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Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace

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Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018

Speech

Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell

Global Series 2018
October 10, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario

Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today.

Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today.

Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us.

Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018.

On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication.

See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has been over-hyped and needs a reality check

From there, the news gets a little grey. Overall, we rank 17th among 47 high-income countries. That’s like getting a B-minus report card.

We score lower on three measures: Knowledge and Technology Outputs, Business Sophistication and Creative Outputs.

In other words, there’s a gap between what we put in and what we get out of our innovation efforts.

So why the gap?

At the Competition Bureau, we’ve asked ourselves that question and have considered carefully what we can contribute to help solve this innovation dilemma. After all: innovation in the economy is a priority for the Government of Canada. It’s an all-hands-on-deck challenge.

So for the Bureau, our innovation focus is on building our knowledge base and strengthening our enforcement capacity.

Why we do this is what’s really important to understand.

Imagine a well-functioning economy as the Starship Enterprise, with innovation thriving thanks to strong, unimpeded competition.  Captain Kirk will take risks, forge ahead and break new ground – sometimes in a disruptive fashion. Mr. Spock, on the other hand, ensures rules are followed, in a logical and predictable fashion. Just like Spock and Kirk, competition and innovation work better together.

Competition drives businesses to innovate and helps spread the gains they make throughout the economy. On the other hand, if competition is impeded, the economy may be harmed. Conduct or mergers that may harm competition are like roadblocks that could hold back innovation.

The Bureau helps clear those roadblocks. We do that by administering and enforcing the law. Fairly. And predictably. That means:

  • taking action against anti-competitive behaviour and deceptive marketing practices;
  • reviewing mergers to ensure they don’t hurt competition; and
  • empowering consumers and businesses.

And what about innovation? Why do we care so much about it? You don’t have to look far to find the answer.

See:  NCFA: Canada Needs a Harmonized Securities Environment as Current Provincial Approach is a Fintech Innovation Killer

The huge gains made from innovation create a lucrative race to the top. Those that innovate are often rewarded with a larger market share. We see plenty of examples in businesses worldwide about how to do that.

In Amazon’s early days, Jeff Bezos channelled company profits back into research and development, fuelling innovation there. Chatting with Alexa and having groceries shipped to your door are just two of many outcomes.

Apple famously steered their way back from bankruptcy by pledging to “innovate our way out of this.” By executing on that pledge, they changed the way we think about mobile phones and computers.

In the music industry, Spotify launched a freemium streaming application in 2008. Today, music streaming is the norm in how we listen to music online and share it legally with others.

We’ve never before been this deeply connected across the country and around the world—doing more with data and turning it into knowledge. Globally we’ve never before seen such overall improvements in education, life expectancy and quality of life as we have in just the last forty years.

The Government has a role in creating the right climate for bold ideas to take root and grow. One way this is done is by passing and enforcing competition and intellectual property laws.

Let’s take a minute and talk specifically about the Bureau’s approach to enforcement and advocacy for competition, innovation and intellectual property.

First, we reduce barriers to entry. That means those entering the market are less likely to be shut out by bigger existing firms. And those who are thinking of entering don’t see roadblocks that deter them from giving it a shot.

See:  Competition Bureau weighs in on fintech: urgent action required

Next, we make it easier for those newcomers to grow and for incumbents to innovate. That sometimes means preventing mergers that would otherwise significantly lessen or prevent competition. That way, incumbents have an incentive to invest in innovation so that they can compete on the strength of their product or service.

At the Bureau, we support those businesses who seek to compete by legitimate means. Here are a couple of recent examples that support our approach.

...

Addressing FinTech

Another area of study for the Bureau has been on FinTech. We studied the industry for 18 months and published a Market Study report in December 2017. There, we made 30 recommendations to Canada’s regulators and policy makers. Eleven of these focused more broadly on how to strike the right balance in regulation to ensure Canadians are protected while also promoting innovation.

One of these recommendations was that regulation should be tech neutral and device agnostic – not, for example, limited to one type of device. Many consumers still face instances where service providers require face-to-face interactions to collect personal information and verify identity.

But the Internet and mobile computing have changed how consumers wish to consume services—and how providers provide them.

In practice, we saw the B.C. Securities Commission release a consultation in February 2018 on its Securities Law Framework for FinTech Regulation which focused on a number of regulatory challenges.

See:  Nov 20, 2017: NCFA Canada Welcomes Competition Bureau’s recommendations to encourage competition and innovation in Canada’s financial services sector

In our submission to their consultation, we applauded the BCSC’s consideration of automation to meet compliance obligations for “know-your-client” assessments.

This signals a shift away from relying on face-to-face conversations to ensure compliance. It paves the way for automation and artificial intelligence to improve the quality and efficiency of investment advice that is tailored to each customer.

This is only one example of the changes we’ve seen since the release of our Market Study Report.

Making the case for humility on what we regulate

Advances in technology make the future hard to predict. Recent history has shown us plenty of examples of seemingly unassailable products that have been overtaken by innovative new products, such as Canada’s BlackBerry. These advances illustrate the increased importance of an evidence-based approach.

In 2015, former FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen warned against prescriptive regulation. She said: “We need to make every effort to tolerate complex phenomena and to develop institutions that are robust in the face of rapid innovation.”

In my view, this means we must take a careful approach to how we address certain issues. As I’ve said before, our focus should be to do no harm and not to overreach.  At the same time, we are guided by the strength of our institutions in setting sensible rules and enforcing them.

Antitrust enforcement does not and should not address all problems.

Continue to the full article --> here


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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
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Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Startup CEOs on how to keep the artificial intelligence ball rolling in Canada

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The Globe and Mail | | Sep 29, 2018

The next time you pull out your smartphone and ask Siri or Google for advice, or chat with a bot online, take pride in knowing that some of the theoretical foundation for that technology was brought to life here in Canada.

Indeed, as far back as the early 1980s, key organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research embarked on groundbreaking work in neural networks and machine learning.

Academic pioneers such as Geoffrey Hinton (now a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and an advisor to Google, among others), the University of Montreal’s Yoshua Bengio and the University of Alberta’s Rich Sutton produced critical research that helped fuel Canada’s rise to prominence as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI).

Stephen Piron, co-CEO of Dessa, praises the federal government's efforts at cutting immigration processing timelines for highly skilled foreign workers.

Canada now houses three major AI clusters – in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton – that form the backbone of the country’s machine-learning ecosystem and support homegrown AI startups. In fact, Toronto boasts one of the highest concentration of AI startups in the world, while Montreal is leading the way in producing deep-learning research.

“More and more [Canadian AI] companies are gaining investment … the amount of money is increasing dramatically,” says Oshoma Momoh, chief technical advisor for Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, incubator to a plethora of AI firms.

See:  Why startups are leaving Silicon Valley

Among the tech heavyweights that have made significant AI investments north of the border are Uber Technologies Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Adobe Systems Inc., LG Electronics Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Amazon.com Inc.

Federal and provincial governments have also been keen to support the sector, with the aim of building a sustainable countrywide AI ecosystem and buttress Canada’s position as a leader in the field.

The vexing question is how Canadian institutions and business leaders can work together to maintain momentum. We asked leaders of some of the country’s top AI firms for their take.

Andy Mauro, CEO, Automat Technologies Inc., Montreal, a maker of conversational marketing software

“I think the government did a great job of recognizing the research leadership out of the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal, including celebrating and funding it.

I think we should continue doing that. Supporting local, homegrown startups headquartered in Canada is debateably a better generator of economic prosperity for Canada than attracting Facebook, Google and Amazon, even though those are sexy names that look good in press releases.

"I believe the government should capital-match any startup that has raised venture funding – especially U.S. venture capital – and has decided to base their business in Canada. That would be a very bold strategy to help capitalize startups.”

Stephen Piron, co-founder, Dessa, Toronto, a business software firm

“There are fortuitous geopolitical things going on that make Canada extra-attractive. One thing the government can do is to encourage people to move here and not put up walls. They have a visa that we’ve used to get experienced, talented technical people from overseas in between two to four weeks.

See:  Technology is the ‘most profound force bearing down’ on big banks, ex-Barclays boss says

"I think they need to do more things like that to encourage the best and brightest to come here. We recruit from around the world, and the stars are aligning where global talent would consider moving to Toronto, where maybe they would not have made that decision before.”

“It’s all about continuing to invest in the things that are working. That’s probably where governments can think about incentives for locating AI or machine-learning labs here.

"It would not be a bad idea to see a larger venture fund dedicated just to machine learning and AI. A decade ago, when mobile was emerging, for example, there were funds dedicated to mobile. There’s momentum, so we need to keep that going by somehow having startups, the private sector, government and education coming together in the right way.”

Canadian universities need to keep turning out great tech talent, or sooner or later the supply will dry up, says Kerry Liu of Rubikloud Technologies.

Andrew Williamson /Rubikloud

Kerry Liu, CEO, Rubikloud Technologies Inc., Toronto, an enterprise retail software firm

“Canada has some incredibly strong university programs focused on AI. McGill University and the University of Waterloo are two examples that are generating a lot of really great talent in this industry.

"The threat here is that we have to make sure the education available to students continues to keep pace with advances in the industry. Schools need to keep turning out great tech talent, or sooner or later the supply will dry up. High school and university curriculums alike will fail if they don’t adapt to include the skills that have direct business impacts.

More:  For Canada’s tech to thrive, startups must grow up

"Also, although the AI industry focuses a lot on tech talent – developers, analysts, data scientists – selling AI is a whole other skill set – sales, marketing, finance. If the necessary step is to commercialize and sell an AI product, the talent needs to be cross-disciplined.”

Continue to the full article --> here


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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Bank Customers Are Primed And Ready For Amazon

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Forbes | By Gerard du Toit and Aaron Cheris | Sep 25, 2018

Amazon has built an excellent position for expanding into financial services. A new survey of 6,000 U.S. consumers, by Bain & Company in collaboration with Research Now, shows why. In the first direct comparison of customer loyalty for Amazon and US banks, consumers give Amazon a Net Promoter Score of 47, significantly higher than the 31 for regional banks on average, or 18 for the national bank average.

The battle for U.S. retail banking customers is intensifying as Amazon is expected to partner with a bank to offer a cobranded, mobile-friendly, checking-account-like product initially targeted to young adults. Amazon has many advantages: a high and rising frequency of purchasing, viewing, and reviewing interactions with customers; a full commercial relationship, including credit cards on file; integration into consumers’ digital devices; a paid membership program with 90%-plus renewal rates and the majority of U.S. households as members; and no major security breaches so far.

See:  What Can Traditional Banks Learn From Fintech?

Our research suggests that Amazon can count on significant demand for basic banking services. Among Amazon Prime respondents (who pay an annual fee for such perks as free two-day shipping), 65% say they would try a free online bank account offered by Amazon, with 2% cash back on Amazon purchases, similar to the company’s cobranded credit card. Of Amazon customers who aren’t Prime members, 43% would try such an account. Even among people who don’t use Amazon for e-commerce purchases today, 37% would try.

For banks, the level of customer loyalty will likely serve as a leading indicator of defection. The more displeased consumers are with their bank, the more willing they are to consider Amazon. Among respondents who are already Amazon customers, those interested in banking with Amazon give the company a higher Net Promoter Score than those who aren’t interested. For respondents who don’t already have a relationship with Amazon, the more displeased they are with their bank, the more willing they are to consider Amazon.

The loyalty leader that isn’t Amazon

Despite its advantages, Amazon—and by extension, other technology firms—is by no means invincible. For example, perennial loyalty leader USAA has a Net Promoter Score of 79, compared with Amazon’s 47. USAA may have a unique customer base in its military community, but some of its characteristics are shared by other direct banks such as Ally, Schwab and Capital One 360. Many of the direct banks have simplified their product line and processes, saving consumers time and effort. USAA also provides access to a broader ecosystem of services, such as car buying. Direct banks appeal to digitally savvy individuals who prefer app-based banking services, and to those looking for more competitive interest rates and fees.

Related:  Technology is the ‘most profound force bearing down’ on big banks, ex-Barclays boss says

Still, the threat from Amazon is real and imminent. Moving into basic banking would not only save Amazon on interchange costs, but also give it more direct influence and insight into customers’ finances and spending, rather than having banks as the intermediary. The bank account could become a platform for whole new range of services for a company that already has enormous reach among America’s most valuable banking customers. Our survey shows that Amazon customers control 75% of U.S. household wealth, with Prime subscribers controlling about 45% of wealth. Moreover, Amazon customers account for about 75% of the wealthiest households’ assets.

Continue to the full article --> here


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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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The Bitcoin Boom Reaches a Canadian Ghost Town

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Bloomberg | Joshua Brustein | Sep 4, 2018

With fewer than 100 residents, Ocean Falls is looking for a revival after almost four decades of industrial false starts.


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Crypto Pioneer Buys Penthouse in Former Toronto Trump Tower

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Bloomberg | By Natalie Wong and Gerrit De Vynck | June 20, 2018

A cryptocurrency baron has bought the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money.

Anthony Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($21 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district. The unit totals 16,178 square feet (1,502 square meters) and includes a wrap-around patio overlooking the city’s skyline at the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets.

Di Iorio didn’t take out a mortgage for the property because he doesn’t “like being in debt.” Instead, he cashed out some of his cryptocurrency and made a wire transfer to pay the price.

“I don’t remember exactly which ones I cashed in but this is my safety net, real estate right?” he said in an interview with Bloomberg at his new condo. He now owns two condos units in Toronto for a total investment of about C$34 million, he said. “I decided to take a bunch out and put it in real estate.”

The hotel is owned by InnVest Hotels LP and operated by Marriott International Inc. as the Adelaide Hotel Toronto, and will be rebranded the St. Regis once a renovation is complete. Residences in the building are owned by JCF Capital ULC.

See:  $57.9B deployed into fintech so far this year, Canada one to watch

Di Iorio got into the cryptocurrency craze on the ground floor as a co-founder of Ethereum. He was active in Toronto’s early blockchain community and was on the initial team that put together Ethereum, now the leading alternative to the Bitcoin platform. Ether, the currency that runs on Ethereum, now has a market value of around $50 billion compared with Bitcoin’s $115 billion. Di Iorio now runs Decentral, an “innovation hub’ in Toronto focused on blockchain projects. It’s the creator of the popular cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Why startups are leaving Silicon Valley

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The Economist | Aug 30, 2018

Its primacy as a technology hub is on the wane. That is cause for concern

“LIKE Florence in the Renaissance.” That is a common description of what it is like to live in Silicon Valley. America’s technology capital has an outsize influence on the world’s economy, stockmarkets and culture. This small portion of land running from San Jose to San Francisco is home to three of the world’s five most valuable companies. Giants such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Netflix all claim Silicon Valley as their birthplace and home, as do trailblazers such as Airbnb, Tesla and Uber. The Bay Area has the 19th-largest economy in the world, ranking above Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

See:  Silicon Valley Bank Is Coming for Canada’s Burgeoning Tech Scene

The Valley is not just a place. It is also an idea. Ever since Bill Hewlett and David Packard set up in a garage nearly 80 years ago, it has been a byword for innovation and ingenuity. It has been at the centre of several cycles of Schumpeterian destruction and regeneration, in silicon chips, personal computers, software and internet services. Some of its inventions have been ludicrous: internet-connected teapots, or an app that sold people coins to use at laundromats. But others are world-beaters: microprocessor chips, databases and smartphones all trace their lineage to the Valley.

Its combination of engineering expertise, thriving business networks, deep pools of capital, strong universities and a risk-taking culture have made the Valley impossible to clone, despite many attempts to do so. There is no credible rival for its position as the world’s pre-eminent innovation hub. But there are signs that the Valley’s influence is peaking (see Briefing). If that were simply a symptom of much greater innovation elsewhere, it would be cause for cheer. The truth is unhappier.

Silicon Plateau

First, the evidence that something is changing. Last year more Americans left the county of San Francisco than arrived. According to a recent survey, 46% of respondents say they plan to leave the Bay Area in the next few years, up from 34% in 2016. So many startups are branching out into new places that the trend has a name, “Off Silicon Valleying”. Peter Thiel, perhaps the Valley’s most high-profile venture capitalist, is among those upping sticks. Those who stay have broader horizons: in 2013 Silicon Valley investors put half their money into startups outside the Bay Area; now it is closer to two-thirds.

See:  How to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem

The reasons for this shift are manifold, but chief among them is the sheer expense of the Valley. The cost of living is among the highest in the world. One founder reckons young startups pay at least four times more to operate in the Bay Area than in most other American cities. New technologies, from quantum computing to synthetic biology, offer lower margins than internet services, making it more important for startups in these emerging fields to husband their cash. All this is before taking into account the nastier features of Bay Area life: clogged traffic, discarded syringes and shocking inequality.

Other cities are rising in relative importance as a result. The Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit group that tracks entrepreneurship, now ranks the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area first for startup activity in America, based on the density of startups and new entrepreneurs. Mr Thiel is moving to Los Angeles, which has a vibrant tech scene. Phoenix and Pittsburgh have become hubs for autonomous vehicles; New York for media startups; London for fintech; Shenzhen for hardware. None of these places can match the Valley on its own; between them, they point to a world in which innovation is more distributed.

If great ideas can bubble up in more places, that has to be welcome. There are some reasons to think the playing-field for innovation is indeed being levelled up. Capital is becoming more widely available to bright sparks everywhere: tech investors increasingly trawl the world, not just California, for hot ideas. There is less reason than ever for a single region to be the epicentre of technology. Thanks to the tools that the Valley’s own firms have produced, from smartphones to video calls to messaging apps, teams can work effectively from different offices and places. A more even distribution of wealth may be one result, greater diversity of thought another. The Valley does many things remarkably well, but it comes dangerously close to being a monoculture of white male nerds. Companies founded by women received just 2% of the funding doled out by venture capitalists last year.

See:  Indiegogo’s New Hub for Entrepreneurs Is an Important Reminder to Us All

Shadows of the colossi

The problem is that the wider playing-field for innovation is also being levelled down. One issue is the dominance of the tech giants. Startups, particularly those in the consumer-internet business, increasingly struggle to attract capital in the shadow of Alphabet, Apple, Facebook et al. In 2017 the number of first financing rounds in America was down by around 22% from 2012. Alphabet and Facebook pay their employees so generously that startups can struggle to attract talent (the median salary at Facebook is $240,000). When the chances of startup success are even less certain and the payoffs not so very different from a steady job at one of the giants, dynamism suffers—and not just in the Valley. It is a similar story in China, where Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are responsible for close to half of all domestic venture-capital investment, giving the giants a big say in the future of potential rivals.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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One SEC commissioner is establishing herself as the voice of innovation for the crypto market

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MarketWatch | Aaron Hankin | Aug 27, 2018

SEC’s Hester Peirce, who dissented on Winklevoss denial, shares her thoughts on regulating the evolving cryptocurrency industry

In her seven months in office, Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce has established herself as the voice of innovation for the cryptocurrency market.

In July, Peirce surprisingly dissented from the SEC’s decision to deny Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss an application for a bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund.

Citing a risk of being left behind, Peirce said the decision sends a “strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets.”

A lawyer by trade, Peirce earned her J.D. from Yale University, graduating in 1997. Prior to assuming her position at the SEC, Peirce was a research fellow and the director of the Financial Markets Working Group at George Mason University.

In an edited interview with MarketWatch, Peirce spoke on her time to date at the SEC. She shed some light on where the cryptocurrency industry might be headed and the tough job regulators have in presiding over the ever-changing industry.

See:  Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision

On her dissent in the Winklevoss ETF decision

The issue I had in the dissent was that I think we applied our standard of review incorrectly to look below the market that’s actually trading the product... as opposed to the plan that the market that actually wants to lift the product has, or trading the product.

The concern that I have is that we need to make sure that we’re not taking the position that a market—whatever the underlying asset is—that the market has to be perfectly mature and perfectly regulated and perfectly within our control before we’re willing to sign off on an exchange-traded product that’s based on that asset.

On balancing innovation with regulation

The concern that I came to the Commission with ...is that generally, we’re not great with respect to innovation as an agency.

It’s not surprising to me because regulators tend to get blamed when something goes wrong, say if we approve something and it goes wrong, people come back and say well, you shouldn’t have approved it. If things go great, no one comes to us and pats us on the back and says, oh great job, glad you approved that.

‘And you can never measure the loss to investors and to the economy of us not approving things, so it’s really a lot easier for regulators to say no, no, no. And so when I came to the commission that was one of the concerns that I had’

Hester Peirce, SEC Commissioner

See:  Prominent Group of Fintech Leaders Send Letter to SEC Chair Jay Clayton Demanding an Increase in Regulation Crowdfunding to $20 Million

When asked if the SEC behind the curve

I mean I do think we’re behind the curve, but I think almost everyone is behind the curve... things change so fast. So I think that we have work to do. But I think we have some really good people here as well.

But yeah, I mean I’m certainly worried. I’m certainly worried every time I hear someone say the U.S. is too slow and I’m going to go overseas to do my innovation, that’s always a bad thing to hear... I think investors are losing out, and I think the economy as a whole is losing out when we lose innovative efforts to other places solely because of our regulatory environment, that’s never a thing I want to hear.

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BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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