Thursday, 28 July 2016

Blockchain Can Bring the Unbanked into the Global Economy | Bank Think

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A cryptography-protected ID, accessed by a unique combination of private and public keys and verified with biometrics, also has the potential to allow users to control their own data, deciding how much of it to share. It is also conceivable that unbanked refugees might rely on the blockchain to be issued an ID so that they can begin their lives anew, free from the threat of a corrupt government subverting their rights.

From Blockchain Can Bring the Unbanked into the Global Economy | Bank Think

I think it probably doesn’t, but that’s a matter of opinion, obviously. I think it is more likely that shared ledgers might be a repository of virtual identities (i.e., bundles of credentials).

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Let’s go | Harper's Magazine

In the July 2000 edition of Harper’s Magazine, Dennis Cass wrote about Silicon Valley:

Let’s go Silicon Valley! Wherein the author stalks the flighty, green-backed webhead in his natural habitat

From Let’s go | Harper's Magazine

He wrote about “the kinds of things you’ve heard bores like Nicholas Negroponte drone on about in Wired magazine, like shoes that can send e–mail to other shoes”. Yesterday, through the miracle of Twitter, I noticed that this dystopia is almost upon us.

Smart Shoes You Can Control With Your Smartphone.

From Smart Shoes You Can Control With Your Smartphone

Even our shoes will be getting hacked from now on.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped in Sao Paulo' - BBC News

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The kidnappers have demanded the ransom, a record amount for an abduction in Brazil, be paid in pounds sterling and divided into four bags of cash, Veja reported.

From F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped in Sao Paulo' - BBC News

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Mastercard Talks VocaLink Acquisition | PYMNTS.com

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This provides the consumer with a full rail of digital payment choices, whether it be credit, prepaid, debit, or direct to bank account without a debit card in between.

From Mastercard Talks VocaLink Acquisition | PYMNTS.com

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Twitter announces crackdown after online abuse of 'Ghostbusters' actor | Reuters

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Twitter has long come under criticism for not doing enough to police abusive behavior on the often-freewheeling messaging service.

From Twitter announces crackdown after online abuse of 'Ghostbusters' actor | Reuters

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Zimbabwe Ran Out of U.S. Dollars. So, It Will Print Its Own. - The Atlantic

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Zimbabwe is running out of cash and needs to print more money—so its central bank will print a new currency pegged to the U.S. dollar.

From Zimbabwe Ran Out of U.S. Dollars. So, It Will Print Its Own. - The Atlantic

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DRAFT NIST Special Publication 800-63B

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Authenticators may be provided by a CSP as part of a process such as enrollment; in other cases, the subscriber may provide their own, such as software or hardware cryptographic modules. For this reason, we refer to the binding of an authenticator rather than the issuance, but this does not exclude the possibility that an authenticator is issued as well.

From DRAFT NIST Special Publication 800-63B

This is how we think of it in the Consult Hyperion model that has been discussed her before.

Cashless payments: How one city has made electronic transactions pay off | ZDNet

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The northern city of Bergamo in Lombardy has succeeded in recording a 10 per cent increase over seven months in the number of electronic payments made by residents

From Cashless payments: How one city has made electronic transactions pay off | ZDNet

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Facebook 'Likes,' Twitter Followers Won't Buy You Customers | Bank Think

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Building a digital marketing program around the social media trio of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a popular strategy by banks aiming to heighten their brand's visibility, and ultimately, lure new customers. However, social media's value as a business acquisition tool may be greatly exaggerated.

From Facebook 'Likes,' Twitter Followers Won't Buy You Customers | Bank Think

The study referred to hear notes that word of mouth is the dominant factor in persuading a customer to open an account with a bank. I have no special expertise in the field, but I have long suspected that the social media role has been misjudged. I don’t want to be friends with my bank on Facebook and I don’t want to follow them on Twitter and I have no intention of Snapgramming or Wemailing them or whatever else it is that the kids do today.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Skype finalizes its move to the cloud, ignores the elephant in the room | Ars Technica

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he exposure of IP addresses to peers was abused to perform denial of service attacks against victims, a problem that became distressingly common in the world of e-sports.

From Skype finalizes its move to the cloud, ignores the elephant in the room | Ars Technica

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Inland Customs Line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Inland Customs Line which incorporated the Great Hedge of India (or Indian Salt Hedge[1]) was a customs barrier built by the British across India primarily to collect the salt tax.

From Inland Customs Line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Meaning and reputation

The futureagenda paper on the "Future of Currency" talks about “currencies of meaning” and says that the reputation of people, organisations and objects will become the dominant currency of meaning. I think is broadly agree with this.

Blockchain and the Auditing Revolution – Real Time Audit within the Capabilities of Blockchain | Fintech Schweiz Digital Finance News – FintechNewsCH

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Whereas auditing at present entails the confirmation of transactions and balances on a company’s accounting ledger at the end of the period, a transaction on the blockchain would provide a permanent and immutable record of the transaction almost immediately.

From Blockchain and the Auditing Revolution – Real Time Audit within the Capabilities of Blockchain | Fintech Schweiz Digital Finance News – FintechNewsCH

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Why Standards Would Aid Blockchain's Adoption | American Banker

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Committing to standards would help the industry "get around some of the other hurdles while the underlying technology matures," said John Burnett, vice president of the Emerging Technologies Center at State Street Corp.

From Why Standards Would Aid Blockchain's Adoption | American Banker

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Burnett's list of hurdles is long: how to represent existing assets in a digital way on a blockchain, how existing players communicate with blockchains, what information should be stored on the blockchain, what capabilities can be enabled via smart contracts, and how to represent identities on a blockchain while still meeting know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering requirements. 

From Why Standards Would Aid Blockchain's Adoption | American Banker

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Techie Held For Hacking Air India Frequent Flyers Accounts

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A 23-year-old techie has been arrested for hacking Air India's Frequent Flyer member accounts and using them to book tickets sold to several travel agents, Delhi Police said on Sunday.

From Techie Held For Hacking Air India Frequent Flyers Accounts

Now if that isn’t conclusive proof that frequent flier miles are money, I don’t know what is!

Friday, 22 July 2016

"Bank to the FinTech" Why Banks of the Future Won't Use Cash | Chris Richards Finteched | Pulse | LinkedIn

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In the future, social networks such as Facebook will become a new type of bank - a bank of your social credit. If you have poor social credit scores, people will be less likely to do business with you. Those with positive social values or high Klout scores will get better deals or superior rates of lending.

From "Bank to the FinTech" Why Banks of the Future Won't Use Cash | Chris Richards Finteched | Pulse | LinkedIn

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Reputation will become a real social currency.

From "Bank to the FinTech" Why Banks of the Future Won't Use Cash | Chris Richards Finteched | Pulse | LinkedIn

I couldn’t agree more. It’s almost as if your identity was a new form of, well. money.

Facebook 'hack' victim exposes passport scam - BBC News

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Facebook user Aaron Thompson has exposed an online thief who gained access to his account simply by sending the support team a fake passport to unlock the account.

From Facebook 'hack' victim exposes passport scam - BBC News

As Bruce Schneider wrote about this, “demanding an easy-to-forge copy of a hard-to-forge document isn't a good solution". Now, I don't doubt that the algorithms used by Au10tix and others will continue to improve, but the real solution (yawn, here he goes again) is a digital passport. One of the key differences between a digital passport and a mundane passport is that while a mundane passport is a passive item, digital passport should be able to check the validity of other digital passports.

Nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes last year, ONS says - BBC News

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It estimated there were two million computer misuse offences and 3.8 million fraud offences in the 12 months to the end of March - suggesting fraud is the most common type of crime.

Most related to bank account fraud.

From Nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes last year, ONS says - BBC News

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Do you want a verified account on Twitter? Now you can apply. - Recode

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You’ll need to send in some info as part of the application, like your birth date and phone number, and you need to have an actual photo on your profile. Twitter may require more verification, too, like a copy of a government-issued ID.

From Do you want a verified account on Twitter? Now you can apply. - Recode

Surely these will end up on wikileaks at some point. A much better idea is not give your sensitive personal data to yet another place where it can be lost from but to instead provide Twitter with proof of attributes from a third party.

UK account switching a “complete waste of time” claims bank panellist » Banking Technology

Now, you may remember that I have said one or two mildly critical things about the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) now and then. In fact, when it was launched, I said that it wouldn’t make a difference to the number of people switching accounts.

“This will make not the slightest difference,” said David Birch, global ambassador at IT consultancy Consult Hyperion. “35,000 people switching every week for the next 12 months won’t change anything. True competitiveness means new competitors. Even if we reduce the process from 12 days to seven, who cares? We still haven’t taken out any cost. There are far better ways the money could have been spent.

From UK account switching a “complete waste of time” claims bank panellist » Banking Technology

As it turns out, I was wrong. The number of people switching accounts has gone down. The service cost £750m to launch and it’s probably cost in total around a billion quid by now.

The UK Payments Council-backed current account switch service (CASS) has gone live, promising to enable customers to move between banks in seven days or less.

From £750 million current account switching service launched | IT Business | Computerworld UK

By the way, I never understood what this has to do with the UK Payments Council or why it was in there (generally excellent plan).

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Italian town that legally gives fake money to migrants - BBC News

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The small Calabrian town of Gioiosa Ionica, population 7,000, is currently home to a group of asylum seekers, who are given the imitation bank notes, or "tickets" as they are known, as part of a voucher system.

The refugees can spend the cash on whatever they like, but only in the town, so that local businesses benefit.

From The Italian town that legally gives fake money to migrants - BBC News

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Saturday, 16 July 2016

Scaling Decentralized Apps & Services via Blockchain-based Identity Indirection – Back Alley Coder

Daniel Buchner wrote a very interesting blog post a few days ago. In it, he says that

Most non-monetary blockchain use-cases can be accomplished off-chain using a combination of blockchain-anchored identity, cryptographic signatures, and traditional storage systems – all while retaining the features developers desire and avoiding the scalability issues of on-chain transactions.

From Scaling Decentralized Apps & Services via Blockchain-based Identity Indirection – Back Alley Coder

This idea of “blockchain-anchored identity” is what I presented at TechDaysMunich 2016, where I had been invited to talk about identity and the Internet of Thing. Naturally, I couldn’t resist using the example of my pants get the audience to think about some of the key concepts (although I did put in some new jokes). Anyway, the slides are here if you are interested:

As an aside, I have to say that TechDaysMunich was a novel event. First of all, it was held on what appeared to be a Herzog film set:

 

I was honoured to be the keynote speaker. I had no idea that they would have a band on stage playing before I was invited up. Very fun and very different!

 

But back to the point of this post. I told the audience… well, you can see here.

 

So what does putting pants on the blockchain actually mean? Well, like Daniels says in his article, I think means link the mundane entity to a virtual identity (via a serial number or some other attribute or collection of attributes).

Saturday, 9 July 2016

MedRec: Electronic Medical Records on the Blockchain — MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative — Medium

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A novel design feature of MedRec is the way records are validated and added to the blockchain. The miners for MedRec are medical researchers who are rewarded with access to census-level data of the medical records.

From MedRec: Electronic Medical Records on the Blockchain — MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative — Medium

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Cash machine stolen from main arena of T in the Park site

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A cash machine has been stolen from the main arena area at the T in the Park festival.

From Cash machine stolen from main arena of T in the Park site

My son went to this pop festival, as I believe they are known, last year. I armed him with Barclaycard bPay wristband to pay for essentials whilst bopping along to the variety of popular beat combos on show. This turned out to be completely pointless because a) no-one of the stall look cards, let along contactless and b) he lost the wristband on the first day. I’ve written before about cashlessnees in these environments (e.g., my expedition to the Roskilde Festival in Denmark) and I don’t want to go over old ground again, but the advantages of getting cash out of these environments are many and varied.

dadadada  

I have been to many of these “festivals” myself

They should ban cash completely from this sort of event. It is nothing but trouble. From tax-evading criminal gangs running some of the pitches to thefts and losses, to massive queues for ATMs, it is a hassle from beginning to end. The only reason to take cash to pop festivals, at least as far as I can recall, was to buy drugs.

Glasonbury when it used to be cool  

We didn’t have mobile payments in my day

Nowadays the kids have Venmo and PingIt and debit cards and iZettle and what not so there’s no need to put them in the vulnerable position of carrying cash. Perhaps the Scottish authorities should step in and follow the trail blazed in Ohio. Since banks and card companies won’t provide a convenient and safe alternative to cash for the purchase of mind-altering chemicals other than alcohol and Night Nurse, the state should.

Ohio's new medical marijuana law proposes a new way around the bank problem. The law allows state officials to set up a "closed loop" payment processing system, similar to prepaid debit and gift cards.

From Cashless payment system proposed for Ohio medical marijuana program | cleveland.com

There was a very good edition of “In Business” on the BBC recently where Peter Day visited Colorado and noted the problems associate with the use of cash (“armoured cars full of cash a common sight”). This is all because of the bizarre situation in the US where marijuana is legal in some states but you can’t use electronic payments to buy it.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Crypto 2.0 Musings - Digital Identity Passport | Alex Batlin | Pulse | LinkedIn

Alex Batlin raised this point in a discussion about digital passports for financial services, noting that the mutual acceptance and regulatory acceptance depends on being able to see that the right verifications have been performed.

regulators will not excuse an FI providing money transfer services to terrorists because they blind trusted another FI.

From Crypto 2.0 Musings - Digital Identity Passport | Alex Batlin | Pulse | LinkedIn

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Mark Carney: Enabling the FinTech transformation - revolution, restoration, or reformation?

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That is why I am announcing this evening that the Bank intends to extend direct access to RTGS beyond the current set of [48] firms, allowing a range of non-bank PSPs to compete on a level playing field with banks.

From Mark Carney: Enabling the FinTech transformation - revolution, restoration, or reformation?

By extending RTGS access, our objective is to increase competition and innovation in the market for payment services. To ensure that PSPs are not disadvantaged relative to banks offering equivalent payment services, the Bank intends to give appropriate remuneration for balances that PSPs will be required to hold overnight to support their payments activities.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Proving Age Online Is About to Get A Whole Lot Simpler

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In practice, a consumer will choose from a list of Age-Check Service Providers unless age-checking is integrated into the payment process.

From Proving Age Online Is About to Get A Whole Lot Simpler

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

POST Cryptocentralbankdigitalcurrency, or something similar

In the speech that the Governor of the Bank of England eh, Mark Carney, didn’t give to the Mansion House in June he devoted some considerable time to the general topic of shared ledger technology, even going so far as to say that

In the extreme, a [shared ledger] for everyone could open the possibility of creating a central bank digital currency.

From Mark Carney: Enabling the FinTech transformation - revolution, restoration, or reformation?

I am not sure that I completely follow Mr Carney’s logic here and I don’t have the benefit of the expert advice that he must have received in connection with this statement but as far as I can tell, there are two entirely separate issues to examine here. The use of the distributed ledger for RTGS, which is the context in which it is mentioned earlier in Mr. Carney’s speech, is wholly unrelated to the provision of a central bank electronic currency and whether it might or might not be a good idea for the Bank of England to create such is nothing to do with the technology.

I suspect that the confusion may have arisen because of the tendency amongst management consultants (and others) to conflate the two entirely different kinds of electronic money: a crypto currency and a digital currency are very different things. If Mr Carney were genuinely suggesting that one of the scenarios under consideration by the Bank of England is that it abandons its responsibility for managing the creation of money and instead turns to a crypto currency, even if it is a crypto currency that is produced as a byproduct of a double permissionless shared ledger spawned by the Bank of England itself, then the value of that currency would not only be beyond political control it would be beyond the Bank’s control and one might imagine the Bank to be somewhat redundant in such circumstances.

The Bank of England is absolutely right to be exploring this new technology and I certainly think that it has something to offer. But that does not mean that the Bank of England is going to start using Bitcoin as a settlement system or that bitcoins will replace Sterling!

From RTGS NBG OMG SOS SLT PDQ SLAP | Consult Hyperion

On the other hand if Mr Carney were genuinely suggesting that one of the scenarios under consideration by the Bank of England is that it creates a digital currency, then I say more power to him. I cannot think of a single reason why such a digital currency would be a crypto currency or why it would be in any way related to the shared ledger used to process  the payments, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a cracking idea. A digital currency platform with right APIs in place (providing risk-free, genuinely instant and zero-cost transfers between accounts) would be an amazing platform for a Digital Britain.