Jan 3, 2018 - Adding Ripple to Coinbase could send an already rising value skyrocketing writes Alasdair Wilkins on Inverse Innovation. While no cryptocurrency is yet ready to rival bitcoin, a surprise contender has popped up in the race for the silver medal. Originally designed in 2012 to ease bank-to-bank transfers, Ripple now has the biggest market cap of any non-bitcoin cryptocurrency, and there’s still one obvious thing holding back its potential: It’s not yet on Coinbase, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange.
Dec 19, 2017 - Bitcoin: Flipping the Coin - You must be familiar with the above quote if you’ve watched the Christian Bale movie The Big Short. Does that mean the Bitcoin is a bubble waiting to burst? Maybe. The truth is no one knows just yet. It’s difficult to assess whether something is a bubble by simply reading the news or following the market. So, let’s begin by understanding what is a Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized, digital cryptocurrency. Confused? Let’s take an example. Let’s say that you are ordering headphones from Amazon via a seller and you want to know exactly where they’ve been before they were shipped to you. How do you find out? The answer is, you cannot. You can’t know the exact source of the product and you definitely cannot find out all the transactions related to those specific headphones.
Imagine if there was some sort of a digital ledger that could tell you all that and more? There is. Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that stores all transactions related to a specific product or asset. But then what is a Bitcoin? Blockchain technology is what makes the Bitcoin possible.
Bitcoin is a peer to peer decentralized digital currency that is used to buy and sell products online. Decentralized means that the Bitcoin is not managed or issued by a company, government or financial institution. Bitcoin uses blockchain to store all transactions in a digital ledger which is then accessible to everyone globally using their computers. Now that you understand the basics, let’s understand why there is so much hype surrounding the Bitcoin.
1 Bitcoin costs $10,886.85 at the time of writing this article. Crazy, right? Bitcoin was worth $1 in April 2011 and now, 6 years down the line, it’s worth more than 10,000 times its original value. But, why is the price of the Bitcoin so high? Bitcoin’s growing demand and the awareness amongst the public about cryptocurrencies is causing the price of the Bitcoin to rise.
The price of the Bitcoin has been fluctuating a lot recently but some are betting that the price of the Bitcoin will rise to $40,000 by the end of 2018. People are even purchasing 5% of 1 Bitcoin so that they can sell it off and earn a profit when the price rises again. Various Bitcoin exchanges like Coinome, Zebpay, Unocoin and several others in India are currently allowing the public to purchase and sell Bitcoin also known as BTC. So, should you invest in Bitcoin? I hope I can help you answer that question by the end of this article.
Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest individuals and a person who is widely regarded as one of the best investors of his time had this to say about the Bitcoin: “It’s a mirage.”
Several others share his thoughts but does that mean that they are right? Well, they could be but it’s quite difficult to assess something like this and who knows what could happen in the future. Let’s take a look at some important points:
Volatility: The price of the Bitcoin has been fluctuating a lot and although it has been termed as a currency, a 15% change in price in a single day is concerning. Although, you wouldn’t be thinking about this today if you had invested in Bitcoin a few years ago because you would have been a millionaire by now.
Regulatory problems: Various countries such as China have imposed various restrictions to try and regulate Bitcoin and some countries have even banned the use of Bitcoin completely. Some believe that a few countries are working on their own cryptocurrency which means more regulations.
Bubble: Bitcoin has drawn several comparisons to other bubbles in the past specially due to the fluctuations in price and the massive hype surrounding it.
Legality: Although, buying or selling a Bitcoin is considered neither legal or illegal in India but the Reserve Bank of India has not declared it a currency yet.
Fraud: Various individuals and companies are contacting the public to ask them to invest in Bitcoin through them but because Bitcoin investments are not regulated, if you are cheated by someone you can’t do much about it.
Price: The golden rule of investment is to not invest an amount that you cannot afford to lose. If you want to invest in a Bitcoin then purchase a small portion of 1 BTC but do not purchase a large amount if you do not fully understand the market. Also, it would be a good idea to buy it when the price is lower than usual.
Future: The market cap of the Bitcoin is much higher than any currency or stock. It is used throughout the world and is truly international.
Wallet: After you purchase a Bitcoin online, they are stored in a virtual wallet but they are not entirely secure as the company that owns the wallet might get hacked. It’s important to remember that if you decide to buy bitcoin, do not store it with an online coin exchange platform. Instead, withdraw it and store it on a hardware or offline wallet so that it is secure.
Futures trading: Anyone who has invested in stocks before understands the meaning of futures. Futures are contracts to buy or sell something after a set period of time at a predetermined price. Why am I mentioning this here? It’s because Bitcoin futures could be a reality, in fact US regulators have given the green signal to a few companies to allow Bitcoin futures trading.
Hopefully, some of these points helped you make a decision whether you should or should not currently invest in Bitcoin. Invest wisely and only invest in something you truly understand and believe in.
Dec 13, 2017 - Earlier this year, we committed to placing 55 billion XRP in a cryptographically-secured escrow account to create certainty of XRP supply at any given time. As promised, today we completed the lockup. By securing the lion’s share of XRP in escrow, people can now mathematically verify the maximum supply that can enter the market. While Ripple has proved to be a responsible steward of XRP supply for almost five years – and has clearly demonstrated a tremendous track record of investing in and supporting the XRP ecosystem – this lockup eliminates any concern that Ripple could flood the market, which we’ve pointed out before is a scenario that would be bad for Ripple!
This move underscores Ripple’s commitment to building XRP liquidity and a healthy and trusted market. Long term, the value of digital assets will be determined by their utility. XRP has emerged as the only digital asset with a clear institutional use case designed to solve a multi-trillion dollar problem – the global payment and liquidity challenges that banks, payment providers and corporates face.
Unlike other digital assets purely driven by unexplained speculation, real institutional customers are already using and finding value in XRP, and governments, regulators and central banks are increasingly recognizing the role it could play in the global system.
XRP goes beyond what Bitcoin does well — a store of value — and delivers transaction speed and throughput that is orders of magnitude faster than BTC or ETH. While other digital assets continue to bump against their transaction limits, XRP remains the fastest, most efficient and most scalable digital asset in the world – making it the best digital asset for payments. It’s no surprise that institutions are looking to XRP to provide much-needed on-demand liquidity for cross-border payments.
Game changer for $XRP! 55 billion XRP now in escrow Tweet This
Here’s how the escrow works:
The Escrow feature in the XRP Ledger allows parties to secure XRP for an allotted amount of time or until specific conditions are met. For example, Escrow allows a sender of XRP to put conditions on exactly when a payment can be completed, so the payment remains cryptographically locked until the due date.
We use Escrow to establish 55 contracts of 1 billion XRP each that will expire on the first day of every month from months 0 to 54. As each contract expires, the XRP will become available for Ripple’s use. You can expect us to continue to use XRP for incentives to market makers who offer tighter spreads for payments and selling XRP to institutional investors.
We’ll then return whatever is unused at the end of each month to the back of the escrow rotation. For example, if 500M XRP remain unspent at the end of the first month, those 500M XRP will be placed into a new escrow account set to expire in month 55. For comparison, Ripple has sold on average 300M XRP per month for the past 18 months.
Ripple’s vision remains the same – to enable the Internet of Value in which money moves like information moves today – and XRP is at the heart.
Dec 8, 2017 - Over its long history, Canada’s banking industry has absorbed a range of adjacent players in the sprawling world of financial services: trust companies, investment dealers, property and casualty insurers, and wealth advisors. Many of these structural mergers involved both extensive regulatory reform as well as significant cultural shifts within the industry. Yet as Canada’s banks consolidated and expanded into these other verticals, they tended to impose their cautious ways rather than adopt the more free-wheeling ethic of the smaller players they had raced to acquire.
The fintech revolution, however, will demand a complete reboot of this well-established dynamic. As these ambitious startups evolve from giant-killing disrupters into innovation-minded partners for the banking sector, both sides are struggling to figure out how to live with one another.
Fintech firms offer entrepreneurial energy, innovative technologies and highly flexible consumer engagement techniques. But they also bring a healthy dose of impatience to a famously staid industry that was widely congratulated, almost a decade ago, for the corporate caution and regulatory prudence that allowed Canada’s banks to ride out the 2008 credit crisis.
Banks, for their part, are awakening to the realization that younger consumers want to do most of their banking on their mobile devices, which is also how they shop and consume news. The American Banking Association even published a tip sheet for its members on how to “make friends” with fintech.
It’s a tall order. The sluggish pace of in-branch or web-based banking and lending, hard-wired into the banking industry’s culture, is anathema to the fintech industry’s sense of urgency and opportunity, and reveals, to many of these startups, a reluctance to take chances on new mobile and data technologies.
Fintech firms offer entrepreneurial energy, innovative technologies and highly flexible consumer engagement techniques. But they also bring a healthy dose of impatience to a famously staid industry
As a former banking consultant who now helps raise capital for fintech startups, I can see both sides.
If it hopes to survive, the banking industry needs to find new ways of partnering with these nimble newcomers. Yet the learning has to happen in the other direction as well: if they want to succeed and grow, impatient fintech entrepreneurs must find ways to work with these large, closely regulated institutions.
Let’s start with the source of the chafing. Various fintech players with serious ambitions have told me they often feel worn down by bank clients’ insistence on historical performance data for innovations with no past, the dearth of seasoned innovation champions within these huge organizations, the lasting effects of legacy technologies, and frustratingly diffuse decision-making processes.
Risk aversion runs deep in the banking sector, and, in many cases, it seems to be a point of pride. As some fintech founders report, they’re often told by bank partners that every feature of a new service must work perfectly, while potential downsides are scrutinized to the point of exhaustion. And though fintech founders are acutely aware of the fast pace of their own industry, many come away from these encounters sensing that their banking partners have little sense of urgency.
Today, some banks are starting to see that there may be risks associated with their institutional inertia. Most have established innovation labs or are backing proof-of-concept projects with fintech partners. While some fintech startups express skepticism about these ventures, others offer up useful advice for their bank partners on how to make such forays succeed:
— resist the analysis-paralysis instinct and give your innovation teams sufficient scope to dive into proof-of-concept partnerships, knowing that some will fail
— ensure that there’s a business sponsor behind such pilot projects, as well as a path that leads to a possible deal, and
— be prepared to pay fintech partners for the value they create through successful initiatives that generate new service offerings and improved customer engagement.
But it’s a two-way street. Fintechs need the support of banks to help overcome one of their main challenges: getting to scale and ultimately putting products in front of customers. This can entail something of a Catch-22, however, because banks often seem to be more receptive to partnerships with fintech firms that have already created a compelling brand promise, have a consumer track record and bring their own investors or sponsors to the table.
Fintech options ease the pain points of financing for entrepreneurs ‘There’s no silver bullet here’: Global financial firms still grappling with fintech challenge, report finds
So, what does a successful partnership look like? These pairings, fintech firms say, will increase addressable market segments; demonstrate how an improved user experience leads to increased adoption; expand the lifetime value of a customer relationship; and focus on service offerings that minimize competitive tensions.
To work with fintech firms, banks also need to reconcile themselves to some unfamiliar practices, such as associating their brands with products and services they don’t necessarily own. And both parties have to find common ground on technical issues such as customer data sharing, anti-money-laundering/know-your-client compliance and which key performance indicators will be employed to measure success, given that at least initially, the new fintech partnerships are unlikely to make a dent in the top line.
As this difficult pairing game proceeds, it may be useful to look beyond the banking industry for learnings. My own suggestion: IBM in the early 1990s, when then-CEO Lou Gerstner, a former consumer packaged goods executive, radically shook up the sleepy culture of a massive tech manufacturer. Recognizing the mortal threats facing his company from both the hardware and software sides of the computer industry, Gerstner forced IBM’s tens of thousands of employees to begin thinking about creating business solutions that actually responded to its customers’ needs. The end result? During Gerstner’s tenure, among many other changes, he shut down unprofitable businesses and added valuable service offerings to the commoditized hardware business, increasing the market cap of IBM to US$168 billion from US$29 billion.
Simply put, fintechs are to the banking sector as Gerstner was to IBM: crucial change agents, pushing these giants to confront the uncertain future taking shape outside the walls of a fortified industry that’s far more exposed than Canada’s bankers may realize.
Change, as we know, is hard. Not changing, however, would be worse.
Roy Kao is senior advisor, Finance & Commerce, MaRS Discovery District. This article first appeared in the Ivey Business Journal.
| A Financial Post release || December 8, 2017 |||
Nov 28, 2017 - New Zealand FinTech startups need to be braver and take advantage of rapid innovation and change happening in Asia, says a Kiwi-Asian business and technology trade expert working to attract Asian FinTech startups to take part in version 2.0 of Kiwibank’s FinTech Accelerator, run in partnership by Kiwibank and Creative HQ. Darshan Shetty, of Auckland and Beijing-based Xing Cheng Xing (Rising Star), says Kiwi startups can learn much from what’s happening in FinTech markets in China, India and Vietnam.
Many Kiwi ventures are too focused on breaking into the United States and European markets, Shetty says.
“Of course, we need to focus on the US and Europe markets, but innovation and change is happening a lot more – and lot faster – in Asia than the US and Europe.
“China is way ahead of the game, especially with WeChat and Alipay leading the charge. India and Vietnam are not far behind but are catching up fast.”
The onus was on Kiwi FinTech startups to be much more agile in putting ideas into practical application – and to take a few risks.
“Compared with Asian startups, Kiwi startups tend to move much slower. Having a clear idea of things is crucial, but there can be a tendency to overthink things, rather than taking action.
“We need to start taking a few more risks as a startup ecosystem and be braver in working closely with Asian markets.”
New Zealand’s reputation in Asia was as a primary producer. That reputation needed to be diversified into FinTech and innovation.
“On the whole, no one knows much about New Zealand when it comes to tech innovation,” Shetty says. “We’ve always positioned ourselves as a country that makes meat, milk and manuka honey and, of course, the Lord of the Rings movies. These are maybe the only topics we ever talk about (in Asia). But New Zealand is much, much more, it just seems we’ve forgotten and ignore the innovation success of Kiwis.”
Shetty says blockchain, cryptocurrency and app-based FinTech innovation was exploding in Asia and were areas Kiwi startups would be well advised to focus on.
“Another area would be to simplify ways to get smaller investments into the New Zealand marketplace from investors who actually want to invest here, rather than just coming here as immigrants. Stock market apps are another growth opportunity in Asia in the automation of market prediction and advice.”
The inaugural Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator resulted in the successful launch of startups including Sharesies, Accounting Pod and Tapi with support, funding and expertise to build, develop and expand their products in New Zealand and world markets.
That success had encouraged Kiwibank and accelerator partners Creative HQ and Callaghan Innovation to launch version 2.0 of the programme, which will be run by Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab accelerator.
Kiwibank’s Peter Fletcher-Dobson says focus of the new accelerator is on helping Kiwi FinTech startups develop a “global first” approach.
“FinTech’s a $1 trillion global industry, with investment increasing every year. As a country with talented people and a good regulatory environment, we can be at the heart of development.
“By having overseas ventures involved, we can expose Kiwi startups to the thinking and technology being applied internationally. The global networking potential alone will be invaluable.”
James Hartley, Manager of Financial Markets Policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, agreed that New Zealand was well-placed to be a leader in FinTech innovation.
“We’ve got some of the most modern and supportive financial markets legislation in the world. On top of that, the World Bank ranks New Zealand as the easiest country in the world in which to both do business and start a business. We’re also the least corrupt country in the world and sit high in financial literacy and innovation rankings.
“Because we’re a small country, we can co-ordinate and act quickly when responding to change. Our policymakers and our Financial Markets Authority are engaging with the FinTech sector and taking an agile approach to innovation. We know larger countries struggle to provide the level of access and openness we have here.”
Nov 23, 2017 - Air New Zealand is exploring the use of blockchain-based systems within its business, reinforcing its global reputation for innovation and embracing new and emerging technology. Blockchain is being used globally to build encrypted, shared platforms, providing a secure and efficient way to track the exchange of goods or information. Air New Zealand is looking at a number of potential use cases for the distributed ledger technology including cargo and baggage tracking, retail, distribution and loyalty programme opportunities.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says applications of blockchain are developing rapidly, and the airline is excited by the possibilities.
“With its built-in efficiency and security, blockchain has the potential to trigger huge innovation in travel, paving the way for new business models and collaboration.”
Air New Zealand is partnering with Swiss travel platform Winding Tree, which is developing the world’s first travel marketplace on blockchain to connect suppliers such as airlines and hotels directly to sellers.
“While we are still exploring its benefits, blockchain may offer a streamlined way to retail airfares and ancillary products alongside our current channels. In removing complexity from the sales chain, customers benefit from reduced transactional costs, and airlines benefit from swift and secure sharing of information,” says Mr Golan.
Winding Tree Founder and Chief Executive Officer Maksim Izmaylov says Winding Tree is a decentralised alternative to the current travel distribution landscape. “With a business-to-business marketplace system powering blockchain-based travel booking transactions, startups and companies will be able to gain direct access to travel service providers’ offerings.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Air New Zealand, as it’s an important step in bringing blockchain technology to the travel industry and creating opportunity for innovation,” says Mr Izmaylov.
Air New Zealand has worked with a range of leading technology partners to introduce innovations to enhance the customer experience. These include its artificial intelligence backed chatbot Oscar, who helps customers with queries online and through the Air New Zealand mobile app, and its experiment with the social robot Chip, who assisted customers with check in at Sydney Airport earlier this year.
German carrier Lufthansa has also recently announced a partnership with Winding Tree.
| An Air New Zealand release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 21, 2017 _ On October 20, 2017, Mastercard announced that developers would be able to access its blockchain technology platform via its Mastercard blockchain API published on Mastercard Developers writes Giulio Prisco on nasdaq.com.
The new service was launched during the Money20/20 Hackathon in Las Vegas after testing and validation had been completed. According to the company, Mastercard's blockchain solution "provides a new way for consumers, businesses and banks to transact and is key to the company's strategy to provide payment solutions that meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers."
Mastercard wants to provide an easy-to-use, permissioned platform to its network of developers and partners, designed for privacy, flexibility and scalability. According to the company, Mastercard's blockchain technology platform provides privacy by ensuring that transaction details are shared only amongst the participants of a transaction while maintaining a fully auditable and valid ledger of transactions; flexibility by providing the blockchain APIs and a wider suite of Mastercard APIs, with software development kits available in six different languages; and scalability to commercial processing speed. Mastercard emphasizes that its blockchain technology is integrated into the company's widely popular payment network.
At this moment, the Mastercard blockchain website for developers states that, due to an overwhelming amount of interest in Mastercard's blockchain, "We are limiting access to our API documentation to a select audience at this time."
Besides specific use cases such as Proof-of-Provenance and vehicle service history, Mastercard notes that the global market opportunity for peer-to-peer (P2P) bank transfers is $16 trillion. Mastercard intends to take advantage of blockchain technology and the Mastercard Settlement Network to transfer funds between bank accounts.
"The Mastercard Settlement Network reads the blockchain and will transfer the funds between two banks," stated Mastercard. "It then writes a confirmation of transfer to the Mastercard blockchain."
According to Mastercard, the company operates the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Besides developing its own blockchain platform, Mastercard had previously filed for over 35 patents related to blockchain technology, invested in Digital Currency Group and joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to explore the possibilities of Ethereum technology across a wide range of potential use cases.
"This move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Mastercard previously issued a blanket rejection of Bitcoin," reads a commentary published in Futurism . "Still, Mastercard's blockchain service heralds what Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin described to be blockchain's potential to replace credit cards."
It appears that the payment processing giant, realizing that blockchain technology is here to stay and disrupt the credit card industry, is accelerating its blockchain-related plans. Last week, Mastercard filed a new patent for a " Method and System For Instantaneous Payment Using Recorded Guarantees ."
While it may seem that Mastercard is trying to patent blockchain technology itself, the filing is more specific and targets fast, verifiable and guaranteed payments on a blockchain network.
Mastercard noted that, while fiat currency enables merchants to receive instant payments, it may take several days for a merchant to receive electronic payments due to processing, clearing and settlement times. On the other hand, credit cards are more convenient for consumers. Therefore, according to the filing, there is a need for a technical solution that allows merchants to receive instantaneous, guaranteed electronic payments while maintaining a high level of consumer convenience.
| A Nasdaq release || November 20, 2017 |||
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
Nov 20, 2017 - AirAsia is the best low-cost airline in the world and CEO Tony Fernandes wants to shift the airline’s business towards e-commerce launching a payments platform called BigPay. Fernandes also believes the first class cabin is going away within five years. Sixteen years ago, Tony Fernandes, with a small group of intrepid entrepreneurs, took over a failing Malaysian Government-owned airline for $US0.25 and the promise to assume its $US11 million in debt.
Since then, AirAsia has helped bring affordable flying to the masses in South East Asia. In the process, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based company has become one of the most disruptive forces in commercial aviation history while making the always affable Fernandes a rockstar in the business world.
What started as a two-plane operation has now expanded to a fleet of more than 150 Airbus A320 jets with another 200 aircraft on order. And for the past nine years, AirAsia has been named the best low-cost airline in the world by Skytrax and its reviewers.
Recently, Fernandes spent a morning with the Business Insider at our headquarters in New York. Our conversation touched upon several topics including the company’s future endeavours in e-commerce, AirAsia’s move towards fintech, where the airline industry is going, and advice from his mentor Sir Richard Branson.
AirAsia is betting big on e-commerce For the airline’s next great adventure, Fernandes wants to move AirAsia’s revenue model beyond simply selling tickets and into the world of e-commerce. With an ample supply of customer data, AirAsia wants to anchor its new e-commerce operation around the sale of duty-free goods.
“So when you book your ticket (online), we’ll offer you the chance to buy duty-free and you can pick it up on the plane or at the airport,” Fernandes told us. “It gives our customers much more time to browse and potentially we can create a marketplace for shops to put content on our website.”
According to Fernandes, the average passenger has an hour to an hour and a half to shop at the airport. With the online shops, AirAsia passengers can shop 365 days a year with personalised recommendations.
Further, Fernandes wants to use the airline’s fleet to transport goods purchased to destinations throughout Asia, thereby creating a logistics business.
“If you take Amazon, they started with a website and great distribution, now they are buying planes,” Fernandes said. “We’ve got the planes and we’re working backward.”
Of course, AirAsia’s e-commerce revolution won’t get off the ground without retrofitting its fleet with high-speed Wifi, a process that’s currently underway. It’s an element of the passenger experience Fernandes admits had been lacking onboard his flights.
The airline is focused on getting rid of cash These days, cabin crew on board AirAsia flights wear several hats, among them salesperson. But due to the nature of AirAsia’s network that spans the entirety of Southeast Asia, cash poses a major problem. Which is why Fernandes is excited to jump into the financial technology (fintech) business.
“We’re so excited about the fintech revolution,” Fernandes said. “We hate cash. It’s a pain for our cabin crew. FX is a super pain. It leads to fraud. It tempts my crew to do things they shouldn’t do.”
As a result, AirAsia launched a new payment platform called BigPay that will allow the airline’s customers to buy products through their smartphones. According to Fernandes, the platform is built with group travel in mind. Which means it will allow people to share bills and transfer money to one another.
Initially, BigPay will also be available with a pre-paid card, but Fernandes and his team are working to make it more app-focused using QR codes and near-field-communications.
There will be a currency exchange feature as well.
“We think our customers are being ripped off by banks,” Fernandes said. “If you were travelling to Bali, [Indonesia] from Da Nang, Vietnam and wanted to exchange your Vietnamese Dong to Rupiah, we would facilitate that for you at a much lower rate.”
BigPay currently works with 10 currencies, but Fernandes expects to up that figure to 14.
Ultimately, the AirAsia boss believes BigPay will be able to expand beyond the airline ecosystem and into mainstream retail.
Where AirAsia and the airline industry are headed Even though AirAsia is thriving, the airline won’t be expanding beyond its bread and butter low-cost economy model. When asked if AirAsia is looking to offer a low-cost, long-haul business-class-only product like La Compagnie, Fernandes quickly shot down the idea.
“No, not while I’m at AirAsia,” he told us. “I think focus is key and we’re good at what we do and [long-haul business-class-only] is a different model.”
With that said, Fernandes understands the reasoning behind a dedicated business-class airline and is baffled by why airlines would offer so many different cabins on board a single aircraft.
“Airlines were crazy to have first class, business class, premium economy, and economy on one friggin plane,” Fernandes said. “That’s four business models on one plane.”
“You don’t have Four Seasons hotels with budget rooms and super suites, they basically have one standard, but with bigger rooms,” he added.
Instead, the AirAsia boss believes market segmentation in the future will see airlines specialize in one or two particular products.
“I’ve always said airlines will eventually become low-cost carriers and business class,” he proclaimed.
According to Fernandes, we will see the end of the first class cabin within the next five years. In addition, the economy cabin on full-service airlines could disappear altogether with dedicated low-cost carriers taking over that segment of the market. This means traditional, full-service airlines could be left operating flights with only business and premium-economy cabins.
The best advice Sir Richard Branson told him during the early days of AirAsia During the mid-1980s, Fernandes spent several years as the financial controller for Virgin Communications. Through the years, he’s become known for his close friendship with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.
But Fernandes makes it clear that he has no ambitions to become Asia’s Branson.
“Everyone thinks I want to be Richard, but I can confirm to Business Insider that I don’t,” he said. “I have no preconception of going on a balloon at 36,000 feet nor do I have any intention of going to the moon.”
While at Virgin Group during the early days of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Fernandes told Branson that his decision to go into the airline industry was crazy and advised him to sell Virgin Records. It’s something Branson remembered during the early days of AirAsia.
“One of the first people to call me up when I started AirAsia was Richard who said, ‘I thought it was really stupid to start an airline’,” Fernandes said jokingly.
As far as advice goes, it was pretty simple, yet profound.
“He just said have fun and make it a fun place which we’ve tried to do,” the AirAsia Group CEO added. “But we would have done that anyway.”
“Virgin was very informative in my whole cultural experience in that it was a fun place, it was a place where there were no suits, it was informal and ideas and innovation are encouraged,” Fernandes said.”That rubbed off on me.”
According to Fernandes, this open and innovative culture has defined the company’s success. For example, AirAsia encourages its employees to design their own uniform choices and to show off their personality as individuals.
“If they’re comfortable coming to work, they will be happier and more themselves,” he said.
17 Nov 2017 - American Express business customers will be able to then to make “instant, trackable, cross-border payments” to Santander UK accounts. American financial services giant American Express has announced that it has teamed with Ripple and Santander UK to develop a blockchain-based solution for instant business-to-business cross-border payments between the US and the UK.
In a statement published today, the US revealed that Ripple’s blockchain technology had been integrated into its FX International Payments (FXIP) platform, meaning that payments made by business customers of the service will now be routed through Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network, known as RippleNet. The project will initially connect American Express’ customers to Santander UK, allowing them to make “instant, trackable, cross-border payments” to accounts in the British bank. However, both companies hinted that the project could be substantially expanded in the future.
This is major development for blockchain technology and particularly Ripple, which has been working with a number of leading banks and financial institutions, including MUFJ, UBS, UniCredit, Bank of America and Standard Chartered.
“We’re taking a huge step forward with American Express and Santander in solving the problems corporate customers experience with global payments,” Ripple’s chief executive officer Brad Garlinghouse said in the statement. “Transfers that used to take days will be completed in real-time, allowing money to move as fast as business today. It is just the beginning, and we look forward to growing this partnership to help other American Express FXIP customers.”
Meanwhile, American Express’ executive vice president and chief information officer Marc Gordon, commented: “This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world.”
The Ripple price (XRP/USD) has surged in today’s trading. As of 14:53 GMT, Ripple was trading at $0.249, having gained nearly 20% since the start of the session.
For further information on how to buy and trade Ripple, see our comprehensive Ripple guide.
14 Nov 2017 - Former Prime Minister Sir John Key spoke to a crowd of 350 at the launch party of professional services firm K3 last Thursday night. he event at Auckland’s Maritime Room celebrated the establishment of K3, a professional services firm which brings together legal, accounting and consulting services under one roof. With more than half of K3’s Legal team fluent in Mandarin and the firm’s extensive links with the Chinese community, Sir John spoke at length about New Zealand’s relationship with China.
“As PM I went to China seven times and everyone knows that I’m a massive China fan. I think the opportunities are enormous, the country is amazing, and the leadership is doing extremely well,” said Sir John, who noted he arrived at the K3 event in an Uber, not a Crown car.
Challenging convention was a subject also covered by K3 Directors Mark Kirkland and Marcus Morrison who spoke about how K3 is looking at business differently, and their desire to make a genuine difference to New Zealand businesses.
“Professional services firms have been run in the same way for generations. But the market has changed extremely rapidly so we think that traditional model needs to change too. Businesses today want a greater depth and breadth of service that is outcome oriented. Our goal is to become New Zealand’s most trusted professional service firm,” said Morrison.
Reflecting on his time as Prime Minister, Sir John said while he has no wish to be PM now, he is extremely grateful for the time he had as leader of New Zealand
“One of the things you can do when you’re Prime Minister is you can shape the country and you really can make a difference. Hopefully [during] the time I was there, we were able, as a government, to economically put New Zealand on a much stronger footing.
“Whatever you think of the world, I reckon most people get up in the morning and they don’t want to be dependent on the state and they do want to look after themselves, they do want to look after their family and they have a lot of personal pride,” said Sir John, to much applause from the audience.
He’d been doing a lot of travelling and had realised New Zealanders tended to overestimate how much other countries knew about “a country of 4.8 million at the bottom of the planet. New Zealand has an amazing reputation but, man, we have to keep fighting for our place in the world.”
The impact of technology was covered by Sir John, who recalled a recent incident at an Under Armour store in China, where he wanted to buy a pair of Jordan Speith golf shoes. At the counter he tried to pay for the shoes using AMEX, Visa, Mastercard and even cash, all of which were rejected by the salesperson.
“So I said, what do you take? And she said, WeChat or Alipay, and that’s it, that was the only thing they accepted. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s really changing. If you look at China, they have some of the most impressive leadership that you’ll find and they’re developing some of the most amazing technology.” He said China’s tech industry was out-stripping Silicon Valley and predicted it would be well ahead of the USA in a decade.
Although Sir John avoided talking specifically about the new coalition government, he did allude to it. “There’s a lot of rhetoric out there that’s anti-migration, anti-investment, anti-trade. But we have to back ourselves to succeed and not be afraid of people coming to New Zealand, don’t be afraid about foreign capital coming in to our companies, don’t be afraid about engaging in free trade deals. If we buy into the Trump rhetoric, we’re going in the wrong direction,” he said.