A day in the life of the gentleman banker was once described by the 3-6-3 rule – accept deposits at three percent, loan money at six percent and tee off at the golf course at 3 p.m. The financial services industry can rightfully state that it has come a long way since then. It has implemented technological innovation and managed risk in a constantly changing economic environment over several decades. The gentleman banker has since evolved into a sophisticated financial risk manager who works within a complex framework of rules and regulations with tens of trillions of dollars of assets under management.
Fintechs have moved at a much faster pace than banks in some areas. They have disrupted the financial services industry with user-centric solutions enabled by technology. These solutions emulate products and services offered by financial institutions. However, these remarkable examples of innovation have largely ignored the elephant in the room – regulation. Read more
Bitcoin — the Internet currency, payment system and technology — is about the birth of a new “digital” monetary ecosystem. Bitcoin bypasses traditional banks and clearinghouses with blockchain technology. Like every innovation it creates new regulatory and compliance challenges. There is growing interest in knowing where the money has come from and at the same time the anonymity of bitcoin makes creating an data trail a tricky task, but it’s possible to say whether certain bitcoin addresses are involved in mining, or have been associated with gambling transactions.
More recently, nationally known merchants like Overstock.com, Zynga and the Sacramento Kings basketball team have begun to accept Bitcoin payments. Even political candidates are taking donations through the system. Worldwide transaction volume keeps growing, as does the number of Bitcoin users.
Bitcoin is built on some heavy and complex data-crunching. Like any ecosystem, it will have its share of winners and losers. The Bitcoin “Innovative Disrupters” are those that have the best odds at being winners. Read more
Do Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to create real value? Bitcoin has proponents and naysayers. What is it really about?
The 18th century philosopher Voltaire, a proponent of the separation of church and state, is known to have said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an empire. We could say the same about Bitcoin as a virtual cryptocurrency.
Cryptology has an important role to play in Bitcoin, but that is not its defining feature. Currency is historically built on the recognition of national boundaries and their associated political constructs. Moreover, the words “crypto” and “fiat” are not opposites.
In this summer’s blockbuster movie “Edge of Tomorrow,” a PR executive played by Tom Cruise goes through innumerable time loops to become a soldier by being reborn every time he is killed. In the context of software startups, successful products are built through repeated testing and improvement. Those that can do the most iterations without dying become the needle-movers.
The evolving Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem presents opportunities for startups that can create sustainable solutions. Further to our article, “Internet of Things Needle-Mover Opportunities,” we looked at companies that will form the basic foundation of technologies that address the following five IoT challenges:
- Privacy and security
- The power barrier
- Data analytics and management
- Interoperability and integration
The automated vote-counting machine was designed by Thomas Edison in 1869 to replace roll call voting in the U.S. Congress and was never used. The motor scooter was designed in post-war Italy to be a motorcycle for women and became a revolutionary transport mechanism for a larger population. The Java programing language was originally designed in the 1990s for use by set-top boxes. And eBay was created to sell Pez dispensers. History has many examples of how original use case definitions became irrelevant in the face of market economics. Like any other new technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) will create an ecosystem with its share of winners, losers, survivors — and needle movers.
Today, use cases abound on how the IoT’s connected devices can create economic value. Some analysts talk about white spaces of solutions that span industrial, commercial and consumer applications. Others talk about fundamental challenges in delivering on the promise of IoT. While white space use cases will have hits and misses, IOT-enabling technologies represent a much larger opportunity for innovative value creation.