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The NYSE Bitcoin Exchange

Daily Fintech, Llias Louis Hatzis | August 6, 2018
The announcement that International Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global stock exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange, announced it is partnering with Microsoft and Starbucks to create a Bakkt, a Bitcoin trading platform that allows investors to buy and hold Bitcoin without the use of futures, derivatives or other types of contracts. “This is game-changing,” wrote Daily Fintech’s Llias Lois Hatzis. “Individuals would be able to add Bitcoin to their IRA or 401k. It will open up access to millions of people who have been sitting on the sidelines not able to add Bitcoin to their portfolios.”

Fed Chairman Powell Addresses Cryptocurrencies

WolfStreet.com, Wolf Richter | July 23, 2018
During his testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, was asked by representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Juan Carlos Vargas (D-CA) about the Fed’s thinking on cryptocurrencies. “Instead of pussyfooting around the issues, as Fed chairs used to do, he refreshingly stepped right into it, with both boots on the ground, so to speak,” wrote Wolf Richter.

Competition Issues in the Area of Financial Technology

European Parliament Think Tank, Fraile Carmona, A. Gonzáelez-Quel Lombardo, R. Rivera Pastor, C. Tarín Quirós, J. P. Villar Garcia, D. Ramos Muñoz, L. Castejón Martín | July 2018
This EU study focuses on analyzing potential anti-competitive factors and their impact both in the FinTech ecosystem and in the concrete services of banking, payments, digital currencies, personal finance, InsurTech and enabling technologies and infrastructures. “The arrival of permissioned cryptocurrencies promoted by banks, even by central banks, will reshape the current competition level in the cryptocurrency market, broadening the number of competitors,” cautioned the authors. “However, the market power of banks in traditional banking services might be used to limit competition in the cryptocurrency market through pre-emptive acquisitions or predatory pricing schemes.”

Regulators Plan a “Global Sandbox” for Fintech

Daily Fintech, Ilias Louis Hatzis | Aug. 13, 2018
In July, China’s third-largest bank issued the country’s first mortgage loan on the blockchain, using technology issued by the National Agricultural Bank System. Ultimately, the lender, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) plans to offer tea farmers e-loans and use land rights and housing property as guarantees. Thus, ABC’s e-loan project requires similar collateral information to the mortgage loans.

China’s Third-Largest Bank Issues Farmland Mortgage Loan on a Blockchain

Press Release, Agricultural Bank of China | July 31, 2018
In July, China’s third-largest bank issued the country’s first mortgage loan on the blockchain, using technology issued by the National Agricultural Bank System. Ultimately, the lender, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) plans to offer tea farmers e-loans and use land rights and housing property as guarantees. Thus, ABC’s e-loan project requires similar collateral information to the mortgage loans.

Citigroup and Barclays Sign Up for Trial Blockchain Project

Press Release, CLS | July 30, 2018
CLS, a market infrastructure group, and IBM are collaborating on a proof of concept (PoC) for LedgerConnect, a distributed ledger technology platform for the financial services industry to enable banks to deploy services on a shared distributed ledger network. Nine financial institutions—including Barclays and Citi—are participating in the PoC. Upon completion of a successful PoC, generation of market demand, and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, CLS and IBM plan to make the LedgerConnect platform widely available to the industry.

How AI Is Impacting the Future of Insurance

McKinsey & Company, Ramnath Balasubramanian, Ari Libarikian, and Doug McElhaney | May 2018
The insurance industry is on the verge of a seismic, tech-driven shift, according to McKinsey & Company analysts. Artificial Intelligence can deliver on industry expectations through machine learning and deep learning. “In this evolution, insurance will shift from its current state of ‘detect and repair’ to ‘predict and prevent,’ transforming every aspect of the industry in the process,” wrote McKinsey analysts. “The pace of change will also accelerate as brokers, consumers, financial intermediaries, insurers, and suppliers become more adept at using advanced technologies to enhance decision making and productivity, lower costs, and optimize the customer experience.”

Treasury Releases Report on Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation

U.S. Treasury | July 31, 2018
On July 31, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a 222-page report that identifies improvements to the regulatory landscape that will better support nonbank financial institutions, embrace financial technology, and foster innovation. Treasury’s fact sheet for this report provides a summary of the agency’s 80 recommendations that are designed to (i) embrace the efficient and responsible use of consumer financial data and competitive technologies; (ii) streamline the regulatory environment to foster innovation and avoid fragmentation; (iii) modernize regulations; and (iv) facilitate “regulatory sandboxes” to promote innovation.

Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century

Office of Management and Budget | June 21, 2018
On June 21, the Trump administration released this blueprint for implementing a massive overhaul of the federal bureaucracy that touches virtually every federal agency. The blueprint identifies the use of technology—including the use of large data sets and cloud infrastructure—to improve customers’ experience.

DARPA Creates the Fast Lightweight Autonomy Program

Press Release, DARPA | July 18, 2018
DARPA is developing a new class of algorithms for drones and robots for quick navigation in cluttered environments to perform tasks dangerous, including battlefield reconnaissance and hostile or dangerous urban settings. In the not too distant future, unmanned vehicles will have operational systems that require no human input after providing a general heading, distance to travel and specific items to search, according to DARPA program manager J.C. Ledé.

Gunshot Detection Technology Is Making Schools Safer

Durham Herald Sun, Ray Gronberg | July 31, 2018
Shooter Detection Systems use sensors to detect the noise of the gunshot and a laser to detect the flash of the shot, providing the location and photo of the shooter within two seconds after the gun is fired. The Shooter Detection System does for gun shootings what fire alarms do for fires. “It’s a game changer and it’s going to save lives,” according to Ed Davis, Boston’s former Police Commissioner.

The Digitization of Banking

Bloomberg News, Jiklas Magnusson | July 29, 2018
Technology has just begun impact banking, as the industry begins its digital transformation. “We think in the next five years 30% of the jobs could disappear,” said former Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. In its digitization transformation, Nordea Bank AB announced the elimination of 6,000 jobs. “These cuts are really a transformation more than anything else,” said Nordea Bank CEO . “This is really creating in my mind a future bank and these cuts are a result of that. I think this is something which you will see in the whole industry.”