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Fintech A.M.: 11-11-2017

 Cryptocurrency’s growing pains   The last few days have seen a flurry of activity on the cryptocurrency front. Leading up to the announcement of Bitcoin Gold’s release, scheduled for Sunday, the cryptocurrency decided not to release the already controversial SegWit2x fork because it could have been a setback regarding Bitcoin’s growth. Bitcoin rival Ethereum ran into big problems in the last couple of days when a major bug in Parity Technology’ Parity wallet meant that wallets could be completely wiped out. And this wasn’t the first time a vulnerability in parity struck Ehtereum: in July, around 30 million USD was stolen (150,000 ETH) due to a bug.

Payments is flourishing

The world of payments continues to deliver key innovations,  proving a boon for both for-profits and NGOs. BNP Paribas has just introduced WeChatPay, a mobile payment solution used heavily in mainland China, to French retailers, to make paying easier for a slice of the almost 7.4 million Chinese tourists visiting Europe annually.  Naturally, the bank is planning to expand to the rest of Europe, but it is still to be seen whether mobile payment solutions will scale in Europe at similar rates as they have in China. On the non-profit side, Sunlight Payments successfully piloted a platform that lets an organisation track follow-on payments throughout the supply chain, even at the local vendor and partner levels and across multiple countries. This platform increases transparency and could even result in cost-savings, which would indeed, as the organisation’s CTO Eric Merritt said, “revolutionise the way payments are distributed to provide essential services in the field”. They, too, plan to expand their services, and are going to take their platform global.

Can you bank on that?!

The big news from banking innovation came in the form of a question: could the likes of Amazon, Facebook, or Apple become banks? Traditionally, the two industries have been kept separate: consumers are protected because banks can’t use their money in “risky” non-bank endeavours, and banks are also safe because the likes of Amazon can’t take their customers. But what if that barrier were removed? The U.S’s Keith Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, is wondering the same thing, and the implications could truly change the financial industry as we know it.    ]]>

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