The event was organised and hosted by Ms Stefania Barbaglio (Steffy), PR Guru, Founder and Director of Cassiopeia Services, and Official PR for DigiByte (DGB). The prime focus of the Summit ̶ sponsored by Vertbase, the Coinbase for altcoins ̶ was on DigiByte’s journey since its foundation in 2014, the role in the new digital economy of decentralised technologies and security blockchain applications built on DGB, and how they are transforming the world of data security and transactions.
The summit was attended by the vast majority of DigiByte’s followers and investors and was also live streamed for all the DigiByte and crypto enthusiasts around the world. Key Media partners featured IcoHolder, Coin Rivet and CoinCodex, among many others.
After Steffy’s introduction, Mr Jared Tate, the Founder of DigiByte, ran through DGB’s history and progress over the last 5 years. Founded in 2014 with no ICO, DigiByte boasts the longest UTXO blockchain in the world, highly secure and faster than that of bitcoin. Listed on over 100 exchanges globally, it is now developing the new generation of Digi-ID and Digi-Assets, which are rapidly becoming one of the key developments in the crypto market.
Jared gave due credit to the community and DGB supporters as he revealed that some of his best developers are anonymous ̶ unknown even to him ̶ thus emphasising the beauty of decentralisation and the very fundamentals on which DGB has been built. He also gave some real insights into the hard work and determination that has got DigiByte to where it is today. DGB was initially built as an extension to the UTXO protocol pioneered by Bitcoin.
Jared mentioned that DGB was initially built as an extension to the UTXO protocol pioneered by Bitcoin. However, always striving for excellence, and after countless upgrades & hardforks, they created DigiShield in 2014 (one of the many great features of DigiByte) which was quickly adopted by Ethereum, Bitcoin etc. DigiByte also re-engineered the bitcoin wallets and today boast the best SPV wallets in the world. To add to this, since the activation of SegWit in April 2017, almost 2,70,000 nodes have been created along with 4 full-version updates for the DGB core wallet.
For the first time, DigiByte is referring not to a hard fork, but an algo fork, as it schedules the release of its latest version 7.17.1, known as the Odocrypt. DigiByte already has 5 running algorithms over which the DigiShield is split evenly, which helps in real-time weight adjustment. Thanks to this multi-level model, Digibyte has a 51% attack resistance globally. The new algorithm name is inspired by Star Wars as it is a shape shifter set to change every 10 days, thus making it ASIC resistant. It will replace the Groestl algo.
The DGB community also made history at the event as Jared created the first ever DGB DigiAsset using the DigiVault. The DigiFlame was the world’s first ever DigiAsset created during the summit, and it was passed on to Rudy. Subsequently, Jared also created a second DigiAsset known as the DigiTorch as a way to promote those organisations that are creating real-world solutions using DGB Blockchain. The torch was given to Block Labs 30 and will be passed onto other projects as time goes on. This marks a huge step for DigiByte as DigiAssets has always been taken seriously and seen as the mechanism to secure the future internet of value. Even in the core architecture of DGB, comprising 3 layers, the middle layer is dedicated solely to the digital assets.
Other speakers included some of the most brilliant minds in the crypto and blockchain space. To begin with, Rudy Bouwman, co-founder of the DigiByte Awareness Team fondly known as DGBAT, shared the importance of community support and engagement, and what it means to lead one of the largest crypto communities in existence. Founded on 18th May 2018, The DGBAT team is on its way to marking its one- year anniversary this coming month at the time of writing. It was founded because DGB had never had an ICO or pre-sale, so needed a revitalised marketing strategy. DGBAT today is made up of of passionate individuals who are determined to make way for the widespread adoption of DGB.
Adding onto the advancements and achievement of the DigiByte Community, Josiah Spackman connected from New Zealand to elaborate on Dandelion, an upcoming upgrade to the blockchain. The main reason for this upgrade is to improve privacy on different platforms for DGB users. The DGB Blockchain uses the same method of broadcast as Bitcoin: diffusion. However, there is a vulnerability in this method that may let intruders track IP addresses by looking at the transactions on the blockchain. In order to avoid this, the Dandelion upgrade will only transmit data to one neighbour at a time and mask the hop counts to protect privacy.
Jan Muyldermans from Antum ID, an organisation involved in projects that deploys DGB Blockchain again highlighted the essence of privacy in today’s world. Antum ID is an authentication platform that uses DIGI-ID fundamentals to help verify the identity of individuals by government/organisations while providing the highest level of privacy. Antum modified the Digi-Id and added in its SOAP API so that DIGI-ID can be used on all platforms and programming languages, thus cultivating DGB’s widespread adoption. With the recent data breaches and leakages, Antum ID is the best use case solution.
Continuing the theme of Decentralisation, Justin Seidl from Vertbase applauded DGB’s genuine growth and passionate community. A simple fiat-to-digital currency instant buy-and-sell platform, Vertbase is in the process of introducing GBP & EURO pairings for DGB. Its main USP is that it’s a non-custodial platform, meaning all funds are always in the user’s possession and by partnering with DGB, its next step is to enable consumers to use DGB and Vertbase for everyday transactions.
Another key innovative project was presented: Marnix van den Berg from V-ID highlighted the issue of cyber-crime and data integrity. VID’s core mission is to help prevent digital fraud. For this it uses blockchains to store data once it has been verified and validated: DGB being one of these blockchains. This in turn helps DGB to fully certify and secure all DigiAssets. In a real-world example of physical objects being verified and coded in the blockchain, V-ID demonstrated how it had securely stored a Rembrandt piece after verifying and validating it in the blockchain.
Finally, Block Labs 30, a California-based organisation led by MBA entrepreneurs Brian Foote and Jeff Hinshaw showcased their skills in working with merchants to increase DGB’s adoption. Their project is ambitious: creating a market place for Digital Asset transactions through verticals, while increasing security and trackability but integrated interconnectivity. All industries will benefit from block transactions built on DGB, the main one being real estate, but also fashion, food and art.
With such great minds and organisation at work, the DGB Summit was the first of its kind. In case you missed the live coverage, exclusive event footage is set to be released soon. Please stay tuned for further details.
The push for electric vehicles (EVs) by governments around the world in order to meet low carbon emission targets has put lithium in the spotlight. Lithium is the main metal composing lithium-ion batteries, which power electric cars, among many other devices.
The global lithium-ion battery market has been valued at $ 24.5 billion and is projected to grow to $ 56 billion by 2024, driven mainly by increased demand for batteries for smart devices and electric cars. Bloomberg reports that there is a “wave of planned new lithium-ion factories” coming over the next five years, from factories in China, the U.S., Thailand — and other locations around the world.
Even though electric cars still represent a small portion of the total automotive market in the US, data from IHS Markit showed that there were 208,000 new registrations for electric vehicles in the U.S. last year: more than double the number filed in 2017. The numbers are set to keep growing as more EVs enter the market and EV owners stick with the technology.
In China, the market is also heating up: the number of EVs sold in China reached 254,000 in Q1 2019, a 118% year-over-year jump from Q1 2018. The spike in sales is a result of the Chinese government’s incentives towards electric cars.
In order to meet the demand, lithium-ion battery capacity must follow the needs of the market. Over the Q1 2019, the global capacity of lithium-ion battery factories has increased sharply. According to CleanTechnica, planned annual battery output by 2023 has crossed 1,000 GWh of capacity, with more than 70% of that capacity in China.
This means that there is enough global lithium-ion production capacity in the pipeline to supply over 21 million EVs each year (around 25% of the global vehicle market) by 2023.
Lithium prices in downslope — but that’s good news
The lithium price peaked in 2018, signalling the hype and over-expectation around EVs. Over the past months it has slowly decreased, although it still remains higher than in 2016 and 2017.
The decrease in price does not necessarily mean bad news, analysts believe. It can be positive because it means the metal is more accessible. “It’s a very versatile technology, so every time it gets cheaper, that opens up more demand segments for it,’’ said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage research at BloombergNEF. If the price drop continues, it will very likely open markets for new and improved use of lithium in batteries.
In a secondary benefit, the growth in lithium-ion battery production has spurred the market for other secondary minerals, such as graphite, as well as some precious metals like palladium.
Mining experts expect lithium producers to continue to boost output to meet growing demand. They anticipate global lithium supply to reach 363,000 tonnes per year of lithium-carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2019. They also expect global lithium demand to grow to at least 1.1 million tonnes per year of LCE by 2025.
Christopher Perrella, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, says that “lithium prices are stabilising now”, which opens up opportunities for new players: “A good chunk of the easily accessible, most economic lithium has already been extracted, so there’s going to be a need for small-scale greenfield projects going forward,” he added.
This week, on our TV Show Financial Fox @_FinancialFox , we will speak to one of the best-known international mining experts, Mickey Fulp, AKA The Mercenary Geologist @mercenarygeo and also discuss about latest technologies development for lithium mining project with Enrico Di Cesare, VP, Metallurgy & Director of St-Georges Eco Mining @StGeorgesPlat
Stay Tuned @stefixy
Blockchain Applications Bring More Value To Gamers, Leading The Evolution Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Gaming Market.
The gaming market is growing at a fast pace. With more than 2.2 billion active gamers in the world, the UK gaming sector generates £3.864bn, making it larger than music and video combined. Revenue from digital gaming, accounts for 87% of the UK market. Globally the industry generated $135bn in 2018.
The market is indeed so attractive that even the ‘big tech’ companies are moving into it. Earlier this week, Apple was said to be investing more than $500 million for its Arcade service, which will let users play exclusive gaming titles across their Apple devices ad-free and offline.
Google is also reportedly entering gaming. In March, the tech giant released a note about Stadia, its new platform that aims to deliver instant access to games on gadgets like laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
Gaming can provide one of the first playgrounds for experimenting with new technology, and the emergence of technologies such as blockchain, machine learning and virtual reality are changing the landscape of gaming as they become integrated into those platforms. The addition of these technologies is making the gaming experience a lot more sophisticated, fun and ever lucrative for users.
Gaming Integrating Blockchain
Technology pioneer OBC debuts in gaming space; Q&A with CEO Clem Chambers:
“Blockchain is a mechanism to open the gaming market up further and take in-game values into the real world and vice versa.”
Earlier today, pioneering tech company Online Blockchain (OBC) announced its brand new blockchain-based gaming product FreeLoadr. FreeLoadr is a multi-platform application which allows gamers access to PC games for free in exchange for running the FreeLoadr application on their personal computer. The user donates “hash power” to earn points, which they can redeem for products on the FreeLoadr store’s selection of 2,500 titles.
OBC has been acting at the forefront of technology for decades. Previously known as On-Line plc, the company gained prominence during the dotcom boom. In 2017, the word ‘blockchain’ was added to signal its move into the fast growing blockchain industry. With the opportunity growing within the gaming sector, OBC is using the versatility of blockchain and developing applications with high user-case value and tailored for the needs of gamers. OBC also identifies and invests in strong projects in the space such as US-based gaming company Encryptid. OBC invested US$100,000 in cash in exchange for a 35% interest in the company.
Since then, OBC has developed multiple projects at a global level, envisioning widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and exploring early stage opportunities for blockchain applications.
Cassiopeia Services talked to OBC CEO Clem Chambers about FreeLoadr, blockchain in gaming and opportunities in the industry. Chambers is a well-known figure (Maverick Genius) in the City of London, having made a sizeable fortune in the dot.com boom.
How was FreeLoadr inspired? What makes it special and different from other gaming applications available?
CC: “We’re constantly coming up with great ideas as a group and FreeLoadr was a favourite as it was such an accessible project, in the mainstream and in the heartland of the digital natives that love Crypto.”
What market demands in gaming can blockchain applications meet?
CC: “The potential is endless. Crypto opens up vast horizons for computer games because it allows for a real financial system to underpin the giant environments that are played in by millions of people.”
Nowadays, mobile gaming takes the biggest share in the gaming market. Why is mobile taking over consoles and PCs? In terms of blockchain applications for different platforms, is there any difference between them?
CC: “Mobiles are ever present and that’s spawned a whole new way of delivering and monetising computer gaming. Blockchain is a mechanism to open that market up further and take in-game values into the real world and vice versa.”
What are non-fungible assets and what advantages does it bring to gamers? Can it be monetised in the blockchain?
CC: “Most games have virtual goods that cost money but it is hard or often impossible to sell them on second hand. Micro transactions are already big new in computer games and blockchain will extent that environment much further not just by making non-fungible virtual game items fungible but by providing a platform for made-for crypto games, a tremendous example of this is the game by Encrypted we have invested in.”
Any more gaming projects for OBC in the future?
CC: “We have invested in a tremendously exciting developer called Encryptd and the product is taking shape. They have deep crypto expertise and their game could be a smash. distributed Crypto games will light up the gaming market at some point, it’s just a case of when. We want to be part of that.”
Different kinds of fraud, cheating, and other attacks have become a big deal in the $135 billion game market, while research showed that one in five gamers fall victim to fraud while playing. How can blockchain help with preventing and countering gaming fraud?
CC: “Blockchain can and will help but there is no magic bullet for that. Never was, never will be. The best solution is solid game management, something deeply rooted in our heritage in the games business.”
In the case of FreeLoadr, users can enjoy free access to games in exchange for ‘hash power’. How does OBC use this ‘hash power’ to mine selected cryptocurrency? What is the cryptocurrency? Why is this a profitable exchange for OBC?
CC: “We farm the hash power out to mining pools. We receive Bitcoin and other coins from the pools, take our margin and use the rest to buy games for the user. It’s a very simple clean model.”
China is the country with the highest gaming revenues ̶ $34,400M ̶ showing the opportunity in this market. OBC will be launching FreeLoadr in the UK and in North America soon, but are there any plans to bring it to Asia and other parts of the world?
CC: “In one word, Yes. Asia is very interesting and exciting and we’re looking at that market.”
Blockchain and gaming is already a very potent combination, so do you think integrating cloud services with FreeLoadr’s model would help it expand in the future? Considering not all people have a lot of GPU power on their laptops, would it better to have an ecosystem of blockchain-gaming and cloud services?
CC: “This is a possibility, but I think we’re thinking about other verticals as the biggest opportunities. You could charge you Costa Coffee card with Freeloadr, for instance.”
Are there any plans to launch a FreeLoadr coin? Considering your plans to venture into the gaming console systems such as Playstation and Xbox, if people get the opportunity to have one unique coin for all their gaming purchases, it might help promote widespread adoption of FreeLoadr ̶ what are your views on this?
CC: “We will have a Freeloadr that buts console games, that will be a product for this autumn. The lesson we have learned over the years is to focus hard, stay under the radar, keep your risk surface low and embrace talent. Blockchain is a continent of opportunity and the key to success is to find a sweat spot and build your city there. Can you tell I got Civilization IV with Freeloadr points?”
Follow Freeloader on twitter @FreeLoadr_App
Cassiopeia Services, official PR for DigiByte Blockchain, is pleased to announce the First DigiByte Global Summit happening in Amsterdam this coming Friday will be streamed live on Vimeo.
“We wanted to make sure that the whole DGB global community who could not personally attend the summit in Amsterdam, can still be part of the reunion and hear about the latest developments and upcoming news. DigiByte has one of the most multicultural, diverse and passionate communities in the crypto space, and we would like to give every member the opportunity of joining us at this epic gathering,” said Stefania Barbaglio, PR lady for DigiByte.
Confirmed speakers are: DigiByte founder Jared Tate, DigiByte Foundation Member and Chief Fun Officer (CFO) Josiah Spackman, Official DigiByte PR Steffy (Stefania Barbaglio), co-founder of the DigiByte Awareness Team Rudy Bouwman, Founders of V-ID Marnix van den Berg and Pim Voets, Lead Business Dev of V-ID Joshua Jenster, Founder of Antum ID Jan Muyldermans, Founders of Vertbase Justin Seidl and Stuart Menzies, and CEO of Block 30 Labs Brian Foote.
The projects presenting at the summit have multiple applications and serve different purposes — from data authentication to digital assets trading, but they were all built on top of DigiByte blockchain. It highlights its versatility and security, and it shows how decentralised technologies have the potential to reshape our system.
The summit will start 2pm, Amsterdam Time — 12 noon GMT.
The link to connect is https://vimeo.com/330997656
Cassiopeia would like to thank our main sponsor Vertbase, our partners: DGB Awareness Team, Change Angel, V-ID, Antum ID, Block 30 Labs and our media partners: Coin Rivet, ICO Holder, Coin Revolution, Crypto Updates, AMB Crypto, Coin Codex, Crypto News Z and Top Market Group.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Malta is positioning itself as a leading European hub for innovation and openness to technology. Its reputation stems from a number of business-friendly regulations put in place to attract investment and spur economic activity in the Mediterranean island.
Malta was once a British colony — gaining independence in 1964. The island nowadays leverages its language and cultural heritage to support business and trade — alongside a prominent set of regulations which bring value to the national economic activity.
“Innovation is the key for future economies. Additionally, for a long time, crafts and trade were sidelined but innovation plays a role here too to revitalise them. The global economy is becoming more innovative and it is the responsibility of our country to be at the forefront of that innovation,” MEP Miriam Dalli recently said, outlining the country’s commitment to taking its ‘economy to the next level’.
Clear evidence of this prosperity is Malta topping the European Commission economic growth list for 2019 and 2020, after the Maltese economy presented growth of 6.6 per cent last year.
Growth 2019 #ECForecast: 🇲🇹5.2 🇮🇪4.1 🇸🇰4.1 🇷🇴3.8 🇧🇬3.6 🇵🇱3.5 🇭🇺3.4 🇨🇾3.3 🇸🇮3.1 🇱🇻3.1 🇨🇿2.9 🇪🇪2.7 🇭🇷2.7 🇱🇹2.7 🇱🇺2.5 🇬🇷2.2 🇪🇸2.1 🇫🇮1.9 🇳🇱1.7 🇵🇹1.7 🇦🇹1.6 🇩🇰1.6 🇪🇺1.5 🇸🇪1.3 🇫🇷1.3 🇧🇪1.3 🇬🇧1.3 🇩🇪1.1 🇮🇹0.2 Learn more → https://t.co/VBy3qmh5nB
The innovative mindset is reflected in diverse sectors, from personal healthcare to financial technology. Malta has been the European gateway for many policies, including the legalisation of cannabis and embracing crypto and gaming projects.
Medical Cannabis Capital
In March 2018, Malta officially legalised medical cannabis. A month later, with the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act in place, Maltese entities were able to cultivate, import, process and produce cannabis intended for medical and research purposes under a controlled and supervised environment.
These policies led to the Malta Medicines Authority gaining international reputation and prestige for its patient-centric work in the regulation of medicines. The strategy seems to be working so far: according to statistics from Eurostat, a 75% share of the population in Malta perceived their health as good or very good.
Last November, Malta hosted the Medical Cannabis World Forum, which brought together the policymakers, business leaders and healthcare practitioners who are shaping the global cannabis industry today.
“One would think that a small country like Malta would follow suit; instead, Malta is a dynamic … leader. The legislative measures enacted with respect to medicinal cannabis are not some transposition of provisions implemented everywhere else. Many in the field are cognisant that Malta has floodlit an area which may still be quite hazy elsewhere,” said Parliamentary Secretary Dr Deo Debattista at the Forum last year.
Gaming, blockchain and technology hub
Following recent advancements made in the legislation for Gaming operaters in Malta, the island has received over 20 applications from new companies looking to direct business in Malta. Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri, who announced the surge of applications to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) at the ICE London 2019 edition, the leading global gaming conference, identified the island as the ‘home of gaming excellence’.
This was clear at the event itself, as Malta had the highest number of stands at ICE London , with 11% of exhibitors being Malta-based operators.
Prompted by the uncertainty around the post- Brexit scenario in the UK, Malta has seen an influx of businesses moving part of their activities to the island, such as big UK-based gaming and betting companies — 888 Holdings and Ladbrokes’ parent company — announcing it would be moving some of its operations to Malta because of looser regulations and lower tax rates.
Regarding Malta’s openness to disruptive technologies such as blockchain,
high-profile exchanges like Binance, Bittrex, Okex, Bitbay, and Zebpay, have moved or extended operations from stricter regulatory jurisdictions to incorporate their businesses in crypto-friendly Malta.
Stefania Barbaglio, blockchain consultant and technology PR says: “Malta has become a role model in Europe, highlighting the role of positive legislation to boost economy and business activity. Outdated regulations and closed attitudes towards innovation can lead to elite nations — such as the UK and the US — losing their spot in the international investment scene. It is important that new regulations are centered around innovation and the social value of technology, so that the digital economies can flourish and develop.”
Malta AI & Blockchain Conference
The Malta AI and Blockchain Conference Spring Edition is approaching, giving stage to over 300 exhibitors and welcoming over more than 5,000 guests. Among the list of speakers, there is prime minister of malta Joseph Muscat and parliamentary secretary for financial services Silvio Schembri.
Last November, three innovative bills were launched during the event. In this 2019 edition, the Maltese Government will enact a world first: a fourth bill, giving a D.A.O. its own legal personality. In addition, a task force is also working around the clock on a set of incentives that will support businesses in Artificial Intelligence.
The multi-billion dollar gaming market is about to witness a brand new project leveraging on blockchain technology to give players the chance of cashing in ‘real money’ from their gaming tokens.
The gaming industry helped drive the internet, certainly in the social media age where social gaming and microtransactions have become a flourishing industry in their own right. Now, the industry could be helping to spur the growth of blockchain technology and increase adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Numbers indicate there are more than 25,000 e-gaming platforms worldwide, generating altogether between USD$20 to 40 billion in revenue. Online gaming is expected to grow by over 11% a year until 2020. This impressive growth is mostly down to new technologies enhancing current gaming experiences and creating niches in the market.
In 2017 alone, the gaming industry generated $108.4 billion in revenue. The good sentiment is also felt on the investment side in an increasing interest in blockchain appliances from gaming companies. Over the last few years, there have been more than 50 ICOs for gaming-focused projects, the top 10 fundraisers reaching over $323 million alone.
Among many features, the introduction of blockchain technology in games offers more security to players, can increase number and variety of elements and allows more sophisticated features.
The integration of blockchain into gaming is seen as a positive move within the crypto space. Gamers are known to be early adopters of new technologies and their familiarity with tokens and virtual currencies can help drive adoption of cryptocurrencies wider.
ULTI Coin: Exchange gaming tokens for real currencies
Aiming to reach the core of the popular and expanding gaming industry, blockchain developers decided to create ULTICoin.
The coin started to be designed in 2017 by a team of experts in gaming — and gamers themselves — who understand the market very well spotted the opportunity of deploying crypto technology to unlock the billions of dollars that are locked inside video games features and different realities.
ULTI Coin is the first-of-its-kind allowing players to get ‘real’ money’ from their games. ULTI Coin is new cryptocurrency that implements and manages in-game virtual currencies. Purpose of ULTICoin is exchanging in-game currencies for ULTI Tokens, which allows gamers to become users of ULTICoin, and exchange ULTI Tokens for FIAT currencies or any other in-game currency.
“Our aim is to partner with as many gaming companies as possible. In any game, you gather tokens which now with ULTI coin can be exchanged for real money,” said Nadja Jovovic, a consultant at ULTCoin.
“Our project is built on Ethereum blockchain, which means users get the speed, safety and transparency from Ethereum network,” said Sergej Belavin, senior consultant at ULTI Coin.
ULTI will soon be listed on different crypto exchanges around the world which will allow gamers to trade their gaming coins to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and eventually fiat values.
For the past three years, we have witnessed a carousel of Brexit-related ups and downs. Endless trips to Brussels and votes in Parliament have exhausted not only politicians but also the British people and business people who need to keep on working on shaky territory.
In the latest episode of FinancialFox, James Bevan, asset manager and Chief Investment Officer at CCLA shared his insights about Britain’s divorce from the EU, and the post-scenario for the UK and business.
Having been in the public sector for many years, James Bevan shares valuable insights about finance, investment, technology, employment and opportunities. He believes that despite diverging views on how to handle Brexit, an orderly exit with a deal is still the best option, as agreed by the majority of Members of Parliament. “I believe a positive deal with the EU might lead to a significant pick-up of investments. I don’t think it is fanciful to suggest that in 2020, the UK could be the fastest growing economy in the G7.”
Nevertheless, there are many challenges which could hinder such growth. James points out that the UK economy is largely reliant on the services sector, and if Britain wants to keep its competitive edge on the global stage, it has to increase internal productivity and entrepreneurship.
In practical terms, the uncertainty around how post-Brexit Britain would look is the same now as it was three years ago. Much has been said about the slowing of the economy as an immediate result of Brexit. Analysts do 2019 to be slow in terms of activity; growth should pick up again next year. According to PwC’s UK Economic Outlook report released in March, UK growth is to dip to 1.1% in 2019 and to strengthen only moderately, to 1.6% in 2020.
Fintech continues to boom
While no decisions are made in Westminster and political battles make for a gloomy outlook, in the City of London ̶ and more specifically in Shoreditch’s Tech City ̶ businesses continue to flourish.
Fintech is indeed one of the gems of the British finance sector, and rightly so: in the first six months of 2018 alone, the UK attracted a record high £12bn of investment in Fintech. London is quickly catching up with San Francisco, the global capital of fintech. City AM reported that, among the 29 fintech unicorns ̶ companies with a valuation of more than $1bn ̶ nine are in San Francisco, while seven are based in the UK capital. Last year, London received more than a third of the European fintech venture capital funding.
Will this trend continue to point upwards after Brexit? Some experts think so, as investments in digital banking projects continue to pour in in 2019. According to QZ, the chief executives of the payment app and fintech unicorn Revolut, and Clausematch, a compliance company, get five to six calls from investors each week. Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky claimed that Revolut may look to raise $500 million or even more in 2019 as the company’s valuation increases.
Anne Boden, CEO of digital banking platform Starling Bank, says the positive outlook on UK’s fintech can be attributed to the uniqueness of the companies, and that not many new projects are being licenced.
Trade and New Partnerships
One of the main arguments of Brexiteers is that, once outside the EU, the UK would have more autonomy over its trade agreements and commerce partners. In the technology sector, we see that the UK has proactively looked for partners outside the European bloc. Closer relationships with emerging markets are particularly positive in this scenario, given the rapid growth of their digital economies and the market opportunities posed for fintech companies based in Britain.
International partnerships are crucial, given that most the UK’s trade agreements nowadays happen within the EU, rather than outside. In a quest to widen its outreach, British officials have started talks with other countries.
In March, leading members of the Thailand and Vietnam Fintech communities were in London to visit world-leading Fintech businesses.
“As we leave the EU, the UK is working harder than ever to build Fintech partnerships with others. We have put Fintech at the heart of the UK’s ASEAN Economic Reform Programme, which will focus on Southeast Asia and which aims to promote inclusive economic growth. This three-year programme will provide technical assistance and the opportunity to share experiences in support of the continuing development of Fintech regulation in Thailand, Vietnam and some other ASEAN countries,” said MP Mark Field about the deepening relationship with nations in Southeast Asia.