Fintech A.M.: 28-11-2017

Fintech A.M.: 28-11-2017

Cryptocurrencies are at new heights and technology is making payments and banking globally accessible. 

Cryptocurrencies

The sudden boost in appreciation of cryptocurrencies has attracted a lot of attention. According to Coinmarketcap.com, the total aggregated cryptocurrency market exceeded USD 300 billion yesterday. Despite new cryptocurrencies popping up everywhere, bitcoin and ethereum remain the largest cryptocurrencies.

Without doubt, a lot of speculation is going on concerning the future of cryptocurrencies. Experts in the field are divided about the matter. For instance, the Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media believes that bitcoin will never become a legal entity in the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, despite seeing potential in the use of blockchain and digital tokens.

From an opposite perspective, Bermuda’s government is taking significant steps in stimulating cryptocurrencies on the business island. The Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) has been appointed to take a leading role in the government’s initiative to accelerate the establishment and growth of digital currencies.

 Digitization

As a result of the lightning speed of technological developments, financial institutions are applying them in their banking solutions. In India, for instance, the State Bank of India has announced the launch of a new digital platform called “You Only Need Once,” or YONO in short. The platform is developed leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics and is directed at enhancing the customer’s banking-on-the-go experience. This way, the bank aspires to strengthen its offering in the digital space.

Further East, in Malaysia, Maybank has applied voice and facial recognition as authentication methods, as an addition to the already applied fingerprint authentication method to its Maybank2u app.

Cross-border payments

Payments are becoming increasingly available all around the globe. Cross-border payments service provider Earthport has teamed up with Bangladesh based BRAC Bank’s payments arm called BRAC Saajan Exchange. The partnership enables inbound payments, using Earthport’s payment network. The development is consistent Earthport’s long-term strategy to increase the number of IT services in Asian markets.

Digital money transfer service WorldRemit has expanded its remittance service to South Korea, enabling South Korean emmigrants to easily transfer money to South Korea in just a few taps, using their mobile phones.

These cross-border payment developments are part of a growing trend. For instance, Standard Chartered and Axis bank recently unveiled their partnership with Ripple to link Indian and Singaporean companies. Furthermore, Italian bank UniCredit launched a cross-border payment service in Germany and Italy. The Allied Irish bank is pursuing the same goal, however taking a different approach, and has invested USD 30 million in payment service provider TransferMate.

By Michael Brooijmans, Research Analyst at Holland FinTech

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