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20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

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Independent.ie | Adrian Weckler | May 21, 2020

Shane Curran Evervault - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsA 20-year-old former BT Young Scientist winner has landed $16m (€14.6m) in new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious US venture capital firms

The famous former data security chief for Yahoo and Facebook, Alex Stamos, has come on as a new investor, as have Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz and (French firm) Datadog’s CEO Olivier Pomel.  The heavy-hitting Silicon Valley firms backing the venture are led by Index Ventures with participation from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins and assistance from Dublin-based venture firm Frontline.

“We’re aiming to distill what GDPR did in 99 Articles down to a line of code,” said Mr Curran.

Seven years ago, Sequioa invested in the payments firm created by another former Young Scientist winner, Patrick Collison and his brother John. Stripe has gone on to become one of the world’s most valuable private companies, valued at $35bn (€31.7bn).

See:   Cyber security world first as unique guide is launched

Evervault hosts a network of hardware-secured data processing ‘enclaves’ which allows developers to deploy their applications in privacy ’cages’.  These cages allow information to be processed securely with strictly controlled access but without changing the way that developers build their software. Developers integrate with the Evervault API through their publicly available developer SDKs for all major architectures and frameworks.

“This is conceptually simple, but operationally complex. We’re building cages alongside specific companies which handle extremely sensitive data. Think location data, banking data, payments data, kids’ data, health data and more. At Evervault, we believe that data privacy isn’t a regulatory problem; it’s a technology problem.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Shopify Balance Brings Banking and Cash Flow to Merchants

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Digital | May 20, 2020

shopify balance - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

The huge e-commerce company also unveiled buy now, pay later and local delivery tools at its annual conference.

Need to Know

  • At Shopify’s annual conference, Unite, the e-commerce platform announced a number of new features.
  • Shopify Balance Account is a “one-stop-shop” account for small business owners and a feature several employees are referring to as Shopify’s bank.
  • The online platform also announced Shop Pay Installments, Fulfillment Network expansion, and Local Delivery products.
  • The conference emphasized the importance of strong digital tools and local commerce in COVID-19 retail climate.

See:  Shopify displaces RBC to become Canada’s most valuable company

Analysis

E-commerce giant Shopify announced a number of new tools and programs at its online Reunite event on Wednesday, the biggest of which is Balance, a banking account tailored to the particular needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Balance, which will be made available to Shopify merchants in the US later this year, is a one-stop-shop within Shopify’s platform admin allowing sellers to track cash flow, pay bills, and monitor expenses. According to a press release from Shopify, 40% of merchants are currently using personal accounts for some business needs; Balance aims to provide tools that are designed for the needs of small business owners, where personal accounts might fall short.

Shopify Balance will also provide merchants with a physical or digital banking card, the Shopify Balance Card, which will allow merchants to make purchases or withdraw cash from an ATM, and a Rewards program offering benefits such as cash back and discounts. Shopify Balance will have no monthly fees and no minimum balance.

See:  Shopify Launches Rebuilt POS to Offer Flexibility Post-COVID

Also announced at Reunite was Shopify’s buy now, pay later, option, Shop Pay Installments, which exists within the company’s Shop Pay tool and lets merchants offer customers flexible financing options. Shopify joins a number of merchants and businesses offering buy now, pay later financing, including Visa, which announced a partnership with Splitit earlier this year. The tool, which will also be available later this year, will be launched with a partner — though Shopify did not specify whom.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Quantum Computers Challenge Blockchain’s Invincibility: What To Do Now

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Forbes | Susan Galer | May 19, 2020

blockchain security - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsTimelines for the emergence of quantum computers may be fuzzy, but the threat they pose to the vaunted security of blockchain technology is profoundly real. Originally popular as fail-safe security for bitcoin enthusiasts, blockchain is making inroads across numerous industries, most notably as a track and trace tool proving the provenance of goods across vast supply chains. Blockchain-based security may be even more valuable in managing supply and demand shocks during the pandemic and after. However, as blockchain services grow and quantum computers begin to emerge, now is the time to start thinking about quantum-resistant blockchain.

“Once quantum computers can break the cryptography being used today, blockchain loses its immutability,” said Cedric Hebert, senior researcher at SAP Security Research.

“We wouldn’t be able to trust new transactions on a blockchain that wasn’t meant to resist quantum-fueled attacks. Companies will need to adopt new protocols to resist quantum attacks.”

See:  The research frontier: where next for AI and collective intelligence?

Right now, it’s difficult to go backwards on a blockchain’s immutable ledger and change original information in each block of the chain. This is especially the case as blocks are added with more data. People can’t easily rewrite history on its immutable ledger because other nodes on the chain would automatically reject any changes. Also, traditional blockchains are based on asymmetric cryptography, which prevents fraudulent signing. Unfortunately quantum computers could theoretically break the immutability of any block in the chain and falsify historical transactions.

“Companies can use blockchain technology if they incorporate quantum-resistant encryption protocols,” said Hebert. “You would need to freeze the blockchain at some point and migrate transactions to the new protocol. ”

Prepare now for post-quantum security

Even if a fraction of the predictions about blockchain come true, the security stakes are high for consumers and businesses. Blockchain made Gartner IT’s list of top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020, predicted to infiltrate everything from processing insurance claims, loans, and recalls, to identity management for students, patients, and citizens. By 2022, IDC analysts said 10 percent of the world's adult population will register for a blockchain-based self-sovereign ID, creating an expanding market of 485 million people who want to own and control their digital identity. Whether it’s verifying transactions for bitcoin mining or tracking food from farm to table, blockchain’s security horizon depends on the unique situation.

“Companies need to factor in the lifespan of their blockchains,” said Andrey Hoursanov, lead of quantum security at SAP. “If you’re using it to trace shipments from raw materials sourcing to delivery, maybe you’re looking at months, not years. In contrast, bitcoin investments typically take longer. That’s where you need to seriously consider how to protect the blockchain against quantum attacks likelier to happen further in the future.”

Re-securing cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency isn’t necessarily just for consumers trading bitcoins. IDC analysts predicted that over 12 countries, mostly emerging economies, will begin issuing a digital currency using blockchain technologies to promote economic stability and encourage electronic commerce by 2023. As some governments begin using cryptocurrencies, Hoursanov said companies will need to begin looking at post-quantum blockchain technology for business-to-business (B2B) transactions such as procurement that involves collaboration between buyers and suppliers.

See:  Accenture: Fintech, Cybersecurity and Methods to Handle Threat

Cross-border payments are another potential security risk. For example, IDC researchers predicted that 85 percent of global container shipping will be tracked by blockchain, with half of this volume using blockchain-enabled cross-border payments in just three years. They said that 40 percent of tier one financial institutions will use blockchain networks to process point-to-point cross-border payments, bypassing SWIFT and the correspondent or central banking infrastructure by 2024.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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4 Digital Transformation Lessons that Banks Need to Learn from Covid-19

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Finextra | Leon Gauhman | May 20, 2020

post covid lessons for banks - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsWhen COVID-19 is finally brought under control, several key sectors will be remembered for the way they stepped up and took responsibility during the crisis. Healthcare is the most obvious, but supermarkets, corner shops, logistics companies and postal delivery networks have also played a critical role in preventing the country sliding into meltdown.

By contrast, British banks have done little to merit a spontaneous round of rainbows and applause. Branches up and down the country have been closed and banks were slow and seemingly reluctant to process SME loan applications under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (CBILS). It’s a brutal indictment of the sector that the government has had to intervene with its 100% ‘bounce back’ loan guarantees to try and salvage the UK economy.

The key question now is whether traditional banks can learn lessons from Covid-19 that will help them establish any kind of status as a part of the SME life support system. In my opinion, they can – but only if they take their lead from the increasingly influential fintech sector. Here are four areas of digital innovation I believe banks should embrace in the post-pandemic era:

1. Greater openness to digital collaboration

Just as problematic as banks’ resistance to lending to SMEs has been the speed at which legacy lenders are processing applications. Weeks after the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (CBILS) opened – only 13% of companies which tried to access a loan had been successful. High volumes of enquiries go some way towards excusing this, but the problem also lies with the shortcomings in banks' internal digital processes.

See:  NCFA Open Letter: Government should collaborate with Fintechs

Getting these digital processes right is not the equivalent of investing millions in R&D to find a Covid-19 vaccine. A skilled and well-resourced team could swiftly connect the software, algorithms, data and servers required to build a robust and secure digital platform. Companies like Onfido and Validis, and solutions such as Google Big Table and AWS EC2 are all waiting in the wings to help with various elements of this process.

The reason many banks haven’t done this is because they are not sufficiently agile to innovate at speed. Post Covid-19, a key challenge for banks will be to really collaborate with fintechs and third party vendors and allow their internal capabilities and culture to be challenged and improved so they can respond more quickly to emergencies like Covid-19.  The partnership between Starling Bank and Funding Circle to offer an additional £300m of loans to SMEs under the CBILS scheme is a good example of the collaboration established banks need to embrace going forward.

2. Prioritising customer experience

Bank advertising talks a lot about being there ‘for the journey’, or ‘listening’, or ‘making it happen’. But that certainly hasn't been the experience for many SMEs facing collapse because of Covid-19. The reality is that part of the banks’ failure to react to the virus effectively is because they have not attempted to create a customer-centric model. When it comes to SME customer experience, banks fall down in a number of areas – including lack of personalisation, relevance and ongoing dialogue in their products and services.

See:  How to create high-value customer interactions and win in the Low Touch Economy

Once again, it has been left to fintechs to fill the gaps. It is the fintechs, for example, that have devised products that most closely match the needs of businesses at specific moments in time. Good examples include invoice financing, provided by the likes of US fintech Bluevine, or loans that link directly to business performance (think PayPal Working Capital). It’s also the fintechs that have led the charge in providing added value to customers beyond lending. New players such as Coconut (which is just for sole traders) and German bank Penta have developed innovative solutions helping SMEs with the day-to-day business activities such as cash flow, tax management and incorporation, based on the nature of the individual business, rather than purely on turnover.

3. Smarter use of customer data

High street banks no longer resemble Gringotts in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe. But their inability to embrace data-powered banking solutions means they seem just as outdated. Fortunately, the introduction of Open Banking legislation changed the rules of the game, making it possible for fintechs to secure access to data and provide SMEs with support.

A key area of innovation has been faster and better credit scoring solutions. By accessing a wider range of data points than traditional banks, fintechs have found ways to lend to viable SMEs that are deemed uncreditworthy by legacy lenders including customer feedback and transaction history from online marketplaces.

See:  With $73 million CAD, Symend closes one of the largest Series B rounds in recent Alberta history

While broadening the pool of data used to assess SME creditworthiness is important, the emergence of AI and Open Banking means there is a unique opportunity to build predictive elements into the SMEs customer experience. By taking a holistic view of a company’s business, it becomes possible to alert customers when there is a potential problem on the horizon – perhaps the order book in June is down 20% on the previous year. Take a lender like Kabbage as an example. By working with real-time banking and accounting data, the platform can spot when clients are at risk of default and offer solutions before trouble hits.

Imagine a world where this data is linked to wider developments in the SME sector – so these can also be factored into financial planning (for example, a fall in the price of a commodity, strike action affecting a key supply chain).

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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No going back: New imperatives for European banking

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McKinsey & Company | By Matthieu L, Debasish P, Ildiko R, Hiro S, and Marcus S | May 18, 2020

New imperative for european banking - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

Now is the time for Europe’s banking leaders to reimagine how their institutions operate and their role in society.

COVID-19 remains an unresolved health challenge that has resulted in tragic loss of life. The economic contraction emerging in its wake will likely be the deepest since World War II and the road to recovery will be long and challenging.

Over the past few months, banking leaders have displayed resolve and resilience, moving swiftly to protect the health of employees and customers, ensure the continuity of basic banking services, and build up capital, liquidity, and cost buffers to strengthen their institutions. In the coming months, banks will start to return to something resembling normal service, reopening offices and branches. But so much has changed over the past few weeks: customers’ financial needs, the way they engage, how employees work, and even society’s expectations of banks.

See:  Dealing with a crisis: FinTech versus Bank

The industry will likely face a prolonged period of economic pressure and banks’ actions in the coming months will set their performance trajectory for the years ahead. Banks have shown during the lockdown what is possible in terms of speed and innovation. There is no going back. Now is the time for banking executives to reimagine how their institutions operate. Bold vision and disciplined execution on a set of key imperatives will ultimately differentiate the leaders from the laggards as this crisis abates.

The crisis will put banks under prolonged

It is too early to predict the full impact of the pandemic. The outcome will depend on the length of lockdowns, the drop in demand, and the shape of the recovery. The scale of government support will also be critical—in the last month, some European governments have rolled out packages worth up to 30 percent of GDP and this level of intervention might continue.

All companies must think through possible scenarios to plan their next steps. Based on a recent survey of nine scenarios developed by the McKinsey Global Institute, more than a third of European executives expect a muted recovery. This is the basis of the analysis that follows, but we must keep in mind that other scenarios, both more optimistic and pessimistic, are also plausible.

See:  Visa’s digital dollar concept opens a door to central bank currencies

The muted-recovery scenario translates into a drop in GDP of 11 percent across the Eurozone in 2020, and recovery in late 2023. 1 For banks, this would lead to sharp drops in revenue, a squeeze on capital and a hit on return on equity.

No going back - 6 imperatives to win

The crisis has upended the world in which banks operate in terms of customer behavior, ways of working, and government actions.

McKinsey’s European customer survey shows how customer behavior and needs have changed over the past month: digital engagement levels have climbed up to 20 percent, the use of cash has halved, 30 to 40 percent of customers have expressed a greater need for advice, while 20 to 40 percent want products to help them through the crisis. 4 Pension shortfalls are a particular challenge with those close to retirement facing a very immediate problem. Banks will need to reflect on the propositions and channels through which they can best meet these evolving needs.

See:  Open banking review faces ‘worrying’ delay as pandemic drives Canadians to fintech

  1. Innovate new products and propositions. COVID-19 has triggered a range of new financial needs that are waiting to be addressed.
  2. Lock in the shift to digital sales and service, and reshape physical distribution. In just a couple of months, customers’ adoption of digital banking has leapt forward by a couple of years.
  3. Create a structurally leaner and scalable cost base. To offset the effect of spiking risk costs and sluggish income, and to free up resources for building digital capabilities, banks need to aim for a cost improvement of 25 to 35 percent (or 20 to 30 percent net increase after reinvestments) over the next two to three years.
  4. Reset the organization and technology for speed. During the lockdown, many bank teams turned agile overnight and delivered the impossible—such as enabling thousands of employees to work from home, or deploying new digital journeys in record time.
  5. Double down on risk and capital management. Credit losses will be the defining differentiator of performance over the next year. Early detection and proactive intervention are critical to manage non-performing loans.
  6. Rebalance the business mix and seek targeted M&A deals. Industry landscapes are often redrawn after crises.

See:  COVID-19: A Test Of The Stakeholder Approach

The role of banks in society: A time for purpose-driven choices

Crises often prompt self-reflection and change and this may be a perfect time to reset what has been, at times, a challenging relationship with society. Banks have already been involved in economic support measures, but some may want to be even more proactive, as in Switzerland for example, where banks supported the government-initiated COVID-19 small-business loan program.  This could also be a time for banks to rethink their culture. Moving from a control-based culture to one based on strong values supported by smart controls might prove far more effective in steering European banks towards recovery in the volatile future.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Visa’s digital dollar concept opens a door to central bank currencies

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American Banker | John Adams | May 18, 2020

CBDC in 2020 - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsThe coronavirus recovery is accelerating government involvement in payments, providing Visa a chance to turn a developing currency concept into a route for federal transactions.

The U.S. Patent office on Friday published a Visa patent application to create a technology gateway that could allow central bank currencies for any nation to be digitized. Visa filed the application in November, predating the coronavirus crisis that has generated more interest in digital money.

The application details a centralized computing system that receives information and denomination of a traditional currency, which is then converted to a digital form and recorded on a distributed ledger. This could work with any traditional currency, placing Visa in the middle of the process.

See:  Visa’s Fast Track Program Propels Growth of the Fintech Industry Worldwide

The coronavirus recovery is accelerating government involvement in payments, providing Visa a chance to turn a developing currency concept into a route for federal transactions.

The U.S. Patent office on Friday published a Visa patent application to create a technology gateway that could allow central bank currencies for any nation to be digitized. Visa filed the application in November, predating the coronavirus crisis that has generated more interest in digital money.

The application details a centralized computing system that receives information and denomination of a traditional currency, which is then converted to a digital form and recorded on a distributed ledger. This could work with any traditional currency, placing Visa in the middle of the process.

It’s also a way for Visa to respond to changes in money movement that could potentially compete with the card network. Visa was initially part of Facebook’s Libra project, but left the initiative along with several other high-profile payment companies when regulators and politicians pressured Libra — mostly over Facebook’s role and the potential to circumvent government monetary policy.

“Widespread adoption of digital currencies would be bad for Visa’s traditional retail payments franchise,” said Eric Grover, a principal at Intrepid Ventures, adding this may be a case of Visa hedging against central bank or Libra-style digital currencies. “A digital currency supported by Visa and issued by banks could fit nicely with Visa’s business model of delivering payment products through license banks, albeit with thinner transaction economics.”

The European Union has considered a “digital euro” to spur coronavirus recovery, and dozens of other countries are working on similar projects, giving Visa plenty of opportunities to partner with governments.

See:  Cryptocurrency Payments Processor CoinPayments Appoints Jason Butcher as New CEO

In this way Visa’s patent, which does not propose a cryptocurrency, is also a nod toward working with governments that may be anxious about how blockchain and cryptocurrency could impact traditional monetary policy, particularly in a time of quantitative easing and potential effects on currency values.

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Blockonomi | | May 18 ,2020

visa digital currency patent - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsExploring Visa’s Digital Currency Patent Application: Toward a New Era of Finance?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published the patent application in question, which is simply titled "DIGITAL FIAT CURRENCY."

Visa is one of the most successful and consequential payments companies in the world. Where the powerhouse enterprise places its efforts is thus no small matter.

That’s why a newly published patent application for a blockchain-powered “digital fiat currency” system by the payments giant is not only legitimizing for blockchain tech in general but also indicates what may be coming to the mainstream payments arena amid increasing hyperdigitalization.

See:

Indeed, Visa’s patent mentioned the reigning smart contract platform Ethereum and the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain nearly a dozen times each. Will the future of finance be built on top public blockchains, then?

That’s the grand question for now, and Visa’s new patent application is an interesting new wrinkle accordingly. To be sure, Visa may have simply kept its options open with a defensive application. Yet if the firm ever does proceed with a system like the one planned in the filing, the implications will be manifold and major. Let’s dive deeper to better understand the stakes.

How the Digital Currency Would Work

Per the application, Visa’s envisioned digital currency entails a central operator, i.e. Visa or beyond, facilitating token issuances atop a blockchain. To this end, the document repeatedly identifies Ethereum as potential infrastructure of choice.

On the Decentralization Spectrum

Public blockchains like Ethereum can be used in many ways. They can give rise to totally decentralized projects like Augur and Uniswap, or they can help power centralized third-party enterprises like the Tether (USDT) stablecoin operation.

See:   Could Bitcoin on DeFi displace banks? Yes

Obviously then, Visa’s digital currency system — at least as initially outlined — would be near the “completely centralized” end of the decentralization spectrum. With that said, though, what would be interesting to see is if and how Visa’s digital currency would permeate into more decentralized areas of the cryptoeconomy, e.g. like USDT trading on Uniswap.

Visa could employ a smart contract whitelisting system to mitigate its tokens running amok in DeFi, though the company wouldn’t necessarily have to.

News Comes as Stablecoins Are Booming

There’s no indication just yet that Visa’s digital currency will actually come to fruition. But the mere prospect of its arrival comes at a time when both centralized and decentralized fiat-pegged stablecoins have been becoming increasingly popular.

For instance, this month the combined market capitalization of all active stablecoins reached $10 billion USD for the first time ever. The new milestone shows that demand for fiat-pegged or value-stable tokens is already strong and on the rise.

If a major firm like Visa jumped into the rising sector in a big way, then stablecoins in general will have officially hit the prime time. The possibility is closer than ever.

The CBDC Specter

As outlined, Visa’s envisioned digital currency system leaves the door open for central banking institutions to work with the payments company on actualizing central bank digital currency (CBDC) issuances.

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What’s interesting here is that in Visa central banks would certainly find a reliable and promising partner. In many cases, these banks would naturally be more comfortable using an Ethereum-powered Visa system rather than building their own Ethereum solutions themselves.

As such, Visa would be ideal for central banks wanting to issue CBDCs for retail rather than wholesale use, as the company’s consumer base is vast.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Tech has an ageism problem: 3 things to do if you’re over 40 and want to stay relevant

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FastCompany | Lisa Smith | May 14, 020

Over 40 years old in tech - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsZapier’s engineering manager points out that unless you’re Gen Z, you’re closer than you think to being old—or you’re already there—and you need to have a plan.

I’m Lisa Smith, I’m an engineering manager for Zapier’s developer platform, and I’m an Old. I’ve been working in tech since before there was a Google. In a previous life, I was a librarian. The kind that touches actual hard-copy books.

I’ve been working on inclusion and diversity issues in tech for nearly as long as I’ve been working in tech, and—as an Old—I recognize that tech has an ageism problem. Much like sexism and racism in the workplace, ageism affects not only the person being discriminated against but also the larger company culture. It deprives the company of needed perspective and the tools and staff they need to innovate.

Before we go on, the sobering news: Old in tech is 41. A survey from Indeed indicates that 82% of the tech workforce is 40 and under. Nearly half (46%) is 35 and under.

See:  Why Older Entrepreneurs Have the Edge

This means that, unless you’re Gen Z, you’re closer than you think to being old—or you’re already there—and you need to have a plan. While you can’t automate your future, I do have a three-step process to help you stay relevant and get all the jobs.

Learn things

The older you get, the more you might feel like you’ve learned everything you’re going to learn. Old horse, new tricks, all that. But especially in tech, a field is constantly changing, there’s always something more to learn.

So figure out what you want to learn, and there’s absolutely a way to learn it.

What should you learn? I’d ask you: What do you want to learn? What’s fun? And what can you learn while still doing your current job? Try asking a teammate what they’re working on and if you can shadow them a bit. Use any professional development funds you have for classes, books, and conferences. Out of budget? Apply for conference grants. Volunteer to be a TA or to help run a conference or mentor at a hackathon. Helping others learn is a great way to pick up new skills and reinforce skills you already have.

Meet people

Of course, you can’t do everything in a silo, or the skills you learn won’t add any value to your career. You have to meet people. You can do this in person or online—whatever is feasible for you. And the communities you join don’t have to be tech-focused: Just find a group that shares common interests and join them for events.

See:  AI Will Transform 500 Million White-Collar Jobs In 5 Years; Silicon Valley Must Help

Yes, I’m describing networking. But wait! I know that networking gets a bad rap as a buzzword, but, really, it’s just meeting people and talking to them. If you’re introverted or don’t like talking to people, here’s a handy tip: Ask them a question about their work. They’ll do all the talking, and you can pick up lots of tips. Networking boils down to making connections—between people, between people and ideas, and between people and opportunities.

It might sound like random chance, and it sort of is: You happen to be in the right place at the right time. But as with all games of chance, you improve your odds by doing it a lot. So do everything you can to meet a lot of people.

Apply for jobs

If you’re old and in tech, you might be counting your blessings, thinking, “I’d never be able to get a job in tech if I applied today.” You look at job descriptions and think you’re missing loads of the skills that are listed. Now, I’m not saying to ignore job postings, but we all know that plenty of job descriptions are ridiculous laundry lists—nobody has 100% of the items in a job description. Those lists are aspirational. You can learn on the job. I’m working on getting companies to stop writing those kinds of postings, but in the meantime, I encourage you to apply to anything that looks interesting and/or challenging.

Example: I got a PHP job with no PHP experience because I built the sample app and crushed it. I got a React job without having written any React professionally because their requirement of three to five years experience wasn’t realistic—those folx would still be at Facebook and probably not interested in moving to North Carolina. After I showed them a JavaScript framework adoption and abandonment chart that looked like the Himalayas and leaned into the fact that I had a proven track record of language acquisition, they hired me.

See:  The Trillion-Dollar Opportunity in Supporting Female Entrepreneurs

I’m a self-taught coder with a nonlinear career path. I started out at library school (yes, that’s a thing), and came out as a catalog librarian. I had always loved code and computers, so I taught myself HTML and landed my first job hand-coding HTML using tables without CSS (yes, that’s also a thing). I worked at a newspaper as the overnight news converter: I cut up production PDFs into JPEGs and made an online version of the newspaper. Then I became their online coordinator. I had a weekly column, I edited stories, and I managed the online community, where I picked up Drupal. When the paper folded, I worked as a UX developer for a cursed government project. And then I was a webmaster at a hospital, a full-stack LAMP developer, a front-end developer theming content management systems, a front-end engineer for a custom digital printing company, and now, here I am engineering manager.

Basically, I’ve had a thousand jobs. And that’s a feature—not a bug.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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