A careful curation of must-reads and can’t-misses from the world of fintech.
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Nexus Nordic
THE WARM NORDIC EMBRACE OF FINTECH

The fresh report “Innovation, Distributed: Mapping the Nordic Fintech Bridge” (Fintech Mundi/DNB) shows fintech catching on fast in the Nordics, with each country developing specialties: Norway in authentication and ID, Sweden in e-payments, Denmark in Blockchain and Finland in e-invoicing. 7 out of 10 respondents also believe the Nordics will be the leading fintech hub. Soon.

Opinion
Array
Chris Skinner
Chairman and co-owner, Nordic Finance Innovation

Banks are scared. They’ve seen the rise of the new world of open APIs, apps and analytics and know that their organisations are not yet ready or fit to change to that world. What to do? Well, the easiest thing to do is to block access to the bank’s data. If third party fintech firms cannot get access to the customer’s financial data, then you can severely limit what they can do.
Brilliant … and it’s just what banks are doing.

And don't expect anything else.

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Artificial Intelligence
WILL IBM’S WATSON KILL OFF ACCOUNTANTS?

“Hello, maximum refund!” The tax preparation giant H & R Block has enlisted IBM’s super computer Watson at its 10.000 US branches (New Atlas). Will it kill of accountants? Probably not, says Gene Marks (Washington Post): “My clients will always need an accountant around to complain to about their high taxes.”

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Mobile
MPESA AND WHAT MOBILE MONEY REALLY MEANS

MPESA, the Swahili word for money, is Kenya’s mobile money system. It has transformed the ability for people to work, save, and pay for everything. This week’s episode of Breaking Banks telles the story of how MPESA has lifted nearly 200,000 families out of poverty. Read on for more great MPESA stories.

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Banking
3 SMART STEPS FINTECHS MUST TAKE TO SURVIVE

A massive disconnect between the finance and tech communities will lead to a great thinning of the fintech herd in the coming years (Forbes). Chris Myers of BodeTree thinks having the right investors, acting conservatively, and respecting the incumbents is necessary to live. But hedge your bets, of course.

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Podcast of the Week
BREAKING BANKS: WHY ASIA RULES

“Hong Kong and Singapore, China and India.  Economic crossroads with vast populations and huge potential. The Asian fintech market is far ahead in adoption and ecosystem creation.”  If you want to know why Asia is the fintech market to follow, this episode of Brett King’s “Breaking Banks”  is a must-listen.

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Nexus Nordic
DENMARK APPOINTS WORLD’S FIRST DIGITAL AMBASSADOR

Denmark is appointing a Digital Ambassador to cozy up to tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft. “These businesses are a form of new nations that we must pay attention to,” so powerful that they economically and politically outperform countries with traditional ambassadors, said Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen in Politiken.

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Good Reads
THE DATA THAT TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN

Big data has been heralded as the future of understanding how people behave. In an article deeply relevant to banking, two reporters from Das Magazin, translated by Motherboard, look at how psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method to analyze people in detail based on their Facebook activity. Did the tool help Donald Trump to victory?

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Money And Payments
KA-CHING! HOW CHINESE MOBILE PAYMENTS ARE CONQUERING THE WORLD

While mobile payments are off to a slower start in The West, China has become the melting pot for mobile payment solutions. Market leaders Alibaba and messaging giant WeChat have made third-part payments ubiquitous. Now, the companies are piggybacking Chinese tourists into the rest of the world, reports Jing Daily.

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Banking
TRUMP KILLS OFF OBAMA’S FINANCIAL REGULATION

President Trump announced steps to reverse regulation enacted after the 2008 financial crisis and measures to protect consumers from bad investement advice, according to The New York Times. Also, in one of its final whitepapers, Obama’s White House asked the new administration to prioritize fintech to support the economy.

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Money And Payments
QUIZ: KNOW YOUR PAYMENT ACRONYMS?

Any industry with self respect has loads of acronyms. PSD2, HCE, NFC, ECB. If you think you know what they mean, and  need bragging rights, indulge in this quiz put together by the people at Payment Eye. And how about VbV and FinCEN? Do the follow-up quiz to break the tie. Good luck.

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Nexus Nordic
A LOFTY LOOK AT NORWAY’S BLOSSOMING FINTECH LANDSCAPE

Adventorous people, early adopters of technology, an egalitarian work environment and a rapidly growing startup community. These are some of the advantages of Norway’s fintech landscape, according a nice analysis by Let’s Talk Payments this week. A tech-friendly regulatory environment creates “proseperous opportunities”, and a long list of exciting companies to follow.

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Internet of Things
IS THE INTERNET OF THINGS COMING FOR US?

“From hairbrushes to scales, consumer and industrial devices are having chips inserted into them to collect and communicate data.” Wired’s Matt Burgess delivers one of the best explanations so far of what The Internet of Things is, pains and gains. Read on for great sources from Forbes, The New York Times and Business2Community.

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Blockchain
THE TRUTH ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN

Blockchain is terriffic, but the revolution is far off. This according to professors Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani in “The Truth About Blackchain” (Harvard Buisiness Review). They argue that blockchain is not truly “disruptive” and attacking existing models with lower costs, but rather “foundational” – creating all new economic and social models.

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Money And Payments
SHOULD WE TRASH CASH?

As India got rid of much of its cash, bright people are discussing the pros and cons of going cashless. John Lancaster wonders in The New York Times about the wisdom of the anti-cash crusade as it removes too much power from the individual. Read on for more great sources.

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Artificial Intelligence
AI + BANKING = TRUE ROMANCE

AI will provide banking with customer personalization, identity patterns and connections that humans can’t – and answer questions about banking in real time, Jim Marous writes on The Financial Brand. And Nathan Benaich, a well-writing tech investor, has shared his view of  “6 Areas of AI and Machine Learning to Watch Closely” on Medium.

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Banking
FACEBOOK – THE FIRST SUPER-BRAND BANK

This is it, the year that a real brand becomes a bank, expects Duena Blomstrom of BankNXT. And that brand will be Facebook. Building on sharp analysis, she asks “Is Facebook the future of banking? It certainly has brand on its side.” Read on for additional picks.

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Good Reads
THE FINAL DAYS OF OBAMA’S TECH SURGE

Obama is now “succeeded by a president whose knowledge of what he calls ‘the cyber’ seems limited to late-night tweeting and a vision of hackers as overweight adolescents”, writes Backchannel’s Steven Levy. While Obama imported top Silicon Valley talent to transform governement, Levy frets that Trump will undo it all.

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Company Spotlight
THE NORDIC POSTERBOY OF FINTECH

The story of how 3 Stockholm classmates from Sweden took a small idea on how to make people complete a purchase, and transformed it into Klarna – one of the world’s largest and fastest growing payment services. CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski talks to The FinTech Blog about the company, 18 countries and 65.000 merchants.

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Banking
– AVOID EXTINCTION, FOR NOW

One bank’s fight for relevance. Bo Olafsson, head of Relationship banking at Íslandbanki, explains on Medium why, even during the Icelandic banking metldown of 2008, his mind was never “as close to blowing up as it is today. I am scared that people will need banking but not banks.”

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Artificial Intelligence
THE ALTERNATIVE 2017 FINTECH ALMANAC

Heard of Lifestreaming, Cappuccoins and Regbots? How about MonoCorns and TamaDotchi? No? Well, read on. Chris Gledhill of Secco Aura, tired of wishy-washy general predicitions (“there will be a lot of insurtech this year”), has gone super-specific on Medium, coming up with some very interesting and entertaining thoughts along the way.

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Mobile
HEY BANKS, LET FINTECH IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

“For me, the customer experience versus technology issue can be reduced to one idea: my thumbprint.” Channeling Brett King, who famously wrote that banking is no longer somewhere you go but something you do, Carl Snyder of Digitalist ably explains why an enhanced customer experience must be the primary target for today’s banks.

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Artificial Intelligence
BANKING ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN 2017

Time to look for your Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer? Julie Muhn of Finovate thinks so. As 2017 is shaping up to be obsessive about artificial intelligence, she ranks eight fintech areas according to how it is currently influenced by AI and AI’s potential to add value. Read on for additional tips.

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