Week of March 7, 2014

  • Citibank and Imperial College teamed up to produce Getting Ready for Digital Money:  A Roadmap, a new report that assess the current state of digital money around the world; it  includes a “Digital Money Readiness Index.”  This index links socio-economic development indicators to digital money adoption.
  • new cryptocurrency called MazaCoin (inspired by Bitcoin) created by certain Native American tribes may have political implications for the financial future of their reservations.
  • According to the IFC,  about 80 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises in developing countries operate in the informal sector and are often financially constrained. A new paper (and accompanying blog post) by Subika Farazi documents the financing patterns of informal firms and identifies the most significant characteristics of informal firms that are associated with higher use of financial services.
  • Could Starbucks be the next big bank?  Probably not but this piece in Wired describes how products like retail rewards cards, new “nonbank”, digital-only financial services, and digital wallets represent a possibly disruptive trend for the traditional banking sector.
  • The Alliance for Financial Inclusion traces the regulatory and legislative history of Peru’s approach to e-money as a tool for financial inclusion in a new blog post.
  • The Center for American Progress released a new report on an emerging investment trend –mortgage-backed security supported by revenue from single-family rental properties.  The report explores the questions around risk to tenants and communities if there is significant growth in this new asset class.
  • Mastercard announced it is testing a new security measure that links the geolocation feature on a smartphone to a customer’s credit card.  If the phone and purchaser are not in the same place, a security alert is sent to indicate possible fraud.

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