Blockchain – a Revolution for the Patient

Written by Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy, Finovate

The excitement surrounding blockchain or the somewhat less jazzy sounding Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT – in all its forms and incarnations) has been much discussed and taken up many column inches over the past few years. The conversations around the potential of the technology to upend entrenched processes has extended well beyond financial services and use cases have been explored across a broad range of industries – from music and entertainment copyrights to the provenance of organic coffee beans. And what has followed, more recently, is the almost inevitable questioning of whether it’s all been overly hyped. A recent estimate from Gartner indicates that 90% of enterprise blockchain projects launched in 2016 and the first half of 2017 will fail within two years.

“Most revolutions occur over time rather than in a high profile moment and whilst commentators may be impatient for results, there is a lot of activity going on,” Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy, Finovate

Operating from the assumption that the broad range of stakeholders involved haven’t collectively lost the plot or the ability to apply an economic calculus to an assessment of technology, interest is clearly being propelled by some powerful drivers. The potential to make significant cost savings, streamline processes and create more secure and, indeed, tamper proof systems, are powerful incentives to explore and invest in use cases and proof of concepts. High levels of failure are not therefore a signal that the technology has a weak use case but rather that interest remains high and the potential rewards considerable.

Given JP Morgan’s recent exit from R3, following other large players like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley last year, it is easy to yearn for the tangible and believe that the ‘trial’ stage will continue for the foreseeable future. Yet, we need to follow the practical implementations that are happening and there are a good many examples across financial services.

“Identity is an area where DLT is being explored by many financial institutions in partnership with start-ups,” Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy, Finovate

Ripple [FS13] has recently added 11 new banking members to its network and now has 75 bank customers using its Interledger protocol. Whilst still far off from overtaking Swift’s 11,000 member banks, it is creating the standards for financial institutions to follow and use DLT. Creating a new process in a new institution is likely to be far easier than attempting to get agreement on changing incumbent processes from 11,000 members. Enabling financial institutions to connect to payment networks and distributed ledger technology to send and settle international payments among one another in almost real time presents a powerful alternative to the current model.

Identity is also an area where DLT is being explored by many financial institutions in partnership with start-ups. SecureKey [FF12], for example, is creating an identity and authentication network underpinned by DLT. It has signed up a number of financial services institutions to its network and received grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security in the US. There are many start-ups operating in the Identity space and beyond (think KYC/AML), harnessing blockchain technology to provide RegTech solutions to the financial services industry where the opportunity to cut costs and provide more robust regulatory compliance is enormous. Regulators at the national, supranational and international levels have taken notice and are compounding interest rapidly.

“Central to the potentially transformative potential of DLT technology is not simply to replace old tech with new but to fundamentally change processes in ways that have not yet even been formulated,” Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy, Finovate

Looking at a newcomer, blockchain based start-up banki Humaniq, which is targeting the unbanked across emerging markets though a mobile app, recently received investment from Deloitte. It also raised funding through an Initial Coin Offering. Included in its ambitious objectives to harness the blockchain for good to meet the needs of unserved communities are to leverage biometric, voice and location technologies to overcome the hurdles of a customer base who often lack conventional identity proofs.

Big tech is also forging ahead with the creation of blockchain products and services and with both IBM and Microsoft creating blockchain-as-a-service applications for businesses, one can assume that DLT technologies are no flash in the pan. It takes time to work through both the use cases and practical implementation of new technologies; legacy technology cannot be simply replaced in short order. Central to the potentially transformative potential of DLT technology is not simply to replace old tech with new but to fundamentally change processes in ways that have not yet even been formulated. Most revolutions occur over time rather than in a high profile moment and whilst commentators may be impatient for results, there is a lot of activity going on.

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Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Finovate Alumni News

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Around the web

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “D3 Banking’s Platform Goes Live at First Tennessee Bank”
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Around the web

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

7 Alum Leaders Named U.K.’s Coolest People in Fintech

BritishFlagBusiness Insider rounded up the 40 most exciting people in fintech in the United Kingdom. As it turns out, Brexit isn’t enough to shake the fintech scene in the U.K. In fact, according to KPMG, British fintech startups raised $962 million in 2015. Of that amount, London companies raised $743 million.

The list includes these seven leaders from Finovate and FinDEVr alumni:

Taavet Hinrikus, CEO and cofounder of TransferWise

Marta Krupinska, General Manager and cofounder of Azimo

Nikolay Storonsky, CEO and cofounder of Revolut

Giles Andrews, Executive Chairman and cofounder of Zopa

Peter Smith, CEO and cofounder of Blockchain

Usman Khan, CTO and cofounder of Algomi

Nick Hungerford, CEO and founder of Nutmeg

Check out all 40 leaders who made the list. Wonder how Business Insider made its selections? Here’s how the publication described its process:

We looked at who’s done cool and interesting things in the past year, including companies that have raised money or grown rapidly. We’ve also tried to include some of the less obvious names—the people doing great things behind the scenes—as well the faces out front.

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On FinDEVr.com

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The latest from FinDEVr New York 2016 presenters

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Alumni updates

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Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

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On FinDEVr.com

  • “Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder: Blockchain Unveils Off-Chain Bitcoin Payments Network”

Around the web

  • Version 6.0 of PayPal app discontinues support for Amazon Fire, Windows, and Blackberry phones.
  • Neyber selects Cloud Lending Solutions for loan automation.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finvoate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Let’s Talk Payments features Ledger, Blockchain, and Coinbase in its roundup of blockchain-powered digital wallets.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alums Dominate The FinTech50’s Inaugural Hall of Fame

Fintech50_homepage_April2016

FinTechCity unveiled its new FinTech50 Hall of Fame this week at the Money 20/20 event in Copenhagen, Denmark. Finovate alums took six out of the ten spots.

The “founding ten members” of TheFinTech50 Hall of Fame are companies that “have featured on our radar since the days when they could reasonably be called startups,” say FinTech50 founders Julie Lake and Nicky Cotter, writing in The FinTech50 2016 Yearbook. “In recognition of their pioneering spirit and competitive staying power, we felt they deserved their own special place within a list of remarkable game-changers,” the founders wrote.

FinTechCity also presented The FinTech50 2016, its roster of the fifty hottest FinTech businesses in Europe. Of the 50 companies selected by the panel of more than 30 industry experts who poured over more than 1,200 candidates, a full baker’s dozen were Finovate—or FinDEVr—alums.

Read the full list.

Lake and Cotter called this year’s competition “the most hotly contested FinTech50 in its four-year history.” The founders also highlighted differences from the 2015 list, with this year’s roster featuring more companies innovating in “security, compliance, and risk.”

Also noteworthy was the number of European fintech companies from the United Kingdom (more than 30 out of the 50). The founders credited this to the U.K.’s broader access to funding, as well as the region’s local talent, and “favorable regulatory environment.” Lake and Cotter also praised other emerging European fintech communities in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Stockholm.

In addition to The FinTech50 2016 and its new Hall of Fame, FinTechCity also announced its FinTech20 India and FinTech20 Hong Kong. Finovate alums were represented here with Demystdata (FinovateAsia 2012) earning a spot in the Hong Kong 20, and Bank Bazaar (FinovateAsia 2012) getting recognition in the India 20. Lastly, The FinTech50 shared “The Hot Ten,” a roster of companies on their watch list for 2016. Here, Finovate alum, Ormsby Street (FinovateFall 2015), was recognized on that list.

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Developer news

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Alumni updates

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Stay up to date on daily developments by following FinDEVr on Twitter.