FFCON21 Breaking Barriers May 11-13, 2021

Category Archives: Research

Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debate

TechCrunch | Leigh Cuen | Mar 21, 2021

crypto energy consumption debate - Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debateEnergy consumption has become the latest flashpoint for cryptocurrency. Critics decry it as an energy hog while proponents hail it for being less intensive than the current global economy.

One such critic, DigiEconomist founder Alex de Vries, said he’s “never seen anything that is as inefficient as bitcoin.”

On the other side of the debate, research by ARK Investment Management found the Bitcoin ecosystem consumes less than 10% of the energy required for the traditional banking system. While it’s true the banking system serves far more people, cryptocurrency is still maturing and, like any industry, the early infrastructure stage is particularly intensive.

The cryptocurrency mining industry, which garnered almost $1.4 billion in February 2021 alone, is not yet unusually terrible for the environment compared to other aspects of modern life in an industrialized society. Even de Vries told TechCrunch that if eco-conscious regulators “took all possible actions against Bitcoin, it’s unlikely you’d get all governments to go along with that” mining regulation.

“Ideally, change comes from within,” de Vries said, adding he hopes Bitcoin Core developers will alter the software to require less computational energy. “I think Bitcoin consumes half as much energy as all the world’s data centers at the moment.”

According to the University of Cambridge’s bitcoin electricity consumption index, bitcoin miners are expected to consume roughly 130 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh), which is roughly 0.6% of global electricity consumption. This puts the bitcoin economy on par with the carbon dioxide emissions of a small, developing nation like Sri Lanka or Jordan. Jordan, in particular, is home to 10 million people. It’s impossible to say how many people use bitcoin every month, and they certainly use it less often than residents in Amman use Jordanian dinars. But CoinMetrics data indicates more than 1 million bitcoin addresses are active, daily, out of up to 106 million accounts active in the past decade, as tallied by the exchange Crypto.com.

See:  How This Billionaire-Backed Crypto Startup Gets Paid To Not Mine Bitcoin

“We get the total population of unique bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) users by counting the total number of addresses from listed exchanges, subtracting addresses owned by the same users on multiple exchanges,” said a Crypto.com spokesperson. “We then further reduce this number by accounting for users who own both ETH and BTC.”

That’s a lot of people using these financial networks. Plus, many bitcoin mining businesses rely on environmentally friendly energy sources like hydropower and capturing natural gas leaks from oil fields. A mining industry veteran, Compass Mining COO Thomas Heller, said Chinese hydropower mines in Sichuan and Yunnan get cheaper electricity during the wet season. They continue to use hydropower all year, he added, although it’s less profitable during the annual dry season.

“The electricity price outside of May to October [wet season] is much more expensive,” Heller said. “However, some farms do have water supply in other parts of the year.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debate 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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Digital Payments in America – Scaling the Peak

The Economist | Mar 20, 2021

digital payments scaling in the US - Digital Payments in America - Scaling the Peak

PayPal, Stripe and others are only just getting started

A LITTLE OVER a decade ago Patrick and John Collison founded Stripe, a company in Silicon Valley that helped other tech startups accept online payments. It has since outgrown them all. On March 14th the firm said it had closed a fundraising round valuing it at $95bn—three times its valuation a mere 11 months ago, and enough to make it America’s biggest-ever unlisted firm. Stripe is not the only company cashing in on the check-out business, as the digital payments revolution finally takes off in America.

Investors’ enthusiasm for Western digital-payments companies has been whetted by the pandemic (see chart). PayPal’s share price has jumped by 180% in the past 12 months. That of Square, an American rival, has more than quintupled; and that of Adyen, based in Amsterdam, has nearly tripled. The digital boom is luring credit-card colossuses and tech titans, such as Visa and Google, to online payments. Smaller startups, meanwhile, are carving out niches. Yet markets still love the four specialists: PayPal’s shares trade at 68 times earnings; Square’s, near 510. Why are investors so bullish?

See:  Has COVID-19 made cryptocurrency more attractive for digital payment and investment?

The digital-payments industry is rather like a transport system. “Acquirers” connect the shop’s app or website to the payments infrastructure and check key details, including a buyer’s identity, probity or available funds, to authorise travel. The money then moves along the customer’s chosen type of “rail”: credit-card, bank-to-bank or mobile-wallet systems, run by distinct firms. Then come the refreshment trolleys—service providers, like buy-now-pay-later firms, that purport to make the payments journey more pleasant. Everyone takes a cut of the transaction along the way.

Three trends are helping propel the digital firms further. One is the rapid growth of e-commerce, which has been turbo-charged by the pandemic. Online-transactions volumes surged by 19% globally last year as locked-down consumers turned to the internet. And there is further to go: online payments accounted for just 45% of all retail payments tracked by Mastercard, a credit-card giant, in 2020. The second trend is the dash away from cash at bricks-and-mortar shops in favour of digital payments, which covid-19 has probably accelerated by about three to five years.

A final factor comes from increasing market share within online payments. For all of the specialists’ might, over half of digital-transaction volumes worldwide are still acquired by the captive, sluggish arms of banks, says Lisa Ellis of MoffettNathanson, a research firm. Since most lack global aspirations and e-commerce expertise, market share is bound to migrate to the online giants.

See: 

Such trends boost Visa and Mastercard, the dominant credit-and-debit card networks, too. Yet they run only one type of rail, whereas the four payment champions are mostly agnostic about which channel the money travels on. And the established card firms are also under attack from anti-trust watchdogs who worry that they make it difficult for merchants on their networks to process transactions through other, cheaper, alternatives. On March 19th shares in Visa fell after reports that the Department of Justice was investigating it.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Digital Payments in America - Scaling the Peak 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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Analysis: Proposed FATF Guidance for Virtual Assets and VASPs

CipherTrace | JJ | March 19, 2021

AML money laundering - Analysis: Proposed FATF Guidance for Virtual Assets and VASPsOn March 19, 2021, global anti-money laundering watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released a public consultation for its updated Draft Guidance on a Risk-Based Approach to Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers. Key changes in the draft guidance include:

  • DEXs and crypto escrow services are considered Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)
  • Stablecoins are virtual asset (VAs) and FATF Standards apply to them
  • Only NFTs that can facilitate money laundering (ML) and terrorism financing (TF) are VAs
  • VASPs should assess and mitigate proliferation financing (PF) risks
  • Best practices for counterparty VASP due diligence
  • Options for mitigating peer-to-peer transaction risks
  • New Travel Rule clarifications and guidance

Proliferation Financing (PF) Risks

  • In addition to money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks, VASPs should begin to assess and mitigate proliferation financing (PF) risks.
  • The FATF is currently developing separate guidance to clarify these requirements.

FATF standards apply to “so-called stablecoins”

  • The FATF recommends countries analyze and mitigate the ML/TF risks of before they are launched—especially if the stablecoin is to be used for P2P transactions.
  • Risk mitigation could include “limiting the scope of customers’ ability to transact anonymously and/or by ensuring that AML/CFT obligations of obliged entities within the arrangement are fulfilled, e.g. by using software to monitor transactions and detect suspicious activity.”

See: 

 

Risk mitigation options for peer-to-peer transactions

  • Transactions to/from non-obliged entities (e.g. unhosted wallets) and transactions where at an earlier stage P2P transactions have occurred should be considered higher-risk.
  • The FATF recommends some of the following as possible P2P risk mitigation tactics in high-risk jurisdictions:
    • implementation of the VA equivalent of CTRs
    • denying licensing of VASPs if they allow transactions to/from non-obliged entities (i.e., private/unhosted wallets)
    • enhanced recordkeeping requirements and enhanced due diligence (EDD) requirements
    • ongoing enhanced supervision of VASPs
    • issuing public guidance and advisories to raise awareness of risks posed by P2P transactions

Specific guidance on the implementation of the “travel rule”

  • VASPs that have not implemented the “Travel Rule” should be considered higher-risk.
  • A VASP needs to undertake counterparty VASP due diligence before they transmit the required information.
  • Regardless of the lack of regulation in the beneficiary jurisdiction (sunrise issue), originating VASPs can require travel rule compliance from beneficiaries by contract or business practice. In general, those business decisions are made by each individual VASP based on their risk-based analysis.
  • Originators and beneficiary VASPs should screen transactions to confirm that the counterparty is not a sanctioned name.
  • The submission of originator and beneficiary information in batches is acceptable, as long as submission occurs immediately and securely as per the FATF Standards. Post facto submission of the required information should not be permitted (i.e., submission must occur before or when the VA transfer is conducted)
  • Where there is not an originator or beneficiary institution (transactions to and from unhosted wallets), the VASP must still collect the required information with respect to their customer. Countries should also consider requiring VASPs to treat such VA transfers as higher risk transactions that require enhanced scrutiny and limitations.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Analysis: Proposed FATF Guidance for Virtual Assets and VASPs 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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Global cryptocurrency spending grows 300% in two years

Kitco | Neils Christensen | Mar 19, 2021

Bitcoin global currency gainnig adoption - Global cryptocurrency spending grows 300% in two years(Kitco News) - Bitcoin continues to attract a lot of investor attention following its recent new high above $61,000; however, one company says that the cryptocurrency market is more than just a momentum trade with crypto spending on the rise.According to a recent internal report from the world's largest crypto payment processor CoinPayments, from the first quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, the North American cryptocurrency market saw a 300% increase in transactions as more businesses and merchants embraced digital currencies.

"Cryptocurrencies continue to solidify their role in the global financial landscape. Consumers see real value in the market and are using them more and more in their daily lives," Jason Butcher, CEO of CoinPayments, told Kitco News. "We are seeing the start of what will be a bigger trend for cryptocurrencies."

CoinPayments' research shows that the top three transacted digital currencies in North America are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Despite these three cryptocurrencies' dominance, the company also noted that transaction volume in Tether (USDT) had increased nine-fold in the last two years.

The latest rally in Bitcoin has pushed the digital currency's market capitalization to over $1 trillion. Meanwhile, CoinPayments said that total transaction volume for Bitcoin in North America rose to $153.65 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

See:  Cryptocurrencies Aren’t An Alternative. They’re Here to Stay.

Not only are transaction volumes on the rise, but average transaction sizes are also growing, which could imply that people have more trust in cryptocurrencies, according to Butcher.

When looking at the sectors that are attracting the most flows, the average crypto transaction size to pay for financial services totaled $531 in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 41% from the first quarter of 2019.

Many analysts have noted that Bitcoin is attracting a lot of investment demand as investors look for alternative assets to protect against the rising inflation threat. Some analysts have pointed out that Bitcoin's run - with more than 100% gains so far this year - has taken some luster away from gold, which is seen as a more traditional inflation hedge.

"Not only are cryptocurrencies effectively protecting your wealth, but consumers are able to use them as a global currency," Butcher said.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Global cryptocurrency spending grows 300% in two years 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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CFA Institute launches a first of its kind globally, a new ESG investing qualification

Investment Executive | James Langton | March 15, 2021

CFA launches ESG certification - CFA Institute launches a first of its kind globally, a new ESG investing qualificationNew certificate focuses on incorporating ESG into investment analysis

Amid growing demand for sustainable investing, the CFA Institute is launching a new ESG investing qualification.

The professional association announced it will offer a Certificate in ESG Investing, which was developed by CFA Society of the United Kingdom in 2019, in financial hubs around the world.

The group said that the new global qualification for ESG in investment management aims to teach certificants how to integrate material ESG factors into investment analysis.

The course is “also suitable for anyone looking to improve their understanding of ESG issues in functions such as sales and distribution, wealth management, product development, financial advice, consulting and risk,” the CFA Institute said.

See:  New SEC task force will scrutinize ESG and climate disclosures and marketing

The course requires approximately 130 hours of study and a 100-question, computer-based exam. It costs US$665 and candidates can claim 20 CE credits upon passing the exam.

“We are seeing a real acceleration of interest in ESG investing — a major development that will shape the future of finance — while increased demand from clients and investment management firms has fueled the need for education,” said Margaret Franklin, president and CEO of CFA Institute, in a release.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - CFA Institute launches a first of its kind globally, a new ESG investing qualification 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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Big techs in finance: regulatory approaches and policy options

BIS | March 2021

financial services offered by Bigtech - Big techs in finance: regulatory approaches and policy options

Highlights

  • At present, financial services represent a relatively small part of big techs' overall activities, though this can change rapidly due to the unique features of their business models and they could quickly become systemically important – or "too big to fail".
  • Big techs' financial operations are subject to the same requirements as those of other market participants. As such, big techs need to hold appropriate licences to perform regulated financial activities or provide their services in partnership with financial institutions that meet the regulatory requirements.
  • Risks connected with big tech activities in finance may not be fully captured by the regulatory approach up to now, which is geared towards individual entities or specific activities and not the risks that are created by substantive interlinkages within big tech groups and their role as critical service providers for financial institutions.
  • An effective oversight of big tech activities in finance calls for going beyond a piecemeal policy framework and considering recalibrating the mix of entity-based and activity-based rules, in favour of the former in certain policy areas. A step further would be to assess the possibility of introducing a bespoke approach for big techs encompassing a comprehensive public policy framework. In any case, there is a need for enhancing cross-sectoral and cross-border cooperative arrangements.

See: 

House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech’s ‘Monopoly Power’ and Urge Their Breakups

How Banks, Fintechs, and Customers Win Together

 

Download the 15 page PDF report --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Big techs in finance: regulatory approaches and policy options 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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How HR Leaders are Building the Organization of the Future

McKinsey & Company | Asmus Komm, Florian Pollner, Bill Schaninger, and Surbhi Sikka  | March 12, 2021

HR the organization of the future - How HR Leaders are Building the Organization of the Future

The pandemic underscores the urgency for a more dynamic talent and work model. Human-resources leaders can help by focusing on identity, agility, and scalability.

Organizations have by and large met the challenges of this crisis moment. But as we move toward imagining a postpandemic era, a management system based on old rules—a hierarchy that solves for uniformity, bureaucracy, and control—will no longer be effective. Taking its place should be a model that is more flexible and responsive, built around four interrelated trends: more connection, unprecedented automation, lower transaction costs, and demographic shifts.

See:  58 Must-Read Remote Work Resources | 50 Great Remote Working Resources

To usher in the organization of the future, chief human-resources officers (CHROs) and other leaders should do nothing less than reimagine the basic tenets of organization. Emerging models are creative, adaptable, and antifragile. 1 Corporate purpose fuels bold business moves. “Labor” becomes “talent.” Hierarchies become networks of teams. Competitors become ecosystem collaborators. And companies become more human: inspiring, collaborative, and bent on creating an employee experience that is meaningful and enjoyable.

prioritize initiatives that strengthe identity and agility 1 - How HR Leaders are Building the Organization of the Future

 

Identity: HR can clarify the meaning of purpose, value, and culture

Companies that execute with purpose have greater odds of creating significant long-term value generation, which can lead to stronger financial performance, increased employee engagement, and higher customer trust.

Hone in on the organization’s purpose

What is your company’s core reason for being, and where can you have a unique, positive impact on society? Now more than ever, you need good answers to those questions—purpose is not a choice but a necessity.  HR can also ensure that clear changes are made to recruitment and capability-building processes by determining the characteristics of a “purpose driven” employee and embedding these attributes within recruitment, development, and succession planning.

See:  5 Challenges Facing all Start-Ups

HR can also incorporate purpose-driven metrics into compensation and performance decisions. Companies across industries have embarked on these metrics lately.

Think deeply about talent

Organizations that can reallocate talent in step with their strategic plans are more than twice as likely to outperform their peers. To link talent to value, the best talent should be shifted into critical value-driving roles. To enable this shift, HR should manage talent rigorously by building an analytics capability to mine data to hire, develop, and retain the best employees. HR business partners, who articulate these staffing needs to the executive management team, should consider themselves internal service providers that ensure high returns on human-capital investments. For example, to engage business leaders in a regular review of talent, they can develop semiautomated data dashboards that track the most important metrics for critical roles.

Create the best employee experience possible

Companies know that a better employee experience means a better bottom line. Successful organizations work together with their people to create personalized, authentic, and motivating experiences that tap into purpose to strengthen individual, team, and company performance.

See:  In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity Lacks Leadership | The World After Coronavirus

Strengthen leadership and build capacity for change

To strengthen an organization’s identity, HR should ask the following questions:

  • How can we develop an energizing sense of purpose that has a tangible impact on our strategic choices and ways of working?
  • How can we identify key talent roles and focus them on creating value?
  • How can we build a data-driven, systemic understanding of our organizational health?

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How HR Leaders are Building the Organization of the Future 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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Recent Appointments

7th Annual Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (FFCON21): Breaking Barriers May 11-13 (Digital)
David Durand, Advisor, Innovation and Advocacy

David Durand, Advisor, Innovation and Advocacy

David Durand, LL.L., B.Sc. chem., – Founder and Managing Partner of Durand Lawyers – Lawyer (Québec)[...]
Michelle Beyo, Advisor, Payments and Financial Inclusivity

Michelle Beyo, Advisor, Payments and Financial Inclusivity

Michelle Beyo is Founder & CEO of Finavator INC, Money2020 RiseUp Alumni, Women in Payments Glob[...]
Paul Schulte, Advisor, Banking and Financial Services

Paul Schulte, Advisor, Banking and Financial Services

Paul Schulte is the Founder and Managing Editor of Shulte Research based in Singapore.  Paul's roles[...]
Sue Britton, Advisor, Corporate Innovation & Partnerships

Sue Britton, Advisor, Corporate Innovation & Partnerships

Sue Britton is CEO & Founder of FGS (FinTech Growth Syndicate) – Canada’s leading FinTech innova[...]
Charlene Cieslik, Advisor, AML and Compliance

Charlene Cieslik, Advisor, AML and Compliance

Charlene Cieslik is the Principle of Complifact AML Inc., and currently spends her time assisting th[...]
Michael R. King, PhD CFA, Advisor, Fintech Research and Education

Michael R. King, PhD CFA, Advisor, Fintech Research and Education

Michael R. King, PhD CFA Lansdowne Chair in Finance Gustavson School of Business, University of Vi[...]
Alan Wunsche, Advisor, Blockchain

Alan Wunsche, Advisor, Blockchain

Alan Wunsche, MBA, CPA, CA, CBP – Founder, TokenFunder and Co-founder/Chair, Blockchain Canada Al[...]
David Lucatch, Advisor

David Lucatch, Advisor

David Lucatch Chair, KABN David has spent more almost 35 years in the international marketing ar[...]
Sherwood Neiss, Advisor, Global Crowdfunding Markets

Sherwood Neiss, Advisor, Global Crowdfunding Markets

Mr. Sherwood Neiss co-authored the “Crowdfunding Exemption Framework” which became the basis of Titl[...]