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To answer these questions and to put a perspective around various drivers responsible for encouraging more women to join the fast-growing blockchain industry, we caught up with Marie Tatibouet, CMO at Gate.io. Marie is also a blockchain influencer and a thought leader in the space.

  1. How did you develop an interest in blockchain technology? Can you tell us about your background?

I majored in finance and marketing, and since then I have loved how the two subjects drive change in today’s world. After completing my education, I worked with the consumer technology space. Later, I founded a marketing consultancy that helped tech companies with their marketing strategies. It wasn’t until 2016 that I fell down the wonderful rabbit hole that is blockchain technology and subsequently returned to the finance world. It was 2016, and I joined an online platform called 21, mostly using it for fun and I then started researching how to withdraw the BTC a few months later and found myself hooked to the idea. Two years later, I was offered this exciting role at Gate Technology, where I love how I engage with the larger community to spread the word about Gate.io.

  1. What do you think women in the industry have achieved and what do they want to achieve in the future?

We are seeing an increased number of women emerging as blockchain influencers. Some like Neha Nerula are putting their technical skills to work and others like Angie Lau and Molly Jane Zuckerman are asking the right questions to ensure that we understand both sides of the (crypto) coin. However, industry calls for more women to take up leadership roles, reducing the gender gap and encouraging diversity. Apart from seeing a greater number of women in the industry, I would like us to create a space where women feel appreciated not just for their technical skills but also for their ability to use design thinking in various applications of blockchain technology.

  1. Why is the blockchain technology space so male dominated?

The roots of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, tech and finance are still struggling to become gender balanced. This trend kept women at the back foot when blockchain technology was introduced a decade ago. It is undeniable that every technological application needs diversity to scale and succeed. Women are also more risk-averse than men, which keeps them from entering the industry. However, as the sector becomes more mainstream, we need to take more steps to eliminate these barriers to improve gender diversity. However, we are seeing more women coming into space because their contribution to the finance industry is something the sector cannot ignore.

  1. Why are women key for innovation in blockchain technology space?

Women bring unique experiences and expertise to the table. Research has shown that women have an inherited quality to keep going back to the fundamentals, which is a better approach to learning, and an incredible quality to foster innovation. I firmly believe that blockchain technology’s mass adoption is almost impossible to achieve unless all diverse minds put their thoughts and experiences together. They are also great community builders, something that the crypto industry thrives on. All these qualities can help businesses and communities understand the intricacies of various applications so that solutions can be tailored accordingly.

  1. How is Gate.io contributing in this realm?

Gate Technology is headed in the right direction when it comes to striking the right gender balance in an organization. Forty percent of our workforce are women, holding important positions across horizontals like product development, marketing, communications, and technology. A gender diverse team is key to being inclusivity to business solutions, especially while designing and creating strategies around user experience, marketing, etc.

In the UK alone, it’s estimated that fraud costs the economy £110-billion a year, with the global economy suffering losses to the tune of £3.2-trillion annually.

If authorities are to seriously tackle this scourge and put an end to any future Madoffs they need to invest massively in technology, and blockchain, in particular, says Dave Elzas, CEO of Geneva Management Group.

Caught in the past

The trouble is, most authorities responsible for detecting and catching fraudsters are using yesterday’s technology.

In a 2016 op-ed published by The Guardian, former US congressional representative Randy Hultgren points out that the regulators investigating Madoff were stuck using the same pen and paper technology as their 1930s’ forebears. As a result, repeated fraudulent reporting slipped between the cracks, despite six complaints about his firm having been lodged between 1992 and 2008.

In the UK alone, it’s estimated that fraud costs the economy £110-billion a year, with the global economy suffering losses to the tune of £3.2-trillion annually.

 Meanwhile, a recent article in Bloomberg points out that the US$9-trillion business of financing global trade is still largely paper-driven, making it susceptible to forgery at every point in the value chain.

By contrast, the criminals these regulators are supposed to investigate and catch have embraced digital technology and use it to take their illicit activities to new heights.

Whether it’s using up-to-the-minute designs to phish bank customers or sophisticated algorithms to skim minuscule amounts off billions of global transactions, today’s financial criminals are tech-savvy, increasingly difficult to detect and capable of more sophisticated crimes than at any other point in history.

Banking on blockchain

That does not, however, mean that the fight against financial crime is lost. Regulators, banks, and the financial transaction giants whose business depends on correct verifiable financial data and accountability can fight back.

Doing so means abandoning current practices that have so far proved ineffectual to the benefit of the Bernie Madoffs of the world.

Instead, regulators and financial industry players alike should focus their efforts on blockchain. Its system of cryptographically-linked, unmodifiable entries is ideal for the financial space.

Because records cannot be altered or deleted, hiding illicit financial movements becomes almost impossible.

There are several other factors which make blockchain ideal for fighting financial crime. These include:

These characteristics make blockchain useful for more than just tracking financial transactions. Blockchain-enabled smart contracts, for example, could go a long way to eliminating the forgery that bedevils the financing of global trade.

Banks are already embracing blockchain at a much faster rate than expected, with some (including major players such as UBS) implementing blockchain labs to explore potential new applications for the technology.

Embracing early adoption

Admittedly, some blockchain applications have had teething problems, as is to be expected with any new technology. However, as the global usage of blockchain will increase, so will its accessibility and reliability.

Certainly, none of the incidents which have impacted blockchain-enabled applications should deter regulators, banks and other players in the world of global finance from becoming enthusiastic early adopters of the technology.

Banks are already embracing blockchain at a much faster rate than expected, with some (including major players such as UBS) implementing blockchain labs to explore potential new applications for the technology.

It should not only be banks that embrace blockchain. Regulators, authorities and other secondary players also have a role to play. Landed registries, companies worldwide and any official registration agencies would benefit from the cost effectiveness, automation and accuracy of blockchain. More importantly, these various players all need to work together in standardising processes and protocols.

In some places, this kind of forward-thinking collaboration is already in place. The Canton of Geneva’s support of the Geneva FinTech Association (which plays a pivotal role in educating and advocating for blockchain) is a good example of what’s needed around the globe.

These kinds of initiatives need to become far more widespread. It’s time to stop patching up leaks and start putting in better pipes.

 

 

There is a debate over which party should initiate innovation because surety requires, at its minimum, a three party-relationship between the customer, the carrier and the obligee. Add in commercial and risk distribution partners and we could be in danger of each party expecting action to be taken by another, leading to no progress at all, says Thomas Frossard, Product Owner Surety and Bonding at Tinubu Square.

There is progress, however. Low premium high volume commercial bonds are more frequently being digitally managed, and customs bonds are digitalised quickly in all countries aiming at developing their international trade through comprehensive customs e-procedures. In locations where the surety and guarantee market has been traditionally dominated by banks, contract bonds straight-through processing is often a commodity, even though beneficiaries of large bonds may still ask for a manual signature for the original of the bond they will hang in their office.

We are accustomed to ‘slow revolution’ when it comes to the digitalisation of the financial services industry.  There are challenges but the foundations for positive change are in place if surety carriers are ready to invest.

The Challenges

Surety bonding is a niche area in both speciality insurance and in the Property and Casualty (P&C) line of business and even for specialist credit insurance providers. On top of that, risks covered by bonding insurance can vary from insuring payments made by customers of a boutique travel agency to insuring proper performance on the delivery of a solar farm worth hundreds of millions in investment. As a result, the surety operations manager must design journeys which satisfy the needs of retail, wholesale and corporate businesses with limited means which inevitably leads to compromises and a lack of satisfaction all-round.

“It is hard to change an industry in which some obligees still want to see raised seals and wet signatures on bonds.”

The surety products structure also involves obligees who are playing a special role in the digitalisation process. It is not in every country that surety is considered a valid alternative to cash collateral and bank guarantees. Even in the countries where governments are promoting the acceptance of e-bonds, long habits die hard as Mike Bond, head of Surety North America at Euler Hermes outlined in a recent article: “It is hard to change an industry in which some obligees still want to see raised seals and wet signatures on bonds”.

Contractors, who represent the largest customer base of the surety carriers worldwide, are confronted with a digital challenge (at least equivalent to that faced by their financial services providers) and are often offered the choice between banks and insurers which puts pressure on insurers to align on banking digital service offerings.  Despite the greater protection offered to customers -- and the fact that bank guarantees including risk distribution models towards sureties are more and more common -- carriers must demonstrate their ability to cope with the efficiency expectations of the construction industry to promote further insurance-backed surety bonds.

Modernise to improve

In a world where disruption has become our daily bread, surety carriers might be seen as a species of endangered animals.  In the same way that India has managed to implement a nationwide digital ID program for all its citizens starting from scratch -- when Europe is still trying to agree to the concept of digital IDs and their compatibility with paper IDs -- carriers might be disturbed and found wanting, by digitally native entrants.

However, the underwriting capabilities of the carriers and the on-the-ground knowledge developed by localised distribution models are offering an opportunity for insurers to take advantage of their expertise, and of modern technology, to become what McKinsey recently called ’digitally reinvented incumbents’.

Blockchain is creating an environment that will increase efficiency and lower operating costs in securities management.

In the US, where automation is very low compared to the size of the market, remarkable industry initiatives have been developed to define standards and guidelines to implement them. One example is the project being led jointly by the Surety and Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) and the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) to develop ACORD standards suitable to the surety industry. Carriers and their customers could highly benefit from these standards and all studies show that using them will negate the necessity to go through tortuous internal discussions that fail to result in a better format than the industry standard. Surety carriers are usually part of a larger insurance group and data collected by surety underwriters could be instrumental in the development of specialised business intelligence to be built on enterprise data lakes. Blockchain is creating an environment that will increase efficiency and lower operating costs in securities management. Meanwhile, insurers have strong assets to leverage the project-based surety underwriting approach and play a leading role in private distributed ledger implementations.

The ecosystem is in place and despite the many obstacles the entire industry should work together to take action towards digitalisation. Instead of complaining about the difficulty of fully digitalising the end-to-end surety process, carriers could look individually into implementing digital capabilities for each process they fully control. As Azman Noorani, head of surety and trade credit insurance, Swiss re Corporate Solutions outlined in the latest issue of the ICISA insider: “The industry is on the cusp of a transformation with developments such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and digitalisation. All companies need to define what those developments mean for them individually, however, as an industry we should make sure together to be in the pole position to take advantage of this.”

Provided that carriers and industry associations (SFAA, ICISA, PASA/APF, ISA) keep on collaborating, integrating with the ecosystem (Berne Union, ICC, etc) and look into satisfying both retail and corporate customer’s needs, the surety product has significant potential to defend its value-added in a (re)insurance portfolio and to a contractor securities panel.

The UK has long been a top destination for investors, having received over £4.5bn of investment into technology companies within the last 3 years. However, with Brexit on the horizon, there is a discussion about how the UK can maintain its attractiveness to foreign and domestic investors after leaving the European Union.

Ana Bencic, Founder and CEO of NextHash, comments on how UK-based, high-growth companies can maintain their appeal to investors in a post-Brexit Britain:

"It is clear that in the UK currently, there is no slowdown in appetite for the investment opportunities that exist, especially in the fast-growing tech sector, but there are questions about whether this will continue after Britain has left the European Union. The UK's abundance of high-growth businesses, particularly those in the technology sector including FinTech, require vital growth finance in the next five years and with the current funding gap, how will these businesses thrive in post-Brexit Britain?

“Blockchain investment platforms can help make global growth finance for scaling technology businesses more transparent and easier to access. Both individual and institutional traders will be able to engage more with blockchain technology-backed trading, where the businesses are backed by a Digital Security Offering and there is greater potential to make rapid returns on their investments than the traditional venture capital route. When this is adopted into the mainstream, it will revolutionise the way businesses will access scale-up finance, how investors will access these companies, and how illiquid shares can be traded into liquid capital in ways never imagined before. As Britain prepares for Brexit, new forms of investment could be crucial for these scaling businesses as well as global investors who want to maintain access to the UK marketplace."

(Source: NextHash)

At stake are our personal data, as well as our monetary possessions. While the concern for the former is a rather new phenomenon, the latter have been guarded by a multi-layered web of intermediaries. And still banks and other financial institutions regularly witness the weaknesses of this set-up. Below Igor Pejic, author of new book ‘Blockchain Babel: The Crypto-Craze and the Challenge to Business’, confronts the question: Is the Blockchain Really Unsinkable?

In recent years a technology hailed for immutability entered the stage: the blockchain. This cryptographically secured, distributed ledger technology was initially designed to bypass the financial system by enabling digital currencies, yet today banks are the most active in blockchain research, trying to reap the benefits of this supposedly tamper-proof ledger. But is the blockchain really unhackable?

In many a head there are probably stories whizzing around about stolen bitcoins and hacked exchanges. Mt. Gox is such a story. In 2014 Mt. Gox was the world’s largest crypto-exchange which processed around 70% of the world’s bitcoin transactions. 850.000 bitcoins were lost (of which around 200.000 were recovered). Further hacks such as the one of the Slovenian exchange Bitstamp followed. Most recently Quadriga, a Canadian exchange, made headlines because its founder Gerald Cotten supposedly passed away on a trip in India. He was the only one to knew the private keys to the wallets of 115,000 customers with funds worth $143m. That funds are thus not accessible and lost.

Yet when commentators use these examples to sow doubt about blockchain-security, they mix up different dimensions of data security, in particular data’s integrity during a transaction with its integrity before or after a transaction. The aforementioned hacks can be attributed to lax security standards aside of transactions such as the storage of private access keys. While parts of the crypto-sphere are reacting – Bitstamp has introduced two-factor authentication to access funds – many wallets and exchanges continue to operate with hair-raising security standards.

But what about the mechanism itself? Can attackers inject bogus transactions or rewrite past ones? This answer depends on the validation mechanism each particular blockchain uses. Let us illustrate this with bitcoin and other chains that work with so-called proof-of-work validation. In this set-up, validator nodes, also known as miners, are investing massive computing power to solve a mathematical puzzle with trial and error mechanisms. They are interested in the “right” solution, because only if they find it first, they are rewarded with freshly minted coins. Once found, the correct value can be verified quickly by the network. The major danger here is that a possible attacker gains control over more than 50% of the hashing power in a network and can vote a wrong truth into reality. The attacker could then submit a transaction to the network, and after getting the good or service he paid for simply use his computing majority to fork the network at a point in time before he sent the money.

Critics will point to the infamous DAO-hack. The DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) was a leaderless organization that issued a token built on Ethereum’s smart contract code. A hacker exploited a cryptographic vulnerability to capture $50m. An ideological conflict of the Ethereum community prevented a soft fork that would have reversed the hack. Thus, a hard fork split the chain into Ethereum (version without the hack) and Ethereum Classic (version including the hack). But even this example was not a hack of the blockchain, but rather a bug that pestered the DAO-code sitting on top of the Ethereum-blockchain. Despite many problematic constellations – e.g. a high concentration of mining pools, as well as a limited number of ISPs hosting large parts of prominent blockchains – the mechanism as such has never been hacked. Attacks are very expensive and the advantages for the most part short-lived.

Does this mean the blockchain is immutable? No. We have to get the fairytale out of our heads that there is something like absolute security. There is always a way to trick the system, even if it is highly unlikely as the aforementioned 51%-attack. The question we should ask instead is whether blockchain is more secure than current systems. What most most critics of new payment technology do not know is that even the SWIFT-network, which enables monetary transactions between 11.000 financial institutions worldwide, has been subject to hacking in the past. In one heist, banks in Bangladesh and Ecuador lost millions. Blockchain technology has proven to be less susceptible to several attack vendors while doing away with intermediaries. This should render the discussion about absolute immutability superfluous.

There are new competitive threats. Blockchain and smart contracts are changing the way people procure financial services. At the same time, client expectations are continually rising, a process accelerated by the arrival of new digitally-orientated competitors.

Recruitment is also a challenge, as skills shortages take their toll on the ability of businesses to grow and innovate.

Then there are compliance obligations, which are getting tougher. GDPR and PSD2 will continue to have major effects on financial services, which spend an estimated £5 billion each year on compliance.

Cybersecurity is another pressing concern. Financial services are a prime target for hackers, with large banks of sensitive and lucrative data that can be stolen and sold on.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, driven by issues including Brexit, which are forcing financial firms to reconsider where and how they work.

In response, forward-looking firms are reviewing and reshaping established working practices and structures, assisted by technologies that allow for greater flexibility, responsiveness, efficiency and service levels.

New ways of working

Establishing new ways of working depends on equipping key personnel with the tools to be agile, productive and compliant, regardless of where they are working.

CDW is working with Microsoft to demonstrate the potential of the Microsoft Surface family in the professional services sector. Let’s look at how the key capabilities of Microsoft Surface come into play at different levels of the organisation.

Out in the field, employees including insurance adjusters and wealth advisors benefit from having the latest productivity and collaboration tools built into a device that enables online connectivity even without Wi-Fi. The Microsoft Surface Go, with advanced LTE capabilities and scope for the insertion of a SIM card, empowers these professionals to work without compromise. They can deliver enhanced customer experiences with on-the-spot insight.

Back at the office, colleagues including corporate legal associates and solicitors could use the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, to draft complex documents, work with colleagues via Teams, bring up information via PixelSense touchscreens and run full-featured desktop and mobile apps.

However, making a case for IT investment requires robust ROI projections that are notoriously difficult to calculate.

What’s the payback?

To establish a robust business case for its Surface devices and associated software, Microsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI).

The objective was to examine the potential ROI enterprises may realise by implementing Microsoft 365 Enterprise on Microsoft Surface devices. To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed and surveyed hundreds of customers with experience using Microsoft 365 on Microsoft Surface devices.

In the report, ‘Maximizing Your ROI From Microsoft 365 Enterprise

With Microsoft Surface[i], Forrester concluded that organisations using Microsoft Surface devices powered by Microsoft 365 Enterprise have the following three-year financial impact:

Forrester reported: “To rapidly innovate, better serve customers, and engage workers, organisations across the globe are using technology-driven solutions that improve information sharing, enhance teamwork, accelerate decision making and drive process efficiencies. Organisations are leveraging modern devices with next-generation capabilities, including voice recognition, digital pens, and touchscreens, to further empower their digitally-driven workforces. This strategy is working: 62% of information workers agree that using these next-generation technologies help to make them more productive in their jobs.”

Quantified benefits

The following risk-adjusted quantified benefits are representative of those experienced by the companies surveyed and interviewed:

On the job with Microsoft Surface

With advanced devices such as the Surface Laptop 2, Surface Go or Surface Pro 6, running Microsoft 365, finance professionals can:

To help IT leaders in financial and legal services exploit the advantages of the Surface family, CDW provides a range of wrap-around services that add value in important areas. An extensive range of maintenance and support services are offered by CDW, underpinned by tailored SLAs and delivered by accredited engineers with demonstrable technical expertise. Design services, including the build of a main image, are also available alongside pre-delivery asset-tagging, deployment support and delivery.

Download the free guide to Digital Empowerment in Legal & Financial Services: https://bit.ly/2PuRDvQ

 Or you can learn more by calling 020 7791 6000

Website: https://www.uk.cdw.com/

 

[i] https://info.microsoft.com/ww-landing-Forrester-TEI-Surface-M365-Full-Report-Whitepaper.html?lcid=en

[ii] The financial results calculated in the benefits and costs sections of the study were used to determine the ROI, NPV, and payback period for the composite organisation’s investment in Microsoft 365 powered Surface devices. Forrester assumed a yearly discount rate of 10% for this analysis.

 

Kim Hau, Senior Proposition Manager for ONESOURCE Indirect Tax, Thomson Reuters explains what emerging technologies actually mean and how will they help today’s organisations to interact with tax regimes around the world.

Tax regimes, legislation, and government systems are evolving. The shift towards real-time interaction will not slow down anytime soon and this is impacting the tax departments of businesses around the world. As emerging trends change, the way government systems are deployed and the technology they use will impact upon tax legislations around the world. Multinational organisations need to keep pace and embrace technology while ensuring they still comply at the speed of business.

If businesses aren’t familiar with the acronyms RPA, AI or even heard the term Blockchain then they need to learn about them, fast. They are no longer phrases from a futuristic text but actual developments in today’s technology and businesses.

1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is, essentially, software robots that mimic human tasks across applications in a non-invasive way. If a process can be documented for someone else to follow especially if it’s a potentially error-prone process, high-risk or manually intensive, or done so frequently that it’s just not a good use of time, then it’s a good fit for RPA. Companies will find that some of their tax processes will fit this bill and free up resource to work on more important tasks.

2. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (ML/AI) are two concepts often related and used interchangeably. Machine learning generally describes algorithms used by machines to teach themselves. Artificial Intelligence is used more broadly to describe the ways in which machines can perform tasks intelligently. Simply put it’s about taking a big population of data, learning patterns about that data, and then revising and training algorithms automatically to get better over time. Machine learning doesn’t have to be as sophisticated as self-driving cars. Think about how Amazon, Google, and Facebook use machine learning algorithms to improve recommendations, suggestions, and news feeds. Some of those capabilities are being applied to finance and tax today, particularly in areas where accurately categorising, grouping, or classifying large volumes of data frequently is part of the process. Ingesting data from a dozen different ERP systems and getting it lined up for tax compliance and reporting is an obvious place where it can make a difference to business.

3. Blockchain has been integrating into the business world far sooner than many predicted and as such there is a growing belief that it will radically change the way in which value is exchanged and how items are tracked and traded. Banking, insurance, voting, land registries, real estate, and stock trading are all examples of areas and industries where Blockchain is likely to impact.

While much of the publicity around Bitcoin is related to hackers and the cryptocurrency bubble, much of the real Blockchain activity seen so far is centered on the distributed ledger itself and the ways in which it’s going to disrupt middle men, or intermediaries, by connecting the transacting parties directly. From a positive point of view it is believed that Blockchain will speed up transactions and reduce cost while reducing fraud and increasing transparency.

At its core, Blockchain’s a distributed ledger that records transactions — and many of those transactions will be taxable events which is why it matters to tax. The details around Blockchain are complicated but suffice to say there’s a reason so many governments and industries are actively experimenting with Blockchain projects.

From a tax point of view, it’s likely that Blockchain will impact the tax department via governments and tax authorities pursuing digital strategies around e-government and that technology used by tax to stay compliant will have to adapt to this evolution.

With these developments in mind multinational companies should focus on incorporating technology trends that will assist in managing tax requirements rather than just putting out fires when the next major tax initiative comes along.

HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the perfect opportunity for businesses to be proactive and developing processes that are nimble enough to adjust to change. Tax should focus on what it can control, like the preparedness of systems and the scalability of processes, in order to adapt to the next change. Today, keeping pace with specific rate changes and regulatory modifications is largely a function of tax technology platforms. With HMRC’s October deadline there’s never been a more obvious time to implement solutions that enable and empower tax departments.

The tumultuous backdrop of volatile financial markets has seen commodities such as precious metals steal the limelight recently – particularly gold. According to a recent report by the World Gold Council, Central bank demand for gold was 651.5t in 2018, up 74% compared with 374.8t in 2017[1], hitting a recording-breaking half-century high of gold bought by central banks, the largest increase since the US’s decision to end the dollar’s peg to bullion in 1971.

This renewed interest in gold is due to the perfect storm of political tensions, trade wars, global debt and economic downturn, fuelling the need for institutions to diversify their investment portfolios. Countries across the world are turning their backs on the US Dollar as a reliable means of reserve, exemplified by the Russian central bank which sold almost all of its US Dollars to buy 274.3 tons of gold in 2018[2].

Following its annual report, the Director of Investment Research at the World Gold Council has announced central banks’ appetite for gold is here to stay. These official purchases are expected to provide a stable base for the gold market long-term, but how can the full commercial potential of the booming gold industry be unlocked? The answer is simple – blockchain technology.

Digitising gold on the blockchain could hold the answer – providing a stable currency through a safe haven asset.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, declared late last year that all central banks should consider issuing their own digital currencies, cementing blockchain as a financial services mainstay[3]. However, two IMF economists recently explored how this digital currency could be used by central banks to stimulate economic growth and counter a possible recession by implementing as negative an interest rate as necessary. So, the question arises whether blockchain-based currencies can truly serve consumers.

Digitising gold on the blockchain could hold the answer – providing a stable currency through a safe haven asset. This evolutionary system would need to be backed by real assets of gold and silver, providing a 1:1 allocation to physical bullion. The gold industry must adapt to join the fast-paced digital world to stay relevant today. A digital currency pegged to gold is the most suitable way to usher in a new era of stability to financial markets.

Although previous digital gold currencies have failed in the past, the latest innovations in blockchain technology provide a trustworthy way to record transactions and ownership of gold, whilst permitting fast international transactions at low rates. This platform will allow the seamless everyday spending, management, and retrieval of these gold and silver-based currencies by using a physical debit card leveraging the global networks such as Visa. The transaction fees accumulated whenever the currencies are sent, spent or traded are proportionately redistributed as a velocity-based yield, incentivising use. Renewed interest in gold, distrust in the banking system, combined with the shift to convenient, agile online-only banking has set the perfect scene for digital gold to flourish.

This platform will allow the seamless everyday spending, management, and retrieval of these gold and silver-based currencies by using a physical debit card leveraging the global networks such as Visa.

A precedent in the FinTech scene has been established; providing the stable, trustworthy financial platform consumers are looking for. The use of advanced blockchain technology is bringing accessibility to gold trading and shows how old world investment and new world technology can work together to create a new stable currency. Significant technical developments have already been completed, and this year will see a new monetary system flourish that will change the way people see and use gold. With gold at a 50 year high, there has never been a better time to invest in this bank-free monetary revolution and return to the gold standard.

Website: https://kinesis.money/en/

 

[1] https://www.gold.org/news-and-events/press-releases/central-bank-buying-drives-growth-in-gold-demand-in-2018

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/31/world-gold-council-central-banks-buy-most-gold-since-1967-.html

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/14/imf-says-governments-could-set-up-their-own-cryptocurrencies

 

 

 

 

Last year, the United Nations declared that 55% of the global population lives in cities. By 2050, it is predicted to increase to 68%. Population increase is widely recognised as the primary cause of this.

North America and Europe are among the two most urbanised areas in the world. The UK has seen massive growth in terms of urban dwellers, with Liverpool’s population growing by 181% between 2002 and 2015.

How will cities cope with a continuous growth in residents? Smart City planning could provide the solution. Using technology and data, local authorities across the globe are working to create dependable infrastructure for urban areas. And many designers have started to include blockchain in the process.

Below, we list the main reasons why.

Transparency

Blockchain records are unalterable – any transaction details can be viewed with complete transparency. Equally, private accounts are only accessible for cryptographic key holders. Both aspects can benefit any investor – especially one that wants to outsource to a third party.

Take local authorities and governments, for example. In hiring architects and labourers that buy through blockchain, they can see exactly where money goes. And so, it could maximise asset management.

In addition, project leaders will be able to measure costs against plans. With the ability to do this throughout the process, high costs can be avoided immediately. Payment documents could be used to reduce spending in the future, too.

Blockchain’s transparency can simplify the process of city planning – and could make it a great deal smarter.

Infrastructure

The term “Smart City” applies to all aspects of a metropolis, from infrastructure to public services. In regard to the latter, easy access to blockchain advice centres could be immensely helpful for many city residents.

The digital ledger has become popular with several people in the UK. In December 2018, 32 million Britons were reported to own Blockchain wallets. And this amount could very well increase. Some experts even describe this as the answer to all money problems.

City authorities looking to “Smart” plan, therefore, might want to take this statistic into consideration. Cities that supply blockchain help and information sources could make everyday transactions far easier for a lot of citizens.

In turn, this could strengthen the reliability of the city – one of the key principles of Smart City planning.

Property Industry

There are several advantages to living in a smart city. This is largely because it aims to offer straightforward daily services, from public transport to financial transactions.

The London Infrastructure Plan, for example, has been designed to enhance the ecological and economical effects of the capital, as well as its safety. Urban areas that are set for improvement often attract prospective property buyers.

If a local authority seeks to include new homes in its Smart city plan, blockchain records could entice investors. With full details on how living spaces have been built, people may be more inclined to invest.

And higher levels of investment could generate money for local projects and schemes that can benefit the city and its community.

Technology has already transformed how money is exchanged. And thanks to blockchain, it may revolutionise urban life throughout the world. Could this be a smarter way to spend than traditional payment methods? More to the point, will it determine how our living spaces are built?

Derick Fiebiger from 0chain explains its key benefits for your business.

Irrespective of what your opinion is, business executives have a duty to their organisations to assess relevant new technologies. Blockchain is an exciting new technology and companies the world over are evaluating whether blockchain offers a dependable, effective and valuable solution to their current challenges.

Seeing leading tech giants like IBM, AWS , Oracle and Accenture already on board and heavily invested in this new technology helps validate that blockchain is indeed more than hype and will transform many industries and systems in the years to come.

So what does this mean for me and my enterprise you may ask?

What are blockchain’s benefits for my business now and how will it help me innovate and stay ahead of the competition?

Blockchain’s advantages are many and as the underlying technology, applications and protocols evolve, more and more use cases emerge. At this stage though, the most important business benefits focus on increasing efficiency, agility, ROI, security, privacy and transparency.

The ability to easily access historical transactional data is particularly important for companies that have complex supply chains

  1. Transparency and Traceability 

Lack of transparency leads to delayed transactions, financial losses and situations that could compromise important commercial relationships.

Blockchain plays a critical role in tracing transactions and operations. The ability to easily access historical transactional data is particularly important for companies that have complex supply chains. It also helps with confirming transaction authenticity and preventing fraud.

As each transaction is recorded sequentially and indefinitely, you can easily provide an indelible audit trail for each transaction, operation or asset.

This accelerates reporting dramatically and enables you to access data regarding any potential issues in real time so you can fix problems as soon as they arise.

Furthermore, the audit process becomes much more efficient, faster and non-disruptive for the business.

  1. Security and Privacy

Security has become a massive issue for all enterprises and senior tech leaders are investing significant resources to prevent malicious attacks, stop data leakage and increase auditability and accountability.

Despite this investment, many companies only install low level security measures and pray solutions hold against malicious attacks. But, considering how many reputable global corporations have been victims of malicious parties recently, it’s becoming very clear that IT security not only has to protect confidential, sensitive data but there needs to be immutable records showing who did what, when and where in case something does go wrong.

Independently verified complex cryptography, definitive unchangeable records and decentralisation unite to make it far more difficult for hackers to compromise data. All these factors could revolutionise how critical information is shared, preventing fraud and loss of data.

With blockchain you can reduce data storage costs, store data in a more cost effective way and also eliminate many third parties that are now used for various transactions and trading processes.

  1. Efficiency and Agility

In order to navigate an increasingly complex business environment and fully leverage blockchain’s benefits, businesses need services with ample transaction capacity, near-instant finality and the ability to scale, all without sacrificing blockchain’s core benefits.

Think how much data your company generates and what’s managed on a daily basis. Countless transactions and operations happen every day inside and outside the company. Data flows to and from different parties.

With blockchain and tokenisation, you can reduce costs by storing and verifying all this data in a more efficient, secure way but also - transactions and data queries can be validated and completed far faster than traditional methods.

Furthermore, many companies still use paper heavy processes which are time-consuming, prone to human errors and offer little transparency. Blockchain streamlines and automates all these processes, enabling organisations to become more efficient and agile.

  1. Lower Costs

Reducing costs is a critical priority for many enterprises. With blockchain you can reduce data storage costs, store data in a more cost effective way and also eliminate many third parties that are now used for various transactions and trading processes.

This is increasingly important for companies with large IoT networks or business functions generating huge volumes of data every day.

Taking Control of Your Destiny 

Security, agility and efficiency are powerful blockchain benefits that businesses should be exploring. At the same time, there is an infinite number of tools, applications, and ideas that can be delivered through blockchains and it’s up to each enterprise to investigate how they can use the technology.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering implementing blockchain in your business is that this is not just an IT or R&D project. Blockchain, in many cases, is a fundamental business transformation operation which, if deployed and used properly, will significantly improve revenue and cost management. It will also cut across organisational silos and provide unique abilities for increased competitiveness and overall performance.

Regardless of whether you’re still on the fence regarding blockchain adoption or a passionate ambassador, one thing is clear - blockchain is here to stay and only the sky is the limit for the companies that are ready to take on board this new technology and leverage its full potential.

 

Derick’s Specialisms

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derick-fiebiger-4605a040/

Website: https://0chain.net/

Handling financial transactions also comes with its own risks, such as online fraud, that can have serious financial implications on day-to-day bank operations. The good news is, blockchain technology could turn the traditional banking industry on its head by making banking services seamless, transparent and more secure for customers. So far,
33% of commercial banks are expected to adopt blockchain technology in 2019.

Blockchain technology is set to disrupt the banking industry in a number of ways:

1. Reduced Payment Costs

Technological innovations have enabled more people to work online and even receive payments for their work-from-home jobs through their smartphones or computers. With banks adopting blockchain technology, the cost of sending payments is expected to reduce drastically. This will help eliminate the verification requirements from third parties during bank transfers. The processing time for payments will also be reduced, and the additional fees that banks charge eliminated. For instance, Bitcoin and Ethereum can take 30 minutes or a few hours to settle a customer's financial transaction compared to bank transfers that can take up to three days.

2. Direct Clearance and Settlement of Transactions

Traditional banks use a centralized SWIFT protocol to transfer money between two parties, with the actual cash being processed by intermediaries. The processing of SWIFT payments can take approximately 30 minutes if both parties screen and approve the transaction. However, if the corresponding banks don’t reconcile their ledgers in time, the transaction fails. With blockchain technology, the clearance and settlement of transactions are instant. Blockchain allows banks to track and keep their decentralized ledgers in their public network rather than relying on custodial services and correspondent banks. According to Goldman Sachs, banks would save at least $6 billion in settlement fees and related costs annually by adopting blockchain technology.

3. Lower Security Exchange Fees

The purchasing and selling of securities in the current financial market are done through brokers, central security depositories, custodian banks, and clearing houses before processing is complete. The manual process is tedious, sometimes inaccurate and prone to deception as it passes through several parties during the exchange. Blockchain technology will help eliminate intermediaries and brokers who are present during the transfer of stocks and assets, saving $17 to $24 billion in processing costs. Through blockchain technology, clients can transfer their securities and assets via cryptographic digital tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum much faster and with lower exchange fees. Big banks such as JP Morgan and CitiBank, who are large custodians of assets worth over $15 trillion, are already adopting blockchain technology to lower security exchange fees.

Blockchain technology has immense potential in revolutionizing the banking and finance industry. Many financial institutions are expected to adopt it in 2019 and beyond to enjoy the benefits it offers.

The insurance market exists to transfer risk from those who face it to those who can afford to assume it; at a price. In a world that is developing at an ever-increasing rate, risk is also changing, and insurers must constantly adapt the products that they offer to ensure that they are protecting risks that affect the modern world. Over the next few years, it can be expected that cryptocurrency covers will become commonplace and insurers will take a leading role in developing security standards.

At a time when the risk of bank robberies and wages snatches has declined substantially and motoring has become safer, aeroplanes are less likely to crash and other traditional areas of risk are declining, insurers must look to developing areas of risk and provide cover against those risks.

Not long ago, it was necessary, if one wanted to take money from a bank, to pull a stocking over one’s head, saw off a shot gun and take enormous personal risk, as well as the risk of being caught, in an attempt to deprive a near-by bank of cash. Today, the risks for robbers are much reduced but the risk for those holding money is greater. A modern robber can seek to steal money held across the world from the safety of his bedroom. His personal risk is considerably less as is, potentially, the risk of him being caught. The risk to those holding money, however, has changed and has possibly become greater.

While insurers were responsible for many of the innovations that made banks safer, now they must lead the way in enhancing security for those who hold cryptocurrencies. Insurers are working closely with cybersecurity experts to develop standards for their policy holders, often offering discounts for adoption.

Therefore, they are looking at uses of both cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the way in which they work. Already, insurers are being required to hold cryptocurrencies in order to handle some aspects of cyber insurance, particularly when their role may be to negotiate and pay ransom demands from hackers.

While insurers were responsible for many of the innovations that made banks safer, now they must lead the way in enhancing security for those who hold cryptocurrencies.

Where protection is given against cryptocurrency theft, insurers may increasingly seek to protect themselves against currency exchange fluctuations by charging premium, holding reserves and paying claims in cryptocurrencies.

In addition, the development of InsurTech is creating an environment in which insurers must compete to reduce premium levels by increasing efficiency. Expense ratios are already too high and insurers are looking to reduce these substantially on the basis that, if they don’t, their rivals will be able to undercut them.

As part of this efficiency, insurers are exploring uses of blockchain to reduce the frictional costs associated with the provision of insurance cover and obtaining reinsurance for it and some blockchain transactions have been concluded already. Major insurers and reinsurers are investing considerable time and money into this area and, without a doubt, the results of this investment will shortly become common practice.

One idiosyncrasy of insurance makes the creation of a closed contract for blockchain insurance problematic. Every insurance and reinsurance contract requires an insurable interest and proof of loss before any claim is paid. These elements mean that an entirely closed contract, which operates without outside intervention, is difficult. At some stage in the process, an adjustment of the claim will be required and an external element will have to be injected into the process.

That said, steps are afoot, both within insurers and regulators, to look at these issues and determine whether changes to the underlying principles may be effected, which would lift this potential road block.

To survive, insurers must embrace modern risk and modern working practices. The rate of change in the insurance industry is rapid and accelerating and within the next five years, we can expect considerable developments - both in terms of the risks that are assumed and the way in which risks are assumed.

Website: https://mccarthydenning.com/

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