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Friday, July 7, 2017

This week, we're looking at what was hot at Money2020.

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain led the discussion, as FinTech leaders from the likes of Google, Amazon and Square revealed a future of banking bots, automatic payments and financial services that truly “know us”
FinTech experts from across the globe flocked to Copenhagen to debate the future of money at this year’s Money 20/20 Europe. The world’s leading tech, financial services and business experts revealed how new technologies will fundamentally change the way we borrow, manage and spend money around the world.
The conversation continued to buzz online, with over 35 million impressions generated in just five days.
Our analysis revealed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the most hotly discussed topic across social media, online forums, news and blogs throughout the event. Speakers and attendees discussed a future that will involve everything from chatbots negotiating on our behalf, to the death of slow authentication processes, as technology gets to “know us” and ultimately move us towards an open, cashless and cardless society.
The show’s AI trend was boosted by news from MasterCard who announced that international bank Citi and digital payments firm Paysafe are the first to implement its new AI-based fraud solution, Decision Intelligence. MasterCard’s AI tool was the most popular piece of news from the event, out of over 150 announcements across the show – generating 685,000 impressions.
Spanish bank BBVA was the most talked about brand online following its AI-based keynote, with 1.4 million impressions.
After AI, Blockchain generated the second biggest buzz around the event, with brands including Blockchain enterprise Ripple, along with giants Samsung and Visa all enthusing about the future of the technology. This was fuelled by global tech firm IBM’s announcement that it is building blockchain technology for seven of Europe’s largest banks, including high street bank HSBC and Netherlands-based Rabobank.
The project marks one of the first real-world use cases of blockchain technology in financial institutions, leading many FinTech influencers to comment that:
Blockchain could “finally be moving away from endless proof of concepts to genuine adopters.”

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Could we be getting closer to a blockchain-based, central bank-backed digital currency?
Yes, but not in the way most people imagine.
The combination of technology, regulation and geopolitical shifts points to the emergence of a new type of digital asset: a cross-region blockchain-based currency.
Last year, Barbadian startup Bitt announced the creation of a digital Barbadian dollar, a digital asset pegged to the value of its real-world counterpart, which could be traded on its blockchain platform. The news, while interesting, created little stir given the relatively insignificant size of the Barbados economy.
Now, however, other central banks in the region are joining the project – the platform will soon also handle Aruban florins and Bahamanian dollars.
Given that the three currencies are pegged to the US dollar (although at different rates), switching from one to the other is a simple equation.
And a smooth interchangeability would reduce friction and boost trade between the islands.
The boost is sorely needed. Caribbean economies are being hit hard by the ‘de-risking’ of commercial banks. The US State Department has identified several of the islands’ financial systems as havens for money-launderers, which increases the costs for banks maintaining branches there. Given the relatively small size of the economies, many international banks are pulling out of the region, cutting off access to foreign currencies.

This especially affects the region’s less-well-off, given their dependence on remittances, and pushes the economies into a downward spiral: the banks pull out because the islands are poor, which makes them poorer still.
At CoinDesk’s Consensus 2017 conference this past week, Ryan Peterson of the Central Bank of Aruba quantified the potential benefit:
“We did a calculation for the economy of Aruba, and this could potentially lead to a 4-5% GDP growth. Now that, for a region that hasn’t seen 0.5% growth in over two decades, is tremendous.”
As a more fluid flow of local currencies provides a welcome relief to small businesses starved of working capital, other regional central banks are likely to take note.
Of the 15 local currencies in the region, nine are pegged at a fixed rate to the US dollar, which reduces exchange friction. And with time, as people become accustomed to the ease of use of the digitized currencies, a logical step would be currency unification.
This is obviously a big step, which would require an overhaul of local financial systems as well as laws. But, as other zones that have gone through this can attest, the boost to local economies is considerable
And the Caribbean needs the help. A lack of access to foreign exchange hits trade, which accounts for most of the region’s economic activity. In Barbados and Jamaica, for example, imports and exports are over 80% and 77% of the country’s GDP respectively (compared to less than 30% for the US). 
In other words, the incentive to implement a radical change is strong, and the economic risk of not doing so is a question of survival.
The transition would be smoothed by the existence of an operating blockchain-based payment rail. Governments and users can see that it works (albeit on a relatively small scale), so the trust issues will be less difficult to overcome. And the shock to local economies will be mitigated by the long-standing exchange rate peg in most jurisdictions.
While the Caribbean economies are still largely cash-based, which could make it more difficult to change currencies, the success in other areas of demonetization initiatives and of getting entire populations to switch denominations shows that it can be done.
Furthermore, the emergence of a type of account that is easy to open and transact with, complies with anti-money laundering regulations and holds digital tokens that can be used as ‘real’ money would spread financial inclusion throughout the area. Currently, only half of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has a bank account.

If this comes to pass, we would have yet another example of an underdeveloped region leapfrogging more developed ones in terms of financial innovation and efficiency. 
And a relatively small group of sunny islands could end up showing the rest of the world the benefits that blockchain-based central bank currencies could bring.

- Noelle


Monday, May 22, 2017

Friday, December 2, 2016

washington dc

Chamber of Digital Commerce 1133 15th Street, NW 12th floor Washington, DC 20005 Phone: +1-202-765-3105 Email: policy@digitalchamber.org Website: digitalchamber.org

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ethiopia and kenya

when dr ranga told me about icog hub out of ethiopia last week it was just about the best news for and by youth that I had ever heard of apart from one or two open space discussion young chinese ladies have started up at tsinghua etc

i would love to know if there are any ways to collaborate - for example around dc where i live jayfus juxtopia trains supercoders including blockchainers as well as uniting youth teams pitching for xlearnings biggest prizes

I aim to design a blog which becomes an association of citizens mostly under 30 leading how blockchain changes every future of education and development - if you know anyone who would like to co-edit that blog please say

dec 9
timelines get very urgent with ranga in kenya on dec 9 - one question is do any of us know someone highly connected in ushahidi and ihub nairobi - i have to assume they will help blockchain the future if only because they are pivotal to hackathons by and for youth and sustain themselves through hubbing open source software

chris macrae (foundation) washington dc 240 316 8157


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