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Daily Briefing

Monday 1st July @ 9:23am

Michael Lafferty writes: Jaja Finance announced last Friday that it will acquire the credit cards business of Bank of Ireland UK. This is a great move for Jaja, whose CEO Neil Radley is a world-class credit cards professional. Jostein Svendsen, the prime mover behind Jaja is no novice either, having made a fortune from successful credit cards businesses in both Norway — and Germany, of all places. I expect Jaja to become one of the world's great credit cards success stories over the next...MORE

Friday 28th June @ 9:44am

Following the news of Facebook's entry into the world of digital assets and digital tokens, we observed that the Libra Association — which will run the Libra token network — looks like a US chamber of commerce with a few Europeans thrown in. It's worth waiting for Michael Kimani's take on Libra, and he doesn't disappoint in 5 Reasons why Facebook's Libra is bad for Africa. "That is because, for many emerging 'mobile first' consumers from East Africa the...MORE

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Thursday 27th June @ 9:51am

The ECB's Yves Mersch has been calling for instant payments in Europe for the last few years, but he's also been warning that bitcoin is a ponzi scheme, so he's not really credible. Still, someone's gotta do it But Libra has lit a rocket under central bankers, who don't have the common interests commonly supposed. Because Europe's instant payments system, reputedly on track for 2020, is being put together in typical form, bodging together several...MORE

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Wednesday 26th June @ 10:12am

It's hardly a surprise that US congresswoman Maxine Waters is calling for a ban on Libra, stating that nothing must be allowed to challenge the dollar. Indeed. But those days of dollar domination are numbered. Richard Nixon's Treasury Secretary John Connally unilaterally took the dollar gold standard in 1971. Later that year, Connally famously told a group of European reporters — in reference to the export of American inflation via the dollar — that "it's our...MORE

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Tuesday 25th June @ 10:53am

Facebook's Libra project is growing from an office in Geneva. And how? We've marked Switzerland's card as a world leader in digital assets including bitcoin. The Crypto Valley of Zug is just up the road. The Swiss have the knowhow to attract financial assets and have taken a proactive regulatory approach, including giving a professional fund management licence to Crypto Finance, which also operates out of Geneva — and from the same space where Libra is now setting up. (It's...MORE

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Monday 24th June @ 10:00am

Uberisation has come to mean upending, or total disruption of a business. One of the weekend papers here in Ireland carried a supplement about the uberisation of the cocaine business: a quick scan on the internet produced a whatsapp number, and a whatsapp message led to a dealer showing up with a wrap ten minutes later. Let's not blame Uber entirely: it was only the first in the game. In Thailand, the arrival of ride-hailing apps has upended the traditional taxi motorbike...MORE

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Friday 21st June @ 9:21am

"The advent of the internet and mobile broadband has empowered billions of people globally to have access to the world's knowledge and information, high-fidelity communications, and a wide range of lower-cost, more convenient services. These services are now accessible using a $40 smartphone from almost anywhere in the world." Who said that? The Libra White Paper, that's who. And Facebook is serious about being part of the internet of money. What's...MORE

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Thursday 20th June @ 10:16am

Lloyds Bank's head of remuneration Stuart Sinclair has been writing his name in lights with a soon-to-be-immortal quote about chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio. The boss, according to Sinclair, is a "winner", and when staff earning £22 thousand a year see him, they think to themselves 'good luck'. The background to the story is the collosal gap between pension contribution levels for workers and bosses. British MP Frank Field has accused the...MORE

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Wednesday 19th June @ 11:13am

It's necessary to step back to get a bigger picture of what's happening with Facebook and its Libra digital currency. Do remember that Facebook's philosophy is to 'move fast and break things'. When Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin ten years ago, he/she/it remained unknown and disappeared from sight. Normally the US secret service come knocking when you introduce a new currency. Izabella Kaminska has a terrific overview of the Libra launch and its uncanny...MORE

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Tuesday 18th June @ 10:26am

Between Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram — increasingly headed towards ecommerce, mcommerce and scommerce — Facebook has one of the biggest networks on the planet. Its 2.5 billion user network dwarfs everyone from Western Union to JPMorgan Chase, and its mooted new coin is looking like a threat to the banks. Retail banks make a healthy chunk of their profits from cross-border payments and the FX business, both of which are under threat from digital currencies. Today Facebook...MORE

Monday 17th June @ 10:02am

Grab has its eyes on a digital banking licence, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore saying it is open to providing a digital banking licence to a company with non-bank parentage. "The interest from Grab underscores how Asia's non-banking firms are keen to challenge traditional banks by leveraging their technology and their user databases to offer banking services to retail customers and small businesses," says Reuters. "Securing a digital banking license in Singapore...MORE

Thursday 13th June @ 9:01am

Pete Soraporu writes: I was always taught that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true. For many years, CEOs of Wells Fargo from Dick Kovacevich to John Stumpf to Tim Sloan boasted to banking analysts, the financial media and their shareholders that WFC's retail bank was well on its way to achieving what to many in the US banking industry seemed to be a stretch: to meet its intention of reaching an average level of eight products or services in...MORE

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