Future of Finance

By Quartz | Exploring the "new normal" in global finance

Nigeria's Central Bank is disrupting remittances startups in favor of Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria — Quartz

Iron Law No. 1 of Nigeria: Don’t assume that, just because things are bad they cannot get worse.<p>Consider an international airline that flies to Nigeria. It collects payments from Nigerians in Nigeria in naira. As its bills are in US dollars, it needs to convert its naira to dollars and take them …

Fortune 500

Bitcoin is still an inaccessible, obscure experiment—but Bitcoin 2.0 could change our lives

Five years ago, bitcoin was an obscure and esoteric online currency, used by few and understood by fewer. Today, after half a decade of sturm, drang, and drama—not to mention multi-million dollar hacks and grandiose proclamations—it is … an obscure and esoteric online currency, used by few and …

Bitcoin

Funding to fintech startups took a big hit last quarter

Funds aren’t flowing so easily to fintech startups anymore.<p>Funding into the sector fell 49% globally in the second quarter of 2016 from the first quarter of the year, according to a new report from research firm CBInsights and KPMG. Global funding—from venture capital firms and corporates—fell 51% …

Startups

Nigeria's tech leaders like Konga, Jumia, Paga and Y-Combinator's Flutterwave are in a race to fix a multi-billion dollar payments problem — Quartz

Three years ago, whenever Larry Eghosa, a Lagos-based sound engineer, tried to pay for products online it was always a crapshoot. After submitting his order he’d typically have to wait for about five minutes to get confirmation of payment being accepted. But, more often than not, the same error …

Nigeria

China’s mobile payment giants are chasing their customers all the way to Europe

China’s consumers are a prized bunch: Where they go, payments providers follow. This summer, that means they’re all going to Europe.<p>Alipay, the payments platform owned by Alibaba spinoff Ant Financial, began offering its service in Europe this summer. To be clear, it’s aimed squarely at Chinese …

Europe

The World Economic Forum’s bullish blockchain report is, naturally, quiet on bitcoin

The World Economic Forum published a report yesterday (Aug. 11) that is a ringing endorsement of blockchains, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, and their potential to reshape modern finance. Predictably, however, the report failed to mention bitcoin, or ethereum, a similar …

Bitcoin

Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria were top ten emerging markets ready for financial inclusion — Quartz

Implementing nationwide regulatory laws significantly improve financial ecosystems and the spread of digital mobile services, says a new financial inclusivity report. Brookings Institution looked at 26 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America and assessed those countries’ commitments in …

Emerging Markets

The $65 million Bitfinex hack shows that it is impossible to tell a good bitcoin company from a bad one — Quartz

Bitcoin suffered yet another blow last week when Bitfinex, one of the cryptocurrency’s largest exchanges, suffered a hack that cost its users about $65 million. Every one of its investors saw their funds suddenly drop by 36%, as the company decided to “socialize” the losses.<p>The source of the …

Bitcoin

When everyone realizes index funds are the way to invest, the market will suffer

No one loves index funds more than I do. I once worked for a company where I participated (with enthusiasm) in veritable jamborees celebrating their virtues and decrying the lunacy of active management. But even I am starting to worry we may be reaching peak low-fee.<p>What the chart above shows is …

Index Funds

Student loan assistance: The newest workplace benefit for millennials (KRO) — Quartz

Recent graduates are stressed out about student debt. Companies are aggressively competing for top talent.<p>Those two forces are producing a new workplace benefit designed for millennials: student loan assistance.<p>SoFi, a five-year old finance company that originates and refinances student loans, …

Loans

What Europe’s banks earned, how they spun it, and what they said about Brexit

Europe’s biggest banks have been reporting their first-half earnings over the past two weeks. The results aren’t pretty.<p>Profits and share prices are down across the industry, with earnings eroded by low or negative interest rates across the continent. Many lenders are still struggling to …

Europe

Software that predicts when an employee is about to commit a cybercrime — Quartz

When it comes to cyber attacks, Russian spies aren’t the only ones to worry about. Businesses forced to confront the growing risk of cybercrime are waking up to the fact that it’s often someone on the inside who’s responsible. In other words, as a 2014 Oxford University study found, employees are …

Cybercrime

Nigeria’s Central Bank wants to keep remittances expensive — Quartz

At a time when most of the world is focused on driving down the cost of remittances, Nigeria’s Central Bank appears intent on keeping them high. On Aug. 2, the bank issued a new directive (pdf) which will oblige all but three of Nigeria’s money transfer operators (MTOs) to suspend operations, and …

Banking

Kim Dotcom says he has the answer to bitcoin’s ‘civil war’ and will soon give it to the world

One-time online “pirate king” Kim Dotcom is poised to launch a new version of his file-sharing service Megaupload. It’s not only going to revolutionize encryption and security when sharing your files in the cloud, he promises, but it’s going to solve a problem that has vexed the smartest minds in …

Civil War

Bitcoin exchanges can’t stop getting hacked, no matter what security system they use

The history of bitcoin is littered with spectacular digital heists. The $65 million heist at the Bitfinex exchange on Aug. 2 is just the latest in a series of virtual robberies. One thing that sets this latest episode apart is the fact that the exchange had come under regulatory scrutiny before, …

Security

Fintech isn’t disrupting Africa’s financial industry—it’s building it

African fintech is not disrupting the existing financial service providers. This is because, in many areas of the continent, there is nothing to disrupt, with large swathes of the low and lower middle income segments unserved or under-served when it comes to formal financial services.<p>Across most of …

Banking

One of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges lost $65 million in a hack

In another blow to bitcoin, one of the world’s biggest exchanges of the cryptocurrency suffered a massive security breach.<p>Bitfinex, a bitcoin exchange registered in Hong Kong, published a blog post yesterday (Aug. 2) announcing it had suffered a security breach that has forced the company to halt …

Bitcoin

The chip card transition in the US has been a disaster

Over the last year or so in the US, a lot of the plastic credit cards we carry around every day have been replaced by new one with chips embedded in them. The chips are supposed to make your credit and debit cards more secure—a good thing!—but there’s one little secret no one wants to admit:<p>The …

Home Depot

Pokémon Go proves gaming psychology can help lure customers and profits

Pokémon Go’s extraordinary ability to drive foot traffic to stores has captured the imagination of the business community. Instead of relying on traditional forms of marketing, many companies have tapped into gamers’ mindsets to boost revenue and increase customer bases.<p>But the idea of using games …

Marketing

First Brexit, now this: RBS and Natwest tell British companies they could be forced to pay on deposits — Quartz

In yet another sign the financial world is being turned on its head, one of the UK’s biggest banks has warned customers that it may saddle them with negative interest rates. That is, depositors would be charged for putting their money in the bank.<p>Royal Bank of Scotland, one of Britain’s largest …

Finance (UK)

Mobile money giant M-Pesa is getting its own debit card to compete with banks

Safaricom, parent of the M-Pesa mobile money platform, is eying a piece of the $13.5 billion in annual transactions in Kenya’s payment cards industry with a new debit card. In its pilot stage, the new card, which is largely expected to challenge commercial banks for card commissions, is linked to …

Mobile

Everything you need to know about the Ethereum “hard fork”

Ethereum burst onto the virtual currency scene almost a year ago. It’s similar to bitcoin, but with a key difference. In addition to supporting its own digital currency, ether, it also supports smart contracts, agreements written in computer code that execute automatically when conditions are …

VPNs

The big daddies of India Inc. are moving aside to let the kids play

Aditya Vikram Birla, Mukesh Ambani, and Anil Ambani are household names in India. These tycoons had their fathers—Ghanshyam Das Birla and Dhirubhai Ambani respectively—to thank for establishing the business empires that they lord over today.<p>In India, over 65% of all listed companies are …

Mukesh Ambani

The privacy of mobile money users is under threat as the Kenyan taxman chases new revenue

Kenya has led the world in enabling the No.1 major mobile money ecosystem with over 90% of adults in East Africa’s largest economy transacting money through platform. While many other phone operators and governments around the world have looked on with envy as it has grown to nearly $30 billion a …

Mobile

A Miami judge rules that bitcoin isn’t money

Sorry bitcoiners, the US court system doesn’t think your digital currency is real money.<p>At least, Miami-Dade circuit court judge Teresa Mary Pooler doesn’t. Yesterday (July 25), Pooler handed down a verdict in the first money-laundering case in the US to involve bitcoin, a virtual currency not …

Bitcoin

You may soon be able to invest in bitcoin without all the risks of owning bitcoin — Quartz

It may soon be easier for average investors to get in on the bitcoin craze without dealing with some of the risks.<p>Blockchain startup SolidX published an initial public offering filing on Tuesday (July 12) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a bitcoin fund listed on the New York Stock …

Bitcoin

The halvening is upon us: Bitcoin’s reward for miners just dropped 50%

The biggest event of the year in bitcoin just happened.<p>The network saw its mining reward—the amount of bitcoin miners receive for confirming transaction—get cut in half earlier today (July 9), around 12:48 EST. The event occurs after every 210,000 blocks are mined, or confirmed, by the system.<p>It’s …

Bitcoin

A startup is trying solve bitcoin’s child pornography problem

Bitcoin, a currency with the promise of anonymity and no government regulation, is a potential hotbed for nefarious activities.<p>On Wednesday (July 6), London-based bitcoin startup Elliptic announced that it was teaming up with International Watch Foundation (IWF), a non-profit in the UK that …

Startups

Bitcoin companies are surprisingly welcoming stricter regulation in Europe

The European commission said yesterday (July 5) that it was proposing strict new rules for companies that exchange or store digital currencies such as bitcoin. The European Union’s executive arm wants to make exchanges and storage services comply with the anti-money-laundering rules that govern …

Bitcoin