I have elaborated in the first piece of these series of posts, how insurance sector has been functioning in a legacy system. I outlined the various problems that have cropped up over time owing to the set process imbibed into the insurance sector, over a period of time. Majority of these problems are prevalent due to the Data discrepancy and bad data capture. These issues many a times affect the insurance sector on the compliance front and also lead to losses that amounts to 1-2% of the total revenue. Mere monitoring of these issues at times might prove out to be costy. Hence I was exploring into ways Blockchain can cut into insurance sector and increase efficiency. We have already dealt about Fraud Detection and Risk prevention in the previous post. Let’s look into further issues that are potentially dangerous and can be resolved using blockchain:
Claims prevention and management:
While big data, mobile and cloud based models are already being employed to store and process claims data, it becomes inadvertently important to make the system transparent. In the processing of Claims prevention itself, new data streams can enhance the risk selection process by utilizing local and external risk and coupling it by analytics. Under such cases, a distributed ledger can help both the insurers, customers and other parties to instantly access the updated relevant information. The use of data stream from mobile phones or sensors can adjust the claims submission, reduce loss adjuster cost and increase customer satisfaction.
In the same fashion, the combination of sensor, satellite, imagery, mobile technologies and blockchain could facilitate claims payments and rescue services when natural disasters occur.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Product Development:
The actuarial analytics are actually dependent heavily on the data presented by technological set ups. As more devices and objects are connected owing to the data packs available, a lot of data will be collected and stored over a period of time. This data will be valuable to insurers as they would seek support for their models with updated data from time to time. Hence blockchain comes into play for managing these volumes of data independently and facilitates its availability for all the parties involved.
Hence we can see in the above cases that Blockchain can actually become the backbone of insurance sector. Follow this space for the next and the final part on how blockchain can power insurance.
Bitcoin has surpassed the all-time high this week and now has the undivided attention of investors around the world. With Winklevoss ETF coming up for approval next month, the price speculations are giving a good riff to the cryptocurrency. In the first version of this series of posts, I talked about two major ways to invest in Bitcoin, Long Term and Short Term through direct investments and algorithmic trading respectively. Now that we have considered two major ways to invest in Bitcoin directly, let’s look at a couple of indirect or alternate methods of investment.
Investing in Bitcoin Mining:
While Bitcoin market investments are all about speculation, investing in Bitcoin mining is bound to have assured returns. Though the returns would be small in comparison to what market might have on offer, it would be study and over a period of time, if well aggregated highly profitable. Investing in Bitcoin mining would be investing in the equipment and electricity that would be helping in validating the bitcoin transactions and reaping rewards.
When done in large scale, Bitcoin mining is indeed profitable and provides returns on a consistent basis. Investing in Bitcoin mining can be done by finding a reputable mining group and investing with them would be a good option to get sustained returns through Bitcoin mining.
Investing with Bitcoin based startups:
Well, what is more lucrative than investing in the applications of a disruptive technology that has the potential to change Fintech as we see it!! This is another form of indirect investment depends on the selection of a fertile start up that has the potential to transform existing legacy systems and revolutionize markets as we are seeing today. A vast variety of these startups include Bitcoin transfers, wallets, remittances, proxy credit and debit card payments and instant transfer startups. With more innovation Bitcoin is expected to find applications in advanced IoT involving bots and AI. A financial technology which complements the innovation the future holds.
With measured investments and adoption of bitcoin picking up, these startups would reap good business and you can become a stakeholder of a company that is minting good money. These are the indirect ways to invest in Bitcoin profitably. Follow this space for the next part that would cover about investment methods by directly investing in Bitcoin and also saving tax.
When it comes to Fintech innovation and regulation, Japan has shown full perseverance over the last decade. It has placed innovation at the core of its developmental objectives and carefully maneuvered through the various challenges the country has faced in terms of calamities. Owing to the convenient technological topography, Bitcoin was able to thrive fluently in Japan. Proponents of the cryptocurrency would surely remember about Mt.Gox debacle and the drama that ensued which affected Bitcoin development for some time. Recently Japan’s Mizuho bank announced the development of Fintech payments platform for IoT devices. Let’s delve into the details of the announcement and the impact:
IoT Payments Overview:
The Internet of things is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. The idea of IoT powering payments is not new and has been under experimentation by various Tech giants. Smart watches, mobile phones and other gadgets have been piloted as simple payment devices by many companies.
Mizuho Bank’s plan:
Mizuho bank is planning to develop a secure Fintech payment platform to be used by connected IoT devices such as smart devices, home devices, phones, cars and wearables. In order to develop the platform for IoT devices, Mizuho will partner with SORACOM Inc., a Japanese IoT platform provider. Cellular SIM cards and circuit cards that are commonly found on all smartphones and communication devices will be used by the bank. This enabled connectivity will be jointly developed by the bank and the connectivity provider, with SORACOM’s IoT platform used as the core technology.
What this would mean for Bitcoin and digital currencies:
A IoT connective payments platform would certainly improve the prospects of Bitcoin adoption. With the evolution of the platform, there would be heavy demand for fiat to cryptocurrency conversion apps and might even pay way for Bitcoin payments platform. Additionally Bitcoin itself has numerous applications in the IoT world owing to its micro-payments feature. This would lead to possibilities where Bitcoin usage oriented applications would power IoT. This might even lead to the development of an IoT Payments platform Bitcoin ecosystem that will thrive on micro-payments and real time applications. How feasible this platform would be and contribute to Japan becoming a cashless society, only time will tell.
Ever since ‘Internet of Things’ has proved itself as a prudent innovation, Big four firms have their eyes set on these innovations. The consultancy divisions of these firms are closely monitoring IOT to evaluate the possible investment opportunities for their clients. This is evident from the PwC report on IOT, released in mid-2015 exploring the unlimited possibilities and open markets for application. After the advent of Bitcoin, Blockchain technology has received no different treatment. The cryptocurrency and its underlying technology have received the same amount of attention owing to its disruptive nature. Pretty recently after Deloitte, EY made a move in Bitcoin. Let’s look into the details of how this would impact Bitcoin:
Deloitte launched ATM in September:
On Wednesday, September 7th this year, ‘Big Four’ accounting firm Deloitte has opened its first operational bitcoin ATM. The opening was quiet and took place in the downtown Toronto offices of Deloitte’s Rubix blockchain division. The bitcoin transaction machine, or BTM, is now all set to exchange digital currency for Canadian dollars. The move was intends to make Deloitte employees well acquainted with Bitcoin and Blockchain. Owing to the firm’s interest and belief in the cryptocurrency and its underlying technology, Deloitte has taken the first step towards it by this move.
EY joins the band wagon:
In a surprising move that will completely boost adoption, EY announced that their Swiss firm will soon begin accepting bitcoin. The firm also installed a Bitcoin ATM (BTM) in their main office building, next to the Hardbrücke train station in Zurich. The BTM is publicly accessible to exchange Swiss Francs for Bitcoins. The firm also gave away bitcoin wallets to all of their employees. The effort is in the direction of completely ‘digitizing’ their operations to suit the pace of the changing world.
Marcel Stalder, CEO of EY Switzerland said –
“It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through blockchains, smart contracts and digital currencies.”
The impact on adoption:
Switzerland has a very amicable environment for the growth of cryptocurrency. With a well-developed bank and technological infrastructure, going cashless can definitely be the next objective for Swiss folk. KPMG has recently remarked about the same in their report “Shaping Switzerland’s digital future”. For Bitcoin, this would be a very impactful move as this would accelerate mainstream adoption. With auditing firms accepting the currency, the solution to the problem of auditing Bitcoin related transactions would become apparent.
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