Sandhubs and Finboxes.

Sandhubs and Finboxes.

What’s the difference between a hub, sandbox, accelerator and innovation center? In our minds, the difference is getting fuzzier around the globe. But if a company, government or business association wants to promote entrepreneurial density around financial innovation and has the capital, commitment and staying power to do so, bravo — as long as the sponsors have a clear definition of success in mind and a plan to get there. As such, we wish the newest ‘sandhubs,’ including the Bahrain FinTech Bay and Ontario’s “regulatory super sandbox," great luck.

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Attuning AIG to the ways of Two Sigma.

Attuning AIG to the ways of Two Sigma.

One of the more interesting strategic partnerships in the insurance world is between AIG and quant hedge fund Two Sigma. The official agreement between these two organizations involves their Attune small business insurance joint venture, which also includes Hamilton Insurance. But in a recent Nikkei Asian Review interview with AIG’s newly installed CEO Brian Duperreault as well as in other comments he’s made recently

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A stellar Bitcoin idea in need of C-Notes.

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Internet access is either censored, unreliable, too expensive or simply doesn’t exist for more than half of the world’s population to use Bitcoin. Blockstream is pitching its new service, which will broadcast the Bitcoin blockchain globally through a network of geosynchronous satellites it rents from Eutelsat, Telstar and others, as a way to tap into that large market. But there’s one irksome catch in the company’s plan to build a big business out of this previously attempted idea: the $100 cost for the antenna and USB receiver equipment needed to receive signals from the 22,000+ mile high satellites. Will those too poor or suppressed to tap into the internet now be able to access this satellite-driven alternative?

Small is beautiful for Desmond and Molly Jones.

Small is beautiful for Desmond and Molly Jones.

Singapore, Japan, Israel. Many international hotbeds of financial innovation are small island or island-like settings where most of the folks who can move the needle can practically gather in the same room at the same time. The same holds true for the UK, where despite Brexit doom and gloom, innovation continues to keep calm and carry on. Indeed, when we look at all of the creative approaches to helping improve the lives of the Desmond and Molly Joneses of today’s Blighty.

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MiFID II’s winners and losers.

MiFID II’s winners and losers.

As Europe prepares for the ultra-important European regulation known as MFID II (going into effect in January), more US fund managers are trying to wrap their brains around its implications for how managers pay for research. Simply put, US managers know that in a globalized asset management business, the issue won’t be contained by EU borders (See here). And as more asset managers adopt a single global standard, it means that data and compliance solutions that support such a standard.

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Fintech solutions to address "crypto-cowboys" and cybertheft.

Fintech solutions to address "crypto-cowboys" and cybertheft.

It’s no secret that the cryptocurrency world has had its fair share of problems. This week alone, the former CEO of GAW Miners, a now defunct cryptocurrency mining company, plead guilty to wire fraud, while ethereum co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, called the ICO craze a “ticking time bomb.” And with CoinDash’s ICO party being crashed by a hack attack that cost the platform $7 million and various wallet services getting their pockets picked,

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Wanted: developers ready to kill fake news

Wanted: developers ready to kill fake news

In the ongoing quest to find “killer apps” for blockchain tech, add one more to the agenda: combating fake news. From industry giant IBM to Polish start-up and ethereum-powered Userfeeds, everyone is getting into the act as time-stamped blocks of data, an open publishing process, decentralized validation and establishing document provenance could all one-day help snuff out the growing scourge of blatant falsehoods flying around the world that range from false stock rumors that could hurt/help a trader to lies that are more consequential.

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The most passive-aggressive innovator on Earth.

The most passive-aggressive innovator on Earth.

Last week, Morningstar noted that more than half of the net flows into ETFs and mutual funds in 2016 went to one firm: Vanguard. That pushed the indexing giant’s assets over the $4 trillion mark and within about $1 trillion from world leader BlackRock. But what you may not realize about the passive investing giant is that it isn’t too shabby as an active manager. 

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Meet Watson, your new tax preparer

Meet Watson, your new tax preparer

IBM’s ongoing transformation into a lighter, more forward-thinking technology company continues to prominently feature fintech. A case in point: this week, the company announced a partnership with Dubai’s government to test trade finance applications using the hyperledger Fabric protocol and IBM’s cloud solutions. That announcement, which likely won’t generate any near-term revenues, follows last week’s announcement ...

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Watch the WASSUPPs

Watch the WASSUPPs

With the exception of Amazon, our guess is that the so-called FANGS (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) will never view financial services as primary. Sure, they’ll keep hoovering up data on people and use that information to build a widening array of products, some of which will involve financial services. But these companies have their hands full with lots of other big things beyond finance. Moreover, self-driving cars, digital assistants, virtual reality devices and open data center projects sound a lot more exciting than 401(k) plans. But watch out for the new crop of tech powerhouses we’ve nicknamed the WASSUPPs ...

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Five fantasy insurance products we’d like to see for real

Five fantasy insurance products we’d like to see for real

A post from Asia’s E27, which details fictitious insurance start-ups, makes a serious point: New technology-based insurance solutions for a rapidly changing world will seriously upend many insurance verticals. Will we ever see the day where an insurance offering from "Welll" offers quality of life coverage that pays for remedial treatments if happiness levels falls below a predetermined threshold?

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