Blockchain

Tech

What’s keeping cryptocurrencies from mass adoption?

 Speculators flocked to Bitcoin and many of the alt-coins in hopes of getting in early and making a big exit, but everyday users haven’t warmed to cryptocurrencies. There are many reasons why, but one of the largest barriers to mainstream adoption is the price volatility of cryptocurrencies. So the question is, why do the prices change so much in the first place? It comes down to supply… Read More

Business

2016: a historic year for politics

2016 was a historic year in Britain’s history. 40 years of drift in Europe ended. After the referendum, what does Britain do next in Europe and the world? Will she continue as a surly neighbour to Europe or can she lead a continent in danger?

With or without Britain’s tilt to Trump, the government needs to chart a fresh start for her troubled relationship with Europe. We need to harness the pride Britain has in its history, work through the prejudice Britain has against Europe and produce a new vision of British clout in Europe which the public will support, something called smart power. Brexit means leaving the EU, but not Europe. Europe is governed not only by the EU but by a host of other organisations from NATO to the Council of Europe. British leaders from Macmillan to Cameron tried to use them to leverage smart power in their approach to Europe. All with a view to forging Churchill’s vision – a long-term plan to put Britain at the heart of Europe, the Commonwealth and the United States.This is the background to the unfolding revolution in Britain’s foreign policy. Without Trump, Britain’s Brexit choice would just look quirky. With Trump, it was the first roll of the nationalist wave that May, unexpectedly. now surfs. As the government negotiates Brexit a big question is how damaging seceding from the European Union would be. Theresa May not only has to negotiate a 6 pack of difficult deals to create a settled post-Brexit order she has to win friends (up to 147 states) and influence people (27 European leaders alone) in doing so – in many cases against their interests. So far, losing friends and alienating people is the policy for a winning Brexit. The one thing both Remainers and Leavers agreed on was that both wanted a stronger Britain after the vote. In or out of the EU, few saw Britain abandoning the global ship, retreating from 200 years of global influence. Though it was absent from the campaign, many remainers wanted Britain and its like-minded allies to lead not leave Europe and use our clout to help sort out a continent in crisis. Many Brexiteers saw Brexit unleashing a buccaneering Britain back onto the world stage. But far from an exciting fresh start emerging from the new regime, Brexit so far has meant a mean-spirited battle over how many people we stop coming and how many businesses we stop leaving conducted in atmosphere baffling to our allies, far more angry than enlightened. Instead what we have is the UK perceived by our partners as being in full diplomatic retreat as the very time where our diplomatic visibility needs to be far greater than it has ever been. If Brexit is to deliver its promise and not damage us, the Government must understand the need to properly engage with both the EU and bilaterally with EU member states and to develop a “vision” of a “SmartPower” foreign policy for the UK beyond […]

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Business

Bank Passporting is a cornerstone of the financial services sector

The UK payments industry is world-leading, and its Fintech sector is estimated by HM Treasury to be worth £6bn. The UK is likely to leave the EU in 2019 and when it does, it could potentially lose its passporting rights to the European single market.

Without such rights, many regulated payments companies in the UK will be unable to deliver products and services across the European Economic Area (EEA). The UK which has been called the Fintech capital of world, beating the likes of Silicon Valley, could have its crown toppled as restrictions of passporting rights will damage the emerging payments industry significantly. GPS are a global transaction processor that provides card processing technology on behalf of banks and emoney issuers. We are already seeing the clients that work with issuers in the UK explore other regions as “friendly bases”. The Emerging Payments Association recently published a white paper identifying six regions that may be considered as defensive plays if the UK losses its rights to passport. The countries identified were Cyprus, Denmark, Luxemburg, Ireland, Malta and Sweden. The report concludes that the UK is the best jurisdiction in which to be a regulated payment company. It is the only country that scores positively across all the selection criteria used. However, if push comes to a Brexit shove, which is definitely on the cards, then every regulated payments company (PSP) will have to consider its options. As the report outlines, there are some very good alternatives to the UK available and some specialists to ease the path. The UK government needs to be aware that if passporting is not addressed as part of the Brexit negotiations then these real and viable options could entice many of the UK Treasury’s estimated 60,000 FinTech employees to move their operations abroad.

Suresh Vaghjiani,

MD at Global Processing Service

This article first appeared here

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Business

OMG!!! Only 345 Working Days to GDPR… (but what is it and what does it mean?)

The General Data Protection Regulation is the new legislation replacing the current Data Protection Act, becoming a new citizen’s charter for the protection of personal data.

So we’ll be running a regular on this because…

It applies to any global entity processing EU citizens’ personally identifiable information, data controllers and data processors alike, with a burden of proof on them to evidence compliance.

Which means it impacts every tech & finance company…

From Fri 25th May 2018 it becomes UK / EU Law. (It became best practice from May 2016, you knew that right?)

(And No, Brexit isn’t going to change anything on this one. Hard, soft, fried or otherwise.)

Why is this legislation happening to us? Ultimately the law needed upgrading because data breaches are real, continuous, escalating, and dangerous to individuals and companies alike. Data breaches expose consumers, like Talk Talk customers, to the ongoing risks associated with having their personal information held, shared and sold by criminals. When seen in that context, data breaches are serious. Imagine a company holds the keys to ten thousand houses, then allows those keys to be stolen, on a big bunch, along with the addresses. A shrug, a meh, and a fine of a few hours profit is no longer a sufficient slap on the wrist to motivate preventative measures. How does 4% of Global turnover sound instead?

Hit me:

Bottom line: Companies need to demonstrate they’ve taken steps to prevent any unlawful forms of processing, in particular any unauthorised disclosure, dissemination or access, or alteration of personal data. It’s all about having strong controls around personal information. With a burden of proof on the company to evidence compliance.

The following from Vega Solutions:

“Control Access is frequently a weak point. Static credentials are exploitable to gain unauthorised access to sensitive resources or perpetuate a full-blown data breach. It is therefore essential for organisations to eliminate this vulnerability by establishing strong, multi-factor authentication to any resource that holds value, be it a network, portal, or application.”

Vega Solutions are one of our partners in this series of articles, they provide a ‘secure outer shell’ for web portals and client management platforms, and are more than happy to supply further information regarding the technical solutions to this particularly important change in law. Ask them about Sirius, data protection by design and default.

The other side of the coin is compliance. Understanding what it is you need to understand. For that, we gratefully turn to Compliance3, another of our information partners. Our Information Commissioner has spoken and the message is loud and clear. In her speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales last week (18th Jan 2017), Elizabeth Denham called for ‘accountability’ and very clearly positioned GDPR as a “game changer” later adding “We’re all going to have to change how we think about data protection.” So how to approach this? Well, sitting on your hands won’t achieve anything. The potential downsides of being non-compliant are significant and a clear matter of corporate governance, given up to 4% of global turnover […]

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Business

Finance Disrupted at St Pancras

The Economist Event held at the end of January in the 5 Stars St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel raised more questions than answers, not least of which being what banking may look like in 2030. To branch or not to branch, that being a question Craig Donaldson of Metro Bank addressed, his answer can be found on 41 streets in the UK. Millennial chasing marketeers talk in apps only, and Ann Cairns, president of international markets, MasterCard, spoke of Applepay and the need to add more features to widen appeal. She’s probably wrong about this, sorry Ann, Applepays’ weakness is that it’s embedded in a phone it doesn’t need more features it needs less hardware. Let’s discuss over canapés.

The panel debate moved on to Collaborate or Die?, a question answered some time ago we feel, by this newspaper, regarding the relationship between fintechs and incumbents. Regardless, the Silver or Lead non-refusable offer still makes a catchy header for any event or campaign slogan for political office elect. Is London set to lose its fintech crown? Provokes the third panel, Eileen Burbidge delivers the No, along with CEO of Innovate Finance Lawrence Wintermeyer to the genial agreement of Nicolas Veron and Olle Zetterberg representing the Bruegel and the Nordics. An anatomical dissection of a startup acquisition follows lunch, with unlocking big data for those still hungry for small bites. The blockchain versus blockchain panel attracts attention, Jeremy Wilson, vice-chairman of Barclays Corporate Banking, spoke at length regarding the highly sophisticated operating systems being developed in house. Adam Ludwin, CEO of Chain.com, spoke of his work in developing blockchains for NASDAQ and VISA, including a ‘B2B service to rival Swift’. The technological challenges of these are daunting, especially the final of the ‘three chasms’ as described by Adam Ludwin, that being the migration of (data) assets from the old systems to the new. This may prove so problematic as to give rise to parallel products and services to attract new customers and clients rather than migrating existing ones. Auto-Disruption may become the new collaboration in coming years; it’s a long play and the beat goes on.

The following has been produced as a result of conversations, interviews, debates, presentations and other interactions from companies, individuals and organisations in the technology, finance, fintech, political, and media sectors.

Bird Lovegod,

Editor of The Fintech Times

This article first appeared here

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Tech

Blockchain is empowering the future of insurance

Every segment of insurance is under competition by entrepreneurs touting new ways to underprice risk, creating new types of premiums and servicing consumers in a tightly regulated on-demand economy. While most startups attempting to gain traction in the insurance market fall under incremental innovation, Blockchain for insurance could be characterized as disruptive. Read More

Business

A New York judge says bitcoin is money, two months after a Florida judge ruled it wasn’t

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The legal debate over bitcoin is getting tricky across state lines. 

Is bitcoin money? A judge in New York on Monday ruled it is

The ruling followed an opposite conclusion in Florida in July. A judge in that state dismissed charges of illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 in bitcoin on the grounds that bitcoin wasn’t a currency. 

This time around, US District Judge Alison Nathan declined to dismiss charges against  Anthony Murgio for operating an unlicensed bitcoin exchange. Murgio had argued to have his charges dismissed because bitcoins did not qualify as “funds” noted in federal law forbidding unlawful money transmitting, according to ReutersRead more…

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Business

Blockchains & Procurement

Blockchain tech is the term poised to define our generation. As opposed to Brexit or Trump — which is definitely not a bad thing!
But what are blockchains? How do they work, in plain English and zero jargon?

A Blockchain is essentially a data record. It is a shared, secure record of an exchange with a historical imprint that is very difficult to change/manipulate. Blockchain uses digital signatures and encryption to record identity, authenticity and access level. So it’s pretty much a whole new level of transparency.
If we think that anything from the mouthwatering burger we eat to the flip flops we wear and the hotel we are staying at is a receiving end of a supply chain, we understand that tracking the component parts and the money that made that product or service possible is pretty vital to the way our world works and the money flows.

Now, for procurement, the inability to manipulate historical records is an obvious key but the technology itself has much greater functionality. “I see “blockchain technology” as a collection of technologies, a bit like a bag of Lego. From the bag, you can take out different bricks and put them together in different ways to create different results” says Antony Lewis of in his very comprehensive “Gentle Introduction to Blockchain Technology”.
But can this amazing bag of Lego tech change and simplify the way buyer-supplier relationships actually work? Let’s look at a future with smart contracts via Blockchain. A contractual agreement between a buyer and supplier is essentially a set of instructions and commitments. Blockchain wise, it’s a set of data instructions (those lengthy terms & conditions) — which are fulfilled in an automatic way and in compliance with what the two parties expect of each other. The instructions are clearly visible for all to see and this transparency could help suppliers forecast their revenue for the year and ensure they get paid quicker. If we look at the prompt supplier payment initiatives backed by both the UK and the US governments, Blockchain tech would be of great help in making sure suppliers stay afloat.

Smart contracts built on blockchains could even open up new trading avenues for suppliers and enable buyers to name their own price and setup automatic recurring orders at certain times. And since identity on blockchain can be anonymous, buyers can get lower prices sent to a bitcoin address without revealing any pricing or business information to competitors.
Blockchains could also enable a more trustworthy and efficient supply chain as you could track the identity and reputation of buyers and suppliers and therefore take the very popular “sharing economy” to a whole new level.
The main takeaway for B2B procurement then is that Blockchains can help assign identity to organisations as well as goods. The transparent tracking of a purchase and the exchange of payment between two organisations will have a huge impact to be felt across the world’s supply chains.

by Simona Pop, InstaSupply

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Business

Bitcoin’s blockchain technology just got a big endorsement from the World Economic Forum

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Bitcoin may not change the world on its own, but the technology that runs the virtual currency very well could. 

That’s what the World Economic Forum determined in a report released Friday. The group, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, includes various members of the global financial elite. A wide range of banking, consulting and financial executives from Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and other firms contributed to the yearlong project. 

“Our findings suggest this technology has the potential to ‘live-up to the hype’ and reshape financial services, but requires careful collaboration with other emerging technologies, regulators, incumbents and additional stakeholders to be successful,” the report said.  Read more…

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