News from around the world
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently published research in which they surveyed British consumer’s attitudes around cryptocurrency. They found that people didn’t seem to understand the components (i.e., that you don’t have to purchase a whole coin) and most were looking for ways to make a lot of money very quickly. Reuter’s reports:
The FCA and other regulators across the world have told consumers they could lose all their money in crypto assets after huge falls in the value of Bitcoin.
But the FCA said the overall scale of harm may not be as high as previously thought, a finding that should stall the introduction of draconian new rules for now.
The UK government wants to encourage innovation in finance, particularly the blockchain technology that underpins crypto assets.
That being said, they also found that most consumers in the UK are oblivious to cryptocurrencies and don’t buy or use them. But as crypto assets aren’t under the umbrella or regulation in Britain, consumers aren’t protected if things go south—thus, the FCA warns, they should avoid buying them for “get rich quick” motives.
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Do millennials buy travel insurance? According to research cited by London-based travel insurance startup Pluto (and reported by TechCrunch), 40 percent of millennials don’t bother. Officially launching on Tuesday, Pluto Insurance is trying to allow you to tailor your insurance to meet your needs. TechCrunch reports:
“We’ve spoken to hundreds of millennials, and three things keep coming up,” says Pluto co-founder and CEO Alex Rainey. “Travel insurance is too complicated, and it’s hard to know what you’re actually buying. Secondly, a lot of younger people don’t think they need it. But most importantly, there is a distinct lack of trust towards insurers, and it’s easy to see why. With exclusions buried in the fine print and insurers expecting people to print out a claim form and post it in.”
This new challenger to the travel insurance market is backed by Zurich (a global insurance group with 99% claims payout rate in 2017), a partnership which Pluto CEO believes will help to solve many trust issues with insurance.
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After facing the last few weeks under pressure for allegedly switching off anti-money laundering systems, challenger bank startup Revolut’s CFO has resigned. The Telegraph reported that this anti-money laundering system, which alerts of suspect transactions, was switched off from July to September of 2018. Revolut denies all allegations. Revolut has been facing some tough criticism lately, as a recent article from Wired reported on allegations of a terrible workplace culture. Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky noted that CFO Peter O’Higgins’ resignation has nothing to do with the recent rumors, which he denies. TechCrunch reports:
Storonsky also responded to the Telegraph story with a blog post that denies any wrongdoing. He claimed Revolut suspended the use of “a more advanced sanctions screening system” and instead reverted to a previous one.
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According to a recent article from Wired, major banks are starting to play around with the technology of quantum computers, as they predict that to be the future of the financial/fintech industry. They believe that these extremely fast computers could help them make better at calculating risk, which could avoid and similar events to the 2008 financial crash. Wired reports:
For financial firms, quantum computing is a hugely attractive concept. Back during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, poor risk assessment was a key troublemaker. Calculating risk – and understanding how different kinds of risk are related to each other – is an extremely complex job. But banks and hedge funds think that quantum computing might help them reduce the risk lurking in their investment portfolios.
Another big issue is the need to settle thousands of trades – matching up buyers and sellers with prices both sides agree on – at millisecond speed and high volume. The more efficient the settlement process, the better a bank can perform. “It’s a very difficult problem classically,” says IBM mathematician Stefan Woerner.
Physicists and computer scientists are testing this theory by writing quantum programs for IBM’s prototype quantum computer.
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