will change our world.

To understand Alt Lending you need to have a rare combination of experience. You need to be a banker who understands credit risk. You also need to be a technologist  who understands how to use technology in new markets. You also need to be an entrepreneur with a mindset of creating value in broken markets. 

Howard Tolman is that rare combination.

Editor note: There is a huge investor hunger for yield in a ZIRP/NIRP world. There is also a huge hunger for borrowing to ease the financial shock of the pandemic. The banks are asleep at the switch and governments have maxed out their credit cards. Enter Alt Lending through this window big enough to drive a truck through.

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