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The bank of Facebook, Hong Kong and Singapore rivalry, confidentiality on blockchain and tracking po

Your curated fintech news for the week of 5 December 2016.

Facebook banking

The social media giant is no stranger to fintech. Back in May, I reported that Facebook worked with Deloitte to create a new solution for storing product warranties on blockchain using its chatbot. News now comes that the company has secured an e-money license in Ireland. Whether it plans to use the license for peer-to-peer payments between members or currency exchange remains unclear. However, acquiring the license in Ireland allows it to roll out the service in other EU jurisdictions as “passporting” allows member states to easily do business in other Euro countries.

Singapore leading Hong Kong in the fintech race

The contest between two regional powers to become global fintech hubs continues to sway in Singapore's favour as government engagement, geographic location and early adoption continue to pay dividends. The stakes are high and the outcome lucrative as Accenture reported that fintech investments in the APAC region reached almost US$4.3 billion in 2015, making up 19% of global financing activity.

Confidentiality issues resolved by blockchain startup

While distributed ledger technologies enjoy their moment in the spotlight, challenges remain to widespread adoption. Chief among these is confidentiality of information: blockchain members, known as nodes, may express hesitation in sharing data among themselves, particularly in the context of financial transactions. However, this exchange of data is crucial if information is to be accurately uploaded onto the blockchain. Digital Asset Holdings, a major blockchain startup headed by former JP Morgan exec Blythe Masters, appears to have a solution to this dilemma by segregating the data uploaded.

India’s demonetization leading to fintech hiring spree

A few weeks back, I reported on the Indian government’s decision to eliminate two of the most widely used bank notes in circulation. As a result, fintech startups benefited as payment and digital wallet providers saw a surge in clientele. Unsurprisingly, this uptick has led to an increase in hiring by fintech companies looking to meet customer demand and to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the government’s digital push.

Blockchain also works for…pork?

Most of the use cases for blockchain have focused on financial applications. From smart contracts to clearing and settlement of trades, the potential to cut costs and increase efficiencies continue to gain recognition. However, distributed ledger technology is versatile and lends itself to other areas as well. Case in point: Walmart using it to track the source and quality of the pork it purchases from China where food scandals abound.

Abraham Tachjian

*As always, feel free to contact me to discuss these and related topics.

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