News > FinTech

IBM gets behind the blockchain
FinTech
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have struggled to find mainstream appeal, blockchain, the ledger like technology that they run on, has been touted as one of the most important technological advancements of the past decade. The system has the ability to facilitate transactions in a way that many say will transform more than just the financial industry.</p> <p>That idea is now being put into practice by tech giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), as ...</p> <p>Read the full story on Benzinga.com.<br /> Photo: Kansir</p>
Full stack fintech: Will finance have its Uber moment?
FinTech
<p>In the world of fintech startups there is an important distinction to be considered: Is a business full stack and partial stack?</p> <p>The distinction is important because the emergence of full-stack startups could be the biggest threat to industry incumbents. Unsurprisingly, banks are so far throwing most of their  support behind partial stack fintech startups.</p> <p>In his blog,  Andreessen Horowitz and general partner Chris Dixon predicts a full-stack movement in the fintech space, similar what has been seen  in other sectors. But so far fintech start-ups are predominantly partial stack: taking new technologies and then selling or licensing them to big banks.</p> <p>The new approach is to offer an end-to-end solution, cutting out existing players. This is full stack. Think about what Uber has done to taxis, Netflix to cable, or what Tesla is on the verge of doing to the motor industry.</p> <p> If a fintech start-up can pull off a full stack solution, it is hard to replace. That said, the barrier to entry is high and the startup would need to be good at many different things - from software and hardware, to marketing and logistics - to make it a success.</p> <p>If there is a movement in this direction though, the banks should be nervous.<br /> Photo: me and the sysop</p>
How Bitcoin is shaking up the gambling world
FinTech
<p>Betting with Bitcoin is not new. The anonymity it offers has seen it be adopted for various illicit purposes since its inception and gambling is no exception. But now Bitcoin - and the nascent digital gaming industry it supports - wants to go mainstream.</p> <p>Gaming platform Augur is one of the ways in which this is happening. Augur allows participants to wager money on any future event they want - including sports events.</p> <p>The software sets the odds, collects the bets, and disperses the winnings. All the money in the system is Bitcoin, or other types of cryptocurrency, no credit cards or banks are involved.</p> <p>While peer-to-peer betting already exists on platforms like Betfair, Augur's use of blockchain technology means there is no middleman and no way to switch it off. It is drifting into uncharted waters and some are worried about its implication for governments and business. </p> <p>In the Racing Post, Tom Kerr looks at the implications of this for horse racing, but it easily applies to other sports. Firstly, the combination of an anonymous betting exchange and anonymous cryptocurrency will make it hard to keep the sport fair, he says, as racing relies on bookies flagging up suspicious bets.</p> <p>Also the platforms like Auger threaten to massively disrupt existing bookies by having no middlemen, no overround and no commission beyond 1%. It is very early days for the space Kerr adds, but the technology is now there and the  trend is going nowhere:<br /> At some point, unregulated and uncontrollable betting platforms like Augur may become commonplace. If that happens it will make the disruption betting exchanges caused to gambling and racing seem like nothing.<br /> Photo: John Athayade</p>
The bank that is also an operating system
FinTech
<p>The accepted wisdom around fintech currently is that banks need to think of themselves as technology companies if they want to stay relevant and ride out the oncoming wave of disruption. </p> <p>Few banks has take this message to heart as much as Germany’s Fidor bank which just unveiled its new banking platform: FiderOS. </p> <p>Broadly speaking, this so-called bank operating system is a way Fidor bridging the gap between traditional banking and new fintech-enable banking. </p> <p>The platform uses something called APIs (application program interfaces), these are similar to kinds of protocols that let you use popular internet services, like Facebook or Google, with third party services. Banks have been making limited use of APIs for a while.</p> <p>But Fintech blog Finovate explains that banks like Fidor are at the vanguard of an API revolution in banking. Why is this important for banks? In short, it is helping banks stay relevant by connecting, and not competing with fintech. </p> <p>These protocols are not only at the core of the next wave of  fintech innovation but are key to linking the old and the new. The flexibility afforded by the cloud computing and APIs offer banks a way they can apply fintech solutions that enhances their ongoing operations without the massive infrastructure cost.</p>
Indonesia: A rising fintech powerhouse?
FinTech
<p>When it comes to financial innovation in Asia, it’s China that has gobbled up most of the headlines of late, with tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent expanding aggressively into areas such as payments and banking. But perhaps we should be casting our gaze further south, to Indonesia?</p> <p>There are plenty of reasons to be bullish about Indonesian fintech. With around 255 million people, it is the region’s third most populous country after India and China, and has the fourth largest population globally. </p> <p>A large chunk of this population is also unbanked. According to Deliotte, the country has 110 million "bankable unbanked" citizens. Indonesians are crying out for fin-tech solutions and companies are coming into fill the breech. </p> <p>TechInAsia, recently put together a list of nine Indonesian startups that currently springing up across areas as such as payments, product comparison., lending, cloud technology, and data services. The sheer diversity of this nascent space indicate Indonesia might be one to watch.<br /> Photo: Bindalfrodo</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
The rebirth of Google Wallet
FinTech
<p>Rumors of the death of Google Wallet have been greatly exaggerated. While Google Wallet may have been supplanted by Android Pay, the internet giant’s latest NFC payment platform, the product will stick around as a P2P platform.</p> <p>The new pared down app will focus only on sending money, offering the same functionality seen in the old Google Wallet app and Gmail's "attach money" feature in a standalone format. The pivot will put Google Wallet up against the likes of Square Cash and Venmo. </p> <p>According to The Verge, all users will retain their original Google Wallet balances inside the new app. But only Android users can access Android Pay, meaning iPhone owners will be shut out from access to gift cards, loyalty programs, and promotional offers. </p> <p>The re-launch coincides with the unveiling of Google Wallet's mobile payments successor which will be the bludgeon with which Google hopes to thwack Apple’s aspiration of mobile payments dominance. The new platform began rolling out in the US last week  and works with all with all NFC-enabled Android devices running KitKat 4.4 and above on all US mobile carriers. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, Citi, and Wells Fargo are said to be all aboard. <br /> Photo: Prairie Kittin</p>
Barclays to allow charities to accept bitcoin -- but why?
FinTech
<p>British bank Barclays has announced that it would allow charities to accept bitcoin, reports Coindesk.</p> <p>Banks have been jumping into bitcoin as some kind of savior for financial services and the monetary system. Banks, the ultimate intermediary, are hawking the anti-intermediary.</p> <p>But the truth is, they just haven't found any really great uses for it yet. The best case for it so far has been Silk Road. And, well, we know where that led. Argentina is another case where bitcoin is gaining traction -- the monetary unit there is so subject to inflation, who would want to hold it for more than a nanosecond?</p> <p>It's just not clear why a donor would prefer to donate to a charity via bitcoin. Does anyone have any thoughts?<br /> Photo: Antana</p>
Aberdeen CEO talks technology and his paranoia
FinTech
<p>All asset management CEOs are worried about industry disruption, says Martin Gilbert, CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management.</p> <p>"As a chief executive I’m paid to be paranoid!" Gilbert wrote in a recent blog for the Press and Journal. Asset managers are waiting for the financial equivalent of Uber or iTunes to completely rip apart their traditional business models, he says.</p> <p>If Apple were to announce it was entering the money management world next year, it would strike terror in the hearts of Gilbert and his fellow CEOs. Apple isn't a financial company with the expertise of Aberdeen, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, or others, but the company is such an innovative force that has shaken the world in less than a decade that any industry should be afraid of it, says Gilbert. "I’m not arrogant or complacent enough to think that we can rest on our laurels for a second," he writes. Even if a money manager is flexible and tries to keep up with the times, it will still be inhibited by its size and regulations.</p> <p>Gilbert isn't waiting for technology to come to him. The CEO is visiting Silicon Valley himself to learn about new fintech and encourage Aberdeen's new "innovation committee"</p> <p>"What is certain is the way we do business and interact with clients in ten-years’ time will be completely different to how we work today," Gilbert says.<br /> Photo: Niall Kennedy </p>
Robo-advisors: Rise of the machines
FinTech
Are robo-advisors a threat to their traditional human counterparts? The role of artificial intelligence in portfolio management is still relatively nascent and limited in scope -- by the end of 2014 robo-advisors managed just $19 billion, according a recent Citi study -- but that is changing. Already robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront are proving the space has massive potential. Even the
Apple vs Google vs Samsung: The war for the mobile wallet
FinTech
<p>It’s on! Google and Samsung are now among the first mobile wallet providers to join MasterCard's newly launched Digital Enablement Express, a platform intended to speed up the roll-out of digital commerce.</p> <p>This comes as Apple cranks up its bank partnerships in the US and Europe ahead of today’s “Hey Siri” media event.  The war for the mobile payments supremacy is in full swing, but how do the belligerents compared?</p> <p>Apple </p> <p>Apple’s OS-based proprietary system Apply Pay allows you to pay by taping your iPhone over an NFC-enabled point-of-sale (POS) terminals. It has ready partnered with over 2,500 banks and credit card issuers, and the number is growing. But they have teething problems, Apply Pay adoption rates have been disappointing to date.</p> <p>Google</p> <p>Google’s first foray in payments - Google Wallet - will soon be discontinued,  making way for its latest offering - Android Pay- which will be launched with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. It doesn’t have as many partnerships as Apple yet, but it hopes to make life harder for its rival by leveraging its one  big advantage: it works across all NFC-enabled Android devices. </p> <p>Samsung  </p> <p>The South Korean firm is a latecomer to the space but will no doubt shake things up with Samsung Pay. This system has wider coverage than its rivals because it allows users to make payments by placing their phone on, or near, magnetic stripe card readers already in wide use. So merchants do not have to install special equipment.  It has already signed up the like of Visa, MasterCard and Chase as partners.</p> <p>The other guys</p> <p>You  cannot talk about mobile payments and neglect to mention Alibaba’s AliPay or Tencent’s WeChat payments platform, both NFC-based. Focusing on China for now, these two are at each other throats but are yet to do battle with the other three. That said, they still have foothold in Asia, potentially bringing them up against Samsung, or putting a damper on any ambitions by Apple or Google to expand into China.  <br /> Photo: Thomson20192</p>