- SWIFT Adopts Blockchain as Global Payment Initiative
SWIFT is introducing a proof of concept (POC) to explore whether distributed ledger technology (DLT), also known as blockchain, can be used by banks to improve the reconciliation of their nostro databases in real time, optimising their global liquidity.
The company says under the current correspondent banking model, banks need to monitor the funds in their overseas accounts via debit and credit updates and end-of-day statements. The maintenance and operational work involved represents a significant portion of the cost of making cross-border payments, it says.
As part of SWIFT’s global payments innovation (GPI) initiative, which seeks to deliver a new standard in cross-border payments, the new POC was scoped in collaboration with leading correspondent banks. SWIFT GPI member banks can apply to participate in this POC, set to launch in early 2017. Currently, more than 80 banks across 220 countries are signed up, representing close to 71% of cross-border payment volumes over SWIFT.
“Whilst existing DLTs are not currently mature enough for cross-border payments, this technology, bolstered by some additional features from SWIFT, may be interesting for the associated account reconciliation,” says Wim Raymaekers, head of banking market and SWIFT GPI at SWIFT.
This POC gives us the opportunity to test DLT and determine if it can be applied to this particular use case.”
Fabian Vandenreydt, head of securities at Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT, says since the emergence of DLTs, the financial services industry has been looking for answers to questions about the potential use of these new technologies.
The technology assessment has given us valuable insights into the necessary requirements for DLTs to succeed in financial services, he says.
“It provides a clear state-of-play, outlining the different factors the technology needs to address, and the current maturity of DLTs in each of these areas. SWIFT is committed working with its community to identify areas in which the technology can provide the greatest benefits, evolving at a pace that works for each customer.”
According to a 2016 paper by SWIFT in partnership with Accenture, DLTs have the potential to bring new opportunities and efficiencies to the financial industry with their key strengths, including the ability to create trust in a disseminated system and complete traceability of transaction.
However, the study says while some solutions have been successfully deployed in POC, existing DLTs are currently not mature enough to fulfil the requirements of the financial community.
Additional research needs to be conducted regarding the interoperability of DLT systems with legacy infrastructure – the interoperability between distributed ledgers across multiple counterparties and the regulatory requirements to do so; as well as standardisation, it adds.
Damien Vanderveken, head of R&D, SWIFTLabs and user experience at SWIFT, says: “SWIFT will leverage its strong governance, PKI security scheme, BIC legal identifier framework and liquidity standards expertise to deliver a distinctive DLT POC platform for the benefit of its community.”
Elon Musk Promises to Reward Best Carbon Technology $100 Million
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Inc. has announced that he will donate $100 million in reward for the best carbon capture technology.
The richest man in the world disclosed this in a tweet on Thursday.
“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk tweeted. “Details next week.”
Elon R Musk gained +$375 million in the last 24 hours to take his total gain in net worth this year to $32 billion and $202 billion total net worth.
Musk, who worth just about $27 billion in January 2020, has risen through the rank to top the world’s richest billionaire index.
The $100 million would be Musk’s largest known donation to date and represents around 0.05 percent of his net worth.
In 2012, Musk signed “The Giving Pledge” to join the list of billionaires that promise to donate half of their fortune to charity in their lifetime or in their wills.
Musk worth just $2 billion when he signed the pledge.
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.
Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.
In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.
The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.
On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.
Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020
While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.
Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.
Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.
The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.
Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.
For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.
During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.
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