There’s less than one month to go until the UK’s biggest fintech event opens its doors to the baying throngs of fintech obsessed merchants, financial institutions and solutions providers.
On 3-4 December, FinTech Connect returns to London for its fifth year. More delegates, more first class tech exhibitors and more thought leading conference content than ever before comes to FinTech Connect 2019.
Following a similar format to previous editions, FinTech Connect is made up of five co-located conferences. Four theme specific tracks in PayTech, RegTech, Blockchain, Digital Transformation and the invite only FinTech Founders Forum bring the fintech ecosystem under one roof.
As people begin their Christmas tree shopping and your mum starts frantically searching for her posh bauble collection, we bring the industry’s leading lights together in a fintech oasis away from the chaos of Christmas. Neobanks, incumbents, fintechs and merchants will converge on the ExCeL London this December, as the ecosystem deep dives and discusses the lay of the land.
At the beginning of preparations, in January, we set a major focus of ours as the output of quality content all year round, up to and including the endpoint that is FinTech Connect. We wanted to position ourselves not just as industry thought facilitators, but industry thought leaders.
Alongside whisking out original editorial pieces (such as The Fintech History Book series) via our fortnightly newsletter, we produced a series of industry reports. At the beginning of the summer we set to surveying the fintech community about the pace of change and innovation in each of our four theme specific conferences. FinTech Connect is not just for Christmas.
50,000 fintech and merchant professionals received these surveys, and we dissected and discussed the responses in a series of FinTech Connect Adoption Guides. The event in December will further explore The Adoption Guides’ talking points, as the conversation moves from paper to stage. But for now, to warm the palette up in anticipation, here’s a quick roundup of our FinTech Connect Adoption Guides 2019.
The plate tectonics of the payments ecosystem are shifting. Cash has had its day, cards replaced cash, and now a host of alternative payment methods vie to take up the mantle. The PayTech Connect Adoption Guide survey asked a targeted group of professionals from payment institutions and merchant brands to assess the impact that technology is having on their organisations.
Covering a range of opportunities and challenges in the payment space, the report looks at how they’re influencing policy and customer relationships. From Strong Customer Authentication and open banking to technical innovation and Brexit, The PayTech Adoption Guide represented the first in a new series of comprehensive industry reports conceived and produced by FinTech Connect.
Hot on its heels was The Digital Banking Adoption Guide. The last decade has seen tech savvy fintechs increasingly challenge and compete with the financial stalwarts entrenched by centuries of dominance. Our survey asked the financial industry how it was engaging with technology just over a decade on from the foundation of fintech, the 2008 financial crash. The Digital Banking Adoption Guide untangles and delves deep into the folds of these findings.
The report features perspectives on the rise of the challenger bank, incumbent fight back, and their relationship with technology. Consumer demands are shifting, regulation is changing and financial institutions must offer digital financial products to stay competitive. The Digital Banking Adoption Guide begun the FinTech Connect digital transformation discussion. The conversation will continue on the two digital transformation stages at the ExCeL London on 3-4 December.
Commentators and analysts are beginning to ask if ‘the year of the blockchain’ that has been frequently promised by crypto evangelists will ever really arrive. The regulatory and take up risks of blockchain are creating an environment that causes a number of financial institutions to adopt a wait and see policy. But it’s not over until the fat lady sings. And she hasn’t even begun warming up her vocal chords yet.
The Blockchain in Financial Services Guide reports and discusses financial institution and fintech perspectives on blockchain in the context of the current climate of tentativeness towards it. But blockchain isn’t dead in the water. The technology is evolving quickly, becoming safer and more reliable. The guide discusses how the
blockchain landscape is shaping up and perceptions that are influencing the take up of the technology. Swing on by the Blockchain Connect stage at the event in December and get involved in the conversation.
Innovation and regulation are not words that have commonly gone together. But, that view is becoming old fashioned. The Regtech Adoption Guide assesses an ecosystem where regulation has caught up with innovation. Open banking is a great example of this. Innovation facilitated by regulation.
Regtech is a double sided coin. On the one side is compliance and on the other is prevention. As financial institutions become ever more sophisticated, so do the nefarious actors seeking to undermine them. Banks and fintechs play a game of cat and mouse with security threats and The Regtech Adoption Guide reports on the industry perspectives towards the uptake of regulation and security technology. The industry’s leading lights will be debating all things regtech on the very aptly named RegTech Connect stage at FinTech Connect.
FinTech Connect is the place where the conversations that have been getting louder throughout the year come home to roost. Five ticketed conference tracks continue the discussions that the industry has been pawing over for the past year. An exhibition with 150 plus best in class fintechs showcases the most innovative global technology solutions. At the heart of the show floor lies the Startup LaunchPad. Emphasising our commitment to promote new fintech blood, the LaunchPad is a stage where startups have a platform to pitch their product.
Cash Still King? UK FCA Says 5 Million Still Count on Cash for Majority of Transactions
In a digital world, physical cash still counts. A lot, according to UK regulators.
A speech delivered today by Sheldon Mills, Executive Director for Consumers and Competition at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), he revealed that 5 million individuals still count on the pound sterling for the majority of their purchases. Additionally, 750,000 or one in seven adults struggled with cash point and bank branch closures during the COVID-19 health crisis. As one may anticipate, the majority of these individuals are elderly, or perhaps small businesses.
The Death of the Bank Branch? Not So Fast.
Mills says that the transition from face-to-face services to online or telephone will take time. There are times when an in-person meeting is easier, it seems.
“Based on our evidence, we believe that access to cash across the UK is generally good for most people. 95% can access cash in urban areas within 650 metres and in rural areas within 3.5 km. Only around 150,000 people live more than around 5 km away from their nearest access point. And of course, in addition to bank branches, Post Office counter services and ATMs provide a significant and important part of the existing geographic coverage. The Post Office has national access criteria requiring that 99% of the population must live in areas within 3 miles [or 5 km] of their nearest Post Office, and 90% within 1 mile [1.6 km].”
While cash use is declining due to the ubiquitous nature of digital alternatives, cash continues to be needed. Perhaps, cash is no longer king but digital is not quite satisfying all the requirements of the population. UK firms are responsible for making sure that when a branch or ATM closes, there are alternatives in the area.
An updated review of the UK’s cash infrastructure is expected to be released this summer.
A joint statement by the FCA and PSR states that cash must remain available to the masses:
“The overall decline in the use of cash makes it more expensive to maintain the existing infrastructure that supports it. However, as we move out of the pandemic, cash continues to serve a socially useful purpose for many communities. Following a fall in ATM withdrawals of 40% year-on-year across 2020, withdrawals have started to increase again since restrictions have begun to ease. Although our data shows that most people can access cash easily now, there is a need to maintain access to cash and banking services for those that still need it, particularly vulnerable consumers. At the same time, a critical part of maintaining this access will be supporting others that can to transition to digital and other alternative ways of banking and making payments.”
“… the nature of cash use and everyday banking is changing, and we should acknowledge that and help people to transition where they are able to. However, we must also all work together to protect the ability of consumers to access cash and banking services in ways that meet their needs.”
MoneyLion Joins Forces With NFP to Provide Nationwide Insurance & Financial Wellness Offerings to Members
MoneyLion, a U.S.-based consumer digital finance platform, announced on Thursday it has teamed up with insurance broker NFP to provide its members with direct access to insurance and financial wellness offerings. MoneyLion reported that the offerings are to help its members support their financial journeys. According to MoneyLion, the partnership allows members to shop for and buy insurance products and solutions through the MoneyLion all-in-one financial platform.
MoneyLion also reported the launch of MoneyLion Marketplace, a platform that matches MoneyLion members with category-leading brands, offers, and value-add resources that are tailored to their personal needs. Dee Choubey, MoneyLion Co-Founder and CEO, shared more details about the partnership and marketplace launch by stating:
“Knowing what type and how much insurance to buy can be a daunting experience for many people, and yet it is a critical foundation for any financial plan. As a leader in digital technology, insurance underwriting and customer service, Nationwide is a natural fit to help our members evaluate the insurance options that are right for them.”
Brett Woodward, Managing Director of NFP Personal Risk, then added:
“Through this partnership, we’ll be able to leverage the MoneyLion Marketplace platform to connect the needs of clients with a range of solutions through an easy-to-use interface. This is a great combination of expertise, innovation and collaboration that delivers meaningful value to MoneyLion members.”
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U.S.-Based E-Commerce Platform Our Mayberry Secures $1.2 Million Through Convertible Note Seed Round
Our Mayberry, a U.S.-based e-commerce platform, announced on Thursday it raised $1.2 million through its convertible note seed round. According to Our Mayberry, investment groups from medical services and restaurant industries led the round. Founded in 2019, Our Mayberry describes itself as an online e-commerce platform that connects businesses and nonprofits to create mutually beneficial marketplaces where consumers can make purchases that support the causes they champion.
“A platform where causes and business partner to do great things!”
While sharing more details about the platform, Our Mayberry CEO, Shawn Tacey, stated:
“Our Mayberry gives businesses the ability to both scale and do good unlike any other platform or service. We process hundreds of thousands of dollars in transactions each month for service businesses like law firms, medical services companies and architects. Other values-driven platforms simply don’t include these types of businesses, but we do.”
Our Mayberry also reported that it is currently operating in 6 states, and has generated growing interest from national nonprofits, including Rotary International and Habitat for Humanity Tacey went on to add:
“Our Mayberry’s model represents the next step in the evolution of both business marketing and fundraising. We’re focused on weaving this new system of commerce into everyday life, and we believe this will go a long way in helping to rebuild and strengthen our communities.”
BRD’s Blockset unveils its white-label cryptocurrency wallet for banks and other enterprise clients
Blockset, the blockchain infrastructure platform for enterprises by BRD, announced early access to its Wallet-as-a-Service today. The white-label solution gives clients, like financial institutions, the ability to launch wallets that have the same features as BRD’s own mobile cryptocurrency wallet, which now has about 7 million users with over $20 billion assets under protection.
Blockset’s clients include some of the largest ATM networks and Japanese investment bank (and BRD investor) SBI Holdings, CoinFlip, Welthee, CoinSwitch, Coinsquare and Wyre. BRD’s other investors include Ripple and it has raised $56 million in funding so far.
One of Blockset’s selling points is access to real-time data about several kinds of cryptocurrencies. This not only allows users to see how their assets are performing, but also enables institutions to perform compliance tasks, fraud detection, anti-money laundering and other important services. Blockset also claims that its multi-chain API has up to 99.999% uptime.
The platform currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Tezos, Hedera, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV, and will add more chains based on customer demand.
Blockset already offered a white-label solution called WalletKit, before launching its current Wallet-as-a-Service with more features. BRD co-founder and CEO Adam Traidman compares its Wallet-as-a-Service to Google Maps, because both aggregate large amounts of constantly-changing data and can connect to other apps, while remaining user-friendly.
“The concept is really a result of learnings from working with our customers, tier one financial institutions, who need a couple things,” Traidman told TechCrunch. “Generally they want to custody crypto on behalf of their customers. For example, if you’re running an ETF, like a Bitcoin ETF, or if you’re offering customers buying and selling, you need a way to store the crypto, and you need a way to access the blockchain.”
“The Wallet-as-a-Service is the nomenclature we use to talk about the challenge that customers are facing, whereby blockchain is really complex,” he added. “There are three V’s that I talk about: variety, a lot of velocity because there’s a lot of transactions per second, and volume because there’s a lot of total aggregate data.”
Blockset also enables clients to add features like trading crypto or fiat or lending Bitcoin or Stablecoins to take advantage of high interest rates. Enterprises can develop and integrate their own solutions or work with Blockset’s partners.
Other companies that offer enterprise blockchain infrastructure include Bison Trails, which was recently acquired by Coinbase, and Galaxy Digital.
Blockset differentiates by focusing on real-time data. It looks at a smaller number of mainstream blockchains in order to ensure depth of information and speed.
“If you’re a financial institution, you can’t accept anything other than instant, accurate and highly-scalable kinds of data. Right down to the millisecond of latency is really important because it can give traders an advantage,” said Traidman.
In a press statement, Wyre chief executive officer Ioannis Giannaros said “Blockset is the clear industry leader in offering enterprise-grade SLAs [service-level agreements] that we require to guarantee high scalability, uptime and data integrity across multiple blockchains.”
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