Not just Bitcoin: How will multiple digital currencies compete, succeed, and fail?

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Bitcoin surpassing a valuation of $1,000 yesterday is a real landmark, giving the currency a market capitalization of almost $12 billion and 75-fold growth in value this year.

However Bitcoin is not the only digital currency, simply the most prominent. As Bitcoin’s value has soared, partly driven by a positive response from Senate committees last week, participants have looked further afield to see whether there may be other alternatives that have not risen by so much already.

The second most prominent currency is Litecoin, with a market capitalization of over $1 billion. After that Peercoin and Namecoin currently have capitalizations of close to $80 million, followed by a number of others from $20 million and down in a long tail, with the 23rd ranked currency, Goldcoin, still valued at over $1 million.

Litecoin is over 10 times its value from just 10 days ago, with Peercoin growing 4-fold and Namecoin 12-fold in value over the same period.

The following chart is a snapshot from Coinmarketcap, which provides real-time information on digital currencies. The table shows the largest currencies by market cap, with the chart on the right hand side showing growth over the last 90 days.

Digitalcurrencies_Nov13
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The case for the death of cash by the hand of digital currencies

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This morning I gave the opening keynote at the ATM and Branch Automation Seminar run by Payments Consulting Network.

In my keynote I spoke about the broader trends in technology, society, and business, and then looked at some of the uncertainties impacting ATMs and branches. Clearly one of the most important is the future of cash.

I noted that while I’m happy to predict the timing of the death of newspapers, I’m not prepared to make firm forecasts on the death of cash. The uncertainties are simply too big.

There are many payment mechanisms that are replacing cash, notably mobile wallets and contactless cards, and in many developed countries there is clear evidence that these are beginning to reduce demand for cash.

However this does not mean cash will die.
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Exploring the future of investment management

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Last week I was in Amsterdam for the International User Community Meeting of SimCorp, a leading provider of software for the investment management industry. I gave the keynote on the Future of Investment Management and ran a half-day Executive Master Class on Creating the Successful Organisation of the Future.

Prior to founding Advanced Human Technologies most of my working career had been in financial markets with Merrill Lynch and capital markets with Thomson Financial, with my final role as Global Director – Capital Markets.

My initial client base when I established my company was largely in financial services, and I began to focus on the investment management industry, for a number of reasons.

In the later 1990s my work and research was split between the fields of knowledge management and intellectual capital on the one hand, and futures methodologies such as scenario planning on the other.
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Can cyber-crime result in global financial systemic risk?

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On Saturday I was interviewed on SBS World News about the ATM heist that netted $45 million from 40,000 withdrawals over 26 countries. The video of the TV news segment (start at 09:05) is available online until 19 May.

It was an extremely sophisticated attack, involving not just hacking credit card payment processors and banks, but also eliminating the limits on prepaid debit cards before creating thousands of copies. Not surprisingly there are strong safeguards around tampering with the limits on cards, yet the gang managed to circumvent these.
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Crowdfunding creates a new layer of capital markets and new layers of value

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Yesterday ABC News featured a story on crowdfunding, providing a quick overview of the space for a broad audience.

An edited version of the segment on the 7pm News also appeared on The Business program. Click on the image to see a video of the news segment.

ABC_240413

Having spent quite a few years working in capital markets, I have long seen that shifts in the broader economy mean we need new layers of capital markets.
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Design to elucidate complexity: derivatives and the meta-economy

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I just came across the excellent visual presentation at the bottom of this post by information designer Gong Szeto on Design as Derivative: Weapons of Mass Disruption.


Source: Gong Szeto

Financial derivatives are collectively one of the most complex human-created domains, which systemically can have a massive impact in the real world.
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The ultimate in convenient banking: make payments by thinking

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In my presentation at yesterday’s media launch of ANZ’s Banking on Australia program, I spoke about new ways of making payments using biometrics.

An article in today’s Australian Financial Review reports:

“Biometric security” involves using fingerprints, voice records or eye scans to access secure systems instead of number-based passwords, which are much easier to steal or hack.

Speaking at an ANZ event in Melbourne on Thursday, futurist Ross Dawson said the “post-cash world” was coming to advanced economies.

“It’s inevitable we move to biometrics, things that measure who we are to uniquely identify us to enable easy payments,” he said.

“The US Department of Energy, for example, is using our thought waves to identify people. To think of something is obviously a great way to be able to pay for things.”

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The future of banking: biometrics take over cash, payments in fluid economy, personal digital agents

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This morning ANZ announced its Banking on Australia program, in which it will spend $1.5 billion over the next five years to reshape its business and invest in digital technology, with the immediate launch of a range of digital initiatives.

At the media event announcing the program at ANZ’s headquarters this morning I spoke about the future of banking, and ANZ Australia CEO Phil Chronican shared ANZ’s initiatives.

I will try to write more later about what I covered in my presentation. For now here are some excerpts from ANZ’s press release on some of the very interesting statistics from a survey performed by ANZ for the launch, together with some of my comments.
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Australian regulators endanger crowdfunding by pushing assessments of project viabiliy

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This post was first published on the Getting Results From Crowds book website.

Today the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) issued a wide-ranging guidance on crowd funding.

The guidance in essence recognizes crowdfunding and clarifies the current legislation that applies to the area. It notes that if crowdfunding activities “produce financial benefits” then they are regulated under the Corporations Act and will require a disclosure document.

In the case of crowdfunding being effectively “pre-purchase arrangement of a product or a service”, then it will be regulated by the Competition and Consumer Act, that applies to all retail sales.

These points were pretty obvious, so this part of the guidance simply clarifies the relevant legislation for those involved in the space.

Where the guidance gets interesting is on what they expect from crowdfunding platforms in helping to manage risks:
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How collaboration is transforming the relationship between sell-side and buy-side financial markets

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One of the most important dynamics in almost all industries today is how value creation is increasingly shifting to be between organizations rather than within organizations.

Most notably, the nature of client-supplier relationships have dramatically shifted over the years.

This is not new. I have spent considerable time working with the institutional financial services sector, and seen major changes over the years. I recently recalled a White Paper I wrote years ago, How Collaborative Technologies are Transforming Financial Services, in the wake of a Collaboration in Financial Services conference I co-organized and chaired in New York.

Here is an excerpt from the White Paper. The same issues are still playing out today.

At the highest level, there is no question that collaborative technologies will impact the structure of the financial services industry. The implications may take some time to be visible, however the shifts in power and value creation between industry participants are already evident.

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