Fintech Intake: Our Favorite Fintech Reads – January 2018


The new year’s headlines have rallied around the grand entrance of bitcoin futures into the U.S. futures markets, igniting an even wider discussion around cryptocurrency viability, ethics, regulation, and blockchain technology. We’ve also noted some interesting headlines in hedge funds as well as some significant shifts occurring in online advertising.

Here are our favorite fintech headlines from January 2018:


January 5, 2018

Bitcoin-Futures Regulator Defends Oversight as Critics See Risks

Bloomberg Markets

A U.S. regulator is defending its approach to policing cryptocurrencies after some derivatives brokerages complained that two of the world’s biggest exchanges rushed bitcoin futures to market last month without properly evaluating the risks.

This piece was followed up by this Wall Street Journal article: Rise of Bitcoin Futures Prompts Regulator to Revisit Hands-Off Approach – The top U.S. derivatives regulator is reviewing its process for approving new products, after the launch of bitcoin futures raised questions about whether its hands-off approach should be changed.

CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam said in a speech last week that the 15 exchanges have launched 10,628 new “self-certified” contracts since that process was instituted 18 years ago. And now, with Bitcoin futures, we may have a problem. This will be a critical issue in the coming months as regulators try to find the balance between proper procedure and allowance for innovation. — Jim Kharouf


January 13, 2018

Marketing’s Black Mirror: Where the Technology Could Take Us

Marketing Solutions Blog

The thought-provoking portrayals of the future in Black Mirror challenge us to reflect on our own technological fixations, and ponder how our behaviors are (perhaps subconsciously) affected.

Given our daily dose of technology, Black Mirror is worth a watch, although it is rather dark. The financial markets have lived on technology for decades now and its dependence on it grows stronger every day. Let’s keep it all in perspective about what technology promises and what it actually delivers. — Jim Kharouf


January 17, 2018

Why an Activist Hedge Fund Cares Whether Apple’s Devices Are Bad for Kids

Harvard Business Review

The worlds of activism and impact investing are converging much more swiftly than most people realize — and this union holds enormous promise for those who wish to see the creation of capital markets that support sustainable economic development.

This is an interesting turn for activist investors such as pension funds and hedge funds. CalSTERs and Jana own a combined $2 billion in Apple stock, and there are $8.72 trillion in sustainable and impact investing strategies, according to the article. It prompts the question: just how much should management listen and adapt to shareholder wants and needs? — Jim Kharouf


January 25, 2018

THE Infrastructure Project: Trading Technologies and Coinbase’s GDAX Partner On Deal To Connect Cryptocurrencies To Institutions

John Lothian Newsletter

Cryptocurrency trading moved further into the mainstream today with the announcement that Trading Technologies and the Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, have partnered to offer the cash products on TT’s platform.

This is an interesting development for a couple of reasons. One, it links one of the largest ISVs in the space to a cash crypto market. But more importantly, it is an infrastructure milestone for crypto markets. Launching bitcoin futures at Cboe and CME were big steps in December. This provides a major source of trading connectivity and institutional-grade networking. Watch for more financial infrastructure partnerships in 2018. — Jim Kharouf


January 25, 2018

Annoyed by Targeted Ads? Google Says It’s Got You Covered


Google has announced that its Mute This Ad program will now allow users to keep ads from following them across all devices. The company is also expanding the Mute This Ad to work inside apps and websites that partner with Google through DoubleClick.

We are a big proponent of re targeting ads. Will be interesting to see how this affects conversion rates. — Shane Stiles



January 30, 2018

Facebook Bans Ads for Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

New York Times

The social network is banning all ads for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to stop promotions that it views as “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”.

This will have an impact on being able to market and promote Bitcoin futures and crypto currencies in general. I’m sure this will be the first of similar restrictions or at least closer examinations by Google AdWords and the better ad services out there. — Shane Stiles