Category Archives: Enterprise

Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market

Coindesk | David Pan | Oct 9, 2019

Vanguard ForeX blockchain platform - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketMutual fund giant Vanguard has partnered with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market, the companies said.

With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology.

Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told CoinDesk the company teamed up with Vanguard to build the currency platform, confirming a Bloomberg report that cited an anonymous source.

The platform has been operational for two months and completed its first trades during the time, according to the report.

A Vanguard spokesperson told CoinDesk:

“Vanguard is currently piloting a project focused on improving the efficiency and reducing risk of FX hedging.”

The new platform is part of the fund manager’s commitment to lowering the cost of investing for all investors, the spokesperson said. Neither company would provide further details of the pilot.

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The project, if successful, would be another important milestone for Wall Street courtesy of Vanguard, which created the first index fund in 1975.

New York-based Symbiont actually worked with Vanguard on project related to its index funds before the currency trading platform, helping the fund manager in 2017 streamline its index fund data collection process with its patented smart contract technology.

The blockchain firm is focused on its smart contracts platform for institutional applications of its blockchain platform Symbiont Assembly to help build networks where multiple independent entities can share data and logic in real time.

The startup touted that it has been one of the most successful among its peers in the enterprise blockchain space when compared to Hyperledger, R3, Digital Asset and ethereum variants.

“I would argue that we are the only enterprise blockchain solution,” Smith previously told CoinDesk. The others either aren’t really blockchains, have privacy and security shortcomings or haven’t produced anything beyond ideas, he argued.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Swiss National Bank and BIS use innovation hub to explore digital central bank money and DLT

Finextra | Oct 8, 2019

Switzerland - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketThe Swiss National Bank (SNB) is working with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on an innovation hub in Switzerland that will initially focus on research into digital central bank money and distributed ledger technology.

The SNB is working with SIX on the research, embarking on a proof of concept to explore how digital central bank money could be used in the settlement of tokenized assets between market participants.

The project is making use of the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) platform, which is currently being built and promises to be the world's first end-to-end exchange for digital assets when it launches next year offering listing, trading, settlement and custody service.

See:  Mark Carney’s Trojan Unicorn — Are Central Banks Considering Stealth Nationalization in Sovereign Digital Currencies?

The SDX system will be used to explore technical possibilities for integrating digital central bank money into DLT platforms. Options include the connection of the existing Swiss Interbank Clearing System or the issue of digital Swiss franc tokens by the SNB for financial market participants.

Jos Dijsselhof, CEO, SIX, says: "We are pleased to contribute to this initiative and, through SIX Digital Exchange, to explore the technological possibilities with which the SNB could support token-based financial ecosystems in the future by providing digital central bank money for financial market participants."

The new innovation hub will also work on a second research project, looking into the rise in requirements placed on central banks to be able to effectively track and monitor fast-paced, automated electronic markets.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Inflection point:Seven transformative shifts in US retail banking

McKinsey & Company | Oct 2019

7 transformative shifts in US retail banking banner - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketTen years ago

10 years ago, the US retail banking industry was in the depths of the global financial crisis, with many one-time leading institutions struggling to survive.

Since then, after bringing in billions in fresh capital, US banks have made a return to stable ground and greater liquidity. Despite this progress, aggregate return on equity is at the lower bound of sustainability, and the industry’s price-to-book value is about 1.4, not far above where it stood in 2009.

Customer trust has improved from the downturn but is still well below pre-crisis levels. Though most banks were able to avoid unsettling challenges in the following ten years, few were able to break out and significantly outperform the industry.

Now, however, several major forces are accelerating the evolution of the US banking industry–the encroachment of new competitors, rising expectations from customers on service levels and corporate responsibility, and an intensifying war for talent—and promising to make doing business more challenging in the coming ten years.

Further, US banks have yet to go through the restructuring that has already swept European and Asian markets, where a majority of services are delivered digitally. In this report, we describe seven transformative shifts reshaping US banking. The current state of US retail banking can be thought of as an inflection point for the industry.

Coupled with the difficult macroeconomic environment, and political and economic uncertainty, the seven shifts will decisively alter the operations, economics, and efficiency of US retail banking.

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Banks face a steep climb

To rank the relative performance of companies, McKinsey uses the Power Curve, which measures value created in terms of economic profit (defined as firms’ returns less their cost of capital). From 2010 to 2017, we assessed close to 2,400 companies across multiple industries on the Power Curve and found two surprising results. First, companies ranking in the top 20 percent generated more than 30 times the profit of those in the middle 60 percent, while the lagging firms made only marginal economic profit. Second, the curve is broadly stable over time, and a company’s position on it is persistent: between 2010 and 2017, only 1 in 12 companies rose from the middle ranks to the top of the Power Curve, while approximately 40 percent of companies in the bottom third stayed there.

7 transformative shifts in US retail banking - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market

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Download the 15 pg PDF McKinsey & Company research -> here

 

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Facebook faces EU grilling over Libra ‘cryptocurrency’ after losing PayPal backing

TNW Hard Fork | Yessi Bello Perez | Oct 7, 2019

Facebook Libra and EU committee - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketAs Facebook deals with the loss of PayPal‘s backing for its ‘cryptocurrency‘ Libra, the tech giant must now get ready to answer EU regulators’ questions about the potential risks posed by the project.

The European Commission has requested that Facebook and the Libra Association – the body tasked with supervising the digital currency – answer questions relating to financial stability, money laundering, and data privacy risks.

According to the Financial Times, which saw the commission’s questionnaire last week, this is all part of EU financial commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis’ efforts to asses whether projects such as Libra should be regulated in the EU, if new regulation is required, or whether the ‘cryptocurrency‘ should be allowed to operate at all.

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The news couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, which has faced increasing scrutiny and opposition from regulators in recent months.

Just last month, Libra‘s founders were subject to questioning by 26 central bank officials in what was the first encounter between the technology giant and regulators.

Prior to that, in August, Brussels’ antitrust body raised concerns about Libra potentially causing competition restrictions.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Exclusive: Fintech firm Revolut to hire 3500 staff in global push with Visa

Reuters | Lawrence White | Sep 30, 2019

Revolut and visa partner - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketLONDON (Reuters) - British-based digital banking app Revolut is set to hire around 3500 staff as it expands into 24 new markets thanks to a new global deal with payments giant Visa Inc, the two companies said on Monday.

Revolut, one of a breed of new digital-only account providers taking aim at traditional high street banks, has grown at breakneck pace since its launch in July 2015 and now boasts more than 8 million customers.

The deal with Visa expands an existing agreement between the two firms and will see Revolut expand from its current markets of Europe and Australia to open in the United States and Singapore by the end of this year, with Canada and Japan to follow, Revolut said.

Revolut will then launch in other Latin American and Asian markets but does not have a fixed timeline, its chief executive and founder Nikolay Storonsky told Reuters.

“We are around 1500 people now and by summer next year we plan to be around 5000,” he said.

The expansion into new markets will be subject to Revolut getting the necessary regulatory approvals.

The deal is not exclusive but will see at least 75% of all Revolut cards carry Visa branding rather than that of rivals such as Mastercard Inc.

The global push could see Revolut double or triple its customers in the next year, Storonsky said.

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He told Reuters that Revolut’s average customer holds around 1000 euros in their account, giving a total deposit balance of around 8 billion euros ($8.74 billion) currently, a minnow compared to global banking giants like HSBC and JPMorgan with trillion-dollar-plus deposit totals.

But, along with its peers, Revolut has shocked incumbent banks into upping their digital game, as customers flock to Fintechs with their slicker apps, money management tools and attractive offers on foreign exchange.

Revolut’s rapid growth in recent years has not been without hiccups. It faced media reports about a cutthroat work culture and questions from Britain’s financial watchdog earlier this year about its sanctions-checking systems.

Revolut said at the time it has never failed to meet its legal or regulatory sanctions requirements.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Incumbents, consumer complacency barriers to innovation in Canadian banking

Betakit | | Sep 27, 2019

canadian banking innovation barriers - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketWednesday at the #ElevateTechFest Money Stage, BetaKit’s Meagan Simpson spoke with three FinTech disruptors about open banking and the barriers faced by innovators looking to shake up Canada’s financial system.

“I think we need to own the fact that we frankly didn’t get our shit together soon enough.”

The panel featured Daniel Eberhard, founder and CEO of Koho, a Toronto-based challenger bank, Alexandra Nuth, managing director of ATB’s new digital offering Brightside, and Saud Aziz, strategy and operations manager of Canada for Revolut, a UK-based challenger that is currently expanding to the Canadian market.

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Revolut is one of a number of UK-founded challenger banks, including Starling and Monzo, that have popped up in recent years to offer an alternative to traditional banking. The UK, in fact, is known as having a competitive environment for challenger banks to thrive. The UK has adopted open banking much more quickly than other nations; In 2016, the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority required the nine largest UK banks to allow licensed startups direct access to their data.

Eberhard said the regulatory environment across the pond in Canada has made it much more difficult to thrive as a challenger bank, as regulators have prioritized managing system risk over creating a competitive environment.

Open banking is meant to give consumers more control by allowing their banks to distribute their personal data to third parties through the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs). One of the goals of open banking is to foster a more competitive and innovative financial ecosystem and proponents of open banking claim it allows financial companies to improve their offerings and customer engagement, and create new channels for digital revenue.

One of the specific advantages to UK challenger banks over their Canadian counterparts is the ability to receive an electronic money institution licence (EMI), which allows PayTech and FinTech companies to offer specific and common financial operations, including money remittance services, process payment transactions, and direct debit or credit transfers.

No such licence exists in Canada, and this inability to operate means companies like Koho need to rely on partnerships with incumbent institutions to move their customers’ money. Aziz said regulators need to understand that Canada shouldn’t have a binary framework between existing as only either a bank or not a bank.

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Outside of Canadian regulations that also make it extremely difficult for startups like Koho and Revolut to get banking licences, challenger FinTech’s like Koho have faced direct roadblocks from incumbent financial institutions. Eberhard referenced a tweet that he shared over the summer, regarding a Koho employee being blocked by CIBC from transferring funds to their Koho account, with the bank flagging that Koho could be associated with “scams.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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Accelerate—it’s time for insurers to move swiftly and decisively

McKinsey & Company | Johannes-Tobias Lorenz | Sep 30, 2019

running digital fast - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex MarketIn the past, speed was not critical for an insurer's success. The reality today is totally different. To flourish in the digital age, insurers must move swiftly—and decisively.

For a long time, the traditional insurance business model proved remarkably resilient. A robust regulatory environment, limited consumer interest, and large balance sheets safeguarded the competitive advantage against early digital attackers. But the picture today is different. Digital technologies are putting pressure on profit pools, and competition is intensifying as traditional industry borders blur and players from adjacent markets shake up the traditional insurance value chain to claim their stake. On top, the negative-interest-rate environment threatens the economic foundations of the industry.

See:  Tesla Promises up to 30% Lower Insurance Rates with New Car Insurance Play

The good news: Traditional insurers remain in a strong position to flourish in the digital age. Most have customer access through their proprietary channels, strong and trusted brands, and actuarial expertise. These features make traditional insurers valuable partners in budding digital ecosystems that are evolving to offer both risk prevention and risk mitigation services. In addition, they also have large balance sheets that enable them to underwrite large risk pools. Today, most insurance companies have started applying new technologies within their organizations and are making strides in implementing digital solutions. However, the metabolic rate needs to increase to stay competitive in a polarizing “winners take all” environment.

How to move swiftly—and decisively

The strength of an insurer’s in-force book will not protect it indefinitely. Incumbents need to move quickly to compete with digital competitors that have the agility to keep pace with evolving technology and customer needs. Five key observations on speed can help guide insurers on the right track.

1. Know your strategy

Big moves that drive digital effectiveness need a strategy that is clear and adaptable. Indeed, these characteristics go hand in hand, as a clear vision of the future is more powerful when combined with learning through experimentation and realignment. Agile ways of working can lower risks at each step and create opportunities to mold strategic aims to new realities. Companies that achieve this flexibility while maintaining a clear vision can be quicker and more decisive in implementing their digital agenda.

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2. Make speed manageable

Frequency matters. A powerful strategy to digitally transform an existing business model must be met by a manageable set of practices that support change week to week and quarter to quarter. Our research finds that top performers perform crucial tasks—such as learning about digital technologies, assessing the business model for digital-productivity opportunities, or sharing lessons learned from failed or successful tests—more frequently than other companies.

3. Do your homework (often)

What’s the fun in all the data if you’re not using it to make your organization better? A recent McKinsey study found that that 44 percent of top-performing companies collect and analyze customer data weekly or more frequently to identify new opportunities, compared with 16 percent of laggards, which tend to analyze customer data only monthly. Frequent analysis will allow companies to make bigger, better acquisitions and capital-expenditure decisions, scaling up what is working more rapidly and effectively.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market 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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