Shopify and Twitter partner for social commerce; the insurance industry appears to be next in line for some disruptive innovation; 60% of the world’s Bitcoin merchants use BitPay, and more top stories from this week in FinTech.
Yes, you read that correctly! Twitter has plans to jump into the e-commerce business, with a little help from Shopify. PYMNTS reports:
With the integration of Shopify, Twitter would serve as an intermediary eCommerce platform for over 100,000 merchants, which use Shopify for selling their products and services online. The partnership comes at a time when various social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have been testing their own versions of “buy buttons” and are racing to tap into the enormous potential of social commerce business.
FinTech continues to grab headlines! There is a huge amount of innovation and investment in the financial technology sector, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With advances in mobile banking, small business lending, and credit scoring, insurance may be the next in line for a facelift. From TechCrunch:
Insurance represents a huge opportunity that has yet to see real innovation. The U.S. insurance industry is the largest in the world in terms of revenue, with net premiums surpassing US$1.2 trillion. At the same time, the major players have some of the lowest Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings of any industry, meaning the companies do not inspire satisfaction or loyalty in their customers.
Leading global bitcoin payment processor BitPay has published a half year report on bitcoin which covers growth of merchants, transactions, volume, etc. Today, over 100,000 merchants worldwide are accepting bitcoin. Out of the 100,000 bitcoin merchants, 60% are processing bitcoin payments through BitPay. From CT:
In Latin American countries where the native currencies are invaluable, and many chase down for US dollars in the black market, bitcoin is favored to be a borderless alternative currency, which people can send and bring out of the country without capital controls.
People from Google, Yandex, Apple, Alibaba, Bloomberg, IBM, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Visa Europe are working together on a project that wll standardize payments online. The Next Web reports:
The organization in charge of online standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (or W3C), is facilitating the work of a so-called Web Payments Interest Group, a workgroup currently consisting of almost a hundred people from 44 companies and organizations. Since early 2014, the group has been actively working on creating a universal specification of how online payments should be described and conducted.
FinTech is hot! According to Accenture’s 2015 report, investment in the industry has tripled to US$12.21 billion in the past year. And this is just the beginning! With no signs of slowing down, FinTech 2.0 is peeking its head around the corner. From Venture Beat:
The fintech 2.0 age represents a leap towards faster, leaner, more tech-savvy platforms built for the finance industry. The fintech 2.0 economy will emerge out of the following trends: open architecture, smart due diligence, and the proliferation of complex investment vehicles. Let’s explore this new wave of fintech innovation.
In the ongoing debate regarding Bitcoin's block size limit, Bitcoin Core developer Pieter “sipa” Wuille has published a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to increase the maximum block size by 17.7% per year, starting in January 2017. CT reports:
In a proposal dubbed “Block size following technological growth,” Wuille argues that his suggested maximum block size limit growth is tailored to stay in check with hardware and other technological improvements. This is needed, the Core developer and Blockstream co-founder argues, because the Bitcoin ecosystem faces risks of centralization if technology cannot keep up with protocol requirements.
Open University has launched a course on FinTech, designed to educate top executives about the booming industry and addressing concerns of a skills gap in U.K. CNBC reports:
FinTech 101 is a 50-hour course and was developed in conjunction with U.K. trade body Innovate Finance. It costs £695 (US$1,080) to do. Among the subjects covered are the blockchain – the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency bitcoin – and cybersecurity.
A research report from Accenture shows the UK leading the way in Europe for FinTech investment, getting 42% of all European FinTech investment in 2014. And if that wasn’t enough, with FinTech 2020, the UK is looking to challenge the status quo and attract a large number of financial technology companies to the country. From InsideBitcoins:
Though the United Kingdom plays a definitive role in the growth of FinTech industry, which is now worth £20 billion in annual revenues to the UK, employs 135,000 people, and attracted 42% of all European FinTech investment in 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron is not satisfied. Thus, Cameron, has welcomed FinTech 2020, which aims to make the UK the premier location for at least 25 global FinTech leaders, whether by IPO, global market share or by valuation.
A new inquiry from the Australian government is looking to change current tax codes for Bitcoin in Australia, which are proving to be controversial and counter-productive, hurting businesses and growth. CT reports:
Bitcoin regulation has been, and will continue to be, a hot topic as it continues to gain momentum and interest in personal and corporate finance, worldwide. This issue has been a main focus of the Australian Senate over the past year, as bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular commodity in the Oceanic country.
The disruptive force that is FinTech is strong and all-pervasive. And as the “Internet of Money” becomes more of a reality each day, FinTech entrepreneurs are looking towards Asia as the next breeding ground for innovation. From Tech In Asia:
Investors and Venture Capitalists are betting big on fintech in general, and many are now realizing the special opportunity that Asia represents for innovations across the board in finance. If RISE Hong Kong was any indication, fintech in Asia will undeniably be an exciting and thriving space for those willing to challenge the status quo of the financial services infrastructure.