DeFi - what is decentralized finance?

Fintech Poland Foundation, in cooperation with Cashless, has recently published a report which aims to introduce the issue of decentralized finance DeFi (DeFi stands for Decentralised Finance). You can read about this new area of financial services market in our article.

What is decentralized finance?

The essence of decentralized finance is that it is a set of tools and applications functioning in the blockchain network and allowing the user to use a number of financial services that we know from the traditional financial sector, but implemented mostly without the participation of a central institution (e.g. bank).

The functioning of the service is coordinated by the so-called smart contracts, i.e. agreements written and programmed in the form of computer code located in the blockchain network. The services which are realized in DeFi model include lending, asset trading, insurance or providing liquidity for exchanges. What is important is the fact that the blockchain technology, on which DeFi is based, allows to omit the link, i.e. a particular financial institution that mediates the transactions. The decentralization of transactions, the absence of an intermediary and the equality of all participants in the register are the features that distinguish DeFi from traditional, centralized banking.

The potential of DeFi market

As Fintech Poland points out, decentralized finance has huge growth potential. In less than a year and a half (from July 2020 to October 2021), DeFi market capitalization grew from $3 billion to over $200 billion. Add to these numbers the potential of the cryptoasset market - today, cryptoassets are already used by 330 million users worldwide, and the value of transactions on the Etherum blockchain reached $2.5 trillion in the second quarter of 2021.

How is DeFi different from traditional finance?

The DeFi marketplace is an innovation of sorts that could soon change the status quo of the financial sector. We outline the main areas of difference between DeFi and traditional, centralized finance:

No middleman

In traditional banking, there is an intermediary between one party and the other in a transaction, with control and full access to the transaction history, such as a bank that provides the full legal, technical and institutional infrastructure.

In DeFi the institution of an intermediary does not exist - there is a single, distributed register of transactions that can be accessed by any user of the system, on an equal footing.

Control over assets

In the traditional approach, funds and client assets are directly controlled by regulated financial entities. In decentralized finance, assets are always under the control of the user, without the involvement of a third party.

Execution and speed of transactions

Transaction clearing and settlement with DeFi is accomplished much more efficiently than with traditional banking - recording the transaction on the blockchain usually completes the settlement process. Depending on the type of blockchain it takes from a second to several minutes, while the settlement of the transaction performed by the clearing house usually takes from a few hours to 3 days.

Regulations

The traditional banking market is heavily regulated, with governance and oversight of the system determined by service providers, regulators and supervisors. The supervision of the operation of the protocol on which DeFi is based is done by the community around the network. Especially in the initial phase, the supervision is performed by
developers. As the network grows, the management system often takes a decentralized form which involves distribution of voting rights
among the community involved in protocol development. Voting on changes is done using so-called management tokens.

Security

Traditional banking and financial applications are vulnerable to attacks
and data leaks both by people from outside and from
The human factor generates the biggest risk of error.

In DeFi, individual applications and protocols are vulnerable to attacks and exploits,
mainly through errors in code and imperfect design of smart contracts.
However, the openness of the code promotes rapid security improvements through
comments from the community. The security of a blockchain network is also directly proportional to the number of people involved in securing the network itself.

Services

DeFi's primary service categories include:

Stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) - which are digital currencies whose value
is pegged to the corresponding fiat currencies (currencies that are not backed by material goods).

Exchanges - analogous to traditional stock exchanges, they allow the exchange
and trade in digital assets.

Loans - this service involves the creation of time-limited, interest-bearing instruments that allow users of the protocol to block assets in it and earn passive income, as well as borrowing assets in exchange for interest.

Derivatives - are financial instruments whose value is dependent on the value of an underlying asset or group of assets.

Asset management - includes tools and services that optimize the allocation of asset allocation in an investment portfolio based on variables such as risk profile or time horizon or time horizon.

Insurance -  provides financial protection should a particular event occur, reducing the overall risk associated with a transaction.

Oracles - services that provide smart contracts with access to data from outside the network (such as asset prices underlying
derivative products in the DeFi ecosystem - both decentralized as well as traditional)

Cryptocurrency wallets - interfaces that allow users to manage crypto assets stored in the blockchain. They are divided
into non-trusted wallets (the user has exclusive control over the funds through their private keys) and custodian wallets, (private keys are managed by service provider).

Summary

DeFi seems to be one of the most innovative and fastest growing areas of modern finance. The development of decentralized finance changes the foundations on which the banking system was based for years - it neutralizes the role of financial institutions, balances the level of control of system participants, gives wide access to capital and new users. Like any innovation, DeFi is not free from risks and threats, which grow in direct proportion to the development of this area. Therefore, on the one hand, the financial market should reckon with the potential of DeFi, and on the other hand, the focus should be on adapting the financial ecosystem to the possibilities of decentralized banking and securing a regulatory area that will allow the participants of this market to develop in a safe and legal manner.


BOS & Fintech Futures released industry report "Fintech vs Fintech? The rise of digitalisation in banking"

 

In collaboration with Fintech Futures, we have prepared an industry report on the digitalization process in banking

As Alex Hamilton, editor of Fintech Futures, writes:

"Digitisation has gone from a “nice to have” to an imperative for many in the banking sector, and nothing has quite put fuel to the flames quite like the COVID-19 pandemic.

As customers diversify not just the way they interact with their financial institutions, but also the ways they live their daily lives, so must an innovative company pivot – strategically and technologically – to meet these changes.

Yet now the fintech sector is awash with popularity, mass market adoption, and VC funding. Challenger banks that once counted users in the thousands now count them in the millions. Others wrestle with regulatory frameworks with the same gusto their banking contemporaries do.

Where once fintechs looked on the banks as competition, and now see them as collaborators, or slow-moving contemporaries, what do budding new firms think of those who came before them, the legacy fintechs?

In this deep dive industry report, produced in collaboration with Incat, FinTech Futures investigates whether a new market can emerge, a new competitive scene where fintech battles fintech for the scraps."

From this report you will learn:

  • How customer demands are laying the groundwork for new fintech strategies
  • Whether the super app is the right strategy for the future
  • How to overcome the challenge of time-to-market
  • Is it really fintech vs fintech in today’s industry?

Additionally in the report you will find a commentary by our CEO - Piotr Hanusiak, who indicates what is currently the biggest market challenge for fintechs.

The report you can download here: https://bit.ly/FintechFuturesReport.


A revolution in the approach of fintechs - from a simple payment card to a broad set of services

1st July marked the 6th anniversary of Revolut, one of the first fintechs to offer modern payments for the B2B and B2C markets. In 2015, what Revolut offered its customers was perfectly consistent with its name - simply revolutionary. Today, however, the use of modern payments is almost a standard, as fintechs are outdoing themselves in expanding their offerings with products and services that many traditional banks would not be ashamed of. What has changed in the approach of fintechs and why, and what does it mean for the financial industry? Let's find out.

PSD2 and greater trust for fintechs

Much has been said about the role of PSD2 in modern banking, but it is impossible to take up the topic of fintech development without setting it in a regulatory context. Because it was the implementation of the PSD2 directive that not only allowed intermediary entities such as fintechs to gain access to customer data, but also gave an impetus to traditional banks to undertake broader business cooperation with modern financial entities. Formal issues aside, however, PSD has allowed for something more - for fintechs to be treated as equal to banks and as trustworthy market players, and this has opened the way for fintechs to offer more advanced services and products.

 

MVP versus a wide range of financial services

As a result of these changes, we are seeing fintechs starting to move away from being a single-service provider to offering multiple payment products, dedicated to different target groups and fulfilling different business objectives. The aforementioned Revolut started with a payment card, whose main distinguishing feature was the simplification of setting up an account and payments between recipients and lowering the costs of international payments through attractive currency conversion rates. The fintech started with MVP - a single, simple solution that, on the one hand, allows to verify the business validity of the idea and inspire confidence in the market, and on the other hand, facilitates the creation of a customer base to which new products and functionalities can be offered in the future. Because today Revolut is not just a payment card - it is also a range of modern solutions, starting with savings accounts, cryptocurrency exchange, affiliate programs, and ending with credit products.

The same is true for the ZEN.COM, which in late 2020, in partnership with MasterCard, debuted its payment card offering protection for online purchases. Today, after only a few months, ZEN also already offers "zenefits" among which we find, among other things, an additional one-year guarantee when buying electronics, instant cashbacks, and the possibility to use a multi-currency account and transfer money at no additional cost.
Expanding the range of financial products allows you to build long-term customer loyalty and commitment to one entity. By choosing an application in which almost everything can be done, the customer does not need to look for alternative solutions that provide additional functionalities, because all services are available in one place, seconds after logging in. And yet, what fintechs have won from the beginning is simplicity, achieved through limited functionality, intuitiveness and ease with which customers can use the offered functionalities.

 

Technology that gives you a business advantage

However, these advantages would not be realised if it were not for modern technology, which forms the basis of solutions and products offered by fintechs. Every financial institution bases its operations on a transaction system, which - in the simplest terms - processes and organises data about clients, their accounts and transactions. So far, the role of transaction systems has been limited primarily to functions that enable efficient financial activity, in a manner consistent with compliance. Recently, however, the role of transaction systems in shaping fintech products and services and in supporting marketing and product development has grown significantly. Today, a transaction system is important not only from a technology perspective, but also from a business perspective, because a fintech's advantage is also determined by its ability to implement new business functions as quickly as possible and to respond to new customer needs by efficiently expanding its already existing product offering.

INCAT, the provider of BOS, a modern transaction system dedicated to modern financial entities such as fintechs and challenger banks, knows this very well. BOS developers have noticed that fintechs need solutions which, regardless of their original application, address the requirements of a modern end client in the customer centric model. Thus, modern financial entities today need core systems whose functionalities are not only focused on the technological and product layer, but also support an innovative approach to processes addressing customer needs. Customers of fintechs today are primarily looking for services that allow them to perform various financial operations in a flexible and efficient manner, making everyday financial management easier and more attractive.

 

Technological solutions building the marketing advantage of fintechs

INCAT offers specific products that are ready to be used for financial activities, and these include affiliate programmes, automated cascading currency conversions or support for white labelling (multi-brand).

Affiliate Programme

BOS is used when creating a service such as an affiliate programme. Thanks to this functionality, entities offering their customers a system of collecting points, gaining discounts or fast cash refunds, can build long-term loyalty of their recipients. The system supports this solution through an extensive and flexible possibility of defining online shops linked with a financial institution, together with a set of parameters defining the conditions for the operation of loyalty programmes.

Currency Cascade

This is another example of a very interesting solution offered by BOS, which makes it easier for customers to make payments in non-standard conditions. The currency cascade allows the customer's funds, accumulated in different currencies, to be used automatically during the execution of a single transaction, if there are no funds in the main account or the account held in the currency of the transaction.

In other words, if a customer makes a payment of EUR 40, but only has EUR 30 available in his account, the payment system automatically draws the missing funds from the customer's other currency accounts, e.g. in USD or PLN, making an immediate currency conversion. The entire process takes no longer than a standard contactless payment and does not require any activity on the part of the customer.

Multibrand

Multibrand is a functionality which enables the separation of independent environments of several different brands and institutions, administered by a single entity, within a single instance of the BOS system. This is a great solution for institutions that decide to offer products addressed to diverse target groups and different market segments. An example of the use of this product may be offers of large loan companies which, in order to expand their customer portfolio, create several different loan brands, differing from each other in parameters and terms of obtaining financing, while still being formally a part of one large capital group or, conversely, not having any business relations.

The examples cited above are just a small sample of what can be achieved in the development of financial products with a modern transaction system, whose open architecture and adopted solutions allow for their rapid implementation. This is especially important today, in the era of open banking and huge competition on the fintech market. Fintechs already know that it is necessary to use advantages in all aspects of the business and support their offer not only with a creative approach, but also with technology that will keep up with customer expectations and trends that the market is constantly creating.


The 8 most interesting fintech companies to watch in 2021

Fintechs are inextricably associated with the modern payment industry. But it's 2021 and fintechs are showing that they can prove themselves in almost any area of life, not necessarily related to finance. Here is our subjective list of 10 most interesting solutions offered by international fintechs.

Betterment

Betterment is an investment platform and application for individual clients who are just starting their adventure with investing. Betterment offers not only the possibility of investment, but also substantive support of advisors and modern robo-advisory services, based on the mechanisms of artificial intelligence. Betterment also offers a retirement planning service, targeted savings accounts or financial planning packages.

You can read more about Betterment here: https://www.betterment.com/

GoHenry

Go Henry is a very interesting application dedicated to...children. The payment application and pre-paid card allows children to safely become familiar with financial management, with full parental control. Go Henry informs the caregiver about transactions in real time, and also gives the opportunity to set tasks and duties, the completion of which increases the transaction limit.

You can read more about GoHenry here: https://www.gohenry.com/uk/

Klarna

Klarna is a regionalized app that offers a "buy now, pay later" service to the e-commerce marketplace. With the mobile app, customers can shop at Klarna's partner stores and enjoy 30 days of deferred payments. The stores in the app include some of the biggest e-commerce brands in the world such as: H&M, Sephora, IKEA, Samsung, or Nike.

You can read more about Klarna here: https://www.klarna.com/international/

MeetCleo

MeetCleo is an AI-based financial assistant that supports the user in budget management. The application is dedicated to young people, offering support in building proper spending habits and accumulating savings. MeetCleo also offers the possibility to receive a mini advance against future income, a cashback option and a savings account.

You can read more about MeetCleo here: https://web.meetcleo.com/

ZEN

ZEN.COM is a fintech that debuted its payment card offering online shopping protection in late 2020, in partnership with MasterCard. Today, after just a few months, ZEN is also offering "zenefits" which include an additional one-year guarantee on electronics purchases, instant cashbacks, and the ability to use a multi-currency account and transfer money at no additional cost.

You can read more about ZEN here: https://www.zen.com/pl/

Remitly

Remitly is an application that offers convenient, cost-effective and fast international transfers and attractive currency conversions. The tool allows you to track a transfer from the moment it is sent until it is received by the recipient. It is an alternative to traditional foreign currency bank transfers that allows you to send money abroad cheaper and faster than before.

You can read more about Remitly here: https://www.remitly.com/us/pl/poland

RobinHood

Robin Hood is a mobile application developed by Robinhood Markets that allows you to trade on the American Stock Exchange without commissions. In Robinhood you can trade stocks, ETFs (exchange traded funds) and cryptocurrencies.

You can read more about RobinHood here: https://robinhood.com/us/en/

Fair Place Finance

Fair Place Finance creates a platform for basic financial services such as cards and payments. The solution enables investment clients to offer digital wealth management products that can be easily customized and integrated with partner offerings.

You can read more about Fair Place Finance here: https://fairplacefinance.pl/#home

Salary Finance

This is a very interesting solution that involves offering loans, credit and advances to app users, in partnership with the user's current employer. The application allows to launch a financial product, the repayment of which is covered by the incoming salary to the account. In addition, the user gets access to their current month's salary at any time, rather than on their employer's standard payday.

You can read more about SalaryFinance here: https://www.salaryfinance.com/uk/.


The new version of BOS is available now!

After many months of hard work, we can finally boast: BOS 1.9 is now available to our customers. While developing the new version of our system, we focused on updating key functionalities and creating solutions valuable from a business perspective. See what we have achieved!

New user-friendly interface

While working on version 1.9, we focused on developing the BOS interface in terms of UX and UI. Our goal was to create a user-friendly space where settings can be quickly and intuitively parameterized and configured to meet the individual requirements of a financial institution. We also managed to develop the possibility of full visual customization of the system, in accordance with the branding and color scheme of the client who uses BOS. This makes it possible to visually unify the client's external interface with the back-office, the role of which is performed by BOS.

Processes and functionality development

Event manager enables efficient and seamless process modeling and event management of the entire system from the level of a single interface. In version 1.9, we applied the event manager functionalities to the process of handling transactions, as a result giving customers the possibility of flexible handling of complex processes and creating advanced choreography of complicated events in the system. We have also developed processes of advanced transaction tagging, allowing to efficiently identify, filter and order transactions according to the adopted parameters. In version 1.9, we introduced expanded support for online and recurring commission tables, as well as a subscription plan mechanism. We have also optimized the process of funds management when handling payment orders.

New comprehensive microservices

Anti-fraud module

We extended the system with advanced anti-fraud and KYC modules, increasing the control of transactions and significantly reducing the risk of fraud. Anti-fraud tools are based on mechanisms of Machine Learning and AI, which allows for advanced and automatic analysis of user behavior, and as a result, identification and control of unwanted actions.

CRS

Customer Relation Sets is a microservice that gives our customers the ability to connect users into structured groups, with different levels of access to accounts and assets. Each customer can create their own access patterns and user groups, such as family, company, class, for example. Each group can be given different settings regarding members, fees, or linking multiple accounts together. In version 1.9 we have extended the CRS module with a number of possibilities: levels of access to company accounts, various types of groups, roles in a group and multi-level relationships between account users.

Cashback

Cashback is a completely universal tool for creating loyalty programs, allowing you to offer system users discounts in the form of a refund of part of the purchase amount. In the BOS 1.9 version we extend the scope of loyalty programs with card transactions and purchases in online stores.


12 best fintech podcasts - best sources of fintech industry knowledge

We've made a subjective list of the 12 best podcasts in the fintech world. In selected podcasts, specialists and experts share their knowledge and opinion on topics related to the FinTech industry. It is a mine of information and inspiration for people who want to start their adventure with the world of finance and banking, but also for those who want to be up-to-date with the dynamics and novelties of the FinTech world.

 

 

Around the coin - Fintech Podcast

Around The Coin is an award-winning podcast discussing current trends in the FinTech and financial industries. Podcast hosts Faisal Khan, Mike Townsend and Brian Roemmele discuss what's new in the world of payments and financial technology in their weekly podcast.

 

Bank on IT by John Syracusa

Each week, program host John Siracusa talks to FinTech leaders and entrepreneurs, uncovering the inspiring stories behind each of them. New podcast episodes are broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

 

Breaking Banks

Brett King, author of Breaking Banks, is a character well known in fintech's lobby - author of several books, fintech commentator and a great podcaster. He invites famous guests from the FinTech world to his podcast - startup founders, innovators and financiers, with whom he comments on the most important events in the financial industry.

 

Fintech Insider by 11:FS

Fintech Insider, by the team from 11: FS, is a bi-weekly podcast devoted to fintechs, banking, technology and financial services. Charismatic hosts: David Brear, Simon Taylor, Jason Bates, Sarah Kocianski and Ross Gallagher, along with guests, comment on the latest news, achievements and trends in the financial industry.

 

For Fintech’s sake

Fintech's Sake is a broad look at the world of FinTechs. Host Zach Anderson Pettet discusses the events of the borderline between finance and technology from the perspective of founders, investors and regulators.

 

Fintech Impact

The Fintech Impact podcast is an exploration of the FinTech world in which the author, Jason Pereira interviews entrepreneurs about their history, what they do and how they impact consumers, operators, legislation and the industry as a whole.

 

What the Fintech by Fintech Futures

Podcast by Fintech Futures editor Alex Hamilton. In biweekly episodes, Alex discusses popular topics in the financial industry, and his guests share useful insights and often strong opinions about the fintech world.

 

Fintech Beat Podcast

Fintech Beat is a podcast with a mix of finance, technology, politics and law. Each episode tells about the latest trends, changes and new regulations in the field of financial technology. The podcast host is Chris Brummer, a Georgetown law professor and a world-renowned financial technology expert.

 

Fintech Newcast

Fintech Newscast is a loose and humorous panel of the latest FinTech news, commented on by finance and technology specialists. The lecturers look at all aspects of the development of the FinTech industry, with particular emphasis on the topics of payments, capital markets, blockchain and loans.

 

Voice of Fintech

Voice of FinTech is a podcast of Rudolf Falat, a corporate finance specialist with extensive experience in financial services. Rudolf is a FinTech and technology enthusiast, startup mentor, advisor, business angel and executive education trainer. The weekly podcast follows the formula of interviews with Fintech developers and key players in the global financial ecosystem.

 

Fintech Focus

Andy Goldstein and Laura Sewell of technology company CSI discuss the latest FinTech and RegTech topics with bank executives, industry experts and opinion leaders.

 

Naked by the Future Farm

Vladia and Nektarios from The Future Farm in "naked" conversations with company founders, investors and other players in the financial world about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs building a business in the financial industry, as well as about the difficulties and personal stories that inspire everyone who finds themselves at the beginning of this uneasy fintech path.

 

Fintech and Web3 Founders Series Podcast by CFTE

Fintech and Web3 Founders Series is a weekly podcast series by CFTE dedicated to hearing the untold stories of passionate fintech entrepreneurs, and leaders who are shaping the decentralized world of Web3. The podcast is hosted by experts including Ronit Ghose, the Global Head of Banking at Citi Global Insights and Gaurav Dhar, the fintech partners of Marshal & MENA Fintech Association Board members. With outstanding guests from Binance, Polygon, Chipper Cash, Fiat Republic, and many more, CFTE hosts discuss how to be an entrepreneur, the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in the Fintech and Web3 industry.


10 must-see movies and series about banking and finance if you work in this industry

Who said you can't combine work and play? You can! For example, relaxing while watching a movie or TV series about topics related to your work. If you're in the banking or fintech industry, the following titles should definitely be on your "to watch" list:

Wolf from Wall Street

We couldn't open our list with a movie other than this one. The Wolf of Wall Street was hard not to hear without even having a chance to watch it. The 2013 biographical film about the life of a stockbroker - Jordan Belfort - is a crazy story of big money, the road to the top and risky balancing on the verge of legality.

The director, Martin Scorsese, tells the true story of one of Wall Street's most controversial heroes. Jordan Belfort was a golden child of the financial world who achieved a stunning financial success thanks to the sale of bogus stocks on the American stock exchange. Quick and tremendous success brought him fortune, power and a sense of impunity, which consequently led Belfort to a spectacular fall. The Wolf of Wall Street is a must see for anyone who wants to see the American dream in the tough financial world.

Trailer:

Billions

A series about the district attorney's fight with the boss of a hedge fund, dealing with not entirely legal financial practices. Billions is a great story about a clash of two strong personalities, tremendous cunning and an even greater ego. The background to this clash is the world of hedge funds, big money, complicated relationships and impressive manipulations.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_raEUMLL-ZI

Wall Street

Even though Wall Street is a 1987 movie, it is still an excellent movie to watch. It is a story about a young and ambitious stockbroker who falls under the wing of a ruthless and calculating financier, Gordon Gekko. The fascination with the rich financial shark makes the hero ready to push the boundaries of morality and do everything to achieve success comparable to that of his mentor.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b4BcbhGggM

The Big Short

A star cast, a true story and an original script - this is a recipe for success that the creators of The Big Short used. The film tells about the causes of the financial crisis of 2007-2008, caused by the bursting of the so-called credit bubble. The story is known as the "Economy for Newbies", because it explains the meanders and intricacies of the global financial market in a simple and interesting way. Well-drawn characters, pictures that you cannot take your eyes off of and original dialogues are the greatest strength of this film.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgqG3ITMv1Q

Chasing Madoff

A movie presenting the story of Bernard Madoff, an American stock market investor, owner of one of the largest financial companies on Wall Street in New York, who was arrested on December 11, 2008 and sentenced to 150 years in prison six months later, for extorting $ 65 billion from clients of investment funds linked to his business. Madoff tempted investors with huge profits that were not really there.

Bernard Madoff, recognized as the creator of the largest financial pyramid in history, died in early 2021.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpH_NNjModY&t=69s

Inside Job

Another story of the world crisis of 2018, this time through the eyes of documentary filmmakers. The Oscar-winning film is a film material documenting the shocking truth behind the scenes of the economic crisis in 2008. Through extensive in-depth research and interviews with major financial market players, politicians and journalists, the film shows the development of speculative financial operations and the financial industry behind them.

Trailer:

Bad Banks

Bad Banks is a German series created in cooperation with HBO, presenting the fierce rivalry of the banking and financial segment, which, six months after the Great Depression, faces the challenge of tightening regulations in the financial industry. The story is told from the perspective of the main character, an ambitious employee who starts working in a prestigious position in one of Frankfurt's banks and has to face the dark side of the financial world.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3uLkyboKTk

Margin Call

A story about the first 24 hours of the financial crisis on Wall Street and the backstage of events that changed the world. The great role of Kevin Spacey, as an analyst working for a powerful investment company based on the famous Wall Street. The action of the film takes place over 24 hours and focuses on the actions taken by key employees of a large investment bank in the face of financial collapse.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjZ-ke1kJrA

Inside the Federal Reserve

Another document you can watch on Youtube. The film reveals the backstage of the world's largest "bank" - the US Federal Reserve Bank. Each of his sneezes has an immediate impact on the condition of other financial institutions, which is fascinating in itself. The film shows just how powerful the US dollar is and how America's largest financial institution impacts the rest of the world.

Full document:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq9ENxdLgVc

Too Big to Fail

HBO's fact-based production drama tells the story of the causes of the 2008 economic crisis and the background behind the introduction of the Paulson Plan, the US financial rescue program. The video shows in detail the actions taken by the team of the US Treasury Secretary to rescue failing investment banks. The film focuses on the changing strategies of Paulson's team and on negotiations with the CEOs of the largest US banks.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIOLWBD_g1o

 


The short story of fintech

Fintechs, treated as modern financial entities, seem to be a relatively new invention in the banking world, although the foundations for this area of ​​business were established in…the 19th century. Before you, the history of fintech: from the creation of the first transatlantic link to innovative financial startups, without which today’s financial landscape would not be complete.

19TH CENTURY – THE BEGINNING

We know that dating the beginnings of the fintech industry to the nineteenth century may seem “a bit” strange daring, but indeed the year 1866 laid the foundations for the development of this branch of the economy. It was this year that the first transatlantic link was successfully laid, providing the basic infrastructure for the period of intense financial globalization that will take place soon – right at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY

1918 is not only the end of military operations under the First World War, but also the time of intensive development of technologies, especially telecommunications. And so, at the beginning of the interwar period, the first ever electronic money transfer system called Fedwire was created. Its operation reflects the spirit of the time – Fedwire was based on the strength of the telegraph signal and Morse code.

In 1920, the first flashes of the philosophy on which today’s fintechs are based appear – John Maynard Keynes published his book “Economic consequences of power”, the main thesis of which concerns the development of finance, based on a combination of achievements of contemporary technology with the requirements of the financial market.

According to experts on the subject, the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century are called the “Fintech 1.0” period.

 

THE SECOND HALF AND THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY

The switch from analog to digital enabled the creation of the first Barclays ATM in history in 1967. This is the moment that symbolically marks the beginning of modern financial technologies. The digitization of the financial industry is developing at an impressive pace at that time. In the early 1970s, Nasdaq, the first electronic stock exchange, and SWIFT, a communication protocol used by financial institutions to make large amounts of cross-border payments, are created in the United States. The digitization of finance has increased due to the advancement of digital communication and transaction technology. Nasdaq and SWIFT mark the beginning of the financial markets and the communication protocols used today.

The 1990s, due to the intensive development of computers and the Internet, brought us online banking – from that moment both companies and individual clients can manage their finances from the computer screen. Internal processes and communication with clients are partially fully digitized and there is a clear shift in the way people interact with financial institutions.

Soon, the term “Fintech” appears for the first time in a wider circulation. In 1993, Citicorp established the Financial Services Technology Consortium, abbreviated as the Fintech project. This initiative is aimed at the cooperation of small, technologically advanced IT companies with banking institutions that want to develop the area of ​​financial innovation.

A milestone in the development of electronic payments is the establishment of PayPal in 1998 – one of the first financial organizations whose mission and scope of services is very similar to the shape of today’s modern fintechs.

The achievements of financial technology at the end of the 20th century close the era of Fintech 2.0.

 

21ST CENTURY

The long-awaited 21st century begins one of the biggest financial crises in the world – 2008 marked the collapse of the global economic system, which resulted in a sharp decline in the level of confidence in banks. The crisis paradoxically created space for the development of modern, non-bank financial services. A year later, in 2009, Bitcoin was created – the world’s first cryptocurrency, which paved the way for other cryptocurrency and distributed ledger enthusiasts.

The area of ​​2010 is the contractual date of entry into the Fintech 3.0 era, in which we are today. The growing popularity of smartphones and mobile and mobile access to the web and financial services make the first startups from the financial industry appear on the market, driving the wave of new products and services. Even established banks are beginning to innovate in the spirit of start-ups, and it was this departure from the established banking position of the Fintech 2.0 era that defined Fintech 3.0. There are more and more financial entities on the market, such as neo-banks, challengers or digital banks, which combine the advantages of stable banking with a modern approach to creating financial technologies.

 

TODAY

Today, the rapid development of fintechs and modern financial institutions is no surprise to anyone. Innovative products and services offered to customers are actually the expected standard, and traditional banks are increasingly looking for a way to become part of this change. Although experts are outdoing each other in forecasting the upcoming financial and technological revolution, it is worth noting that it is already happening – for a long time now, fintechs have been redefining the financial market, changing the status quo and revolutionizing the assumptions of classic banking. It is a long and endless process – because what is innovative today will soon be history.


8 key functionalities we developed in 2020

The year 2020, although difficult due to the pandemic, has been extremely busy for us. For many months, we have been developing our BOS trading system, adding new functionalities and improving existing ones. Here is a brief summary of what we developed last year:

Event Manager

This functionality allows for efficient and trouble-free process modeling and event management of the entire system from the level of one, clear interface. The Event Manager is also of great help in the context of introducing changes as well as new financial products and services.

These kinds of tools provide total business flexibility. Especially now, when the competition in the financial market is significantly increasing, a system that allows for a flexible and quick introduction of changes to the existing and new customer service processes and their activities is one of the most important parts of the transaction architecture.

 

Multi-institutional cloud environment

This is an interesting solution for entities that want to offer their services within more than one institution. We have created an environment in which the customer can place any number of independent, functionally separated brands and institutions, while not losing control over management.

 

Comprehensive General Ledger

The synthesis and aggregation of accounting data from transactions carried out to the General Ledger are one of the critical areas of the transaction system. The multi-level and complexity of operations that must be reflected in the General Ledger register is, on the one hand, a complicated task, and on the other - a must, because it is a legislative requirement that cannot be circumvented.

Integration with the General Ledger as part of the BOS system means:

  • full automation of processes related to data aggregation in the General Ledger;
  • the ability to create a dedicated chart of accounts, define basic reporting attributes and complete freedom in creating links between operations on accounts and accounting accounts;
  • advanced parameterization of all elements and processes, possible from the system user interface.

 

Parameters dump / load - possibilities of new environment cloning

Cloning of environments or verification of the business parameterization of the system is possible thanks to new dump and load mechanisms. Parameterization in the financial system is a series of registers, often closely related to each other. From the chart of accounts, through product segments, to transaction codes and interest rules. Process functionalities depend on a combination of these parameters. Currently, it is possible to export the system parameterization in its entirety or for individual areas. A business administrator with access to this feature can do so in an instant with a few clicks.

 

Transaction tagging

BOS allows you to label transactions and processes in any way you like. Automatic parameterization of tagging is possible from the level of the user interface, which significantly facilitates the search, ordering and filtering of posted transactions.

 

CIS - Customer Information System

The customer information management system is a separate BOS microservice that aggregates basic customer information from all institutions within the BOS infrastructure. The Customer Information System, which is an inherent part of the system, significantly extends the scope of information, allows to minimize the number of errors in the customer data held, and at the same time enables quick verification of user history.

 

Cashbacks

Our system customers can take part in partner programs that enable them to realize commercial rebates in the form of the so-called cashback. What does it mean? Refund of a part of the purchase amount to the customer's card after making the purchase with it. For this purpose, a separate microservice was launched, supporting both business partners, promotional offers, and the entire transaction path. The vast majority of transactions are carried out completely automatically, but the module also provides a path for manual pairing of offers and transactions. The use of our cashback module gives new value to the market. Trading bonuses are paid to clients immediately, not after a few days like with other systems. In this way, Fintechs using this module attract new customers by offering a card that realizes the benefit in an order of magnitude shorter than the competition.

 

CRS - System Relationship Management

CRS is another BOS microservice that allows you to create multi-stage access to accounts, both for individual and business customers. CRS is also a system of relations regarding account balances and limits. The advanced and modern structure enables intuitive management of all access parameters in such a way that they reflect the hierarchy within the user's internal organization.


7 BOS features which make your financial business grow

The financial sector has been undergoing significant business and technological changes for several years. Recent months have accelerated their pace and have exposed areas where banks and financial institutions need to develop in order to remain competitive in the market. Today, due to the largest socio-financial crisis since 2008, financial institutions have learned that building market value is not only about providing an attractive offer for customers, but also about having a technological basis, which, on the one hand, optimizes costs and automates work, and, on the other hand, provides a significant business advantage, which is reflected in financial results.

Optimization of internal processes, advanced analysis and aggregation of data, automation of customer service and implementation of attractive functionalities are challenges that most financial institutions face every day. The role of systems such as BOS is therefore support in identifying business challenges and providing solutions that address these problems. Through a set of basic functionalities, BOS helps to comprehensively build a business advantage, both in the area of back-office management and expanding business offers. In the article below, you will learn about BOS technologies that support development and help you successfully scale your financial business. 

 

What technologies are we talking about? 

1. Microservices architecture
2. Event Manager
3. Open API
4. Cloud Ready
5. Unique functionalities
6. Multibranding/Multi-institutionality
7. Integrated General Ledger

 

1. Microservices architecture 

Today's dynamic business environment, driven by technological development and customers' openness to new solutions, requires the world of finance to quickly adapt to changing market expectations. There is space for new business ideas, provided both by banks and modern financial entities, such as fintechs and challenger banks. These entities build their business advantage based on technological solutions that offer a new quality in a specific segment of the financial business. Identifying the needs of a modern, technologically aware customer is a challenge, because the growing requirements of customers change much faster than a few years ago. Competitiveness in the financial services market forces market players to be ready to quickly change the offer, customer service processes, or even modify their business model. Classic transaction and back-office systems cope with such a dynamic financial ecosystem relatively poorly, so there is a need to implement solutions that address this problem. This approach requires technology that is functionally flexible, efficient and at the same time provides inexpensive support for a wide range of financial services, but with the possibility of using only selected elements to reduce the costs of business entities.

 

The answer to this demand may be a properly implemented microservice architecture that supports business and technological scalability. An organization that decides to base its IT architecture on microservices provides its business with the flexibility it needs today thanks to the ability to scale the system, both in terms of its performance and offer development. It is also important that microservices are a cost-optimal solution — thanks to this approach, you can tailor an IT solution to your goals and financial and organizational capabilities, without having to harness the full spectrum of solutions.

 

BOS, as a system based on microservices, allows you to freely configure functionalities covering individual business processes. Depending on the services offered, the financial institution selects a set of tools to support the processes. At any time, along with the development of the offer or its renewal, these tools can be replaced without significant investment outlays and complicated implementation procedures. The architecture of microservices in BOS is a universal solution both for entities that support a small volume of customers and their transactions, as well as for those large businesses that handle millions of financial operations.

 

2. Event Manager

Business flexibility, about which so much has been written, is not possible without the support of appropriate tools and systems. At the same time, increasing competition in the financial services market also requires optimization of costs, while introducing changes in the existing and new customer service processes and their activities. Event manager is a solution that can face the above-mentioned challenges. This functionality allows authorized system users to model processes and manage events of the entire system from the level of one, clear interface. Event manager is a great help in the context of introducing changes and new financial products and services. Measuring KPIs for individual processes and offer elements also allows for quick business verification, with little risk and optimization of implementation costs.

 

3. Open API

Each organization that provides financial services is a complex organism made up of teams of specialists, procedures, legislation, but also a network of complex connections between technological tools. Very often, the full architecture of IT solutions consists of several dozen smaller and larger systems, cooperating with each other — both inside and outside the organization. Reliable integration within these systems is the key to business success and the development of an institution that must be sure of the continuity of operation and security of its solution, as well as its easy expansion with new elements required for new business ideas. Open API built into the system means easy integration and open access to data and object management in the system without the need to involve development teams or the system provider 's resources. Integration in accordance with the standards of open banking (PSD2) facilitates the transaction processes within the API, while giving access to full documentation of all transactions. Open API significantly speeds up the process of implementing the required integrations, which is particularly important when creating new functionality — thanks to this, market verification takes place relatively quickly and in the cost-optimal way.

 

4. Cloud Ready

Fintechs and challenger banks, unlike traditional banks, do not have to focus on extensive technical infrastructure. The key for such organizations is the business idea and how to make it available to end customers quickly. They focus their efforts on this, because it is their competitive advantage. Technology is very important, but still only one of the elements for the efficient offering of business services. In the case of all kinds of neo-banks, both cost optimization and the reduction of resources necessary to bring the product to the market are key. Non-bank organizations operate in a slightly different reality than traditional banks — they have smaller budgets at their disposal, focus on the maximum reduction of fixed costs, and do not need to invest in infrastructure and resources — they are not limited by such strict legislation as in the case of banks, which means that they often use outsourcing in many areas of activity. And although it gives them a lot of freedom, it can also be a trap, because the lack of extensive infrastructure limits the development and scaling of the solutions offered. In this case, it may be a good solution to move the entire system infrastructure to the cloud.

 

First of all, running BOS in the cloud is a huge saving — there is no need to build or sublet server rooms or maintain the teams necessary to manage the infrastructure. The undoubted advantage of cloud solutions is their lower entry threshold, which is very significant especially in the initial stage of business development. It is also worth paying attention to the fact that the smaller the investment of time and resources, the greater the chance of quick feedback from the market.

 

Easy, cost-effective scaling makes it possible to increase or decrease the requirements for the efficiency of data processing and storage. The system is ready to work with both public clouds (including key major players in the market such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services) and private clouds.

 

5. Unique functionalities – Currency Cascade, Pooling, Account Virtualization

The key to the success of new financial institutions is the creation of a unique service or set of unique services that identify and address customer needs in an attractive way. The idea and the business perspective are one thing, but the big challenge is to cover the offered functionalities in technological solutions. In a nutshell, IT systems should support the ability to build a complementary set of services for which the demand exists in the market or will be created by a given institution. In addition to standard banking processes, BOS also performs unique business functions, designed to support and, in a way, anticipate customer needs. Deep process automation and high-level parameterization of the system provide space for the development of functionalities and adapting them to market requirements. BOS implements this goal through a set of unique solutions, such as: currency cascade, pooling and account virtualization.

 

Currency cascade is the automatic use of the client's funds accumulated in various currencies during the execution of the transaction, in the case of lack of funds on the main account or on the account kept in the transaction currency.

Pooling consists in collecting funds from the indicated accounts required to make a transfer transaction, regardless of the transaction currency.

Account virtualization is a mechanism for creating virtual accounts within the groups of available identifiers, in order to reflect balances and transactions on accounts held e.g. in other banks (this is important from the point of view of PSD2) or to enable analytical breakdown into individual clients for synthetic accounts (e.g. mass payment).

 

6. Multibranding/Multi-institutionality

Searching for niches in today's market is a challenge that often leads to the offering of financial services by institutions from outside this industry, e.g. payment services, granting loans and credits, or enabling funds to be deposited (saving, prepaid services, etc.). These entities find ideas for the optimization of these processes, but are unable to implement them or do not have sufficient financial resources to implement them on their own. The solution is provided by specialized institutions (banks, fintechs) that can offer financial services (white-labeling) on behalf of companies from outside the industry. However, they must implement it in a transparent manner, but at the same time tightly separated from their own financial activities and those carried out for other external entities.

 

White-labeling, provided by the BOS system, is a very interesting option for companies wishing to provide services to other entities in the financial services market, as it gives the opportunity to create brands and institutions that are functionally separated from each other. It is also the ease of defining subsequent units while maintaining the possibility of aggregation within the entire institution, at the level of independent system parameterization. Advanced parameterization also allows for an independent product and price offer, along with full separation of the chart of accounts, main books as well as data and reports of individual institutions.

 

7. Integrated General Ledger

One of the key and also complex contact points of transaction systems is their integration with the general ledger, which synthesizes accounting entries from transactions. It is a critical element in terms of responsibilities and reporting requirements at every level of business management in the financial area. Each transaction that takes place in the transaction system must be reflected at the level of  accounts, which in turn must be managed by the financial and accounting services of the institution. Integration with the general ledger is therefore a set of multi-level and complex operations that must be linked in an efficient and flexible manner with the general ledger accounts. When addressing this problem, BOS offers fully automated integration with its own general ledger as standard. The solution includes both creating a dedicated chart of accounts, defining basic reporting attributes and full freedom in creating connections between operations on bank accounts and ledger accounts through a comprehensive transaction creation mechanism in the system. Moreover, the parameterization of all elements and processes is possible from the level of the system user interface. The result of the General Ledger system is automatic generation of postings and a complete picture of all General Ledger transactions. By offering multi-institutionality, the system guarantees full data separation also at the General Ledger level, allowing for the aggregation of accounting data for all brands within the institution that provides these services.

 

High scalability and flexibility are elements that are necessary for financial institutions to be able to successfully operate in a changing business environment. The ability to test various business models, the ease of modifying the offer, and creating solutions attractive from the customer's point of view allows you to build a market advantage in the competitive world of finance. However, in order to successfully implement business assumptions, they must be supported by technology that will not only be reliable, but also provide a set of tools addressing current and future market challenges. BOS is a response to the challenges that financial institutions face on a daily basis —  the functionalities of the system cover the key areas of the financial ecosystem's operations, while maintaining cost optimization and the necessary business and development orientation.