No, the Pandemic Isn’t Accelerating Digital Transformation

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella pronounced that, amid the pandemic, they’ve “seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Nadella’s words quickly became a catchphrase, which appears ad nauseam, though in different forms, in articles and thought-pieces that seem to come out on an hourly basis. For example, Forbes said that “because of COVID-19, manufacturing... Continue Reading →

Canada’s Financial Inclusion Opportunity

For the one million unbanked Canadians, and the many more who are underbanked, the COVID-19 crisis is compounding financial hardships to dangerous levels. Those Canadians are the ones who have been marginalized by financial institutions and the fintech ecosystem. In an article that I wrote last year, I showed that less than 2% of fintechs and pretty much... Continue Reading →

Libra’s Mission Impossible

Facebook-led Libra wants to provide a global currency to the 1.7 billion individuals who are unbanked, the overwhelming majority of whom reside in developing nations. The Libra white paper and the many discussions that ensued failed to mention that many developing nations already have vibrant mobile money/e-wallet services with specific goals to serve the unbanked.... Continue Reading →

Let’s Put Libra to the Test

A Swiss-based association formed by Western behemoths wants to spread financial inclusion in the developing world. Hold my Sanpellegrino Aranciata! The Facebook-led Libra cryptocurrency has the aspirational goal of bringing the world's 1.7 billion unbanked into the fold of digital finance. The Libra white paper makes it clear that it aims to serve the likes of farmworkers... Continue Reading →

Canada’s Financial Data Access Conundrum

It became apparent to me lately that there is confusion about how personal financial data are accessed by fintech startups. As users are indifferently signing up for digital financial services, startups are glossing over data access mechanics and associated risks, and banks are hiding behind their legal clauses. What am I talking about here? Let... Continue Reading →

Canadian Fintech has a Financial Inclusion Problem

Gary Newman works with youth with a history of conflict with the law (like ex-gang members) to help them build solid financial foundations. He believes that sound financial skills can profoundly transform the youth's lives and keep them away from their past troubles. I met Gary almost 2 years ago; we recently caught up discuss his work and... Continue Reading →

A List of Canadian Enterprise Blockchain Pilots

I put together a list of publicly announced enterprise blockchain pilots in Canada. Did I miss any? (I only looked at pilots that are specific to an application within a large enterprise or government context. I did not include research efforts or startups) TMX, Payments Canada, and the Bank of Canada: Blockchain Used to Settle Stocks in Bank... Continue Reading →

Get the Basics Right: My Experiences in Enterprise-Startup Partnerships

I'm a believer of unlocking innovation by encouraging large enterprises and early-stage startups to co-create new products and services. However, it's bedeviling to get these partnerships to work smoothly. I have personally gone through winding experiences of co-creation with two large enterprises, a multinational FMCG and an infrastructure giant, they both shall remain anonymous. I... Continue Reading →

A Look at Canadian Bank-Startup Relationships

The Big 5 Canadian banks have a testy relationship with startups despite their activity in supporting AI research, partnering with accelerators, and lending to tech companies. As major institutions, they should be playing a supportive role in supercharging innovation by investing in, buying services from, and striking partnerships with startups. But overall, the opposite has... Continue Reading →

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