MoneyGram is on the Decline

MoneyGram International, Inc goes by the ticker MGI on the NASDAQ GS. At the time of writing (November 2018), MoneyGram stock was priced at approximately $4.40 per share. For the year-to-date, MoneyGram stock has declined from $12.28 per share, shedding almost $8 in 2018. The company’s market capitalisation is currently $245.46 million with no price/earnings ratio and a -0.56 earnings per share. The 1-year target estimate price for MoneyGram is $6.25. It is noteworthy that MoneyGram traded as high as $15.54 over the past 52 weeks, indicating that there has been a significant downgrading of investor confidence and performance in this stock.

 

MoneyGram International Inc is a money transfer service with HQ in Dallas, Texas. It offers international money transfer services with locations all over the world. According to Zacks Investment Research, MoneyGram stock is no longer the darling of investors in the money transfer services industry. There were several reasons why the stock capitulated, notably fundamental weaknesses in its money transfer business which comprises a substantial source of the company’s overall revenues. More importantly, MoneyGram faces a slew of challenges from up-and-coming start-ups, online money transfer services and other FinTech operations. At a time where the industry was growing at a rate of 6%, MoneyGram was plunging in double digits.

 

2018 has seen many online money transfer companies come into their own. The volatility of the FX market is but one of several reasons why MoneyGram transfers are losing market share. Governments around the world are placing increasingly stringent regulations on money transfer services, and pricing pressures have come home to bite. Besides for increasing costs of compliance vis-a-vis governance structures and regulations, MoneyGram is having to shelve out millions of dollars which is eating into its bottom line with sharply decreasing growth prospects. Overall, lower remittance rates have resulted in weakness in many Middle Eastern markets for MoneyGram, notably Saudi Arabia. In Africa, MoneyGram has suffered from decreased market share when Nigeria reduced the permitted allotment to just 50% of what it previously was. As a result, stock prices are generally weak and market share is slacking.

 

How Are Competitors Eating into MoneyGram’s Market Share?

International money transfer companies like World First and HiFX are starting to dominate the online money transfer industry in a big way. They are but two of many FinTech operations now coming into their own. When it comes to money transfer companies, a growing number of people are choosing these money transfer companies over established banks and financial institutions.

 

Analysts are of the opinion that MoneyGram is losing market share to these up-and-coming online money transfer service companies. According to International Money Transfers – a leading reviewer of money transfer services – HiFX/WorldFirst comparison charts present many interesting facts and figures, notably:

 

  • World First is a privately-owned enterprise (operating since 2004) with offices across 5 continents. It features 75,000 active clients, and growing. This online money transfer service currently offers 121 currencies, with no fees on transfers, except for small transfers which cost $10.
  • HiFX is owned by Euronet, and is headquartered in London, UK. While this money transfer services company does not offer as many currencies – 5 dozen pairs offered, it accepts clients from across Australia and Europe. The fee is £9 per transfer, and it’s fully regulated by the FOC, FMA, and FCA.

 

There are pros and cons to each of these services, notably that WorldFirst does not offer FX options and is markedly smaller than HiFX. From the other side, HiFX lacks transparency on rates, and is a little clunky in terms of registration. There are mixed reviews on the services offered by HiFX and WorldFirst, but the majority of customer feedback has been positive.

These companies are proving to be a thorn in the side of market giant MoneyGram. As more clients shift to WorldFirst and HiFX, the drip, drip from MoneyGram becomes a slow and steady trickle to alternative online money transfer services.

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Payday Loan Improvement: Has Regulation Truly Made A Difference

Payday Short Term Loans That Make Sense

Payday Loans were created to ease the financial pressure that workers face before they receive their pay cheques at the end of the month. The short term loan would be paid directly into the worker’s bank account before they were expected to repay in full, with interest, when they eventually received their pay. The type of loan came under much scrutiny, with critics citing that it made it too easy for a vulnerable person to ‘over borrow’ and therefore, face long term financial hardship. It was as a result of this condemnation, that a series of laws were introduced in an attempt to regulate payday loans.

We’re going to explore those very laws and examine whether the regulation made a difference.

Which Regulation Was Introduced?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was the organisation responsible for the regulation introduced into the payday loan market.

The first action the FCA took was to introduce a cap on interest rates charged on loans, which were frozen at 0.8% per day the amount borrowed. There was also another condition added, that no borrower should have to pay back more than twice the amount of their original loan.

They also regulated and reduced the fees that payday lenders could charge for arranging a loan, as well as introducing a cap on the borrower default fee, meaning that if a borrower failed to meet the conditions of their loan, they could only be charged a maximum of £15.

The FCA’s final ruling was that each payday lender had to list their loan rates on at least one price comparison site to prove their legitimacy, as well as improving competition and price transparency within the market.

Did The Regulation Make A Difference?

These interventions went a long way to making the payday lender industry far more legitimate; however there is still room for improvement which was detailed in a report published by Citizens Advice.

They found that after the caps and regulation were introduced, that borrowers were far less likely to find themselves in extreme financial difficulty, provided that they communicate to their borrowers that they were having trouble repaying their payday loan.

The 44% of borrowers who were experiencing difficulty in paying back their loans, but actually spoke to their lender, managed to agree a more affordable alternative repayment plan.

This statistic illustrates two points; the first is that lenders are more than happy to provide alternative options for borrowers provided that they tell them they are experiencing problems. The second, however, is that more than half of borrowers are unwilling to voice their concerns regarding repayments, due to the fact they perhaps feel embarrassed or ashamed at their inability to repay their loan.

Therefore, while payday lenders have clearly improved their methods for making loans easier to repay, work can still to be done in regards to the line of communication between lender and borrower.

Ultimately, it’s clear that the payday loan industry has evidently improved after regulation, however it’s still not perfect, and things can still be done to better the industry for both lenders and borrowers.

 

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The Future of Cryptocurrencies in Banking

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology seem to be slowly but surely gaining acceptance in many sectors seeking speed, low fees, and a connection with the digital generation. Thanks to their decentralized nature, cryptos give power to the individual, ensure access for everyone (including the unbanked), and grant users control over their digital future. For most adopters, these are the major draw.

But that is not to say that the journey has been smooth and sailed. Digital currencies have had their fair share of challenges and failures since bitcoin launched in 2009. More so, their volatility, exposure to manipulation, and use in illegal trade (drugs, illegal pornography, hacks, and thefts, etc.) still constitute a problem. Despite them, however, many still believe cryptos have a bright future in the banking sector.

An Evolving System

The evolution of cryptocurrencies has the potential to be revolutionary. Digital currencies are seen in many quarters as having all the ingredients necessary to challenge some more legacy business models in banking.

Powered by the blockchain technology, cryptocurrency transactions are registered in a verified ledger system, which enables individuals and financial organizations to transfer funds in a secure and traceable way. As a result, their application in banking will help build trust in the financial services arena.

While most of the commentary regarding the future of cryptocurrency has emphasized the threat to established bank models and how they’ll remove the need for intermediaries, new cryptos are being developed to serve as regular money within traditional financial institutions.

These new “currencies” do not behave like speculative bubbles or securities. Instead, what developers are trying to achieve is make these tokens function as a medium of exchange in much the same way as fiat currency.

A good example of such currencies is the SOV, the Marshall Islands’ very own cryptocurrency, which will be distributed as legal tender alongside the U.S Dollar. A report on Reuters said the SOV will be issued to the mass public via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Russian Releasing Cryptoruble

In a related development, Russia is also pondering the release of Cryptorubble, a state-controlled digital currency to serve as an intermediary instrument that will facilitate the exchange of goods and services.

In the Middle East, the Central Banks of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are already taking steps to develop a cross-border cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate the buying and selling of items between the two countries.

Asset-Backed Tokens to Become Mainstream

Meanwhile, it is believed that banks could use digital currencies to buy, sell, and trade goods by backing tokens with real assets in the future. Asset-backed tokens offer benefits such as the securitization of assets, liquidity, ownership rights, lowered volatility of crypto assets, among others.

The LendingCoin (TLC), a real-estate backed cryptocurrency token, is a good example of such tokens. Investments in TLC “…are backed by the refinancing of commercial property with proven value,” according to the Lending Coin website.

Asides refinancing the real estate, the Lending Coin will branch out to other sectors of the real estate market like residential properties, which could potentially disrupt traditional mortgage payments and home refinancing.

Outside of real estate, asset-backed tokens will have applications in industries such as art, gaming, and will help ensure self-sovereignty by giving individuals complete control of their information.

 

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World Finance: How Institutions Can Prepare for the Future of Banking

The Future of Banking

Finance is being taken over by tech. Advances in technology are quickly transforming the industry, and may ultimately change the face of world finance as we know it. Banks and insurers used to have less motivation to push boundaries, as the highly profitable, relatively static business models they adopted worked so well.

Today, however, leaders of the industry who had achieved excellent results and brought advanced experience into the financial and business world are being confronted by a new wind of technologies that may disrupt their markets. Peer-to-peer lenders, crowdfunding, bitcoin, mobile payments, robo advisers, etc., are bringing about rapid liberalizing of finance and trade.

The current situation and forces have led to questions being asked about the future of finance. Unless the big names of financial services rethink their business models in some very fundamental ways, they may find themselves losing market share to today’s ever-aggressive innovators. These innovators have come up with ways to offer better products than traditional financial organizations as you would see below.

Modern Technology Use Cases in Financial Services

Technology is driving innovation in the world of finance in several ways. These include:

  • Remittance: This is one of the problem areas for conventional financial institutions. Cross-border payments have traditionally been a slow and expensive process, with some transfers taking up to three days to arrive. The blockchain enables innovators to challenge this process by significantly speeding up confirmation times and simplifying the payment process, all while reducing costs. Blockchain also enhances transparency in the financial industry. This helps to minimize risk and human errors.
  • Chatbots and Customer Service: Another issue that customers often face with traditional financial institutions is that they offer poor customer experience. Chatbots help to correct this, thereby improving client satisfaction and lowering cost.
  • Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Fraud Detection: Machine learning and artificial intelligence make fraud detection easier, as they help enhance efficiency through the mining of unstructured transaction and account information to give a 360-degree client view and facilitate faster transaction authentication.

How Traditional Financial Institutions Can Prepare for the Future

If the aforementioned disruptive technologies are an indication of things to come, then financial institutions must make efforts to move with the times by generating more innovative ideas to take their business forward. This can be done by:

  • Embracing technology: To ensure continued success, banks will have to adopt technology to keep up with the rapid shift in digital economics. Unless banks train staff on the use of and invest in tech, they may find themselves lagging behind their non-bank competitors in the foreseeable future.
  • Adopting blockchain: Financial institutions should look to take advantage of blockchain if they aim to provide customers with quicker and inexpensive ways to transact.
  • Staying social: Banks can improve customer satisfaction by not only providing engaging content but also by providing customers with several platforms with which to contact them and respond promptly to inquiries.

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Future of Blockchain – Wall Street

 

Future Finance Dominated by Blockchain

The main thing to know about Blockchain for someone to know is that at this time it is the next Gen of the internet. We’re still trying out where this technology is able to go, and precisely what it can perform, but there are a lot of great benefits of being on the Blockchain, and having applications on the Blockchain. However it is more than just a distributed database. Blockchain is here to stay, and the growth is exponential every day

The continuing future of finance might be dominated by Blockchain technologies. A traceable global currency complete with an excellent infrastructure can not only end in massive cost reduction for all market participants, it’ll change international banking. Bitcoin will do for payments what email did for interaction.

What are the futures?

  • Blockchain will be implemented by central banking institutions as well as cryptographically protected currencies will become reliable.
  • Nasdaq is going to launch Blockchain enable digital ledger-technology which can used to grow and increase the money control capability provided on its Nasdaq-private-Market-platform.
  • The settlement of currency, equity and fixed income trades easily through permission dispensed ledgers creates an opportunity that is significant banking institutions to push efficiency as well as possibly create newer asset classes.

Control

  • Latest technologies like Blockchain can possible decrease cyber-risks by providing identity verification thru a visible record.
  • There is absolutely no good reason why needs for numbering; preserving and indexing records as well as communicating information supplied in records cannot be met via an electronic ledger system.
  • Automobile rental agencies may make use of smart-contracts that simply permit rentals when payment’s received as well as insurance information is confirmed thru a Blockchain record.
  • A refrigerator built with sensors as well as connected to the Internet might use Blockchain to handle automated interactions with the world-anything that is external purchasing as well as investing in food to organizing for its very own software upgrades and tracking its warranty.
  • Small organizations can use Blockchain to produce reliable trading platforms among themselves.
  • Blockchain may potentially help bring robustness and transparency to the post-trade environment.
  • newer technologies like Blockchain have the prospective to reduce cyber risks by providing identity verification through a noticeable ledger.
  • A bank might pay the supplier instantly over the Internet.
  • Blockchain technology will alter timing on risk.

Crime

  • A new Blockchain startup has claimed its software might help track straight down crooks faster as well as cheaper than ever.
  • Connecticut are warning parents that newer called Bitcoin could be the culprit for helping underage drinkers to obtain buzzed Effects

Banks

  • Blockchain can be implemented by central banks as well as cryptographically protected currencies will be trusted.
  • Blockchain might replace central banks.
  • Real risks stay for banks that choose to find you in Cryptocurrency firms.
  • Blockchain technology could reduce steadily the UBS’s infrastructure expenses in cross-border payments, securities trading and compliance that is regulatory the maximum amount of as $30 billion a year by 2022.
  • The number of apps within and beyond your banking institutions might be reduced due to the fact Blockchain deal contains all information that is relevant the successful transfer of assets and/or related contracts.
  • Deutsche bank’s economist sees Blockchain as a hazard due to the insufficient the IT infrastructure to support the technology involved.
  • Ethereum is much more general purpose than bitcoin and could be useful for banks.
  • The future of finance in several countries might be dominated by Bitcoin as well as cryptocurrencies.
  • a Blockchain that is private by banks might find yourself as an extra cartel and work as poorly as the payments syndicate.
  • Banks could be the custodians of cryptographic keys.
  • The Blockchain could conserve lenders as much as $20 billion yearly in settlement.
  • Blockchain technology could possibly be used to bypass today’s centralized financial infrastructure totally.

Industries

  • Time as well as education can have to play a role as other companies are just recognizing one of the core inventions of the Blockchain is its ability to reduce or eliminate trusted counterparties within the transaction process.
  • Blockchain has the possible to create newer as well as disrupt existing technologies and processes.
  • Blockchain-technology can make the globe smaller as it does raise the speed and efficiency of transactional activities.

Governments

  • The future of finance in many countries might be dominated by Bitcoin as well as cryptocurrencies.
  • Blockchain technology could be used to distribute welfare that is social developing nations.
  • Elections are a pricey and arduous. Many Thanks to Blockchain tech they will soon be instantaneous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pros & Cons Of Cryptocurrency

There has been a steady growth of interest when it comes to cryptocurrency. As it becomes more integrated into different levels of our lives, it’s no surprise that increased awareness is driving the growing financial revolution. While there are both positives and negatives to the digital currency, the truth is that there are enough big businesses and corporations looking at ways to integrate the technology and make the most of its advantages, so the notion of digital currency is not going away anytime soon.  With fluctuations in value creating an ever-changing market for bitcoins and other, less popular, examples of cryptocurrency, you may be looking at the best ways that you can take advantage of the growing market and influence of this digital powerhouse. If you’ve been looking for good investment opportunities and therefore considering investing in a cryptocurrency, or if you are simply curious how you can use it to manage your finances more securely, then you need to be aware not only of the potential benefits, but also of the negatives as well. This will give you the options with a clear view of what to expect, and will improve your chances of having a positive interaction with cryptocurrency yourself.

Con – It can be difficult to comprehend

Perhaps the most challenging obstacle in terms of large-scale adoption of the various cryptocurrency options, is that it can be a difficult subject to comprehend. The very idea of a decentralized financial system that is stored via blockchain can be challenging, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. Due to the fact that it seems occasionally incomprehensible, people are proving to be very wary taking advantage of the benefits that it can offer, and that appears to be the last hurdle that digital currency advocates will need to tackle if they want to see wider use.

Con – Challenges of market fluctuations

There are a variety ways that you can use cryptocurrencies, but the majority of people using them at the moment are simply using them as an investment. While the more eager users are using their digital currency to buy tickets to sporting events, gamble online, or even buy a house with bitcoin, most are simply waiting for the dramatic market fluctuations to work in their favor. Treating your bitcoins as you would any other commodity may be the way to initiate a more widespread understanding and trust in the new currencies.

Con – No security in case of loss

As with every emerging technology, there are those that use naivety and inexperience to scam, cheat and steal your hard-earned money. This has certainly proven to be the case with digital currencies, so it’s important to be aware of the safety risks. Treating your bitcoins as real money will get you in the right frame of mind, as you simply have to follow standard security protocol as you would with hard currency. For those using cryptocurrency to buy, sell or gamble online, simply be as careful as you would with any investment. For online casinos, look out for the old tricks updated to the digital age, and don’t trust companies that offer unrealistic bonuses, odds, and offers. With a little basic security, you can minimize your chances of making a loss that can never be returned.

Pro – Unparalleled Transparency

This is one of the major reasons why digital currency offers much more potential for societal change and accountability. While the use of cryptocurrency is anonymous, the transactions themselves are all stored on an open ledger (the blockchain). This means that the data is available to view by anyone at any time, and that’s a major boon for those wishing for a more transparent banking system. It is because of this transparency that bitcoin is considered one of the hottest topics in world currency.

Pro – Instant and 24-hour accessibility

It is possible to spend or buy wherever you are, and you don’t even need a computer to use it. Everything can be managed on your mobile device, meaning that even for those with little in the way of technology, they are still able to access their finances and make decisions in real time. This accessibility is a key feature for the adoption of bitcoin, and is being used across the world to provide opportunities for those who would previously have struggled to become online consumers.

Pro (and con) – Absolute anonymity

Having an unregulated currency that is not bound by customs adjustments and fluctuating political changes is a positive and a negative. Cryptocurrency is completely anonymous, which is great for those that value their online privacy and are wary of handing over too much of their digital data. While the additional layer of security that anonymity provides is an excellent benefit, it has also led to the inevitable adoption of the technology by the criminal fraternity. The black market and the dark web are big users of cryptocurrency, and criminals obviously value their anonymity as much as they value the ability to send vast sums of money anywhere in the world with a few taps of their phone. For more law-abiding citizens, the benefits of anonymity are many, but perhaps the most enticing is the fact that there is no chance of identity theft, and that’s of major interest to anyone looking for more secure ways to remain online safely.

Every budding technology will have a degree of uncertainty about the future, and cryptocurrency is no different. While the popularity is growing, and businesses race to keep up with growing demand for its use, it may be too early to know just how big of an impact cryptocurrency will have. As a potential financial revolution, it’s worth keeping an eye on, and maybe investing in now before interest spreads worldwide.

 

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How Is Bitcoin Marketing Itself

As a result of the Greek economic downturn and financial crisis as a whole, Bitcoin found itself at the centre of the news debate. Due to its natural characteristics, its decentralised platform, and ultimately its fascinating make-up due to the blockchain technology on which it is based, Bitcoin offers an exciting new wealth of opportunities. With the development of the bitcoin gambling casino which has introduced provably fair gaming to the online world and implementation by brands such as Subway and Steam, the cryptocurrency is continuing to grow. Despite numerous restrictions being placed on Bitcoin, the debate around its potential is continuing, and in turn the cryptocurrency has begun to market itself. Here, we’re taking a look at how.

The Characteristics Of Bitcoin

There are numerous exciting opportunities which Bitcoin provides, and a lot of these come from the characteristics behind the blockchain technology which makes up the cryptocurrency. Firstly, the decentralised element to the Bitcoin offers numerous advantages which is actually leading to disrupt numerous financial institutions. Despite its unpredictability and its evolution under the auspices of a nebulous entity, it is this challenging nature which is actually attracting numerous investors. The cryptocurrency is almost completely anonymous, and as such, many users feel protected when making purchases.

The blockchain technology itself is also exceptionally secure, with fraud being somewhat deterred by the make-up of the cryptocurrency. All of these characteristics have gradually marketed themselves, and with the boom in investment, more individuals are turning to this cryptocurrency as an alternative payment method.

Price Performance

A major indicator of the cryptocurrency’s growth is its price performance, and with the huge amount of investment going into the currency in recent months, it’s unsurprising to see that the price has boomed. Despite many critics believing that the currency remains unstable, the Bitcoin is marketing itself as a well-performing investment opportunity for many. While many are concerned about the regulations which are beginning to be imposed, these will only stabilise the cryptocurrency, further opening opportunities for use.

 

Fear By Financial Institutions

One of the major marketing aspects for Bitcoin is the fear it has imposed in some traditional financial institutions, which may now have to evolve their techniques in order to keep up with this ever-growing technology. While traditional financial institutions may see this as a negative, consumers and individuals will see this as a positive, as banks will now have to adapt their methods in order to keep funds as secure, yet accessible, as possible. Some financial institutions, such as Barclays, have already started to adopt cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and have begun discussions with regulators on how to bring this technology into play more efficiently. With big brands such as these, alongside the likes of Subway, Microsoft, PlayStation and more embracing this technology, Bitcoin is being marketed in more ways than ever before.

While many associate Bitcoin with having an image issue, in modern times, this is very much the opposite. With increasing regulations being implemented, Bitcoin is only going to stabilise more efficiently, and as a result grow with more investments. Since the boom, Bitcoin’s marketing has been handled by the news and simply by word-of-mouth.

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ROBOS and Banks: The Dawning of a New Time

Will Banks Use More Robots

The use of Robo advisors is gaining prominence in mainstream banking circles. Clients have several options available to them when picking investment products. These include the go-it-alone approach where individuals are responsible for the management of their own portfolio of stocks, bonds, cash, indices, commodities etc. This option is best suited to professionals, or investors who understand the intricacies of the financial markets.

The other option is a choice between using traditional banks and investment gurus on the one hand, or the modern-day upgrades with things like discount brokerages. While there is certainly merit in all of these options, many investors are not totally sold on either option. A fusion of these investment possibilities which encompasses online advice with a self-directed brokerage is increasingly preferred by clients.

Fintech Disrupting Traditional Banking

FinTech has dramatically revolutionized the investment landscape, and banking operations are front and centre. New-age investors prefer having a say in how their money is managed, and this need has not been fully satisfied with the options listed above. Instead, clients prefer hybrid options known as Robo advisors. The concept of a Robo advisor is largely misunderstood by mainstream investors. A Robo advisor does not remove the human element from investing and portfolio management.

True to form, Robo advisors do not require clients to meet with investment gurus face-to-face. It is a convenience-based element at play, and one that makes it easier for anyone to instantly initiate trades at the click of a button. Most of the communication via Robo advisors is conducted through secure online connections and chat services such as Skype, messenger, and the like.

More Control Over Financial Portfolios

The Canadian investment scene is slowly adapting to this modern-day technology, but only the Bank of Montréal has infused Robo advisor technology as part of its investments toolkit. FinTech is leaps and bounds ahead of traditional banking. It is a major disruptive force in the financial world, and it caters to a large under-banked or unbanked sector of society. In Canada, the US and across Europe, clients are looking for easier ways to manage their financial portfolios, while still maintaining control over trades that are executed.

The conventional system of entrusting all of one’s finances to a fund manager with a bias towards certain stocks, ETFs or mutual funds is losing traction. Today, investors want to have a modicum of control over their portfolio, and they don’t want the emotional component, or the bias via the investment advisor. A Robo advisor serves this purpose well. Provided the range of financial assets available to the client is all-encompassing, a Robo advisor can pick the appropriate stocks based on client specifications. Hard data is analysed instantly, and the best investment options are provided to the client.

Robo Advisors with Canadian Banks

The do-it-yourself model cannot be ignored by banks for much longer. The explosive growth of FinTech investment paradigms has already caused multiple banks like HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs and others to stand up and take notice. Banks are implementing protocols to allow Robo advisors as part of their investment toolkit. One of the leading asset management companies is BMO. What many clients don’t know, is that BMO also has a robo advisor. Through use of this modern-day technology, BMO can now offer exchange traded funds across multiple portfolios.

It is the oldest bank in Canada, and also the first to adopt new-age technologies. Clients can easily synchronize their BMO online banking summary with their investment accounts for maximum functionality. A wide range of exchange traded funds is available, and the provision of Robo advisors makes it easy to use SmartFolio accounts. Account types include RRSP, TFSA, and RESP. By allowing customers to personalize their financial portfolios, it’s akin to a Robo advisor. This is the way Canadian investors are choosing to go, and many other big banks are now taking notice.

The post ROBOS and Banks: The Dawning of a New Time appeared first on Wall Street.

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Bitcoin The Hottest Topic in World Currency

 

Bitcoin surged to a fresh all-time high on Thursday hitting $5,231, eclipsing the previous record of $5,014 hit in early September. The cryptocurrency is now up more than 420% for the year.  So far, investors and customers have shrugged off negative commentary about cryptocurrencies, despite being unable to break into the U.S. markets.

In September, Chinese authorities banned exchanges that deal in crypto currencies. They also banned initial coin offers which are the way most digital currencies raise capital. This has further perpetuated the rally, since there is a limited supply on the amount of a crypto currency that can be mined. With supply contained by regulators and demand increasing, the price of bitcoin is getting forced higher.

There have been reports floating during the past week that China might allow cryptocurrency exchange as well as ICOs. Sources cite Chinese regulators saying that bitcoin trading will likely resume with more regulation. This could include new licensing and anti-money laundering regulations.

SEC Does Not Give Its Blessing to Bitcoin

To date, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is the main U.S. securities regulator, has not given its blessing to crypto currencies. Without consent from the SEC mainstream trading is not possible. Their unwillingness to consider bitcoin has frustrated exchange applicants who are now withdrawing their applications. This will likely be a long process, and need consent from congress as a new currency that is potentially subject to manipulation, would undermine the U.S. dollar. Bitcoin is a treat to the greenback globally, which will make it difficult for the digital currency to gain widespread acceptance in the United States.

Swedish Officials Pay Debt in Bitcoin

Swedish regulators with the Swedish Enforcement Authority has paid a debt with bitcoin. This is the first time the enforcement agency in any country has accepted bitcoin as a currency that is paid directly to a government.

Swedish authorities see bitcoin as an asset that can be used to make payment and its increasing acceptance will provide an alternative method for payments of debt. While the Swedish authorities are used to handling these issues through the banking world, they also take payments which need to be converted into cash.  By taking bitcoin, they greatly enhanced their ability to retrieve debts. In this regard, it seems the Swedish Enforcement Authority will likely continue accepting bitcoin for debts citizens wish to settle.

 

Bitcoin prices have broken out to fresh all-time highs pushing through the highs made in September, and poised to test higher levels.  Support on Bitcoin is seen near the 10-day moving average at 4,576.  Volume on the breakout is average, which does not add to the accelerating in prices.  Bitcoin prices are experiencing accelerating positive momentum as reflected by the relative strength index (RSI). The index is a momentum oscillator that also measures overbought and oversold levels. The currency reading on the RSI is 75, which is above the overbought trigger level of 70, which could foreshadow a correction. Reading below 30 on the RSI are considered oversold.

 

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