Fintech News Issue #178

Fintech News Issue #178

A number of technologies and new regulations are poised to disrupt the incumbent financial system. So much so that the emerging field of financial technologies has earned itself the “fintech'” portmanteau. The term “financial institution” no longer evokes visions of a centuries-old, technophobic business, but of an increasingly wide range of startups and partnerships that aim to turbocharge banking and investments on a rapidly evolving playing field.

If no other Facebook FB +4.46%-related privacy issue hasn’t made you leave the social platform in disgust, perhaps the notion of Facebook become bosom buddies with your financial institution will. Probably not. You’ve made it quite clear you have no intention of quitting Facebook. What’s a bit more data surrendered at this point? Facebook already knows everything else about you, it may as well be privy to the intimacies of your financial transaction data as well right?

The Treasury Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency both released major documents recently providing guidance on banking innovation, increased controls on the use and sharing of consumer data, and the potential for a new charter for financial technology firms (through the OCC). The response to these proposals varied from enthusiastic endorsement to confusion and rejection of some components of the recommendations.

Our world is full of untapped real-world assets. From real estate, gold reserves, fine art to agriculture, tangible items have been difficult to subdivide or physically transfer. So investors have traded these assets on paper, which is slow, complicated and expensive. These trades are also more difficult to track due to the regulatory nature of paper transactions, especially when it involves cross-border legislation.

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