News > FinTech

'Smart Contracts' conference unravels the many uses of blockchain
<p>Cryptocurrency experts from across the world gathered at Hong Kong's Cyberport today for the first day of Blockchain Workshops' two-day "Smart Contracts for Smart Cities" conference. </p> <p>The two-day event -- a draw for the sandal-wearing hacker as much as the smartly-dressed banker -- focuses on the seemingly limitless applications of blockchain (the decentralised technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) across industries as varied as fintech, intellectual property, infrastructure, and internet-of-things (IoT).</p> <p>The opening speech was delivered by Hennin Diedrich, a senior programmer at IBM. Titled "Towards a Democracy of Devices," the talk examined the broader impact of blockchain technology. This was followed by an opening panel -- "Blockchain and Applications" -- where Diedrich, as moderator, quizzed a  team of technical experts about the hopes, fears and complexities of blockchain technology. </p> <p>Here is some of the social media commentary:</p> <p>Hennig Diedrich from IBM gives the keynote at #blockchain workshops #smartcontracts<br /> — NexChange (@NexChanger) October 12, 2015</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The opening panel at #smartcontracts for smart cities #blockchain<br /> — NexChange (@NexChanger) October 12, 2015</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> Dom Williams, Difinity: "The reason the decentralised cloud will win is because it's an open transparent system" #smartcontracts — NexChange (@NexChanger) October 12, 2015<br /> Vlad Zamfir, Ethereum: "Bitcoin is a protocol that anyone can understand and provides a great gateway to blockchain" #smartcontracts — NexChange (@NexChanger) October 12, 2015</p> <p>Peter Todd, Bitcoin Dev: "It will take a long time for computer security to get to a point when more people are comfortable." #smartcontracts — NexChange (@NexChanger) October 12, 2015</p>
China tech titans reveal global ambitions with fintech partnerships
<p>Two of China's biggest internet companies - Alibaba and Baidu - both revealed their global fintech ambitions this past week with two significant partnerships.</p> <p>The first was Alibaba, the company behind payments platform Alipay, which announced at tie-up with Aussie fintech startup Get Capital. The company's blog reports that the collaboration will allow Australian importers and exporters to access finance on the Alibaba platform.</p> <p>Get Capital will offer a line of credit through's e-Credit line facility. The deal represents a significant expansion of Alibaba's finance ecosystem beyond its borders. </p> <p>Baidu, meanwhile, has just had its own big overseas play by launching a Hong Kong-based international fintech accelerator with Standard Chartered Bank and co-working space operator TusPark Global. The so-called SuperCharger fintech accelerator will give Baidu direct access to start-ups both from Greater China and overseas.</p> <p>This is a big development for Baidu which has been somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Alibaba and Tencent when it comes to fintech. But now its seems that all the BATs are developing global fintech ambitions.<br /> Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center </p>
Japan government fintech drive threatens bureaucratic 'turf war'
<p>Japanese ministers are tripping over themselves to get behind fintech, so much so that government departments are now treading on each other's toes.</p> <p>This week the Japanese government  charged the  Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) with setting up a panel focusing on ways to boost the country's fintech industry. The only problem is that Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) has already launched a similar initiative, reports the Asian Nikkei Review, leaving some industry professionals confused.</p> <p>The FSA has already had two meetings attended by e-commerce giant Rakuten and a slew of startups. The agency is said to be focusing on building a framework that makes it easier for financial institutions to acquire fintech startups.</p> <p>METI meanwhile is forming a panel of 13 Japan institutions and fintech startups including NEC, Credit Saison, Mizuho Financial Group, and the Bank of Japan. Similarly the panel wants to encourage collaboration between banks and start-up. </p> <p>With similar remits,  it is very likely that METI and the FSA will find themselves competing for the same budgets. It will be interesting to see how the two departments cooperate.<br /> Photo: Tanya Impeartrice</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Banks are more talk than action when it comes to innovation, survey shows
<p>Banks are more talk than action -- at least that's what insiders are saying in a recent survey.</p> <p>In its quarterly State of Banking study, Bank Innovation reports that industry insiders rank themselves on innovation a mediocre 2.67 on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is the best).  That's way below estimates in 2014 and 2013. But when it comes to perception, banks score very high on the innovation scale at 4.65.</p> <p>“Banks wants to be perceived as innovative, rather than actually innovate," one person told Bank Innovation.</p> <p>Success, by that measure, has arrived for the industry.</p> <p>The quarterly survey of 115 bankers, conducted last week, also asked where they saw the industry headed by 2020. The answers were all over the place. In other words, the crystal ball is cloudy.  Some predicted greater specialization while others saw more aggregation. More APIs were on the list. There was confidence and insecurity. Some stated they would remain "trusted advisors" while others expected greater competition from non-traditional sources. They also expected to deploy more analytics to customize products. And, of course, no list of the future would be complete without mention of blockchain technology -- something everyone calls revolutionary but have yet to figure out how to use.<br /> Photo: Nancy I'm gonna SNAP!</p>
Video: Fintech innovators focus on 'new needs' among savers
<p>Fintech innovators are focusing on 'new needs' among savers from NexChange on Vimeo.</p>
Video: How fintech is changing consumer behaviour
<p>How fintech is changing consumer behaviour from NexChange on Vimeo.</p>
Video: What's the next big thing in fintech? Big data, says James McKeogh, KPMG partner
<p>What's the next big thing in fintech? Big data, says James McKeogh, KPMG partner from NexChange on Vimeo.</p>
Video: Incubator exec shares what she sees as the next big thing in fintech
<p>Incubator exec shares what she sees as the next big thing in fintech from NexChange on Vimeo.</p>
Video: Big banks can make a big difference in fintech
<p> Big banks can make a big difference in fintech from NexChange on Vimeo.</p>
Video: 'Robo advisor' is for technophobes
April Rudin, founder of The Rudin Group, explains why she thinks we should lose the term "robo advisor:"  Technology should be an advisor's best friend.