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Weekly Analysis & Opinion Highlights – 22 March 2021

This analysis article focuses on the opinions and insights from fintech industry experts. On latest news, we explore the surge in digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the global crisis caused by Credit-Rating Agencies, customer service delivered by digital banking, and the perk of thinking beyond ESGs for startups and VC sectors. Enjoy the reading and have a good start of the week!

Real-time data key to ESG analytics (Bobsguide)

Dan Grandage, Head of ESG, Private Markets & Real Estate at Aberdeen Standard Investments, explains why private organizations do not have the same degree of transparency as their public counterparts, making it more challenging to access environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. However, due to increased pressure from institutional investors and regulators, along with evidence of a positive correlation between ESG and financial returns, private markets’ disclosure and reporting of ESG data is improving. Read more 

Digital Dollars In Digital Pockets (Forbes)

David G. W. Birch, writer at Forbes, argues that a new kind of electronic money is not needed to implement digital currency. The revolution is not electronic money, but electronic cash. Because cash lives outside of banks, it will be able to function in the absence of banks and network connections. If we use this kind of electronic cash to implement a Digital Dollar stored in secure digital wallets, then we will build an alternative to the existing international money system at several levels: digital wallets give us an alternative to bank accounts and as an alternative to bank customers. Read more 

The alternative currency revolution (Fintech Futures)

Jason Cozens, founder and CEO of Glint, highlights that instead of cash, digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are the financial safety and security that customers are seeking. Consumer financial education and the options available to them, are increasing so these alternatives will become mainstream. As a result, central banks responded to the threat of cryptocurrencies by developing their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). A greatest example of this is China who already tried its own digital currency and is looking to roll out across more cities and regions in the coming weeks. Read more

How the financial sector can successfully deliver frictionless customer service (Finextra)

James Mingard, Head of Retail & Finance Maintel, dives into digital banking and customer reluctance due to a lack of attractive digital solutions. With pandemic increasing digital adoption across products and demographic segments, the challenge now for banks is to ensure this adoption doesn’t drop off in the years ahead. A key factor in this will be ensuring that customers can ‘self-serve’ easily and effortlessly across a range of different platforms. Read more

From Bitcoin to NFTs, why institutions are adopting crypto (AltFi)

Ivan Soto-Wright, writer at AltFi, emphasized a surge in cryptocurrency adoption, which has put pressure on businesses to offer this kind of service. Recently, a number of entirely new types of marketplaces have emerged – a prime example being NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs act as a digital certificate of ownership for any digital asset and have very quickly become something resembling a mainstream financial product. Read more

Credit-Rating Agencies Could Derail Economic Recovery (Project Syndicate)

Jayati Ghost, writer at Project Syndicate, explores the Ethiopian government’s commitment to engage with private creditors, as part of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, which raises the risk that those creditors will incur losses. Similar cases already happened to Enron in 2001 in the US which triggered the global financial crisis when it burst in 2008. Read more. 

Why investors need to think beyond ESG (Sifted)

Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and Managing Partner at Seventure Partners, emphasized the need to continue with ESG reporting to stay in line with regulatory requirements, but also embrace the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as a new benchmark for the VC sector. The reason is that the SDGs provide straightforward, self-explanatory, quantitative evaluation criteria, and are easy-to-use tools for proving real, sustainable improvement. Read more

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