Mar 07

Wonders & Blunders: Bitcoin Index Funds and Blockchain Banking

 
OUR CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK’S NEWS
Coinbase entered the asset management business this week with its new Coinbase Index Fund. Who will win the race to market for big bank blockchain applications? The competition got a little more interesting last week with Credit Suisse and ING nosing ahead in their latest technology test. Good news for fintech startups: Milken Institute released a report detailing ways both government parties can work together to eliminate hurdles in fintech’s path. Our final featured news story this week describes how a micro-investing startup’s new product can help underserved markets. Enjoy your blunder-free edition of Wonders & Blunders this week, and as always, let us know what you liked reading!
 
Coinbase Index Fund Launches
 
Coinbase, cryptocurrency’s most valuable startup and most popular exchange, continues to position itself as a broader financial services firm by launching the Coinbase Index Fund, this week. This version of the fund has income qualifications, but Coinbase plans to offer a similar fund for all retail investors soon. Fortune states the future fund could be structured as an ETF. Coinbase is not the first to launch a cryptocurrency index fund, but it could be the first to offer one to retail investors, pending regulatory approval.
Banks Begin Blockchain Business
 
Credit Suisse and ING used blockchain-based software to complete a securities lending transaction worth 25 million euro. The banks stated this was one of the first real-life capital markets transaction examples using blockchain, a technology that makes the trading process faster. ING officials say the blockchain application, built by bank consortium R3, will be live by the end of the year.
Future Fintech Legislation
 
The Milken Institute provides several recommendations for lawmakers to encourage bipartisan support for resolving the legal roadblocks for many fintech companies. The recommendations include “harmonizing inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access” and “require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.”
Single Stocks Serve the Underserved
Wonder: How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved – by Suman Bhattacharyya in Tearsheet.
  
Micro-investment startup Stash now lets customers invest in single stocks. Previously, the company only offered ETFs. Tearsheet describes Stash’s typical user, 29 years old with an average income of $45,000 a year, as an “underserved demographic for whom investments are often out of reach.”
» IN THE NEWS
Wall Street Journal speaks with George Fraser, Managing Director at Retirement Benefits Group, about changing the retirement conversation.
Pitchbook speaks with Phil Duffy, VP for Innovation at Brain Corp, about developing A.I. for self-driving robots in different industries.
The Next Web quotes George White, CEO and Co-founder of
Pavia Systems, about understanding how A.I. can be applied to your industry.
» BOTTOM LINE: What GDPR Means for Marketing and PR
GDPR is the acronym on every marketer’s mind. As the May 25 enforcement date approaches, any company with a website, email list, social media channel or other online communication needs to know about this new data privacy regulation. Compliance with GDPR appears daunting, but remember this change is ultimately a good thing. It’s good for individuals to be in control of their data. It’s good for businesses to only communicate with interested parties. Ultimately GDPR will improve the accuracy of data, foster increased trust in businesses and hone your marketing campaigns.
» FEATURED CASE STUDY: COBINHOOD
COBINHOOD, a cryptocurrency platform built for the blockchain era, approached KCD PR as an unknown entity to the outside world. From our initial proposal to the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), KCD PR had three weeks to build awareness with the media and potential investors. In addition to being in Taipei, Taiwan, the firm also faced challenges associated with not having a U.S. presence or U.S. representation on its board of advisors.
 
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