This Week in Fintech

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This weekly summary from our 5 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

Ilias Hatzis started his first company, an internet search engine, during the dot-com era & now focusses on crypto.

Efi Pylarinou worked for top tier Wall Street firms and is now a top global Fintech influencer.

Jessica Ellerm is CEO of Zuper Superannuation & previously worked for a top Fintech startup, Tyro.

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners.

Arunkumar Krishnakumar is a VC investor, podcast host & writer focused on deep technology & sustainability.

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Your Editor is Bernard Lunn a Fintech deal-maker, investor, entrepreneur & advisor. He is CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy.

Monday Ilias Hatzis @iliashatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) wrote In the mind of of central bankers… to create their Bitcoin

Undoubtedly, Libra was a wake-up call for governments and central banks. The demand for fast, reliable and cheap cross-border payments is going to grow even more in the coming years. Countries around the world will be rolling out their own versions of digital money. Governments have gone from dismissing digital currencies, to revealing they are working on their own digital currency. The speed at which these events are unfolding is unbelievable. Germany wants a digital Euro, Switzerland and Sweden are on their way to create their own digital currencies. China has openly embraced blockchain and digital currencies.

Editor note: The idea that “central banks want to be the disrupter” would have seemed ridiculous a few years ago, but Ilias is right about this in the post Libra world. Meantime, honey badger Bitcoin don’t care. 

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Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Not another Crypto Exchange; by BondEvalue & Northern Trust

These are picks of business media talk from the past and the present. As Ajit Tripathi, said to me in a conversation last week, `2015 was all about Colored Coins, 2016-2017 was ICOs, and 2019 has been DeFi`. His market pulse was more from the (small on a relative scale) crowd involved in the space.

Editor note: We do not need more crypto exchanges but bond market is huge, opaque & inefficient and can use some tokenisation efficiency.

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Wednesday Jessica Ellerm @jessicaellerm, our Australia-based Fintech entrepreneur (a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy & CEO/Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia wrote The SME trends fintech companies need to know in the MENA region

This week we turn our eyes to the middle east when it comes to SME fintech trends. Dubai based SME lender Beehive, has released its SME State of the Nation 2019 report, as part of its 5th birthday celebrations, and it contains some fascinating insights into the big issues and areas of development for local SMEs owners in the MENA region. The report is the culmination of discussions with SME founders and CEOs in the region, as well as collated survey data from 175 SMEs.

Editor note: Good summary of a complex report – a must read if you are in SME Fintech. The big surprise in the data for me was that “38% of senior positions in the region are held by women, much higher than the global average of 29%”. That is not what my prejudice assumes for MENA.

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Thursday Patrick Kelahan @insuranceeleph1, our US based Insurtech expert (a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners who also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’) wrote Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap?

The Geneva Association released an ambitious discussion of trust and its effect on insurance transactions, particularly in the perspective of well-known ‘protection gaps’ that are pervasive across many lines of insurance within mature economies.  Is, as Jad Ariss, Association Managing Director notes in the publication’s foreword, a “lack of trust fundamentally impeding insurance demand,” or are there systemic barriers to insurance demand that trust simply exacerbates?

Editor note:Interesting analysis of trust as the key to brand connection with customers. Focus is on P&C where trust is relatively low versus Health where it is very low (in America). 

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Friday Arunkumar Krishnakumar @karunk, our London based Fintech investor, (Venture Capital investor at Green Shores Capital focusing on deppp technology & sustainability) wrote Christine Lagarde pioneers ECB climate change policies – what can Fintechs do?

Christine Lagarde made waves when she got chosen as the first woman president of the ECB. Now she is making waves with her push for climate conscious monetary policies.

In her new role as the ECB president, she is hitting the ground running with some amazing policy work around climate change. The vision is to make sure that the ECB considers climate change as a ‘mission critical’ priority. Some say, she won’t achieve it. But few have even tried it before.

Lagarde is keen to ensure that the ECB will start focusing more on Green assets (green bonds for example), and unwinding assets in their portfolio with high carbon footprint.

The COP25 climate conference is happening in Madrid this week. Just before it kicked off, the European parliament declared a climate emergency. On the contrary, the FED chose to dig its head into the sand, and stressed that Climate change was a political issue and not an economic/financial one.

I disagree with the position of the FED. Top down recognition of where we are with climate change, is very critical to get to a sustainable world for future generations. Climate change is not just a political issue, it is not just an economic issue, it is an existential issue – both literally and philosophically.

Editor note: It is wild to have the FED and ECB chiming in on climate change, but it makes sense because “money makes the world go around” so banks and Fintechs and investors (like the author of this article) must be part of the change that will save human life on this planet, the biggest challenge of our lifetime.   

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