Blockchain can Save the Asset Management Industry Billions Every Year

Digital solutions will go a long way in the financial industry. Right now, a lot of processes still require manual labor. It is cost-inefficient, cumbersome, and introduces unnecessary delays. The asset management sector can certainly benefit from the performance increase provided by blockchain technology.

Blockchain in the Financial Sector

It is evident distributed ledgers will play a big role in the future of finance. Not just in terms of banking or remittance either. Instead, new research indicates blockchain can revamp the asset management business as a whole. More specifically, the technology can automate buying and selling of funds, which will lead to major cost reductions. Giving investors more bang for their buck is always an option worth looking into.

Looking at the current daily trading volume across the busiest markets, total savings may add up to $2.7bn. That is a rather significant amount which should not be overlooked whatsoever. Using a distributed and decentralized market infrastructure will have many different benefits. Saving on costs is, perhaps, the biggest selling point in this regard.

However, the blockchain will also introduce additional transparency. It will also lead to new industry-wide standards to automate most of the financial entries recorded by different companies. As of right now, most of that information is still inputted on a manual basis. Staffers need to be paid to complete the tasks, which is both costly and time-consuming at the same time.

Transforming Asset Management Solutions

One thing most people don’t realize is how these added costs are paid by the end investor. That is a situation which needs to change sooner rather than later. A lot of money is “wasted” on manual labor which could easily be automated in this day and age. Whether or not blockchain is the best solution in this regard, remains difficult to predict.

Some trials have been conducted in this particular field already. Calastone’s trial in 2017 shows the technology can effectively process transactions a lot quicker. Moreover, it does so at a much lower cost compared to current traditional solutions. A test is not the same as using this technology in the real world, though. Processing millions of transactions every single day is a tall order, even for a distributed ledger.

Another problem in the asset management industry right now is the duplicate information. More specifically, the process of buying and selling funds is subject to duplication. This has been a problem for some time now, yet it seems things grow progressively worse. Something needs to change in the world of asset management in this regard. There is room for improvements and cutting costs at the same time.

It appears there will be more blockchain-based tests related to asset management this year. A lot of financial institutions show an interest in this technology. Calastone may effectively move their asset management services to a blockchain-based solution by 2019. Other players have some work to be done in this regard as well. Distributed ledgers continue to make inroads in the financial sector as of right now.

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Various financial providers prevent users from buying or selling cryptocurrencies. We have seen banks halt transfers or close accounts because of this. It now appears Western Union attempts to do the same. By actively preventing users from sending wire transfers to exchanges, an interesting precedent is created. Whether or not this course of action is warranted, remains to be seen.

Unlike what most people think, Western Union offers a lot of services. Their remittance model is the one most people are familiar with. However, they also allow for wire transfers in certain regions, which is pretty interesting. In some cases, people used that service to send money to cryptocurrency exchanges. That may no longer be possible, as the company is cracking down on such activity. It is rather unfortunate, but no one should be really surprised by this development.

Western Union Denies Bitcoin Purchases

According to one Reddit user, Western Union is blocking wire transfers to exchanges. Since the company is fully compliant, such a decision was only a matter of time. Their internal regulations do not allow WU to be used for cryptocurrency services or transactions. As a result,m they can refuse to process specific transactions and return the money to users’ bank accounts.

One could argue using Western Union for wire transfers is a big step backward. That assumption would be absolutely true in every regard. However, it is a viable alternative for those without access to a bank account capable of sending money to exchanges. Using third-party services is always problematic, though, especially when it comes to Bitcoin. Western Union is setting an interesting precedent in this regard, that much is certain. It is unclear if this affects all of their branches in every country.

The bigger question is whether or not issues like these will ever be resolved. More specifically, it will hurt exchanges as much as it does cryptocurrency users. Exchanges will need to come up with more funding methods at some point to avoid issues like these. Western Union is also shooting themselves in the foot by taking this route. After all, they will lose out on a lot of business over the years. A very troublesome development, but one that won’t hinder Bitcoin growth all that much.

There is an increased focus on blockchain-based financial platforms. One of the companies worth keeping an eye on goes by the name of Zilliqa. The project recently appointed two Fintech veterans as advisors. Moreover, the company performed experiments to process 2,488 transactions per second on the testnet. This high-transaction rate blockchain platform is continuing to make waves in the blockchain and financial sectors.

Good things are happening for Zilliqa as we speak. Earlier this month, their testnet trial was successful beyond expectations. More specifically, the blockchain-based platform processed over 2,488 transactions per second. That is virtually unprecedented in the world of blockchain technology these days. The use of “sharding” allows for a much higher throughput compared to what we are used to in this industry. At its peak, it may even rival VISA and Mastercard. An ambitious goal, but it is not unlikely either.

A Bright Future Lies Ahead for Zilliqa

To support their core team and perhaps indicate that the company is making inroads into the banking technology, Zilliqa recently appointed two new advisors. Former Bank of America Managing Director Alexander Lipton is a major addition to the team. Additionally, Stuart Prior has decades of experience in Corporate and Investment banking. Both of these gentlemen will help elevate Zilliqa to a whole new level in the future. After all, the company is still in the early stages of development. With sufficient scaling, a throughput of 15,000 transactions per second isn’t out of the question by any means.

Zilliqa CEO Xinshu Dong comments as follows:

“We are truly honored that both Alexander and Stuart have agreed to come on board and help us build Zilliqa into world class blockchain platform. The fact these true visionaries in banking and fintech have seen the potential in our technology is a testament to Zilliqa. I’m sure Zilliqa will greatly benefit from their experience and expertise to build the blockchain platform for high-throughput dApps.”

What once started as a research paper in 2015, co-authored by Loi Luu of KyberNetwork, Prateek Saxena from National University of Singapore and others, has become a massive breakthrough in the world of blockchain. Scalability concerns have been present for quite some time now. These issues are still present in most blockchain-based cryptocurrencies and digital assets alike. Especially Bitcoin and Ethereum are limited in transaction throughput right now.

Solving these problems through sharding is one way to address the situation. Zilliqa is clearly ahead of any competitors in this regard right now. The source code of this project and a public testnet will be made public in December of 2017. An interesting future lies ahead for this project, especially when additional developers participate in testing and start building applications on their super-fast blockchain platform.

The CEO of French financial services provider Societe Generale has said that its the anonymity of virtual currencies that will be their downfall. Speaking at the Web Summit conference in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon on Tuesday, Frederic Oudea said that the ease with which the likes of Bitcoin can be used to launder money, or avoid taxes would force governments to regulate them:

I can’t see a future of this when I see the attention played by all governments and regulators on anti-money laundering, on anti-tax evasion, on anti-terrorism financing. The anonymity of the transaction is a problem I think which would put pressure on bitcoin.

Like most of his high-finance peers, Oudea is in favour of improving functionality in existing institutions using the blockchain. However, even that’s a bit too edgy for him as he “prefer[s] to use the word distributed ledger technology”.

I’m more a believer of a distributed ledger technology where you have a defined set of players (that are) well-identified… We choose this mix of crypto technology to secure transactions.

Essentially, he wants to share a database across a few computers that are controlled by the bank. Hardly revolutionary. He also hinted that he’d considered a digital currency backed by fiat, concluding that decentralised cryptos posed too much risk for mainstream adoption.

“I think we need to be a bit more precise on what we call virtual currency at the end of the day. If it’s just a way in a transaction, at some point to add something which virtually can translate on both sides into real currencies, maybe it can be used as a system. The blockchain system and the bitcoin system is very different.”

The Societe Generale exec is just the latest in a slew of Bitcoin sceptics coming from the banking industry. Last week, Tidjane Thiam called it “the very definition of a bubble”. The Credit Suisse chief executive also cited money laundering “challenges” as a primary reason for its eventual downfall. The week before, Sergio Ermotti of UBS also expressed doubts about the future of cryptocurrencies but was believer in blockchain technology.

Image: BusinessInsider

Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Tuesday, James Disney of Credit Suisse made bold claims about the revolutionary power of blockchain. He also confirmed that Credit Suisse have been running experiments with the technology in various parts of the business.

Due to the present nature of private equity transactions, it can take weeks for deals to close and accounts to settle. According to Disney, blockchain tech can reduce this to just minutes.

If you add up all of our volume over the quarter, that’s hundreds of billions of dollars we’re able to free up and take out of the system to use for other purposes.

When asked about where the technology is heading, he cited Bitcoin as the first “killer” blockchain app, relating it to email, claiming that to be internet’s equivalent application. He went on to conclude that there will be much greater innovation coming in the future, stating that the “sky’s the limit” and that “we’re in the very, very earlier stages here.”

In response to a question about the impact that blockchain will have on “middle and back office workers” on Wall Street, Disney said, like with all automation, it would reduce the need for employees of that nature. This would allow for their reemployment in other areas. Such a streamlining of services is beneficial in many areas, according to the Credit Suisse global head of software investment banking. He cited increased capital efficiency, speed, and the removal of cost as positive effects, claiming blockchain represents a great opportunity rather than a risk.

Innovation is core to what we do. We need to be innovative otherwise we’d be out of business and it’s really cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain technology… that are a core pillar of our innovation portfolio.

Disney echoes many in the financial industry’s optimism for blockchain technology’s utility. Even those most hostile to its current “killer app”, Bitcoin, admit that blockchain has revolutionary potential in streamlining existing services.


The rate at which technology has developed in the past half a century is astonishing. Innovation and advancement have changed the way that the world operates in more ways than one. Just about every sector you can imagine has been transformed by technological advancements in recent years, from the healthcare facilities to retail stores. While businesses are certainly feeling the effects of technological advancements, individuals around the world will have also noticed that the way their everyday activities are influenced by rapid advancement in technology.

Improved Communication

There’s no doubt that technology is bringing us closer together. New methods of communication have been developed since the invention of the internet, including social networks, emails, voicemails and video conferences. These methods of communication have made it quicker and easier for people to communicate around the world in real-time. This has reduced problems with operating businesses around the world as well as has improved cultural education around the world. However, not everyone is in favour of our ultra-connected society. Some have argued that social media is actually making young people less likely to engage in social activities and has been linked to the mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which are becoming increasingly common among young people around the world. Health experts are also concerned that frequent use of smartphones and tablets is causing people to lead inactive lifestyles, which in turn can lead to a number of long term health problems.

Changing Workforces

Artificial Intelligence technology, also referred to as AI, is rapidly developing. One of the latest developments within AI technology is self-driving cars, which are vehicles that would be able to drive themselves without any influence from humans. This is made possible through algorithms which teach the cars to navigate the road and respond to situations and it will be tested on computer games soon. Other uses for AI technology include within the workplace. It’s been established that AI technology can learn how to perform tasks which are repetitive and take place in a structured environment, such as on a factory production line. For this reason, AI technology could change the workplace as we currently know it. Factories which operate using AI technology are being developed around the world, within them the machinery is able to operate a production line, communicate with other computers in the environment and transport products around the factory. All of the world’s major economic powers, including China, the USA and Russia are investing in AI technology as it is said to be the future. For some, this advancement in technology will have an unwelcome impact on their everyday life. Many fear that their jobs are at risk, however there are many obstacles in the way of mass adoption of AI technology, such as high costs and limitations of technology when it comes to responding to unique situations.

Going Cashless

Over the past few years, most people will have noticed the difference in the way they pay for items. In the past, people relied upon cash for everything but more recently cash has become almost obsolete. The introduction of contactless payments across retail, hospitality and service industries has made it quicker and easier for people to make payments while they are out and about. Most large cities operate entirely cashless public transport systems. One of the latest developments in financial technology is the creation of cryptocurrencies. These digital currencies are created and used online, without any control from authorities or governments. Bitcoin, which is arguably the most widely used and most valuable cryptocurrency currently available, is said to be at the forefront of major changes in the way make payments. The cryptocurrency has even been linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is said to be centred around the development of technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, AI and Virtual Reality. As recent Bitcoin trends suggest, in the future it’s highly likely that we will see cash becoming less and less common, although it’s not yet certain whether or not cryptocurrencies will continue to grow in popularity.

Without technology, life would be considerably more difficult in comparison to now. Our everyday lives have improved significantly from becoming more connected with each other, in terms of personal relationships, business operations and education. It’s likely that technological advancements will continue to change our lives, particularly if AI technology takes off around the world. The technology has the potential to completely revolutionise the workplace and how we travel. These are just some of the ways that technology is changing our day-to-day lives, in the future it’s not known which new developments will emerge but following all the latest technology news online is one way to keep one step ahead.

Image Source: MaxPixel (CC0) | Petr Kratochvil (CC0)

One recurring trend we saw over the past few year sis how banks continue to warn about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. For some reason, banks are legitimately afraid of digital currencies. That is not entirely surprising, as digital currencies bring competition to the traditional financial ecosystem. The Bank of Samoa feels now a good time to warn about Bitcoin and other currencies.

Banks warning about digital currencies is always quite interesting. It is evident these institutions want to prevent consumers lose their money. Then again, these are the same institutions asking customers to pay the bank if they want to access their own money. Double standards are being maintained by financial institutions for quite some time now. The central bank of Samoa is no different in this regard by any means.

Digital Currencies Are Getting A Lot of Attention

In their warning, the institution mentions of how there are “get rich quick” scheme sin digital currency. That is certainly true, as a lot of Ponzi Schemes pop up every week. Most of these programs involved HYIP investing or cloud mining. A lot of people often lose money by investing in these programs. However, they are not native to cryptocurrency either. The number of PayPal-related scams, for example, has been growing steadily as well.

Considering how digital currencies are not issued by a bank, they are often met with criticism. How dare anyone create an ecosystem where money can be distributed fairly and accessed by everyone in the world? Moreover, how can anyone do so without regulation, oversight, or intermediaries? The idea alone is ludicrous, according to most bank CEOs. Then again, Bitcoin has been here for nine years, and it is not going away anytime soon.

It is not surprising to see banks warn about digital currencies at this time. The value of all cryptocurrencies and asset is on the rise. More money is exiting traditional finance in favor of digital currencies. It is a legitimate threat to the existence of banks altogether. Bitcoin and consorts will not replace banks anytime soon, though. Nor should they, as there is no reason for it. Digital currencies will prove much-needed competition to the financial sector, though.

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Mobile Bitcoin applications are a great way to keep tabs on the current price. Although there are multiple free applications available, some are paid. One of those paid apps is quite popular among iOS users. It is quite nifty to see a paid Bitcoin price ticker app dominate the paid finance apps in the Apple App Store. Things are slowly starting to change in favor of Bitcoin.

It has to be said, a lot of people want to keep an eye on the current Bitcoin price. Given the recent value appreciation, that is not entirely unexpected. A lot of enthusiasts use IOS devices for their everyday tasks. As a result, there are quite a few apps in the Apple Store related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. One such app is called Crypto Pro: Bitcoin Ticker, Widget & Complication. On paper, it doesn’t sound like an app most people would pay US$4.99 for.

Paid Bitcoin App Dominates Apple Finance App Charts

However, it appears a lot of people have taken a liking to this app. It can track multiple cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, XRP, Monero, and Ethereum. All of the information is presented in the form of detailed interactive graphs. It is a beautiful application which allows for full customization. Considering how it tracks the top 100 cryptocurrencies, there are plenty of reasons to like this iOS app. Plus, it is compatible with the Apple Watch as well.

For some unknown reason, this app made it to the top finance apps in the Apple Store. That is quite surprising, even though it offers quite a few interesting tools. Then again, its price point is a bit steep for a lot of people only exploring cryptocurrencies right now. One would expect more traditional apps to dominate the charts. Especially those apps costing around US$2 and less. Interestingly enough, Crypto Pro is topping the charts right now. Quite a spectacular turn of events, to say the least.

This is all especially interesting given the history Apple has with Bitcoin apps. A lot of apps weren’t even allowed in the Apple Store until about two and a half years ago. Ever since, the company had to deal with multiple fake Bitcoin wallets being submitted. Some of these wallets even got through, which made things more complicated. However, it appears the tides are slowly turning in favor of Bitcoin as of late. Seeing a paid price ticker top the paid finance apps on iOS is a significant development.

There are different opinions out there regarding the Bitcoin price. Some experts feel US$2,000 was a major milestone and anything is possible from here on out. Others think this is all just a big bubble waiting to pop. Jonathan Harris, on the other hand, feels Bitcoin should be worth nothing. The same goes for all other cryptocurrencies in his opinion. In fact, he states how “cryptocurrencies do not belong in any investment portfolio”. Is this person shortsighted or just unwilling to accept what the future holds?

Jonathan Harris Has A Very Strong yet Strange Opinion

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are well aware of how financial experts have no love lost for Bitcoin. Many experts feel cryptocurrencies have no inherent value. Some people are more vocal about this sentiment than others, though. Jonathan Harris, a person with 20 years of experience, is one of those people. He also claims he “understands the underlying math and economic issues involved” when it comes to cryptocurrency. As a result of this expertise, Bitcoin should be worth “zero”.

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, this one clearly stands out. It is evident Jonathan Harris has no vested interest in seeing Bitcoin succeed. However, he also has nothing to lose if cryptocurrency were to collapse altogether. In his opinion, cryptocurrency is still a pyramid scheme. Harris feels “the current crop of holders found enough converts to soak up the supply”. That is basically the same as saying Bitcoin is a pyramid scheme, which it clearly is not.

To make his statement more clear, he added the following:

“Buying Bitcoin gets you nothing but an entry into a ledger that proves someone wasted enough electricity to run trillions of numbers through a formula until they found one that passed. All you can do with this is sell it to someone else. It is like a transferable entry in the International Star Registry or the Who’s Who of Whatever.  At least with gold, you have a beautiful and useful piece of metal.”

Misinformation or Delusion?

Moreover, Jonathan Harris firmly believes consumers have no interest in accepting Bitcoin. That seems a rather misguided statement, to say the least. It is evident some “financial experts” will always be stuck in their old ways of thinking. Anything potentially threatening their own values will be dismissed easily. Harris also things capital controls can be applied to keep Bitcoin’s role insignificant.

This shows he is unaware of how capital controls affect exchanged, and not the protocol. Anyone can obtain Bitcoin without centralized platforms and regardless of regulatory measures. His entire LinkedIn post is filled with a lot of misinformation, by the look of things. It makes for an interesting read, but Jonathan Harris has some research to do, by the look of things. The comments on his post are not all that favorable either.