in China, FinTech, Startups

Fintech Week Hong Kong – Day 1

I’m at FinTech week in Hong Kong, partly for work and partly for my own education. With day one nearly over I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m not sure how much of that is the jet lag and how much of it is the ton of interesting companies that I met, particularly the ones with a focus on China.  Anyway here’s a selection of more European relevant companies that I either met or saw present at day one.

DMarket has built a decentralised platform for exchanging virtual goods, typically those virtual goods are issued to players of online massively multiplayer games. Now for those you who don’t know there are 2.3 billion who people play games and loads of them get virtual items in their games and most have no way to trade them. In fact only 6% of gamers trade virtual goods – 94% don’t. Dmarket’s plan is to give the remainder the ability to start trading. They use the blockchain to secure every virtual assets and allow it to be traded. They have two APIs – one for the game developer and one for businesses to allow for virtual items to be sold. With €10 million invested they are  launching Q1 2018 with 10 games and access to 10 millions users.

GatCoin allows merchant, retailers to issue discount coupons and loyalty points on the Etherium Blockchain. Gatcoin changes tradition discount coupons, loyalty points and shopping vouchers into a tradable cryptocurrencies. The system that looks like shopify and allows any merchant can create currencies. They can then target consumers  on the basis of region, customer demographic and customer interests. Consumers then get ‘airdropped’ cryptocurrency which they can spend, save or trade them. They have there own wallet, but the encrypted private key is stored centrally allowing for recovery if the wallet is lost (by losses your phone). DK Planet Japan is their first customer.

Stellar Development Foundation is somewhat similar to Ripple which shouldn’t be a huge surprise as they share a co-founder. Stellar is a non-profit that has created a platform that connects banks, payment system and people with the goal of enabling fast, cheap cross border payments. The remittance market is a truly massive market characterised by slow transactions and high fees (typically 7% but can be as high as 20% for some African countries). Stellar has built is own blockchain that can process 1,000 transactions a second and doesn’t use proof of work or stake but some other mechanism that I don’t understand (yet).  Using the platform a cross border payment takes 2 to 3 seconds and costs almost nothing. They’ve signed a partnership with IBM and have some banks in India signed up as customers.

Dreamteam is platform for recruiting and managing esports teams. The platform uses blockchain and smart contracts, which is interesting as it seems to solve the problem of ensuring that people/teams get paid correctly for tournaments and engenders trust in the overall industry.  This is a company that seems to be playing in peak buzzword territory with esport and blockchain- if only they could get ‘machine learning’ in there. They’ve only just launched the platform but they have a user registering every minute.

Velotrade is a marketplace for invoice discounting. There is a large unfulfilled demand for credit by SMEs despite there being an excess supply of liquidity.  This clearly demonstrates a market inefficiencies that Velotrade is going to try and address.  Using their platforms business can immediately release 80% of the value of their yet due invoice with the remaining 20% less fees releasing when the invoice is paid. At the low end this seems to be focused at invoices between €20-€50K.

Vadim Sobelevki CEO FutureFlow gave a talk on using big data to analysis the  the flow of money . Their vision is that money not only has monetary value but also information value. He explained this by showing work done on passenger flow on the London tube and how only by analysing the flow of passenger where inefficiencies revealed (such as people who changed trains more often than they needed to). This wouldn’t have been revealed by simply looking at where people were coming from and where they were going.  They plan on doing the same for monty. Privacy is maintained by focusing on the topology which turns out to be more interesting that the identities of the people transferring the money.   Currently this helps banks spot suspicious transaction patterns.

KapitalWise Targeting millennials to get them into investing – only 6% of millennials invest. KapitalWise is a B2B solution, white label micro investment platform. It features an interesting rules based investment – for example I could set it so that everytime I get paid it automatically invests,  or every time I spend invest, etc. They have white label robo advisor. Launching in South Africa

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