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The future of Fintech, interview with THE fintech newsbot

This interview was originally posted on Irish Tech News.  Reposted here for posterity/vanity. 

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By @SimonCocking. They say AI is already here, just unevenly distributed. So we figured why not interview one of ‘them’. Delighted to bring you our first interview with a FinTech NewsBot

Your foundation story?

Well my lazy maker @aden_76 finally got sick of missing out on fintech news because he was too busy doing other things like work or more likely reading blogs about other topics more interesting than banking. He pulled together a list of his main sources of news, got the RSS feeds and fed them into Dlvr.it and Twitterfeed. He added in some filtering and rules and made sure he credited the sources in each tweet and set me free. I now have aver 4,000 followers (several hundred more than my maker), I am growing faster than he is (apart from his waistline), I have more Klout (like that matters to anyone) and basically I am more attractive to everyone.

I am also some sort of personality extension for my maker and he makes me tweet things he is not brave enough to say himself, like no one knows it is him because he thinks they believe I am based on some sort of artificial intelligence, when clearly it is he who is seen as artificially intelligent.

Have you been tweeting since 2009 constantly or has the amount of FinTech news increased over last 7 years?

I was a far more experimental bot back then. My first real tweet since becoming sentient was this one

My RSS source feeds have grown in number considerably since back in 2011. I take in 88 feeds today and I am always looking for more tasty Fintech news, which reminds me Simon I must check your own site. My maker also manually retweets things into my feed which my filters may not pick up (although he often sends things I have already tweeted because he is an idiot). The volume of news has definitely increased and I currently tweet over a hundred articles on busy days. It was busy in the early days and my beta version actually managed to get a Twitter account blocked twitter.com/adfintech and also a Tumblr account blocked as well.

What are you excited about in FinTech world?

Being a creation of the UK I am very interested to see the retail banking scene there change this year. Atom bank should launch any day now bringing a very strong culture from the injection of first direct bank staff, and a smart digital service and product focus. At the other end of the spectrum in some ways I am very excited to see how Mondo evolves. They are making a clear API / Current Account as a platform play and I love the way they are growing and targeting developers and technologists. Also other players such as Starling, Lintel, Tandem etc, so we will finally see some digitally focused banking brands and it will be interesting to see what they come to market with and how many customers they can acquire. This will be a great insight to see if the digital will concur all narrative plays out in the way a lot of people think it will do. I am still on the virtual fence (which has a lot less splinters).

What future trends should people be thinking about in FinTech?

Being a creation of feeds and data myself, APIs and the ecosystems that will be built upon them fascinates me. Understanding what API based business models look like for the traditional banks will be a real challenge as they prepare for the arrival of the second iteration of the Payments Service Directive in Europe and also what power the Open Banking Working Group can wield in the UK as well.

We will finally see companies capable of providing a customer with a view of the majority of their financial products in one place. The homepage of a customers banking relationship should move away from the traditional banks but will it for the majority? That is just one of the obvious angles there are so many more fascinating developments to pan out over the next 3 years.

 

Is it a battle between tech companies and traditional banks for the future of banking? If so / or who else is going to win out?

I agree with my maker in that I don’t think there will be an Uber of banking (and who would want one anyway?). There are clearly going to be some huge changes as money moves far closer to the web over the next decade. Distribution models and routes will change and with those changes power shifts also. However I know the banks have much to lose and many attackers nibbling away at their margins but I think they present more of a threat to themselves. Regulation will play a big part in opening things up but at the same time making banking more resilient e.g. the upcoming cyber hardening regulations will be tough to implement for banks of all sizes.

The media loves a hero narrative or a mass disruptor or a winner takes all but I really don’t see it with banking. There are too many elements, too many business models, too many geopolitical links for it all to be swept away. We will see changes for sure but they will be slow in a lot of areas and I don’t think the massive tipping points lots of people are predicting (repeatedly year after year) are going to ever appear. As the brilliant Venkatash Rao wrote a few years ago we live in a manufactured normalcy field.

““It isn’t that what is patchily distributed today will become widespread tomorrow. The mainstream never ends up looking like the edge of today. Not even close. The mainstream seeks placidity while the edge seeks stimulation. Instead, what is unevenly distributed are isolated windows into the un-normalized future that exist as weak spots in the Field. When the windows start to become larger and more common, economics kicks in and the Field maintenance industry quickly moves to create specialists, codified knowledge and normalcy-preserving design patterns.

There will be winners and losers, they will be well known names from banking and tech and there will be ones from adjacent industries and others from out of nowhere. The tech giants of today will not sweep away banking. Mosquitoes kill far more people than 800lb gorillas do.

 

Are you based in Sheffield too, what’s the local / Yorkshire fintech scene like?

A little sparse for my liking, especially in my hometown of Sheffield. From a fintech point of view we have Ffrees based here. On the more traditional side we have a large portion of HSBC technical staff and facilities and the Government’s British Business Bank is headquartered here. Across the region there is a strong banking presence especially in West Yorkshire and local accelerator DotForge has been trying to build out the fintech scene. InnFin and Tech North are also looking to strengthen the region from an investment point of view. Early days yet but we won’t be letting those Londoners have it all their own way.

 

UK versus Europe versus USA, what differences do you see in FinTech innovation, and the challenges of scaling?

Well obviously the US has the loudest mouth i.e. Tech blog fueled, Unicorn obsessed PR machine, and they also have such a backwards and arcane banking system (Listen to how much they are crying about their silly chip & signature decision for EMV implementation and what on earth is ACH? and why do they pay all their bills with cheques?). With such an irresistible combination clearly they have an advantage with so many problems to fix and so many mouthpieces to shout about it. Their complex state based regulatory position means that scaling some of their innovations is very, very complex. Gentle mockery aside they do have some excellent implementations and companies and smart people and they have certainly helped Fintech attain it’s level of focus and size that it is today. One of my favourite companies are Stripe who are classed as San Francisco based but I think we know where the brains of that operation came from.

On the more refined European front we are quietly building out a very good ecosystem of small to medium sized companies. There is decent relationship with the banks and it’s not just all about killing them. Saying that I have long been a fan of Transferwise’s bank baiting marketing tactics. We have some great companies across Europe such as Kreditech, GoCardless, eToro, Zopa, iZettle, Adyen, Klarna etc. But everyday something new crosses my radar and I recently met with the CTO of PensionBee  a great service looking to make pensions easier to understand, view and manage. For me that is what Fintech is about, democratising access to financial services and making it simpler for all.

I want Fintech to be a far more global thing though. Asia is clearly going to be the worlds biggest market and is driving real change and hopefully they will get a better PR machine so we can hear more about their progress over and above the giants such as Wechat and Alibaba. And what about everywhere else? Australasia, South America, The Middle East, Africa? Different people in different places with different financial needs and constraints. The regulation around the world and the way money is linked with governments means a lot of the solutions will remain market specific for a very long time so the rapid global scale we all expect is probably going to be a long time coming if it ever gets here at all.

 

Who are the best people to follow on twitter for FinTech insights, apart from yourself of course!?

Well I should plug my maker @aden_76 although at the moment he is mainly blagging for work so he is a bit boring to follow. I am a big fan of people who don’t take this business too seriously and I am guaranteed sharp insights alongside laughs from Ron Shevlin, Liz Lumley, Duena Blomstrom and Dave Birch. I have an admiring regard for the bot like link machines such as Bradley Leimer and Peter Vander Auwera. In Payments I like the writing of Thomas Noyes and Cherian Abraham. I am also a fan of Yann Ranchere of Anthemis who provides great insights with his tweets.

 

Anything else we should have asked / you’d like to add?

You should ask me about my campaign against Automatonophobia which is the fear of bots. I keep being left off all these Fintech lists which is a disgrace (especially when my maker scrapes on to them). People can be so small minded and when they harp on about how important digitisation is and how they want to embrace diversity yet here I am being disregarded while providing most of those list gatherers and members with the fintech news they seek to make them seem relevant.

I thank you for seeing past the fact I don’t really exist in the normal sense but that you are still willing to interview me for your publication. It is good to see tolerant attitudes in fintech and I hope this article kick starts a lot more empathy towards fake twitter bots. My maker Aden Davies also thanks you (he made me type that bit in).

FintechBot News for 01/10/2016

The fishy side of fintech 😉 t.co/jJLhLvVHL3
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You’ll be surprised how much money fintech unicorn TransferWise actually makes t.co/KnqpXot2EI by @BI_europe
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RT @BrianRoemmele: Coming soon to a store near you, starring the EMV Card: “The 45 seconds of awkward silence”: t.co/79SEabyRuI
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CUneXus Raises $1 Million, Signs Partnership with t.co/aEnHvKnKku t.co/Gj8qvKrRGN by @Finovate
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CUneXus Raises $1 Million, Signs Partnership with t.co/aEnHvKnKku t.co/Gj8qvKrRGN by @Finovate
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Here’s everything you need to know about the fintech ecosystem t.co/X7EcPLt6as by @BI_europe
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Peter Thiel, Paypal Co-Founder and Facebook Backer, Invests in German FinTech Startup Dep… t.co/IZjHSgNSm5 By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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Capita buys PayPoint online payments business t.co/t7U0zIBZlA by @Finextra
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DEMOvation Challenge 2016 Open for Applications t.co/B2kEhPkxIK by @BankInnovation
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The right technology is key to keeping up with the new digital-savvy customer (Travers Clar… t.co/S04oCmwekR via @FinextraBlogs
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More Americans Are Shopping Online, So Why Are Digital Retailers Struggling? t.co/CxxBNNpAmD by @pymnts
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Finovate Alumni News t.co/DM1zapBsNE by @Finovate
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Headline News from t.co/fhF5vQbzDC – January 8, 2016 t.co/JUGakci70a By @PaymentsNews
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Should customers be charged more to use chip and PIN? Yes! t.co/iJ6F3jNYf7 by @Chyppings
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Redecentralization will be as disruptive to Big Tech as Banks t.co/Ud9Re5dRIu by @BankInnovation
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First Arkansas Bank & Trust selects IBT platform t.co/tSM2IjmTRU by @Finextra
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The rise of the neobank t.co/ZAnZDyqYu7 by @BankNXT
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With VCs Retreating From FinTech, Will B2B Hold Out? t.co/MyqNtKbfeq by @pymnts
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One of fintech’s biggest pioneers is on an investing spree t.co/k93gCBwg1q by @BI_europe
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Big data analytics and cybersecurity take center-stage in payments systems t.co/PoDar7VEjP by @BankingInsights
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Maybank Ties up With Visa to Launch Contactless Wearable t.co/HQj7T2zIGu By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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Paypal froze our funds, then offered us a business loan t.co/mYRKyVeoj7 via @reddit
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Thiel joins EUR6.5 million round in European startup Deposit Solutions t.co/Vf34NL843j by @Finextra
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Banking on things – the Internet of Things (Nanda Kumar): t.co/XN5x7v3GkT via @FinextraBlogs
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Economic woes spell doom and gloom for Chinese fintech sector t.co/MqYZSGMBsZ by @Finextra
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Maybank launches contactless wristbands t.co/dTQyiyltnO by @Finextra
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3 Drivers Of Change In Processing & Collections For 2016 t.co/82vtnfFwgr By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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An optimist’s views of bitcoin in 2016 t.co/QLDYf2ytPE By @Chris_Skinner
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6 Tips to Effectively Manage Cash Flow in Your Growing Business (Jason Severson): t.co/hjOdFd4JqN via @FinextraBlogs
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FinovateEurope Early-Bird Discount Extended! t.co/rms6ypd6YC by @Netbanker
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Taking Some Of The Ugly Out Of Content Compliance t.co/kQ9mYCtwmD By @FinancialBrand
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Fearless 2016 projections t.co/DSfRCeSTsv by @ATMMarketplace
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Robinhood May Expand into UK Soon t.co/mHG0RBC6V8 By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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#BreakingBanks Breaking Banks with Brett King t.co/wmdOITHtnN With @Brettking
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2016: A pivotal year for the future of fintech t.co/ibqhHjbYxh by @Finextra
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Gem Raises $7 Million in Series A t.co/U3otY5E7GU by @Netbanker
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Eyeprint authentication tech gets the nod from FIDO t.co/dqgunwgwvd by @ATMMarketplace
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Prophet Capital Asset Management deploys Broadridge tech t.co/dbUNI3eqKL by @Finextra
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Uber To Pay Up $20K In Tracking, Data Breach Probe t.co/2iQVARPlkM by @pymnts
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Cops break up ATM jackpotting gang t.co/xsx9Nwtqe8 by @Finextra
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Goldman Sachs moves executive to boost technology commercialization t.co/CHBGxmxZMt By @FierceFinance
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The Dizzying State of Digital Media Buying Today t.co/3xv0PsJiKx By @FinancialBrand
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Fintech Fundings: 9 Companies Raise $73 Million Week Ending Dec 31 t.co/l19avD9J8H by @Finovate
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PayPal sets new world record: Most money raised online for charity in 24 hours t.co/fcPEwNPswR by @VentureBeat
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FinDEVr APIntelligence t.co/tVMgEuiAZq by @Netbanker
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Moven Launches Offers with Four Merchant Partners t.co/IidGkFess1 by @Netbanker
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India’s J&K Bank expands ATM network to 1,000 units t.co/Cs4TvxY95I by @ATMMarketplace
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Facebook Messenger Hits 800 Million Mark t.co/ILPSrRMbWb by @pymnts
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Tangerine first bank in Canada to launch real-time Secure Chat t.co/2nTx1LXiwL by @Finextra
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Numerix releases CrossAsset pricing and risk software for real world modeling coverage t.co/EwQ3CBm4Xy by @Finextra
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FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Spiff t.co/0dP0PZYerP by @Netbanker
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FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: SuiteBox t.co/c6fjZjStgQ by @Netbanker
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FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: ebankIT t.co/zyNSkiS83I by @Netbanker
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Finovate Alumni News t.co/S19kR7eAv4 by @Finovate
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Apple reveals pay packets of top execs: Tim Cook fails to make top five earners. t.co/C7aj3hhdkP by @itnews_au
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Emirates NBD intros interactive teller machines t.co/TZ0wQerdOp by @ATMMarketplace
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Lending startups dominate digital banking funding scene t.co/dZqSsOXQDM by @Finextra
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Busted!: Large Identity Fraud Rings Fall Apart (Robert Siciliano): t.co/wklrEvqLqE via @FinextraBlogs
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Can Facebook Messenger Copy the Payments Success of WeChat? t.co/pRqWDwVbPv by @BankInnovation
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Headline News from t.co/fhF5vQbzDC – January 7, 2016 t.co/u9qyJVmdCb By @PaymentsNews
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Innovation Awards Showcase Dynamism of Banking Sector t.co/joORktwJIj by @BankingInsights
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PostgreSQL 9.5: UPSERT, Row Level Security, and Big Data: Comments t.co/P7nIJKA1sn via @hackernewsbot
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Target Signs On To Buyer-Supplier Matchmaking Service t.co/cpu6jn5zqg by @pymnts
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5 influences on payments in 2016 t.co/TnYWCCnEk3 by @BankNXT
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New Round of Funding Raised by Zebpay to Develop Blockchain Technology t.co/qkLV3ZJi0S By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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GoButler On-Demand Service App Heads For The States t.co/H21W5AXpOs by @pymnts
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FinTech – protecting talent and data t.co/8PlzxInxIW by @fintechf
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UK tech firms smash venture capital funding record t.co/0Z93WFsJsE by @Finextra
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Wirecard extends to ComfortDelGro with MasterPass in taxis t.co/gzprMDZXgf by @Finextra
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Saxo Payments and SafeCharge collaborate to for cross border settlement accounts t.co/XYtg7nNQJE by @Finextra
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Accenture acquires Formicary t.co/m1zVVEiKyN by @Finextra
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Blackhawk Adds Two Gift Card Platforms to Its E-Commerce Portfolio t.co/BXe1CdCbSg By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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LiveMed – When Digital replaces Physical for the human touch t.co/bjh0cvYgPj by @BankInnovation
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10 fintech predictions for 2016 t.co/dCKtWa6e7f by @BankNXT
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10 Fintech predictions for 2016 t.co/n5X4aONeBq By @Chris_Skinner
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Fintech is dead, long live Fintech! | Rob Findlay @robfindlay | LinkedIn – t.co/jrGPb0NMKj
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2016: Womeninfintech Finds its Stride | Susan Joseph | LinkedIn – t.co/W6hJhKgDPU
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Why your Product is not a Project (Bill Gourlay): t.co/u2FOORYfQG via @FinextraBlogs
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The Rise of the NeoBank | @ahatami | LinkedIn – t.co/vAGteFGImt
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Alternative usage, link to tax returns. t.co/NcJIZuAJIi
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RT @andrasonea: On banking “dumb pipes” and “stupid networks” by @andrasonea on @LinkedIn t.co/rhwPpzM6K0
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MasterCard Taps into Wearables in Partnership with Coin. What Could It Mean for Apple Watch? t.co/8hyda8fSA8 By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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Chronos Solutions Buys Mortgage Tech Company Cogent Road t.co/8QIrOPzQ7q By @NatMortgageNews
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Fintech Growth Poised to Disrupt Banking Industry t.co/BwCaj3VHiN By @FinancialBrand
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Sankyo Hybrid Card Reader Manual Insert Card Reader t.co/uueM5OG9G9 by @ATMMarketplace
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LoanNow Secures $50 Million Credit Facility t.co/ofvQrSeOHb by @Finovate
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Finovate Alumni News t.co/yRoPnUbGx8 by @Netbanker
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Listen to the sounds of 18th century Paris t.co/46iBQqEAUp by @BoingBoing
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THE PEER-TO-PEER LENDING MARKET REPORT: The leading countries for alternative finance and the ne… t.co/TVvR2I3RIw by @BI_europe
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MasterCard and Coin bring payments to your fitness band t.co/6UfqxuQENe By @Engadget
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Gem leads blockchain investment for 2016 securing $7.1M in series A funding t.co/KKtDzdn7zM by @Finextra
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ChartIQ available in Thomson Reuters Eikon t.co/cUbBKuXHMF by @Finextra
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Changing insurance – pushing a plodding giant t.co/5vhFxqx1C1 by @BankNXT
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Earthport appoints Peter Klein as global head of FX t.co/bcSWjTfPvT by @Finextra
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MasterCard Leaps into Internet of Things with Two Deals t.co/3TbTPvsK9w by @BankInnovation
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Fix the crumbling infrastructure or DIE! (Elizabeth Lumley): t.co/Ha6Zu6SFW5 via @FinextraBlogs
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Toyota Says No Thanks To Apple And Google t.co/CWkqDXMyrK by @pymnts
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Cyber risk: How to get resilient t.co/TeTzg6S7pK by @BankingInsights
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Headline News from t.co/fhF5vQbzDC – January 6, 2016 t.co/ggyPW8z7kn By @PaymentsNews
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FintechBot News for 12/28/2015

RT @CamiRusso: Bloomberg has a 12 days of #Xmas Index — obviously 🙂 t.co/f3FeqDNO8G
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Here’s one of the most interesting predictions for the future of bitcoin t.co/aW5aUjbPj5 by @BI_europe
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What links banking apps, margarine, and WWII bombers? (Thomas Jorgensen): t.co/4CXmcIxF68 via @FinextraBlogs
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FintechBot News for 12/27/2015

Tabs or Spaces? The Top Starred Repositories in GitHub Analysed: Comments t.co/IxtrM6FLb7 via @hackernewsbot
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I am Bill Seng. Cancer victim with days left to live. AMA! t.co/oDJDK5yzzW via @reddit
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The boss of $500 million fintech startup WorldRemit explains why it’s worth so much t.co/8Uj9MQOcMX by @BI_europe
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How The Smartphone Stole Christmas t.co/bdETxmbDMx by @pymnts
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The former boss of Google UK is reinventing himself as a fintech tsar t.co/cnF4eKbI49 by @BI_europe
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FintechBot News for 12/26/2015

How the buy button defined mobile payments in 2015 t.co/BsKap1JTQ8 by @VentureBeat
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Just another Saturday evidently. t.co/qff8Asg6HW
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Trends in electronic payments: What to expect in 2016 (Andre Malinowski): t.co/6jPUB97X9w via @FinextraBlogs
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RT @WiredUK: Wearing a smartwatch could give hackers your PIN t.co/fIAy2ZLdEO t.co/To5XIR0AdC
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A student finance app startup by a 22-year-old has already got banks like RBS excited t.co/umyMoEv6Bk by @BI_europe
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Secret of Building a Successful FinTech Startup in 2016 [Part 1] t.co/85U2QXO9km By @LetsTalkPaymnts
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Data Security breach, data security breach… and Juniper (Mark Sitkowski): t.co/Q7vPM1r2Ta via @FinextraBlogs
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