Category Archives: Research

Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

Collaborative Fund |

Collaborative fund - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the WorldAn irony of studying history is that we often know exactly how a story ends, but have no idea where it began.

Find something that’s important to you in 2019 – social, political, economic, whatever – and with a little effort you can trace the roots of its importance back to World War II. There are so few exceptions to this rule it’s astounding.

But it’s not just astounding. It’s an example of something easy to overlook: If you don’t spend a little time understanding World War II’s causes and outcomes, you’re going to have a hard time understanding why the last 60 years have played out the way they have.

You’ll struggle to understand how the biggest technologies got off the ground, and how the most important innovations are born from panic-induced necessity more than cozy visions.

Or why household debt has risen the way it has.

Which raises the question: What else is like World War II?

What are the other Big Things – the great-grandparents – of important topics today that we need to study if we want to understand what’s happening in the world?

The three big ones that stick out are demographics, inequality, and access to information.

There are hundreds of forces shaping the world not mentioned here. But I’d argue that many, even most, are derivatives of those three.

Each of these Big Things will have a profound impact on the coming decades because they’re both transformational and ubiquitous. They impact nearly everyone, albeit in different ways. With that comes the reality that we don’t know exactly how their influence will unfold. No one in 1945 knew exactly how World War II would go on to shape the world, only that it would in extreme ways. But we can guess some of the likeliest changes.

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1. A demographic shift that reconfigures modern economies.

Here’s what’s happening:

demographic shift - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

In 1960 there were three times as many Americans age 0-4 as age 70-74. By 2060 those groups are about even.

The share of young workers is declining.

The share of older workers is rising.

The share of retired people – or those in retirement age – is surging.

There have been about 100 billion humans born during the 200,000 years we’ve existed.

For practically all of that time, making more people wasn’t an issue. Keeping them alive is another story. But having lots of babies has been a fundamental part of humanity for tens of thousands of years. This is more than biological; there’s a strong cultural element to reproducing.

In his book Strategic Effects of Demographic Shocks, James Holmes quotes Aristotle’s view of ancient Sparta:

The legislator, wishing there to be as many Spartiates as possible, encourages the citizens to have as many children as possible; for there is a law that one who has fathered three sons is exempt from [military] duty, and one with four is exempted from all taxes.

In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin awarded the Mother Heroine Award to women with more than 10 living children.

America wasn’t shy either. Gallup has asked Americans what their ideal family size is for seven decades. In 1944, 77% of Americans said having more than three children was ideal. The average woman had 3.4.

Then things changed.

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The baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s was an aberration, and the economic boom that ensued led to a predictable trend: there is a long history of women having fewer children as they get richer.

Part of this is that rich countries have better healthcare, so more kids survive into adulthood. Adam Smith wrote in the 18th-century book The Wealth of Nations: “It is not uncommon in the Highlands of Scotland for a mother who has borne twenty children not to have two alive.” This was a real problem in America just 100 years ago. Twenty-eight percent of Americans died before age 5 in 1900; today it’s about half of one percent.

And wealthier families move the goalpost of expectations for raising kids, lowering the number of desired kids. Education costs in particular create a paradox where the number of kids you think you can afford declines as you get wealthier, since providing the same education opportunities you likely had is a financial burden that can’t be provided to multiple children. Then there’s the time and expense of parents’ own education, which typically takes place during peak childbearing years.

Think of it this way, and then remember that the percentage of the population with a college degree has skyrocketed in the last 50 years:

Fertility in America has declined from 120 births per 1,000 women age 15-44 in the 1950s to 59 in 2018. In raw numbers, there were more babies born in America in 1952 than there were in 2018, despite the overall population more than doubling. Life expectancy at birth increased from 68 to 80 during that time.

Fewer babies while everyone else lives longer is a Big Thing, because it means the population ages. And when the population ages everything from economic growth to workplace culture to the global order of nations gets shaken up.

One thing that changes is that America’s competitiveness increases relative to most of the rest of the world.

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Lower births are a global phenomenon, particularly in the developed world. And while America ages and population growth slows, the rest of the world’s major economies turn into a Florida retirement community and population growth in many cases is on track to turn negative.

Here’s what happened over the last 30 years - and what's projected to happen over the next 30 years:

population by country now and in 30 years - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this is.

When people talk about what nation will own the next century they point to leadership in AI and Machine Learning, where China looks so competitive. But it’s staggeringly hard to grow an economy when you lose a fifth of your working-age population in a single generation. China could invent something as big as the next internet, but when mixed with its demographics have an economy that muddles along. Europe, Japan, and South Korea are the same or worse.

Demographics will slow America’s economy, but they’re a five-alarm fire for other countries. So even assuming equal levels of productivity growth, the U.S. is head and shoulders better off than other developed nations, just given its demographics alone. America could drop the ball on technology while China/Europe/Japan make all the right moves, and America could still remain a much larger and more powerful economy.

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People like to talk about new technologies and innovations, because that’s fun. Demographics aren’t fun. But they’re going to be as important, if not more, to overall economic growth than most innovations over the coming decades.

Another thing affected by demographics: Fewer births means more reliance on immigration for population growth.

The year 1920 was a big year for immigration. The end of World War I reshuffled global migration. Just over 800,000 people immigrated to the United States that year.

But 2,950,000 people were born in America that year. So the ratio of new residents skewed toward American-born citizens over immigrants.

That’s the way it went for most of the 20th century, especially as immigration rates fell.

But as the birth rate falls, the ratio shifts. “By 2035, immigration will add twice as many people as natural births and deaths to the population,” writes Derek Thompson of The Atlantic.

The number of workers whose parents were born in the United States is expected to decline by 8.2 million over the next 15 years, according to Pew. That’ll be offset by a rise of about 13 million new workers with immigrant parents. First-generation immigrants will rise by almost 5 million by 2035.

Immigration forecasts are a wildcard, blowing with the political and economic winds. But the decline of naturally born workers is set in stone – it’s already happened – so even if immigration projections are off by multiples, a rising share of immigrant Americans is nearly guaranteed.

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America was built by immigrants, who have shown to be more entrepreneurial and better educated – immigrants are 13% of the population but 27.5% of entrepreneurs. The political dynamics aren’t as clear. Derek Thompson writes:

Today the rich and mostly white upper- and upper-middle class pay the majority of federal income taxes, which often support programs to help lower-income minorities. This contributes to a “makers” vs “takers” narrative that often skirts dangerously close to dividing the country on racial lines. But within a generation or two, this picture will change. As America’s offices diversify faster than its retirement communities, the minority-white labor force will be supporting the majority-white retirees.

America’s major immigration boom took place in the late 19th and early 20th century. The coming decades could see a lower rate of immigration but with just as great effect, since the proportion of new citizens is magnified by a lower domestic birth rate.

2. Wealth inequality that’s grown for four decades hits an inevitable breaking point.

Inequality is one of the most divisive topics that exists, because it pits capitalism against fairness in ways that feel zero sum – me vs. you, your gain is my loss, etc. It’s tribal in nature, and tribal debates can escalate into fights because you feel like your identity and dignity are on the line.

But in this story it doesn’t matter whether you think inequality is right or wrong, good or bad, or what we should do about it. Someone else can tackle those topics.

All that matters here is that it happened, and happened enormously. It’s a Big Thing that impacts all kinds of other topics.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Black Friday, data concerns, online sales: 5 killer stats

Excellence in Marketing | | Nov 25, 2019

data privacy - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

We arm you with all the stats you need for Black Friday and to help you understand the big industry trends.

1. One in four shoppers planning to make a purchase on Black Friday

More than a quarter (26%) of consumers are planning to make a purchase during Black Friday, up from 21% in 2018 and 19% in 2017.

Almost one in five (19%) said they would be encouraged to spend more because Black Friday falls after pay day, while 28% said they plan to do some Christmas shopping – higher than in previous years.

Of those that are planning to buy, 78% said they had intentionally delayed spend. However, 54% said they expect so spend less than last year and only 8% expect the deals to be better.

Source: Retail Economics/Klarna

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2. Consumers think data collection risks outweigh benefits

The majority (77%) of US adults have heard something about how companies use their personal data and most (81%) think the risks outweigh the benefits.

Almost four in five (79%) are at least somewhat concerned about how much data is collected about them by companies, while seven in 10 feel their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago. Some 62% believe it is impossible to go through daily life without having their data collected by companies.

The survey of 4,272 US adults found that just 6% claim to understand a great deal about what is being done with their data, while 59% understood very little or nothing.

This means they see few personal benefits to data collection. Just 5% of adults say they benefit ‘a great deal’ from data collection, while 23% felt ‘some benefit’. However, 49% feel ‘very little’ benefit and 23% feel ‘none’.

Source: Pew Research Center

3. Monzo the most recommended brand by UK consumers

Digital bank Monzo has the strongest brand advocates of any brand, topping a list of the most recommended brand among Britons with a score of 84.8.

Online money transfer service Transferwise came second on 76.8, followed by phone maker One Plus (74.8), consumer finance website MoneySavingExpert.com (74.6) and green energy company Bulb (74.4). The brand advocacy rankings ask past and present customers of more than 1,500 companies if they’d recommend them to family, friends and colleagues.

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This year’s rankings are led by finance and fintech brands. Travel brands also perform well, with Universal Studios Orlando scoring 71.3 and Secret Escapes 70.8.

The most improved brand was Celebrity Cruises with an 8.8 improvement in score, followed by Southern Trains, which increased eight points, and Travel Republic (up 7.8).

Source: YouGov BrandIndex

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Central Bank Digital Currency and Fintech in Asia

ADBI | Nov 27, 2019

Central Bank Digital Currency and Fintech Asia - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the WorldThe development of financial technology has already radically altered the landscape of the financial system in Asia and promises to have an even greater impact in coming years.

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles and developments regarding central bank digital currency and fintech.

The first part of the book covers the theory of central bank digital currency, regulatory aspects, economic digitalization, and the role of fintech in advancing financial inclusion for small and medium-sized enterprises.

In the second part, selected case studies offer an in-depth overview of recent fintech-related developments in major Asian economies, including Australia; the People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; and Thailand.

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Singapore overtakes the US to become world’s most competitive country, WEF says

India Challenges China in Global Fintech Fundraising

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Alternative Lenders Continue to Steal Business From Banks

The Financial Brand | Jim Marous

Paypal SME lending - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the WorldThe banking industry has enabled alternative providers to impact the competitive balance for payments, investments and deposits. By not developing customer-centric digital lending platforms, traditional lenders have now also allowed digital players to steal significant loan customers.

Most traditional financial institutions associate PayPal with being a significant player in the competition for consumer payments. Their growth, along with the growth of Venmo, Square and other digital payment alternatives, is well documented. What is less well known is the rapid growth of PayPal as a digital lending alternative. It may be time for banks and credit unions to wake up, however, as the company announced that they had crossed $10 billion in small business lending in only 5 years.

“It took PayPal twenty-three months to get to the first $1 billion in lending,” said Darrell Esch, Vice President of global credit at PayPal. “Demand has never been in shortage.” According to research from deBanked, it took PayPal only five years to reach the $10 billion milestone.

The loan originations were spread out across 225,000 small businesses globally according to PayPal, including the US, UK, Australia, and Germany as well as Mexico through a partnership with another online lending platform. Currently, however, PayPal is originating $1 billion per quarter … making this digital player a very formidable competitor.

Amazon Joins PayPal as Top 5 Small Business Digital Lender

While the growth of PayPal as a digital loan alternative is impressive, they are far from the only digital lender impacting the lucrative small business lending marketplace. Amazon has joined PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square as a top 5 digital small business lender. In fact, Amazon revealed that it had made more than $1 billion in small business loans to US-based merchants in 2018.

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In total, there are more than 1.9 million businesses, content creators, and developers in the U.S. using Amazon to deliver their products and services. According to Amazon, small and medium sized businesses now account for 58% of Amazon sales – up from 30% ten years ago.

The peer-to-peer business lender, Funding Circle, also revealed its first-quarter trading update, showing that loans under management rose by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2018, while originations grew by 23% (they have originated $9.5 billion in loans). This indicates that there is greater competition between alternative and traditional lenders, as well as increased competition within the alternative lending marketplace.

Digital Lenders Leverage Data for Improved Experiences

As with most digital banking alternatives, the top small business digital lenders use vast customer insights and competitive terms to deliver personalized offers and experiences to small businesses. Most of this is done in conjunction with small businesses still having banking relationships for holding funds and making disbursements at traditional banks and credit unions.

Alternative digital lending firms often provide small businesses more favorable terms on loans than can be received from traditional financial institutions. They also provide more financing options and faster approval than traditional banks. Alternative lenders like PayPal also approve small business loans at higher rates — 56% compared to 26% approval rates by big banks, according to data from Biz2Credit.

Because PayPal, Amazon, Square and other alternative lenders have access to transaction history of sellers on their platform – and often use that merchant’s sales data instead of a credit score – they can quickly determine the credit worthiness of a small business borrower. Comparably, banks and credit unions usually only have access to a small business’s deposits and bank accounts, unable to see the entire picture of a company’s sales.

“PayPal business financing programs can provide funding from $1,000 – $500,000 for small businesses looking for both quick decision-making and immediate usage as an application decision that usually occurs within minutes or hours, if approved, allows the business to start using the funds almost immediately,” said Esch.

This availability of funds comes at a time when many traditional organizations have pulled back from offering small business credit. According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, as many as 70% of merchants didn’t receive the funding they wanted in 2018.

See: 

 

“If you look at the great recession what you’ve seen is a bounce back of commercial lending, but lending to small businesses really hasn’t come back,” states Esch. A lot of the hesitancy is attributed to the cost of underwriting. Banks are usually not in a position to lend small amounts of money on a frequent basis. Digital alternative lenders are built for this type of lending.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Why Older Entrepreneurs Have the Edge

Wharton University | Nov 12, 2019

lightbulb entrepreneurship - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the WorldMark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates founded their pathbreaking companies when they were still in their teens. Steve Jobs founded Apple at 21. Their stories, which get a lot of media attention, have many believing that younger entrepreneurs are the most successful. However, research from Wharton management professor Daniel Kim shows they are exceptions to the rule, and that the average age of successful entrepreneurs is actually a lot older. The study, “Age and High-growth Entrepreneurship,” determined the most successful founders in the United States are in their 40s. Javier Miranda, principal economist at the U.S. Census Bureau; Benjamin Jones, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; and Pierre Azoulay, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, co-authored the study. Kim sat down with Knowledge@Wharton to talk about why middle-aged entrepreneurs bring the benefit of experience to the founder’s table. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

See:  Bringing Good Ideas to Life: 13 Modern Ways to Innovate

Knowledge@Wharton: If “age ain’t nothing but a number,” as the Aaliyah song goes, why was it important to ask this research question about the average age of successful entrepreneurs?

Daniel Kim: There’s this prevailing view that entrepreneurs, especially the most successful ones, tend to be young. Paul Graham, a prominent venture investor, once quipped that when evaluating entrepreneurs, the cut-off is 32. After that age, they start to become a little skeptical. If that perspective is true, it raises a lot of questions on why experience doesn’t seem to matter for entrepreneurship like it does for other types of careers.

“There seemed to be this very consistent finding that the likelihood of entrepreneurial success rises with age.”

debunking young founder myth 1 - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

Knowledge@Wharton: What are some of the advantages that younger people might have when trying to found a successful company? And what are some advantages you might have if you’re a little older?

Kim: There are some theories on why young people may be better entrepreneurs. Two ideas come to mind. One is that younger people might be more capable of disruptive ideas because they’re less beholden to existing paradigms or ways of doing things. As a result, they might be better positioned to come up with new, groundbreaking ideas. The second idea is that young people just have more time and energy. Because starting a venture is a really taxing journey, that might put them at an advantage.

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Knowledge@Wharton: To study this, how did you pinpoint age and separate high-growth start-ups from just any business?

Kim: To provide a systematic answer to this question, what my co-authors and I have done is leverage confidential administrative data sets from the U.S. government that allowed us to study the population of entrepreneurs in the U.S. to have real findings on this question.

Knowledge@Wharton: What were some of the most surprising findings? What was the magic number?

Kim: Among all the entrepreneurs in the U.S. between 2007 and 2014, at the time of founding, the average age was 42. The vast majority of these companies are small businesses like laundromats and restaurants that have little to no intention of growing to become a large organization. To reshift our focus on high-tech startups, which are probably the more prototypical startups we have in our minds, we looked at the high-tech industries as well as venture capital-backed and patent-owning firms. And there, the average age was slightly higher, 43. Then when we zoomed in on these entrepreneurial regions like Silicon Valley or even Boston, we found that the average age was still in the early 40s.

Knowledge@Wharton: In the paper, you gave a batting average for creating successful firms. Can you share that?

Kim: The real question here is, what about the most successful entrepreneurs? It’s possible that the extreme upper tail is where maybe perhaps the younger entrepreneurs really shine. We looked at the fastest-growing startups in the U.S., which would be the top 0.1% in terms of their employment growth over five years. In that region, the average age was actually higher at 45. When we took a different definition of success, which would be exits through an IPO or an acquisition, the average age was still in the mid-40s. So, there seemed to be this very consistent finding that the likelihood of entrepreneurial success rises with age.

See: 

Knowledge@Wharton: Your study also found other peaks and valleys with age and entrepreneurs. Tell us about that.

Kim: I think an underlying question here is, what is driving the age effect? Because age reflects many, many things in life. We know that with age, many benefits accumulate, including your social ties — your relationship with suppliers and potential hires and co-founders — as well as financial wealth and human capital that you gain from working in different companies.

What we’ve found to be the most supportive in really explaining this link between age and entrepreneurial success was prior experience. The number of years that one spends in the same industry as the startup was predictive of that company’s future performance.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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NCFA Directory Search: Fintech in Canada

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - NCFA Directory Search:  Fintech in Canada The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Coinshares Reveals Top 10 Crypto Trends in 2019

Bitcoinist | Christina Comben | Nov 13, 2019


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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