Issue#324 August 12th, 2021

Compensation for employees in finance will be up by the end of the year. Is this because of higher funding rounds and expectations of slightly higher interest rates that would increase margins of financial institutions? We don't know for sure. Hopefully, this might make younger investment bankers feel better during their 80h workweek - although this is not the case everywhere. Compensations are not the only thing increasing also crypto markets are hitting a record $1.9T market cap after the bill passed the US senate and Ethereum proofed their ability to execute with their "London" (eip-1559) update making them the most sophisticated, mature and adopted blockchain after Bitcoin. Have a nice day ahead (and enjoy the rest of the summer depending on where you live)

Top Stories

    GDP per capita has steadily risen globally over time, and in tandem, the standard of living worldwide has increased immensely. This map using data from the IMF shows the GDP per capita (nominal) of nearly every country and territory in the world. Overall, the standard of living for everyone today is immensely improved compared to even recent history, and some countries will be experiencing rapid economic growth in the future.

Podcasts & Videos

    Engineers are essential to any software company, large or small, but they may not always be the most front-facing figures in a product build. Engineers are traditionally seen as builders, and what we will get into today is how the face of the engineer has changed since the birth of fintech, what are some challenges they face, and how do they go about explaining technical processes to their stakeholders? Guests: - Simon Vans-Colina, Co-Founder at Fronted, - Chris Margonis, Senior Developer at Plum, - Amber Goldberg, Software developer at Curve

Crypto

    The implementation of EIP 1559 now means more predictable gas fees, which should prevent price volatility. But that by itself does not necessarily mean cheaper fees, especially as users can still tip to jump the queue.

    Almost 60% of the respondents answered they would like to buy goods and services on a daily basis with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other assets. Interestingly, 75% of the cryptocurrency holders bought coins so they can later employ them in transactions.

    The #DontKillCrypto hashtag is currently trending on social media A dashboard was created to reach every U.S. senator in a couple of clicks The citizens of the U.S. oppose the controversial infrastructure bill against mass surveillance of the crypto economy

    Crypto exchange Coinbase said Tuesday it’s working with PNC Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. in assets, on a crypto project. “In recent months, we have formed partnerships with industry leaders including (Tesla CEO) Elon Musk, PNC Bank, SpaceX, Tesla, Third Point LLC and WisdomTree Investments,” a letter from PNC to its shareholders read.

    Poly Network (cross-chain protocol) has been recently hacked. More than $600M worth of crypto has been stolen. Poly Network is a protocol for swapping tokens across multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ontology. It was formed by an alliance between the teams behind multiple blockchain platforms, namely Neo, Ontology, and Switcheo.

    Over the past 3 weeks, crypto markets have recorded a notable rise. The markets have surged with $700B (+58%) over the past 21 days. So far, the cryptocurrency market seems to be continuing a bullish trend in August, with the total market cap hitting nearly $2 trillion. According to CoinGecko (crypto data aggregator), the crypto market cap rose above the $1.9 trillion mark yesterday, reaching this level for the first time since May 18th.

    The writing is on the wall: Cryptocurrencies are likely going to play a significant role in the future financial system. The U.S. Federal Reserve has called for a comprehensive regulatory framework for stablecoins and is exploring a central bank digital currency. While a complete overhaul of the system of money is an extremely complex endeavor, there are three measured approaches — different, but not incompatible — that have serious potential: 1) true stablecoins, which are non-interest bearing coins designed to have stable value against a reference currency; 2) demand coins, which are demand deposit claims against insured commercial banks, on blockchain rails; and 3) central bank digital currencies, which are cash on digital rails and could represent the public sector’s response to decreasing demand for physical cash.

FinTech

    Hedge fund research firm PivotalPath argues that a combination of better performance and an investor base with realistic expectations about what hedge funds can deliver is creating conditions for a thriving hedge fund industry over the next five to 10 years.

    Jon Caplis, CEO of PivotalPath, said that another signal that is informing his optimistic view is an analysis of hedge fund alpha, or the excess returns managers produce over their benchmark.

    Kroo, a UK startup building a "social" bank, has raised £17.7 million in Series A funding round led by tech entrepreneur Rudy Karson.

    Targeting an early 2022 launch, Kroo says it wants to remove friction from financial interactions between friends and family, reducing the "anxiety that can surround social finances".

    Swiss banking software company Temenos announced that Australia’s newest digital bank, Alex, has gone live on The Temenos Banking Cloud. Using The Temenos Banking Cloud, Alex will be able to simply and cost-efficiently scale its business and bring to market a portfolio of products to improve the consumer credit and banking experience for Australians.

    A new way to trade is likely coming for professionals and the retail trader. Virtual reality will allow for dozens of screens and new ways to interact with data. One executive working in the space calls it “limitless".

    Why isn't there a payment method where the money is actively working for us until we spend it? With the current real inflation rate of 1.25%, money is losing value every time we make a payment. Day after day. Cash-back programs are great, but hardly anyone thinks about the interest- and inflation-related cash-burn program that is embedded into our payment system.

Banking

Innovation

    DABUS (which stands for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”) is an AI system created by Stephen Thaler, a pioneer in the field of AI and programming. The system simulates human brainstorming and creates new inventions. DABUS is a particular type of AI, often referred to as “creativity machines” because they are capable of independent and complex functioning. This differs from everyday AI like Siri, the “voice” of Apple’s iPhones.

    Without a more equitable distribution of caregiving responsibilities at home, and company culture making room for it, there’s a danger that female participation in the workforce will suffer long after the pandemic has passed. What does this look like? It’s not just parents dropping out of the workforce altogether, but being forced to pass up opportunities for advancement, or burning the candle at both ends for many more months or even years.

    Last week, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced to investors that he plans to take Facebook in a new direction in the future. The social network, he said, during the earnings call for Q1 2021, would become more than just that; It will, in the coming years, become a metaverse.

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