No Fintech round-up last week – it was a relatively quiet week anyway, and in light of all the exciting news from BBVA the week before, I decided to go to Seville to enjoy some Tapas and Sangria.
Very busy week this week though, so without further ado, here is the roundup from this week’s major activity in Fintech and the Blockchain
Central Banks on the Blockchain
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has set the cat amongst the pigeons – announcing this week they will be working on a digital currency with Bitt – a Fintech based in Barbados and owned by Bitcoin Bulls, Overstock.
The project is the development of the EC Dollar, which if successful, will be the world’s first digital legal tender currency to be issued by a central bank.
The region is home to 630,000, so whilst small, this is exactly the kind of test case scenario that bigger central banking institution will watch with avid interest. Use of the digital currency will allow for instant and secure peer to peer transactions via smart devices.
Once central banks are comfortable with the idea of a digital currency, it moves the needle closer to the possibility of a global standard currency.
From innovative central banks to legacy issues
The Bank of England is taking supervisory action against Visa following an outage that disrupted payments for millions of shoppers across Europe
In the UK alone, 2.4 million transactions failed to process properly and 1.7 million credit and debit cards were affected.
Decentralisation is a strength of the blockchain, and when blockchains scale to the level of Visa (a layer 5 solution on the payment rails) these kinds of problems will be avoided.
In the meantime, Visa will need to hire auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers to explain themselves to the central authority
Payments up in the air over Brexit
In other institutional news, The European Payments council have decided that even in the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will remain part of the SEPA (Single European Payments Area) Zone.
Europe is the home of thousands of fintech businesses, with many of these being PSP’s. (Payment Service Providers.)
Imagine having to negotiate with several government entities simply to allow your payments technology to be utilised with specific currencies or zones – if only there was a peer to peer solution that we could all agree on?
For the time being, PSP’s are breathing a sigh of relief that new liquidity pools and payment corridors don’t need to be negotiated, further wasting intellectual capital on Brexit.
Japan still leading the way
Nomura Holdings, the Japanese business that acquired Lehman Brothers Asian operation, signified further intent in the blockchain space this week.
As previously mentioned on the Round-up – Japan is moving forward with pace in the area of digital payments and the blockchain. Nomura has made a significant investment in Quantstamp – the protocol for auditing and securing smart contracts
The move suits both parties as Japan will provide a forward-thinking sandbox for Quantstamp to prove their mettle in the smart contract space, with Nomura benefiting financially from the countless opportunities presented in the blockchain friendly isles.
Japan will continue to regulate favourably in the space, and the peace of mind that Quantstamp provides as their USP will be a welcome addition to the myriad projects.
Digital Assets in the Middle East
From the Far East to the Middle East, Israel’s Securities Authority has made recommendations for a national platform to trade digital assets.
The move will be required to facilitate the perceived boon in STO’s (Security Token Offering) which will see traditional business issuing equity/securities on the blockchain.
Israel, and in particular Tel Aviv is perceived as a hotbed for Innovation and the Fintech/Start-up scene is thriving.
The move would enable these young companies to access to local liquidity, rather than rely on foreign investment.
That’s all for this week. If anyone has any questions or would like to talk about any of these points further – let me know what you think @Nakameowdough