Weekly Briefing #01

Today, thanks to the exponential rate of technological change, explosion in global trade and new regulations ushered in by the Great Financial Crisis, a new financial revolution is under way. In this battle, virtually every aspect of the greater financial services sector is subject to rigorous challenge.

BLOCKCHAINIFICATION
Want to impress your friends, demonstrate your blockchain creds and sound vaguely futuristic all at once? Just read this piece. It will take some time to get through, but the piece sets the stage for understanding blockchains before it explains how Ethereum fits in. For the uninitiated, Ethereum is a blockchain-based software protocol that allows for the creation of contracts between two parties. Read more here

CHALLENGES TO THE STREET
Well, at least the billion dollar bond business is safe…Wall Street has certainly done a good job playing the role of piñata at the birthday party and the Fintech start-up “kids” are having a merry time in swinging the bat. But when it comes to the issuance of corporate bonds, the same playbook applies. Read this

NEW FACE OF LENDING
Predatory financial advertising is allowed on Google? Really? Is anyone surprised to learn that google looks the other way when some unscrupulous companies seek to prey on the financially vulnerable? Those unscrupulous companies are well represented in the online payday lending sector. Our hope is that the above board online lending business (think Lending Club, Prosper, Sofi, Affirm and OnDeck), take additional strides to distance themselves from the seedier end of the online lending business. See here:
CAREER MANAGEMENT
McKinsey says we’ve reached “Peak Humanity” on trading floors. The Fintechization of the trading floor is set to continue according to McKinsey. Further, “banks will acquire startups and enter new business areas, such as creating venues to electronically trade private-company shares, consumer-finance products and crypto-currencies,” according to the report. Read this:

PRIVATE COMPANIES
The Unicorn’s underbelly. Stories about unicorns are increasingly sounding like tabloid fodder surrounding the Khardashian family; the money is huge, the names are tough to keep straight and we know that things will end badly at some point. In the meantime, it’s just so tempting to read them. This piece is an exception in our view as it speaks to the impact that high funding rounds have on employees if the subsequent round of financing comes at a lower valuation.

COMPANIES TO WATCH
Zerocoin Electric Coin Company: See here. The company’s basic point is that Bitcoin transactions are public because they are recorded on a public ledger. The folks behind this company are trying to create a zone of privacy to enable direct, anonymous payments between parties.


Originally published at www.thefinancialrevolutionist.com on November 6, 2015.

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