Business Finance

Why the Finance Industry is Ripe for AI Disruption

(Image Shutterstock)

The financial sector is on the brink of an AI revolution. Data is being generated faster than any person or companies’ ability to analyze it. And industries that run on numbers and data are at risk of being overwhelmed. But this new AI platform can create simple narratives and actionable analyses.   More

Business Finance

Faced With Impending Disruption, the Financial Ecosystem Must Change


The world is buzzing about fintech and the impending disruption in the banking industry. Smarter technology companies are attempting to give customers quality service and an experience that’s relevant to the world in which they live, and big banks are being left behind. The speed of innovation might surprise all of us.   More

Finance Government Society

Accelerating Financial Inclusion with National Digital Currencies

(Image courtesy Shutterstock/ Kiattisak Thongtaweu)

Central banks from England to China have floated the notion of issuing their own national digital currencies. The banks may issue digital currency units alongside notes and coins and adjust the mix over time. If they do, it could accelerate and help scale a wave of service innovations that advance financial inclusion, stimulate economic growth, and spur social progress.   More


The Key to Blockchain Adoption: Make It Cheaper

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Blockchain—the technology behind (or interwoven with) BitCoin—is the main story. The "cryptocurrency" is almost a distraction, a sideshow to the real deal. Blockchain is a public ledger, a record against which anyone can see whether a transaction contained therein is valid. The applications may be mind-boggling.   More

Finance Global Tech Opinion

Big Tech: Better Together or Better Apart? Wall Street Doesn’t Care.

HP and Compaq, HPE and HPQ, Tweedledee and Tweedledum– better together? It may not matter. Now they're apart.

Wall Street fashions come and go. Does a company do better as an ever-accumulating conglomerate or a thinning-down disaggregator of business units? Eager investment bankers, hungry for fees, apply different rationales in different times. Hewlett-Packard and Compaq were better together. Now HPE and HPQ, are better apart. Or so they say. And the transaction occurred, generating vast fees for lawyers, bankers, and consultants. The benefit to shareholders, employees, and customers? Unclear.   More

Analytics & Data Finance

The Re-Humanizing Impact of Robo-Advice

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It’s not technology that’s dehumanizes us, but rather tedious tasks like personal finances themselves. And that's not just because working on them takes time out of our day. We’re simply not evolved to plan perfectly for the future. Automated advice is re-humanizing people. It’s giving them more time to spend what they want to be doing, and it’s based not just on their personal goals, but also on what fits into their lives.   More

Finance Partner Insights Startup Culture

Financial Startups: Solid Investments that Improve Life in Emerging Markets

A kiosk for Zoona, an Zambian mobile money system that helps entrepreneurs and ordinary people transfer money.

Financial technology startups promise to dramatically lower costs and make financial services more accessible to people who are not reached by traditional financial services today, especially (but not only) in emerging markets. And serving these populations can be profitable. Omidyar Network, where I work, has invested in numerous other fintech companies. But for us, this is more than the latest trend for investors seeking big multiples.   More

Business Finance

VMware Tracking Stock Will Require Dell to Report Results

Michael Dell is a happy guy, even though he may have to report a few more numbers.

Amidst all the brouhaha over Dell’s $67 billion bid for EMC, one unremarked fact is that Dell will have to again begin reporting financial results to the SEC. Michael Dell happily rid himself of that onerous task almost two years ago. But this is a different and more energized Dell than the business that went private in 2013. Dell has managed to retain his operating scope and freedom of action, even as he leverages up the company with his name on the door.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Finance Startup Culture

How Crowdsourcing Can Help Fund Science

A project on science crowd funding site Experiment.

This morning, I helped analyze fish scales to better track migration patterns, by giving the scientists some cash. Crowdfunding has made a difference in all sorts of initiatives, so it’s no surprise to see it pop up in science. Experiment was built by scientists who believe alternative funding could fill a key gap in research.   More

Business Finance Security & Privacy

Attacked by Cyber Criminals? There’s Insurance For That

Insurance is emerging to protect against cyber crime, but the industry remains immature (as do company attitudes about protecting themselves).

Few threats are more on the minds of business leaders than cyber attacks and data breaches. Companies that have been attacked range from Barnes & Noble to Home Depot to J.P. Morgan to Staples, Sony and Target. Now a variety of big insurers have created policies and services to cover this new set of threats.   More

Business E-Commerce Finance

Is Banking’s Uber On The Horizon?

Banks that can't bring services to consumers in real time will have a hard time in coming years. (image via Shutterstock)

Banking faces enormous challenges. Government regulatory initiatives have forced banks to spend billions of dollars to stay in business, while limiting the profits that they can make. Meanwhile, the Internet has spawned numerous companies now taking away businesses like lending, brokerage, investment, payments and credit cards. The revenue base of banks is shrinking and their cost base is increasing. Enter the Millenials, used to conducting their lives through cell phones. They want to buy goods and services on their mobile device, and expect immediate gratification. The banks are just not prepared for all this.   More


Shanghai Street View: Wealth Explosion

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In the last two months alone, at least three wealth management shops have opened up in my neighborhood, often in spaces that were vacant for years or inhabited by struggling businesses. And my neighborhood in Hongkou District is quite ordinary, which means Shanghai’s trendier areas have undoubtedly been hit by the same scourge of wealth management shops. More broadly, this sudden explosion looks a lot like the kind of boom-bust pattern you often see in China, be it in our stock markets or the latest business trends. On the retail scene, I’ve written about similar booms in convenience stores and coffee shops, which both occurred quite rapidly and created huge supply gluts.   More

E-Commerce Finance Techonomy Events

Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain

(Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

The blockchain is a key part of the system that underlies recordkeeping and transactions for Bitcoin, the virtual currency. But there are much bigger opportunities ahead for this decentralized recordkeeping system. In a session called “Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain” at the inaugural Techonomy Policy conference earlier this month, panelists emphasized repeatedly that the database holds tremendous promise for an array of uses in banking, conflict tracking, and voting, among other things. It was a wide-ranging discussion, reflecting the vast possibilities proponents see for this contemporary technology. "Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had one universal ledger that we could use for everything and that was accessible to everybody?" said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center. "Well, that is what the blockchain is. It’s a decentralized and open ledger."   More


Can Financial Services Use Social Media Right?

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Did you know a tenth of HSBC’s workforce is in compliance? Or that the average corporate fine from the U.K.'s financial industry regulator increased nearly seven-fold from 2010 to 2013? Meanwhile, similar trends are being seen in the U.S. and around the world. The regulatory clampdown is happening at the same time that technology is transforming our world. Just this month, New York State’s top financial regulator granted the first license to a Bitcoin exchange, giving it bank-like status. This is technology literally throwing down the gauntlet to our monetary system. Social media is another case in point.   More

E-Commerce Finance

In Pursuit of Crypto 2.0: The Coming Era of the Blockchain

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What should we make of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies these days? The world’s preeminent cryptocurrency ended 2013 riding high, with supporters proclaiming that it was destined to revolutionize the global financial system. But 2014 turned into a roller coaster ride, prompting some watchers to question both BTC’s market maturity and overall potential. Last year, BTC experienced a 67 percent drop in value ($951.39 to $309.87). That prompted many articles that reflected poorly on the industry, such as by focusing on the Mt. Gox collapse. But despite the setbacks, many cryptocurrency advocates remain bullish about BTC’s future, and their optimism should not be quickly dismissed.   More

Finance Jobs

The Next Phase in Financial Services: What Low-income Americans Tell Us

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Both established players and disruptive entrepreneurs recognize that shifts in mobile, data, and payments are transforming financial services. Yet while everyone is trying to innovate, there is little real vision on how new solutions can redefine financial services so they seamlessly integrate with our lives and provide us with substantial improvements in how we manage our finances. This is especially urgent when it comes to using new technologies to help the financially underserved in the United States.   More

Finance Media & Marketing

Money That Aims to Pack a Positive Punch

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Impact investment funds, initially created by foundations like Rockefeller, Gates, and the Omidyar Network, seek to convert money destined for pure philanthropy to more strategic and business-driven investments. The returns on these investments are more measurable than those on philanthropy. Even while aiming to achieve financial gains, they support solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges around sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, literacy, employment, clean energy, and financial inclusion.   More


Upstart’s P2P Lending Platform Aims at Young Borrowers


For would-be borrowers with little credit history, getting a loan can be a nightmare. But one important group of applicants are young, well educated, and entrepreneurial—and would probably be favorable credit risks. Techonomy asked Dave Girouard to respond to questions about how lending platforms like Upstart can help investors and borrowers alike.   More


Benzinga: The Detroit-based Online Investing Tool for Average Joes

Benziga's offices in Detroit.

When Jason Raznick set out to create an online financial service to help the average investor, he didn’t gravitate to New York City’s center of global finance. He launched it from his basement in Birmingham, Michigan. Recognizing the need for a service that delivers quality investment information to people who don’t have a Wall Streeter’s access to real-time data, he figured his hometown was as good a place as any to get started. Now operating in Detroit, Benzinga continues to grow its audience as the rise of community-based, social investing continues to transform the industry.   More

Finance Mobile

Kiva’s Julie Hanna on Tech as a Democratizing Force

Is technology the most democratizing force mankind has ever seen? That's how technologist and serial entrepreneur Julie Hanna sees it. We spoke with Hanna at a recent Techonomy dinner salon in San Francisco. She asserted that tech tools have leveled the playing field and "enabled globally fair access on a mass scale." But she says there's a lot more to do about what she calls "the global opportunity crisis we face, where half the planet's population is living on less than $2 a day."   More