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Shaping the future of finance

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Is the branch dead?

A regular discussion of mine has resurfaced in recent days: is the branch dead? Why it has returned is due to the announcement of Santander closing a fifth of its UK branch network: The Spanish-owned bank, which has one of the largest high street networks in Britain, will shut 140 branches, leaving 614 after the closures, which…

Why P2P lending works in some markets and not in others

Someone asked me about getting return on investment in fintech. The discussion is about how many firms are actually delivering on their promise. So many unicorns are loss-making firms, and billion-dollar valuations on million-dollar revenues seems like a lot of hype. One article typified this feeling: High-society fintech under pressure to perform for billionaire backers in…

Research lays bare the banking issue

A new study of the 50 largest banking groups in the UK and Europe has revealed that although profits have increased, future profitability is at significant risk. The UK & European Banking Study (EBS), shows that banks are operating in unstable market conditions fuelled by unsustainable profit-taking, crisis level valuations and dwindling market share. While…

Over the next decade, over $2.5 trillion will be generated by blockchain trade

I just saw a report from the World Economic Forum, who estimate that over $1 trillion in new trade will be created through blockchain-based distributed ledger technologies (DLT) over the next decade. They also estimate it will reduce the global trading gap by $1.5 trillion. Bold claims. Here’s the key paragraph from their report (for…

A third of banks expect to hold cryptocurrencies on their balance sheets

I received a really interesting report from the law firm DLA Piper last week. The report is focused upon how blockchain is changing the financial services markets around the world, with the aim of establishing the position of major financial institutions with regards to cryptocurrencies and the use of blockchain in their daily operations. The…

Will QR codes wipe out cash and cards?

There’s been an interesting but hidden trend taking place. It started in China with Tencent and Alipay and has now gone global. The phenomenon is called QR codes. QR, or Quick Response if you prefer the longer form, is a code that originated in Japan in the 1990s, and has gradually grown from a system…

Every $1 in $50 in the banks is laundered money (and maybe more)

I’ve made the comment many times that it is astounding that around $2 trillion is laundered through the banks of the world each year, up from $1.6 trillion in 2009. It’s about 2.7% of global GDP and $1 in every $50 traded through our banks is criminally driven, getting washed through the complex structures of the…

Forcing banks to tell customers their ranks

On Wednesday, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority published the first survey of whether retail or small business customers would recommend their bank to family and friends. The information must be published by the bank in their branches, website and apps, and is pretty embarrassing for some and good for others. For example, Metro Bank comes…

Technology is improving the world, not destroying it

For all the negative views of technology, the positive is that it is enabling and inclusive. This is what Digital Human explores in depth. The main critique of my book is that it is too optimistic about the future of technology, and should be more balanced. Nevertheless, after yesterday’s post about the evils of the…

Why cryptocurrencies are more trusted than banks

I spotted a chart the other day showing the millions of dollars lost on cryptocurrency platforms … Source: The Wall Street Journal Since 2011, there have been 56 cyberattacks directed at cryptocurrency exchanges, initial coin offerings and other digital-currency platforms around the world, according to Autonomous Research, bringing the total of hacking-related losses to $1.63…

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Chris Skinner
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