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BPSAA | Blockchain Privacy, Security & Adoption Alliance

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BPSAA (Blockchain Privacy, Security Adoption Alliance) goes live assembling crypto gurus from multiple projects for the good of cryptomanity. BPSAA aims to bring collaboration through BPSAA verified projects in order to enhance Privacy, Security, Adoption for users in the crypto realm.

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Projects in the Alliance:
Pirate Chain (Most Anonymous Crypto) https://bpsaa.vision/pirate-chain
Turtle Network (Interoperable DEX w/fiat) https://bpsaa.vision/turtlenetwork
Ether-1 (Decentralized Storage) https://bpsaa.vision/ether1
Sentinal (Decentralized VPN) https://bpsaa.vision/sentinel

Source: https://cryptocoremedia.com/bpsaa-blockchain-privacy-security-adoption-alliance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bpsaa-blockchain-privacy-security-adoption-alliance

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The Beginning of the End of Cash? 2020 in Fintech Trends

2020 brought an increase in cyberattacks, contactless payments, and more to the fintech industry.

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2020 was a big year of change for the fintech industry.

Before the pandemic struck the globe, fintech companies around the world entered the new year with expectations that were shattered within months. Many of the trends that began the year were abruptly halted; fintech companies were forced to quickly adapt–or else.

Fintech also became a signficiantly more important part of global society as many of the traditional ways that individuals and companies handled their financial dealings were disrupted. Fintech companies also played an important role in distributing aid.

No matter which way you slice it, however, one thing is for sure–the fintech industry will never be quite the same. Here are some of the most important changes that fintech underwent in 2020.

In the US, fintech companies provided vital support for small businesses affected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about widespread financial difficulty in many areas across the world. In the United States, the government’s response to financial hardship caused fintech companies to hold a new level of importance.

Indeed, Lindsay Lockhart, co-founder and Chief of Staff at Neocova, a St. Louis-based fintech providing technology to community banks and credit unions, told Finance Magnates that fintech’s most important trend in the United States was the “support of the rapid digital transformation of financial community institutions.”

Lindsay Lockhart, co-founder and Chief of Staff at Neocova.

Lockhart specifically pointed to the role that fintech companies played in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP was an important part of the government’s stimulus program that was launched in response to the economic fallout that resulted fromCOVID-19.

In April, the United States government made the decision to approve Paypal, Intuit, and Square as participants in the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided forgivable loans to small businesses that keep all employees on their payroll for at least eight weeks.

Lockhart said that these fintech companies were “vital” to the PPP and to the traditional financial institutions “that supported countless businesses and Americans all while handcuffed by legacy technology.”

“Fintech rose to the occasion to help these community banks and credit unions digitally transform at a rapid pace,” Lockhart said. Fintech firms helped these local institutions to “support their clients in this new remote world where brick and mortar became obsolete and to fulfill the PPP demand that larger financial institutions shirked.”

Fintech saw “a staggering rise in fraud and cyberattacks” in 2020

However, the larger role that many fintech companies played, the more of a target they became for bad actors.

Indeed, Donald Kasdon, the founder of payment processing service T1 Payments, told Finance Magnates that “the most sweeping change in fintech this year was a staggering rise in fraud and cyberattacks.”

Donald Kasdon, the founder of payment processing service T1 Payments.

“We’ve seen it all, from credit card testing schemes to identity theft,” he said. “In response to this dangerous trend, fintech companies have had to adapt to prioritize cybersecurity and fraud prevention.”

This was also true in the cryptocurrency world, which experienced a significant rise in the number of phishing and malware-related attacks throughout 2020.

“Many e-commerce merchants don’t think a cyberattack will happen to them and have avoided investments in fraud prevention in order to cut costs,” Kasdon explained.

“This year, many merchants have learned the hard way that this technology is essential to run and future-proof an e-commerce business. It goes without saying that a cyberattack like credit card testing can be devastating to a small business, both from a brand trust and a financial standpoint, as this can result in enormous chargeback fees.”

Therefore, Kasdon believes that anyone dealing with fintech should learn to take extra precautions in the future: “as a start, merchants should implement identity verification and SCA tools on their sites, such as AVS and CVV, as well as session validation,” he said. “These tools are a simple and straightforward way for merchants to prevent fraud while not alienating real customers by making them jump through hoops.”

However, Ruston Miles, Founder and Advisor at Bluefin, believes that as soon “when in-person retail and dining resumes in 2021, I expect to see a sharp rise in card data breaches later in the year and on into 2022.”

Ruston Miles, Founder and Advisor at Bluefin.

“Hackers follow the money. They’ve spent 2020 online, where the money quickly moved to,” he said. Therefore, “merchants should take the opportunity to upgrade their card acceptance devices to accept contactless cards and phones and to have the latest encryption in place to thwart hackers as consumers return to brick-and-mortars.”

Cash is out, and contactless payments are here to stay

A representative of the Fletcher Group told finance Magnates that one of the year’s most important trends in the fintech world has been contactless payments.

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“The digital, contactless payment trend is pushing the envelope on payroll,” Fletcher Group told Finance Magnates. “The COVID-19 pandemic drove a huge increase in the number of people who want to pay in digital, contactless ways, and experts expect this to continue long after the pandemic is over.”

But the contactless payment trend isn’t just about cards that don’t have to be swiped or inserted–it’s also about a decrease in the use of cash across the board.

As such, “this trend is not only impacting a large portion of the workforce, including 14.1M U.S. adults who are still unbanked and locked out of these payment options — it’s also impacting their employers,” Fletcher Group told Finance Magnates.

“This is especially apparent in service industries where tipping is a significant portion of wages. According to a recent Netspend survey of restaurants, 93% found that their customers are using less cash as the result of the pandemic, which leaves businesses left with little cash on hand to pay out tips or expense reimbursements.”

As a result, the current payment ecosystem still has a lack of connection between cash and digital payment methods,” the Fletcher Group explained.

Therefore, the Fletcher Group believes that preloaded payment cards could play an increasingly important role in industries that previously relied primarily on cash.

“Payment cards bridge these gaps because they can be loaded with cash and then spent digitally, giving cardholders the freedom to spend where they want,” the Group’s representative explained. “As people and businesses continue to adapt to current circumstances, the plastic card at the core of each of these payment accounts remains central to the consumer’s convenience, security, and safety.”

Fintech companies are “in a totally different environment where the need to prove value quickly is immediately upon us.”

The circumstantial changes that 2020 brought about were also different in that the circumstances of survival for fintech companies changed.

Brandon Dewitt, co-founder and CTO of MX, told Finance Magnates that the companies that survived the change in circumstances best were those “that have substantial value propositions and the ability to sustain a business on revenue without outside investment.”

Brandon Dewitt, co-founder and CTO of MX.

“Capital markets were difficult to navigate in 2020, and it’s certainly a different world out there right now,” DeWitt said. “You have to have a business that has already crossed the chasm to make it through this time period.”

There have been plenty of companies that weren’t able to cross this chasm. DeWitt explained that in terms of his own company’s experience, “in a normal year we’ll see maybe two acquisition opportunities in a month”–“acquisition opportunities” meaning companies that are about to fold and need to find a buyer in order to stay afloat.

“In 2020, it was more like two a week,” he said. “We’re in a totally different environment where the need to prove value quickly is immediately upon us. If you’re a good company, you can prove value very quickly based on what you’re going after.”

Which companies are doing the best job of proving their worth? “Companies often perform the worst when their goals are not in line with the goals of their customers and consumers,” DeWitt explained.

“As I always say, money is a follower, not a leader. If you’re pursuing money and concerned about that side, you’re going to do worse than if you’re concerned about impact. A lot of organizations have suddenly realized that putting advocacy at the center of their mission has become a necessity.”

Engineering a “human touch” into fintech platforms is more important than ever

Another of this year’s most important fintech trend has to do with human connection.

Indeed, Mike Rhodes, partner at full-service CPA firm Citrin Cooperman, told Finance Magnates that before COVID-19, “there were high expectations as to how AI could streamline customer experience through chatbots and their ability to complete increasingly complex customer requests and increase customer purchasing of financial products.”

Mike Rhodes, partner at full-service CPA firm Citrin Cooperman.

“AI chatbots did not achieve the adoption rates that were originally expected as we entered 2020,” he said.

While it’s still possible that AI-powered chatbots could become much more popular in the future, the fact that they failed to achieve widespread adoption this year could signal a shift toward human touch in the fintech world.

Earlier this year, Eric Anziani, chief operating officer at Crypto.com, told Finance Magnates that “one of the reasons why senior citizens still walk to the bank twice a week and queue in line is not because they are incapable of obtaining money in any other way: it is because they value the human interaction and the personal touch that comes from banking face to face.”

“That’s an important point to bear in mind when designing fintech platforms: your mandate to automate processes doesn’t have to come at the expense of dehumanizing the experience. Maintaining customer support who can assist users when they get stuck, while demonstrating that there are real people behind the platform who actually care, is imperative.”

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The Bullish and Bearish Scenario of Yearn Finance’s YFI Token

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Yearn Finance’s governance token YFI continued its winning spree entering the Thursday session as its price maintained its weekly gains of about 30 percent.

The YFI/USD exchange rate surged in the early European session, hitting $31,884 before turning lower due to profit-taking sentiment. That marked the second time in the previous 24 hours that witnessed the pair attempting to break above the $30,000-level.

Nevertheless, YFI appeared oversold after rallying almost parabolically from its quarter low of $7,015. That amounted to a downside correction — or consolidation unless the trend neutralizes to provide traders a stable buying level.

Looking from the technical perspective, YFI found itself catering to two separate bias indicators: the Head and Shoulder pattern, which is bearish, and the Ascending Triangle pattern, which is bullish. Here is a detailed outlook.

The Bearish YFI

The chart below shows YFI on the cusp of completing a Head and Shoulder pattern.

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Yearn Finance's H&S Pattern in an uptrend. Source: YFIUSD on TradingView.com

In retrospect, the H&S chart formation appears when an asset forms three peaks consecutively on baseline support, with the middle being the highest than the other two that are of almost the same height. Traders interpret H&S as a bullish-to-bearish reversal pattern, pointing that the running uptrend is coming to exhaustion.

YFI has just formed the right and final shoulder (or peak). Technically, the cryptocurrency should follow up with a pullback towards the baseline (the longest black trendline). While that would make an H&S pattern, it would take another bearish breakdown below the baseline to confirm its whole.

Should it happen, the YFI/USD risks falling by as much as the length of the highest peak. It is roughly $10,000-12,000 long, which puts the pair en route to at least $20,000 upon an H&S breakdown.

The Bullish Outlook

There is also the possibility of YFI not pulling back from its so-called right shoulder’s peak towards the H&S breakdown target. Instead, the cryptocurrency could keep testing the $30,000-resistance level while receiving support from the H&S baseline, which would now be Ascending Trendline support.

Such a case would prompt YFI to form an Ascending Triangle pattern — a bullish one. Should it happen, the cryptocurrency would attempt a breakout above the $30,000-level. Once it happens, its upside target would shift to the level that sits near $50,000.

YFI, YFIUSD, YFIBTC, YFIUSDT, cryptocurrency

Yearn Finance's Ascending Triangle formation. Source: YFIUSD on TradingView.com

The technical bullish triangle’s technical breakout target is as much as the maximum distance between its two trendlines. That is about $20,000.

Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/yearnfinance/the-bullish-and-bearish-scenario-of-yearn-finances-yfi-token/

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Finance Redefined: What’s a DeFi merger, anyway? Nov. 25–Dec. 2

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The biggest events in DeFi this week all involved Yearn.finance, the yield farming optimization protocol. I covered the first, Pickle Finance, in my last installment.

Since then, we’ve seen integrations with Cream Finance, a lending protocol similar to Compound; Cover Protocol, an insurance provider that recently paid out users for the Pickle hack; Akropolis, another protocol primarily dealing with yield optimization; and as the most significant of all, SushiSwap, the decentralized exchange born as a Uniswap parasite.

The Yearn ecosystem now includes all the major building blocks of DeFi (yield, lending, exchange of assets), especially thanks to the Cream and SushiSwap integrations.

But I’m sure many will have questions about what’s going on here. How can there be mergers among decentralized protocols? Who decides on them? Are they actual mergers?

The comparison with a corporate merger

I think that the key to understanding these events is looking at what happens during a traditional corporate merger.

From a practical perspective, two companies merge for fairly obvious reasons. For horizontal mergers, it’s usually about expanding total market share and consolidating development. Think about Fiat-Chrysler merging with the Peugeot-Citroen group, or any other car company merger — their cars become virtually the same after the union.

A vertical merger instead unites different companies into one vertically integrated stack — for example Disney joining with ABC back in the 90s. Their products are usually different but may be still part of the same supply chain, thus benefiting from being combined as part of a single company.

We saw both types among Yearn’s five mergers. Akropolis and Pickle Finance are very much like the car company mergers. The absorbed protocols will build their “cars” (yield strategies) on Yearn’s platform, making them functionally the same. At most there should be some differences in taste — similar to how an Audi targets a different niche despite usually having the same platform as a Volkswagen. Maybe Pickle’s strategies will have higher risk than Yearn’s?

The vertical merger is what we saw with Cover, Cream and SushiSwap. Here we see pretty clear synergies between Yearn and each of these protocols. Yearn yield strategies will now use Cream lending to enter leveraged positions, and if they need to swap some tokens, they’ll use SushiSwap. Finally, Cover will provide insurance on these products for those who want it.

But the thing is that these product integrations are not enough to constitute a merger on their own. For example, Renault and Nissan have been sharing technology for the entirety of the 21st century without formally entering into a merger.

An actual merger requires either the creation of a new integrated company where the existing shareholders are bundled together or, at the very least, one company “buys” all of the other’s circulating shares by exchanging them with its own. Only the SushiSwap integration comes somewhat close to this definition.

The financial aspect of Yearn’s “mergers”

In the case of SushiSwap, the collaboration will involve exchanging part of each other’s treasuries for the partner’s tokens. The two protocols are still very much independent, and you will note that “exchanging part of the treasuries” is not “replacing all SUSHI with YFI or vice versa.”

The lack of actual financial relationships is perhaps the biggest reason why none of these mergers — except for SushiSwap — were ever put to a vote. You don’t really need to throw in any DeFi term to explain what happened here. More than true mergers, these are simply tight partnerships — in the corporate world, partnerships are usually not decided by shareholders.

Indeed, I am somewhat curious why these “mergers” were necessary in the first place. Yearn strategies are using other platforms like Maker and Curve perfectly fine without any merger — that’s what the permissionless nature of DeFi is all about. Although in Maker’s case Yearn did need to request access to Maker’s oracle.

Perhaps the bigger point is what will come next: The union of development teams to build new products. That, once again, can also happen in the context of a partnership.

I suppose “merger” sounds much cooler than “partnership,” though a “DeFi protocol partners with another DeFi protocol” headline is just as interesting, in my opinion. But it’d also be weird in a sense — how can a decentralized protocol partner with another? Well, it’s all about the development teams’ decisions to do that. That shouldn’t be too surprising. Every decentralized team is still a list of names and surnames just like the staff of a traditional company.

The question of whether a “decentralized” development team should be taking these types of decisions is a philosophical debate I’d rather leave to the readers.

In other news

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/finance-redefined-what-s-a-defi-merger-anyway-nov-25-dec-2

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