Like it or not, it’s time to pay attention to crypto


If it wasn’t clear enough by the recent Super Bowl, Crypto might not be regulated in most of the world, but personal consumers, startups and investors aren’t waiting for approvals.
cryptocurrency is thriving, and ad budgets follow.


The Most Prominent Example of a Blockchain Payment Method

Cryptocurrency has coins like any other currency, except they’re digital coins and they’re created differently than what we’ve used to know so far. Instead of getting money printed at the bank, crypto mining from the blockchain basically means creating data-based algorithms. It requires very advanced technology and computers. Therefore, creating crypto coins basically means solving mathematical equations.

When you combine all the cryptocurrencies together, we’re talking about an industry that’s worth more than $2 trillion. However, the most popular and successful cryptocurrency on the blockchain is Bitcoin.

Just as impressive as how it’s mined is the growth that Bitcoin has experienced since its 2009 creation by an anonymous developer working under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Once upon a time, you could buy one Bitcoin for less than one scent. A few weeks ago, buying one of its crypto coins already required an investment of $60,000.



From a Complete Ban to Official Currency: Bitcoin Around the World

Digital coins can no longer be ignored. Governments around the world finally understand they’ve got to make long-term decisions about them. Interestingly, different countries have reacted differently to this revolution. Some try to shut it down, as others seek to realize its potential for their citizens.

“China’s central bank,” for example, “has announced that all transactions of cryptocurrencies are illegal, effectively banning digital tokens such as Bitcoin,” reported the BBC in late September 2021. The BBC pointed out that “China is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency markets,” so when it made this announcement, “the price of Bitcoin fell by more than $2,000.”

Brazil, on the other hand, understands that digital coins are here to stay. It’s currently working on a bill “to increase investor protection with stricter regulation for companies getting involved in ‘virtual assets,’” reported Nasdaq in October 2021.

El Salvador took this a step further.

“On September 7, 2021, El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin (BTC) legal tender,” reported the Motley Fool. The US dollar is still a legal currency in El Salvador, alongside the crypto coins, so “people aren’t forced to pay in crypto,” but “the country’s Bitcoin law means all businesses are now obliged to take Bitcoin payments,” explains.

As a result of these and other movements toward blockchain technology, the drop in crypto coin value following China’s announcement ended up being only a little hiccup. The market has already corrected itself since then.


Social Media Campaigns & Influencer Marketing Attract New Bitcoin Users

Crypto organizations are tapping into the power of influencers to expand their reach and build trust with audiences. The American branch of crypto exchange FTX, for example, launched massive branding and social media campaigns in September 2021, during the NFL season kickoff game, for a total investment of $20 million, reported The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The ad and social media campaign featured influencer “married couple of football great Tom Brady and model and businesswoman Gisele Bundchen,” added WSJ. Additional influencer marketing plans have been made to partner up with NBA player Steph Curry, it reported.

Brady and Bundchen have already started posting sponsored content about digital coins and exchanges on their social media channels, and they’re not alone.

Influencers such as Floyd Mayweather and Tana Mongeau have taken part in social media campaigns that promote crypto coins and exchanges, reported CNBC. “TikTok stars Charli, 17, and Dixie D’Amelio, 19, posted their partnership with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini,” targeting young followers, reported CNBC.

“Even Kim Kardashian West posted an ad for Etherummax on her Instagram story… to her 228 million followers,” CNBC added.


Fintech Apps Make Bitcoin Easily Accessible to the General Public

According to, “digital payment giants PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App — along with mobile stock-trading platform Robinhood — are making it easier to invest in cryptocurrency than ever before, with options to buy and trade coins within their apps.”

Our client, the eToro app, is another fintech app helping everyday consumers buy digital coins. Some of the crypto coins one can buy with them include Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecon. As the eToro app explains, it offers a “trading platform, wallet and exchange all in one,” plus the safety of trading with a regulated fintech app.

All that, alongside regular trading, makes crypto almost as ordinary as any other currency. Of course, just like any technology, blockchain can be used for good… or it can be used to cause damage.


Hackers are Ahead of the Bitcoin Revolution

Hackers didn’t wait for social media campaigns or influencers to create crypto-related TikTok videos. They’ve been ahead of fintech apps and many of the rest of us, asking for ransomware in crypto coins, and specifically Bitcoin, for quite a while now.

As a result, they’ve enjoyed the significant fluctuations that sometimes drive Bitcoin’s value up – a lot – quickly.

In May 2019, the city of Baltimore became “a victim of a ransomware attack, in which critical files [were] encrypted remotely until a ransom is paid,” reported The New York Times (NYT). The price of the ransomware was quoted in Bitcoin – 3 Bitcoins per system or 13 for everything that got encrypted.

The attack happened on May 7. Back then, it meant paying “$17,000 per system, or less than $75,000 for them all,” explained NYT. When the reporting article was published on May 22, the mayor was still contemplating whether to pay the ransomware – but the crypto coin price had already skyrocketed.

It would now cost the city almost $24,000 to release just one system or approximately $102,000 to release everything, explained NYT.

You, of course, are encouraged to use blockchain technology for ethical financial and corporate growth.


The Best Time to Pay Attention to Bitcoin Was 10 Years Ago. The Second Best Time?

Now. Many of us have fallen behind on the Bitcoin and blockchain revolution. It was new, different and unregulated. But as it becomes mainstream and the cost of each coin soars, it’s important to educate yourself, so you can still enjoy the benefits it has to offer, even if all you can tap into is a fraction of one Bitcoin, while it’s still possible.

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The Rise of Banking & Investments Apps


The financial industry has embraced technology and the potential it has to offer for years, with opportunities created by technological advances leading to a mobile revolution that continues to sweep the industry.

With digital interfaces becoming the new normal for financial services (investing or wealth management) that once required face-to-face meetings with experts or a trip to the bank, mobile apps now mean that financial advice is always available to users, anywhere, anytime.

While most mobile banking apps represent banks or other large enterprises, others are run by smaller startups in the interest of allowing users to work on their budgets – regardless of size. In addition, mobile apps now offer detailed financial analytics, giving users a complete picture and allowing them to make better financial and investment decisions independently. But are there any compromises in relying on digital apps to do our financial thinking for us?

The Unique Benefits of Mobile Apps

What do Fintech apps offer that in-person services can’t? The most apparent benefit to studying financial analytics through mobile apps is accessibility. Having that information constantly on hand allows users to make all their financial decisions armed with reliable information.

Thanks to such robust analytics, the fintech app users can make better investment decisions, control spending, and check habits that harm their financial growth and stability. Financial mobile apps make traveling to the bank a thing of the past, and consumers are happy to speed up the transition.

Research shows that 1 in 4 people under the age of 37 chooses to do their banking with digital-only companies. While the US has not adopted the digital trend as quickly as Europe, Asia, or LATAM, user acquisition of mobile apps is rising. The uptick in consumers in the US market is driven partly by the improved speed and customer service applications offered.

Turning to Apps for Better Customer Service with the Power of AI

Fintech apps, such as MoneyFarm, allow users to consult with a convenient and reliable source of financial knowledge, giving users the information they need to build their investment portfolios independently. The key to ensuring that users can easily navigate applications alone lies in artificial intelligence (AI). 

MoneyFarm app

Moneyfarm screen from the PlayStore

Self-service is the basis of a positive customer experience in fintech and is the main benefit that draws users to mobile apps in the first place. Klar is a digital banking service that promotes alternatives to traditional banking in Mexico, going on the promise of no bank lines, no bureaucracy, and without the fees of the traditional bank. To maintain a solid user base and ensure that user acquisition continues to grow, adopting AI solutions to manage customer queries, resolve crises, and ensure an overall smooth experience is essential to the evolution of mobile apps in the fintech industry.

Having answers at your fingertips 24/7 makes this service attractive to users and gives financial service providers the ability to grow their user base to further and more rural regions.

What Lies Ahead 

How can financial institutions continue the momentum of digital adoption? If one of the main reasons users turn to online apps is customer service, logic dictates that online banking services should be investing their ongoing resources into improving customer experience. In addition, giving users the independence to read their data alone by combining marketing automation solutions with personalization can usher in a new era of growth for the fintech industry.

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How Government Policies Influence e-Payment Adoption


Mobile payments, wallets, and digital banking have made a splash around the world over the last few years, as smartphone adoption grows and the demand for alternative e-payment options rises.

According to eMarketer:

“The global payment market will hit a major milestone in 2020: 1.06 billion people are expected to make a proximity mobile payment. But even as countries like China and Sweden take steps toward a cashless society, most of the world will still rely on cash and cards.”

There are many factors that influence this rise, such as convenience, viability, infrastructure, and smartphone adoption rates. However, an underlying factor that is part of the conversation to a lesser extent in this increase is governance and policy. How does this factor influence digital wallets and banking? What’s important for governments to open more space for a cashless society moving forward?

Political factors usually include two main components: political openness and the ability to create effective policy to build avenues for a shift toward a fintech-driven financial society.

Many countries in the developing world suffer from a lack of infrastructure to support non-digital banking, and thus fintech has an ample opportunity to break into these markets through a change in financial policy and creation of a plan for adoption.

In some areas, this process has already begun and succeeded, like Latin America (LATAM), where an estimated 70 percent of the population remains unbanked. Several LATAM governments, aware of the heavy cash-based economy, sought to lift the unbanked population and create an environment of greater transparency to combat criminal activity, as other non-LATAM states have, too.

African states have seen their own fintech boom, but some states have been slower to react to the growing need for and growth of fintech. Nigeria’s fintech market, for example, is growing, but the government remains stuck with policies that are ill-suited for fintech and better suited for traditional banking.

In other, more developed parts of the world, like Sweden, driving hard toward e-payments has been part of a collective effort to remove cash from a society that suffered from theft issues, which prompted a policy shift on finance.

The EU’s open-border policy has been an effective way to push these kinds of mobile wallets and digitized payment financial technologies across many borders, with organizations like the EMPSA laying the foundation.

China, in an effort to target its own criminal issues, like fraudulence and counterfeiting, has opened the market for fintech digital payment options, mainly AliPay and WePay, in order to better track the population’s activity.

While the aforementioned states’ governments have had a more open attitude toward the integration of digital banking fintech, and many successful thus far, others are still lagging behind on the trail.

In order for the benefits of fintech to become widespread, governments around the world must create policies and frameworks to open avenues for fintech to thrive. This includes several elements, especially with the end-consumer bore in mind. The IDB wrote about the case of LATAM governments:

“On the political side, it is vitally important to have an institutional and policy framework that permits the growth of technology, including the progress required to enable Fintech to prosper. Moreover, policies that foster innovation in the financial sector are important to allow Fintech to grow in the region.

Development and productive financing agendas increasingly include references to Fintech. Furthermore, since public saving and economic welfare are closely related to various Fintech activities, a regulatory framework is necessary.

Such a regulatory framework must fulfill the essential aims of protecting financial consumers, guaranteeing efficient and transparent competition, and mitigating systemic risk.

Models like the European Union’s Fintech Action Plan can serve as prime examples for how economic unions and states can adopt broad policy to address user concerns moving forward, covering the necessary bases for integrating digital banking fintech.

State policies and frameworks will have to protect consumers and facilitate a number of issues regarding the integration. First, for infrastructure, state policy must make way for technological infrastructure, namely broader broadband coverage across the state.

Developed countries face little to no obstacle in this matter, given the advanced infrastructure in place already. Underdeveloped states, however, must craft policy that expands broadband infrastructure, but also policy that cultivates a competitive market for broadband providers, in coordination with state banks to be prepared for digitization.

Such infrastructural policy must also create sentiments of trust within the population. Many Africans, for example, said they do not trust state and financial infrastructure to use fintech, and thus prefer using cash. Policymakers will need to, as similarly underlined by the IDB’s recommendations, lay down financial policies that instill trust, such as defining the clear rights of a user and generate systemic integrity.

Moreover, policymakers will need to manage concerns about security and privacy of data, a globally lingering concern among users since the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The EU’s “General Data Protection Regulation and the Anti-Money Laundering Directive” is one example of a strong initiative to combat abuse of user data.

As we enter the digital age, we must open our doors to enrich our society with the vast opportunities fintech can bring us.

With these opportunities, it will be up to the governments of the world to step up and be the proprietors of change, in order to see the cashless age fully manifest into reality.


This article was first published on Hacker Noon on February 16th, 2020:

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