April 30, 2017
With Japan’s recognition of Bitcoin as an official form of payment, Wirex comes out with a multi-currency physical and virtual prepaid card. Topping up (or loading) the card with traditional currencies and bitcoin gives customers a seamless experience of shifting between fiat and cryptocurrencies, removing one of the biggest roadblocks in the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. Interestingly, the yen is not yet one of the currencies that can be topped up on the card, though it is in the offing. Is that a reflection of investors’ confidence in the yen?
Multiple regulations at the State and Federal level in the US had long confounded FinTech players. When the OCC announced its intention to grant special purpose National Bank Charters to FinTech companies, it was both hailed as the acceptance of FinTech in the formal area of banking, and opposed as a killer of innovations. Now the state regulators have sued OCC quoting lack of jurisdiction. The intention might be to defend their turf or a genuine interest in promoting FinTechs – but it definitely muddies up the waters further, for both banks as well as non-bank players.
Lack of identity proof makes it almost impossible for a large part of the world’s population, sometimes even in the developed world, to access basic financial services from formal sources. Advancements in technology have made it possible for authorities to address this issue on a cost effective basis. The Indian government has been a pioneer of sorts in this area, with Aadhaar (a biometrics-based identity proof) covering 98% of the population in a relatively short period of time. Innovative use of the identity proof has led to huge savings. The model is being implemented in many parts of the world now. This article delves deep into the issue.