Fintech disruption, Swiss Exchange, and Blockchain

News from around the world

CEO of Swedish bank Klarna, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, told reporters at Helsinki’s Slush tech conference that traditional banks will see “massive disruption” from fintech challengers within the next five years. Siemiatkowski said this is primarily due to the rise of new tech-driven financial competitors with the European’s open banking framework (PSD2) that requires banks to share their customer data (with customer consent) to third-party providers. Siemiatkowski explained that it’s now easy for customers to switch to new options, and it’s easy to switch. CNBC reports:

Klarna’s chief said that incumbent lenders have three options in the midst of competitive disruption from fintech firms. Some banks, he said, will “manage to transform themselves” as digitally-driven businesses; most will take the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) route, snapping up fintech competitors to get ahead; and, lastly, others will just “fail.”

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Bondora news and mentions

Seven mediterranean EU states are making a push for other EU governments to start using blockchain technology. A declaration—led by Malta and cosigned by France, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain—is calling on Brussels to help them promote “Distributive Ledger Technology” (DLT). DLT typically has been connected to cryptocurrencies but is beginning to be used to provide government services to citizens. Financial Times reports:

EU governments to start using blockchain technology led by Malta

The group says government services like “education, transport, mobility, shipping, Land Registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare” that [sic] can be “transformed” with the use of DLT, whose supporters say offers more stringent privacy protections for citizens and can impose less bureaucratic burdens on government’s providing “e-services”.

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Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange, is launching an alternative to its traditional trading platform, which will be powered by blockchain technology. The expectation is that this new digital platform, SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) will overtake the existing platform in as little as 10 years. Reuters reports:

SIX Swiss Exchange

SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) is scheduled to launch in mid-2019 and initially run parallel to the existing SIX platform, which involves three steps to complete a purchase or sale of securities, often over several days.
Two of them vanish in a blockchain distributed ledger, meaning a transaction can be completed in fractions of a second.

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In related news, the Swiss have been locked in a political impasse with Brussels, as Switzerland and the EU are renegotiating relations for the coming years. The Swiss presented a new plan to hopefully safeguard its stock exchange from being cut off to EU investors should both parties not come to an agreement. Bloomberg reports:

Swiss have been locked in a political impasse with Brussels

For now, companies are hoping the government’s plan will provide some stability. UBS Group AG, the country’s biggest bank, said it welcomed the government’s move, which essentially exploits a loophole in EU regulation so that Switzerland’s stock exchanges won’t suffer a drop in liquidity even if they lose equivalence under MiFID II next year.

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