The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Sabadell agrees to $2.54 billion takeover of TSB

Sabadell agrees to $2.54 billion takeover of TSB | Finextra

Banco Sabadell is making its first play for a European business outside of its home territory as Lloyds agrees to sell 50% of TSB to the Spanish bank.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 22, 2015 at 23:51

Posted in Uncategorized

Lee Kwan Yew leaves a powerful legacy

Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.  The Strait of Malacca defined the trade route of that area from the 18th century until today.  Lee Kwan Yew took a strong appproach to managing Singapore and over three decades turned it into an economic powerhouse.

Singapore patriarch Lee Kuan Yew dies

Foreign investment has flooded into Singapore, much of it by multinationals such as Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar and Google, seeking to use the city as a regional headquarters for operations in the fast-growing economies of surrounding Southeast Asia and, more recently, the wider Asia region itself.

Singapore is the largest ship-bunkering port in the world, the largest foreign exchange trading centre in Asia and is second only to Hong Kong in terms of wealth management by assets.

The banning of the sale of chewing gum — except for medicinal purposes — was among the more benign examples of a rule that occasionally saw political opposition handled harshly, including the use of financially crippling lawsuits to silence critics.

Lee was often accused by rights groups of restricting civil liberties in Singapore’s multiracial society, over which he exerted a distinctive moral authority.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 22, 2015 at 22:18

Posted in Uncategorized

Bitcoin – what is the use case DEC_TECH

The lecture by Andreas Antonopoulos was highly entertaining with anticipated shots at banks.  In the audience of 400+ there were 6~ bankers so we were an easy target.

Apparently banks are busy developing strategies he surmises for use of the blockchain without the currency, or with normal currency.  He poo pooed that idea noting that the bitcoins and the blockchain were inseparable.

Having said all that and thoroughly enjoyed his talk I am still no wiser for the use case, let alone the business case for Bitcoin.  Some facts mentioned tonight are well known:

  • bitcoin is unsupervised with no centralized authority
  • Fintrac have indicated that standard KYC and AML checks are required on Bitcoin service providers
  • Volatility;  no real answer.  Reality of large surges in demand.
  • Standards:  there is no similar standard to PCI/DSS
  • Block chain is a ledger 
  • Bitcoin is 100% confidential although this is at odds with the stance taken by Fintrac and that remains to be sorted out

Interestingly of the 400~ people there tonight, the majority had wallets, and have made purchases.  

Antonopoulos joked about the naysayers who were obviously not in the room who see the internet as a bad place and Bitcoin as a method of complete confidentiality in purchases of dubious nature and where confidentialiity was essential.  This is one element of use case that may have relevance for some or more than we care to think about judging by the chuckles, but again there is a conflict with Fintrac and how they can manage their proposed rules.

Antonopoulos wrapped up projecting that countries can never use Bitcoin or blockchain, including his home country of Greece. His reasons for making that statement were primarily economic noting the outcome would be no different than with the Euro.  hmmm

Further he predicted an explosion in exchanges and wordwide prevalence.  He does not once however indicate the use case for Bitcoin.

So I am still left with the position taken earlier that Bitcoin is an investment first and foremost, with an unfortunate undercurrent of payment utility with dubious intent.  

There was one mention tonight early on from  Jeff (Kryptokit) who noted they are deconstructing the math part from banks. I don’t pretend to understand that passing comment, however there could be something there.  I have long speculated that Banks business model is being deconstructed piece by piece as other companies, specialists, take on those roles and do it better and more effectively.  Examples are Paypal, Lending Club, and Ripple. Perhaps there is a similar role for Bitcoin, but its not clear yet.

I shall however continue to test my assumptions and think more about this.  The sheer magnitude of tonights turnout certainly suggests strong interest amongst the tech community.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 20:43

Posted in Uncategorized

DEC_TECH panel discussion

Bitcoin and Beyond – panel discussion at DEC_TECH

William Mougayar inroduces the panel, and some concepts.

  • bitcoin is a protcol;  a standard – blockchain
  • exhanges
  • wallets
  • trading platforms

Discussing ‘be your own bank’.  Jeff (Kryptokit) is highlighting the idea of deconstructing the math part from banks.  Kryptokit do not hold your bitcoins … their wallet abstracts the holding of the coins from the security around them.  <need to study this more>

Amber (Chief AML Ninja) discussing consumer protection and ensuring their verification methods are valid.  There are no proposals that provide goverance over Bitcoin fiduciaries, i.e. exchanges holding your coins similar to that which apply to Banks.

Adam Nanjee points out that based on his travels, Toronto is a major centre in the world.

Bankers;  when asked there are only 6 out of 350 people from Banks in the audience.  Interesting. 

William asks when the tipping point for banks is going to come.  Adam thinks it is here.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 18:07

Posted in Uncategorized

Initial speakers at DEC_TECH

Anthony Di lorio introduces the DEC_TECH event.  

Gerald Cotten CEO of Quadriga, largest Bitcoin exchange in Canada.  They traded $25M last year.  They are going public in April 2015;  actual date not set.

He mentioned their exchange eliminates coin value fluctuation.

Next, Henry Chan from Deloitte – one of the sponsors tonight.

Mat Cybula of Cryptic.  

Amber Scott discussing the legal background in Canada.  I am hearing Fintrac a lot.  AML and KYC front and centre.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 17:49

Posted in Uncategorized

New Microsoft Browser coming with focus on cross platform

When I read the headline I assumed Microsft were getting out of the browser business, which might have made more sense.  However a new browser, Spartan is coming.

Microsoft sends Explorer into retirement

Internet Explorer — the software that launched the browser wars of the 1990s and became a symbol of the Seattle company’s former stranglehold on the tech world — is about to be ushered into retirement.

The group confirmed this week that it would not use the IE name for the new browser that it plans to ship with the next version of its Windows operating system, due later this year. The revised software, codenamed Project Spartan, is intended to catapult Microsoft beyond the Web 1.0 world for which IE was designed.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 17:33

Posted in Uncategorized

Bitcoin night at DEC_TECH | Toronto

DEC_TECH is hosting a meetup on Bitcoin tonight at MaRS in Toronto.

Guest speaker is Andreas Antonopoulos who is apparently well known in Bitcoin-land.  Looking forward to this.  More to come.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 17:26

Posted in Uncategorized


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