What should you know about SWIFT system transfers?

| 09-12-2021 | Xe | treasuryXL | LinkedIn 

The SWIFT network is well-known and used by banks around the world, but it may not be the best channel for you to send your money transfers through.

The Society for Worldwide InterbankFinancial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network, which was founded in Belgium in 1973, handles about half of the world’s cross-border fund transfers. As international commerce has grown, the SWIFT network has grown commensurately. It handled about 2.5 million daily transactions in 1995 and more than ten times that many in 2015.

But SWIFT is not a bank. It does not even touch the money which passes along its network. Instead, SWIFT sends payment orders to correspondent accounts at member banks. As such, SWIFT is strictly a bank-to-bank transfer service.

If you’re sending a money transfer with a bank, you’ll become acquainted with the SWIFT system. But is it the best channel to send your money through? We’re not so sure.

What does the SWIFT system mean for you and your money transfers?

  • Added fees. In order to be members and transfer through the SWIFT system, banks are charged SWIFT fees. To counter this, both the recipient and the correspondent bank usually add fees to SWIFT transfers. Somebody, either the sender or the recipient or a combination of both, must pay them.

  • Bad exchange rates. There are some hidden currency transfer costs, at least in most cases. Currency exchange rates vary in different markets and at different times. Banks routinely choose the worst possible currency exchange rate. Then, they quickly move the money to another marketplace and pocket the difference.

  • Long transfer times. As mentioned above, SWIFT completes “most” of its transactions within thirty minutes. In this case, “most” means about half. Some transactions could take several days to process. Other delays, such as large transfer amounts or first-time users, could delay the process even more.

How does the SWIFT network work?

Today, SWIFT connects about 10,000 financial institutions in about 200 countries. That sounds sweeping and impressive. But most of its transfers go through fewer than two hundred banks, brokers, clearinghouses, and corporations.

Furthermore, SWIFT is the industry standard for linguistics and code, even for non-SWIFT institutions like Xe. SWIFT works with various international organizations to set content and format standards for messages and transactions. In other words, the network infrastructure usually handles codes as opposed to account numbers and other sensitive information. That’s one reason SWIFT is so secure.

Another reason the network is secure is that its three data centers in the United States, Switzerland, and the Netherlands communicate with each other via subterranean or submerged cables. These communications channels are difficult to hack.

SWIFT upgraded its network infrastructure in 2001 and again in 2008. Not coincidentally, 2008 was also the year international funds transfer prices went up significantly. As part of the upgrade, SWIFT required all member institutions to replace their bilateral key exchange encryption hardware with a Relationship Management Application. Member banks gladly passed these costs along to consumers.

How secure is the SWIFT system?

2008 was a long time ago in technological terms. The smartphone you had back then, assuming you had one, probably looked like one of those World War I field telephones compared to the one you have now. Yet 2008 was also the last time SWIFT did any major security upgrades.

The network paid the price in April 2016. Hackers used malware to steal about $81 million from the central bank in Bangladesh. The malware intercepted the supposedly unbreakable SWIFT codes and also covered the hacker’s tracks. Perhaps most disturbingly, SWIFT admitted that these thieves, or ones similarly equipped, had tried this before.

A few months later, an Ecuadorian bank sued Wells Fargo after the latter allegedly honored a $12 million fraudulent transfer. Hackers obtained canceled transaction requests, altered the amounts, and submitted them.

Questions continue about the network’s security. Some banks claimed they have lost money to hackers in much the same way. These allegations are under investigation.

Can you make money transfers without using the SWIFT system?

Yes, you can! Many banks and providers utilize the SWIFT system to send their money transfers due to its security, efficiency, and well-established reputation, but some providers instead opt to use other channels (or even create their own channels) to send money transfers.

Do you want an example of one such provider? Well, now that you mention it…

Sending money with Xe

SWIFT might be the largest international funds transfer platform in the world. But in terms of security, efficiency, privacy, and a few other areas, it falls short.

So, if you need a reliable and affordable way to send money overseas to family or friends, give Xe a try. We send money through our own money transfer channels, which means that we aren’t on the hook for additional SWIFT system fees and delays—and neither are you.

But don’t worry: our channels are still completely secure. We adhere to regulatory standards in every country that we do business in, with bank-grade security measures to ensure that your money and information are completely safe


What is holding back blockchain adoption and what should be done?

| 08-12-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL | LinkedIn

Early this year I wrote a blog about the existing technology challenges that were holding back a more massive adoption of blockchain technology and of possible solutions that may tackle these. Though blockchain has many advantages this technology still has a lot of growing pains to go through before it could unlock its full potential.

So I was wondering where we are now. Gartner showed several times, any new technology – and that is blockchain too – has to go through various stages.

“According to recent surveys, almost 90% of blockchain-based projects still failed.”

 

And that is not strange. For new technologies, it takes a lot of time to get rid of all the challenges and use it to power the modern world. And these challenges are not only technical. What is the way forward?


Challenges

Blockchain technology has been surrounded by plenty of hypes, which makes many business leaders keenly interested in adopting it. Blockchain however faces different blockchain adoption challenges that make them reluctant. These are not only related to technological inefficiencies, but also to the lack of regulation and limited knowledge/awareness. Most of these challenges still need to be addressed and overcome in order for the technology to reach omnipresence and make blockchain a more acceptable technology for all.

 

Technological challenges

Although blockchain technology has a lot of benefits, it still has a number of shortcomings in technological ways, that are preventing a much higher adoption. Bitcoin but also other blockchains are well known for their inefficient technological design, leading to low scalability, lack of speed of the network, high energy consumption and as a result high costs of transactions. Besides, there is a lack of standardisation and interoperability, limiting the chance for different blockchains to communicate with each other. Ethereum tried to cover up a number of these defects, but it is still not enough.

Low scalability
First of all there is the scalability issue. Their limited capacity to scale in order to handle large transaction volumes. This so-called ‘scalability trilemma’ is the main reason why many doubt that blockchain systems would ever be capable of operating at scale. It essentially revolves around the difficulties current blockchain platforms experience when trying to find the right balance between scalability, decentralization and security. In reality, blockchains work fine for a small number of users. But what happens when a mass integration will take place? Ethereum and Bitcoin nowadays have the highest number of users on the network, but they are having a hard time dealing with the situation.

Lack of speed
Another important challenge that should be addressed is the need to increase the processing speeds. When the number of users increases, the network tends to slow down taking more time to process any transactions. This may result in huge transaction fees, making the technology less and less attractive. Also, the encryption of the system could make it even slower. Completing a transaction can take up to several hours or sometimes even days. It is thus most suited for making large transactions where time is not a vital element. This blockchain adoption challenge can become a hurdle soon.

High energy consumption
High energy consumption is a blockchain adoption challenge, especially now with the worldwide climate discussion. Most of the blockchain technologies follow Bitcoins infrastructure and use Proof of Work (PoW) as a consensus algorithm, thereby needing massive computational power, which is very energy-intensive.

This not only limits the opportunities for ordinary people to join PoW networks and hinders decentralization by encouraging the formation of large mining pools, but it also raises environmental concerns. At present, miners are using 0.2% of the total electricity. If it keeps increasing, then miners will take more power than the world can provide. Many organizations are trying to avoid blockchain altogether just for this challenge.

Lack of standardization
A fourth issue that is limiting a more massive blockchain adoption is the lack of standardization. Standards are required for any technology to have a scalable adoption across the globe. All networks which will be using blockchain technology need to speak the same language in order to be understood and to complete the transaction. All new technologies however suffer from this at the beginning till the standards slowly build up from experience.

Lack of interoperability
As more organizations begin adopting blockchain, there is a tendency for many to develop their own systems with varying characteristics (governance rules, blockchain technology versions, consensus models, etc.). These separate blockchains mostly do not work together, and there is currently no universal standard to enable different networks to communicate with each other. Blockchain interoperability includes the ability to share, see and access information across different blockchain networks without the need for an intermediary or central authority. This lack of interoperability can make mass adoption an almost impossible task.

Regulatory challenges

Next to these technological challenges, another big obstacle to blockchain adoption is the lack of regulatory clarity. Existing regulatory regimes are unable to keep up with the rapid development happening in blockchain and crypto. There aren’t any specific regulations about it. So, no one follows any specific rules when it comes to the blockchain.

Initial coin offerings, stablecoins and DeFi protocols have in recent years demonstrated the limitations of current rules and regulations when it comes to handling the sector. There are various challenges caused by this lack of regulation, including criminal activities, lack of privacy, and, although blockchain guarantees visibility as one of its benefits, there is still no security.

Criminal connection/activities
There is the anonymous feature of the blockchain technology that may become a great threat. The nature of the blockchain network is decentralized so that no one can know your true identity. Being anonymous is however quite convenient for illegal transactions. This has attracted criminals leading to various cybercrimes/illegal transactions such as crypto exchange hacks, scam projects, market manipulation asking cryptos in exchange as a ransom or using Bitcoin as a currency in the black market and on the dark web.

Lack of privacy
Privacy is another challenge as far as the blockchain is concerned. One of the greatest strengths of blockchain technology, public blockchain networks in particular, is the transparency that comes from having a record of a network’s transaction history that is public and easy to verify. This is however not always seen as a positive, as it also poses threat to privacy of organisations or the public using it. Many companies that work with privacy need to have defined boundaries. Enterprises, which want to protect their trade secrets and other sensitive information, are therefore reluctant to embrace some of the most prominent blockchain protocols.

Security and trust problems
Security is another crucial topic here that may limit blockchain adoption. Every blockchain technology talks about its security as the main advantage. But like any other technology, blockchain also comes with a number of security risks including coding flaws or loopholes. Ethereum allows developers to implement dApps based on their system. And there have been many dApps based on them. However, most of them seem to have a matter of false coding and loopholes. Users can utilize these loopholes and hack into the system quickly. The resulting lack of trust among blockchain users is another major obstacle to widespread implementation.

 

Educational challenges

Blockchain is still very much an emerging technology, and the skills needed to develop and use it are scarce, while the lack of awareness amongst the large public are challenging the adoption of this technology.

Lack of Adequate Skill Sets
This skills gap is a top challenge. The marketplace for blockchain skills and qualified people to manage blockchain technology is highly competitive. The demand for this qualified staff is enormous but few people have the adequate skills to support such technology, so one has to pay up high salaries.

The expense and difficulty of talent acquisition in this area only adds to the concerns that organizations have about adopting blockchain and integrating it with legacy systems.

Lack of awareness
Though broader awareness of the technology is growing, the majority of organizations are still in the early stages of adoption. Only 12% of participants in a recent survey reported that they are live with either blockchain or blockchain as a service, while 34% of respondents are not even exploring the use of it. But also the majority of the public is still not aware of the existence and potential use of blockchain, while there is lack of proper marketing of this technology.

Blockchain = Bitcoin?
Blockchain is an emerging technology and the distributed ledger technology (DLT)  space is still relatively young. And with crypto price volatility dominating the headlines of mainstream media, it is not surprising that the immense utility the technology has is not well understood by the public. Currently, blockchain technology is almost the same meaning as Bitcoin and remains associated with the dark transactions of money laundering, black trade, and other illegal activities. Before a general adoption is possible, the large public must understand the difference between Bitcoins, other cryptocurrencies, and blockchain.

Ways to accelerate blockchain adoption

As I described in my earlier blog, there are a number of ways to solve the various challenges. Challenges such as inefficient technological design, lack of scalability, low speed, lack of standards and interoperability as well as high energy consumption should be tackled by technology innovations.

The privacy, trust and security issues ask for proper regulation without endangering technology innovations. Lack of skills and poor public perception and awareness should be increased by education and broad information and communication.

Technological improvements

The list of blockchain adoption challenges clearly underlines the need for technological improvements. The sector needs to find ways to address the biggest challenges it is currently facing. In my blog of 28 February 2021 “Blockchain Technology Challenges: new third-generation Solutions” I already explained the various solutions in a more detailed way. So, I am not going to repeat that.

The good news is that, as we saw above, the blockchain community is actively working on solving these technological challenges such as speed and power consumption thereby using improved technology.

Refining consensus algorithms
Proof of Work (PoW) has played a crucial role in bringing the blockchain revolution to the world, but its drawbacks in important areas such as scalability, speed and energy consumption suggest that PoW can no longer support the further growth and evolution of blockchain. Blockchain can utilize other more refined consensus methods to validate the transitions. This has forced Ethereum to start a transition to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm that requires fewer energy to process.

Layer 2 solutions
The scalability problem can also be tackled by building so-called Layer 2 or off-chain scaling solutions that refer to approaches that allow transactions to be executed, taking some of the load of the main chain, without overcharging the blockchain. There are a number of interesting off-chain solutions ranging from state channels, accelerated chips, side chains to sharding.

State channels
State channels refer to the process in which users transact with one another directly outside of the blockchain, or ‘off-chain,’ and greatly minimize their use of ‘on-chain’ operations, while accelerated chips could be used to speed up confirmation and transaction time.

Sidechains
Another tool to speed up scalability are so-called side chains. These are aimed to reduce the load on a given blockchain by sending transactions via these connected side chains and putting the end state of the transaction on the main blockchain.

Sharding
And there is sharding, a scaling solution of spreading out the computing and storage workload from a blockchain into single nodes. This technology divides a blockchain into many separate areas, called shards, with each shard assigned a small group of nodes to maintain, thereby limiting the transactional lode. Polkadot is one of those examples built around the idea of sharding.

Multi-layered structure
Another solution to upgrade scale is the use of multi-layered structures, which is the isolation of transaction processing and data storage. Main projects are Cardano and CPCChain.

 

Zero-knowledge proofs
To solve the privacy challenge several protocols have been developed as alternatives to Bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymity, such as CoinJoin and Ring Signature.  An interesting tool is a zero-knowledge proof. This is a class of mathematical instruments that can be used to show that something is true without disclosing the actual data that proves it. The Baseline Protocol, for example, utilizes Zero-Knowledge proofs and other cryptographic techniques and instruments to synchronize private business processes via the Ethereum Mainnet while preserving privacy, confidentiality and data security.

 

Private blockchains
The privacy issues, especially for enterprises, that come with the transparent nature of public blockchains can also be avoided by using private networks such as Corda, Hyperledger and Quorum. These networks are designed to support a relatively small number of network participants with known identity, thereby providing the capability of executing private transactions between two or more participating nodes. Since participation in such networks requires permission, they are also called permissioned blockchain networks.

Private blockchain protocols can be used to create practical enterprise-grade solutions capable of connecting multiple companies or separate departments within a company. Participants would get limited access, and all sensitive information would stay private as it should. As an example, to build trust among users, TradeLens (a global logistics network created by Maersk and IBM using the IBM Blockchain Platform) uses a permissioned blockchain to offer immutability, privacy and traceability of shipping documents. 

Hybrid approach
The power of private and public blockchains can also be combined to achieve optimal results. This so-called hybrid blockchain approach involves using a public blockchain to store encrypted proof for all the work that has been done on a private network thereby connecting a small number of known stakeholders.


Standards and interoperability
Over the past few years we have seen an increasing number of interoperability projects meant to bridge the gap between different blockchains. Many of them are aimed at connecting private networks to each other or to public blockchains. These systems will ultimately be more useful to business leaders than prior approaches that focused on public blockchains and cryptocurrency-related tools.

Next to the more well-known examples of cross-chain communications that are most first- or second-generation, like the Bitcoin Lightning Network, the Ethereum Raid Network and the Ripple Interledger Protocol, there is a growing number of interoperability projects that are exploring third-generation solutions, including Cosmos, Neox and Polkadot.  And there is a growing number of projects teaming up in order to allow their blockchains to communicate with each other, aiming at solving the blockchain isolation problem. Main example is the Blockchain Industrial Alliance formed by ICON, AION and Wanchain.

 

Regulatory frameworks
The rapid evolution of blockchain technology has caught regulators around the world by surprise, leaving them scrambling to react to a rapidly growing and changing industry. Though regulators are now taking more and more steps in a growing number of countries to deal with this situation, there is still a lack of a unified approach when it comes to the regulation of the blockchain sector. This has resulted in a regulatory patchwork, with various jurisdictions across the world and sometimes even different regulatory bodies in a single region coming up with their own rules and regulations for the sector.

This problem could be countered by drawing up regulatory frameworks that afford regulatory consistency across larger regions. An example of such a framework is the European Commission’s propose Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MICA), which will introduce an EU-wide regime for crypto tokens. Thereby they are taking a pragmatic approach of regulating the market without harming the technology.

Raising skills quality and awareness
A closer examination of this barrier shows that it is very much connected to an underlying lack of organizational awareness, lack of adequate skills and lack of knowledge and understanding of blockchain technology. As awareness of blockchain technology becomes more widespread, the ability to effectively make a business case for their adoption, might contribute to more massive adoption.

Raising awareness
Considering that distributed ledger technologies are still largely unknown to the public, it is on the blockchain community to inform people about the technology’s design, strengths and utility. Building educational resources, holding webinars and other educational events are some of the ways that blockchain companies can utilize to raise awareness. Initiatives like Coinbase Learn are examples of how some of the world’s leading blockchain companies are working to raise awareness about blockchain technology.

Blockchain-as-a-service
And there is blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) that has the potential to mitigate the blockchain skills barrier. The use of BaaS enables organizations to reap the benefits of blockchain, without having to invest significantly in the expensive blockchain skills. Users only need to know the basics of the technology (not the technological insides) to take advantage. They will for instance need to understand how to execute smart contracts, but they won’t need specialized knowledge about the complexities of distributed ledgers.

Forward-looking
Blockchains are ecosystems that require broad adoption to work effectively. Without widespread adoption, the effectiveness and scalability of blockchains will remain limited. As described in this blog the adoption of blockchain and DLTs depends on solving the various challenges and will require active support from governments and other public organizations. Organizations are increasingly coming together and forming collaborative blockchain working groups to address common pain points and develop solutions that can benefit everyone without revealing proprietary information. There is already a lot of applications and projects live that is working perfectly. Like any technological innovation, the blockchain will continue to evolve. Yes, there may be challenges, but they should not be seen as obstacles. So, as I have shown, all the problems with blockchain will come with solutions and opportunities. There are this good reasons to be optimistic that the adoption of blockchain will grow.

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

 

Source

The Blank Sheet Treasury – a Guideline answering the “How”, “When” and “Why”

07-12-2021 | Jesper Nielsen-Terp | treasuryXL  | LinkedIn

During times of crisis, like the financial crisis in 2009, or the Covid-19 pandemic which still hits us, we often hear the old phrase “Cash is King”. The Treasurer and the Treasury Department are once again back in the middle of the fire by the end of the day. Influenced by the CEO or the CFO, the board of directors is overall responsible for the financial strategic target settings. The tasks and responsibilities flow however from the top management and will end up at the Treasurers’ desk. Therefore, A treasurer has to structure the initial thoughts when building or re-shaping the treasury setup.

To be prepared for the fireplace, I believe that it is crucial for the Treasurer or the Finance Department employees carrying out treasury activities, that a clear strategy is implemented and outlined. Not only a strategy for how the policies and guidelines are carried out, but a strong mandate from Top management and maybe all the way from the Board of Directors. A mandate carved in stone, so no one can be in doubt when something hits the fan.

“Do not ask what the company can do for you, but ask…”

There are a couple of questions that all back-office functions need to ask themselves on a regular basis. The answer to the questions should dictate the activities that are undertaken on any given day. First, they should ask, “Is this activity going to increase the company’s revenue?”.  If the answer is no, they should move on to question number two, “Is this activity going to reduce the company’s cost base?”. Once again, if the answer is no, then they should move on to question number three, “Will this activity delight the customer?”.  If the answers to all three of these questions are no, then we need to examine the activity to understand why we are conducting it.

The Blank Sheet Treasury

In order to understand why the recommendations that follow are applicable, we must decide what it is that we as a Treasury Department are trying to accomplish and why.  There are certain practices in Treasury across the world that should drive our behavior. In examining these practices, one potential structure emerges; the Blank Sheet Treasury. This way we are starting with our objectives and future state in mind instead of our current state.

In my opinion, the future state should equal the Treasurer to be prepared and know how to handle future potential crises, whether it is a business-related financial crisis or a worldwide pandemic.

Coming back to the phrase “Cash is King”, when in the middle of a crisis, everything else than access to cash or cash visibility should be a next day issue for the Treasurer. Stating this should give an idea why I believe the Blank Sheet Treasury always should start within the area of Cash/Liquidity Management, which of course can come in many different flavours.

The initial process

Coming back to the statements about having a focus on future state and the mandates to get there, the initial process visualized below is a tool that the Treasurer needs in his/her toolbox. Maybe not the most innovative tool, but most likely one of the most important tools, if not the most important, when shaping, re-shaping and driving treasury.

The process map works like a Lego building instruction, where there actually is a possibility to skip or change the order, but when doing it, the result will not be what we were aiming for, or even worse than what our surroundings (stakeholders) thought we were aiming for. So if the order somehow is changed or some parts are skipped, it will be similar to an “un-finished” Lego construction. It will in some cases be functional, but there will always be some spare and important “bricks” left on the table. In the Lego context, some left bricks might not make a difference or at least not a huge difference, but in a corporate context the repairment will have a critical impact on time, costs and lost confidence from stakeholders.

The foundation for everything else

Before moving to the discussion on the Leadership mandate and afterwards on daily-life guidelines for the Treasury Department, let’s first make sure that a part of the objectives and future state is the idea that everything is to be accomplished (now or in a few years). Not only will it be a guide for the “how, when and why”, but also because top management, which gives access to the budget, want visibility and take decisions based on valid information.

As the majority of Treasurers and their departments have Cash/Liquidity Management as one of their key deliveries and as the Cash/Liquidity Management highly impacts other workflows in the Treasury Department, it is somehow the foundation for everything else and therefore a good place to start.

This figure is of course not a golden rulebook, and for some Treasury Departments priorities can come in another order. But when talking to Treasurers about their priorities and building or re-shaping their setup, the figure outlines to a great extent how they see the structures and how they want to manage the process of reaching the end line.

Best Practise and Future Workflows

Each of the circles has some underlying characteristics and is decomposed into a number of workflows. Here, the objectives for the future state and best practise will come into play.

In this recommendation, Cash Management is identified as the foundation for other workflows. Next to that, when looking into job descriptions and talking to Treasurers about their key objectives,  FX Risk Management is identified to be high on the agenda. Therefore, the following graphs will assist the visualizing and guidance of Cash and FX Risk Management.

 

The Best Practise box has to be filled out by the company (the Treasury Department), based on their needs and very much linked to the Objective/Future State. The question asked here is; ‘’Does the Company actually know what is the best practise in each of the workflows or could there actually be multiple solutions for the Best Practise?’’

The answer for both questions will for the majority of companies be that the Treasury Department has some thoughts and ideas for what they see as Best Practise for their setup, but at the same time they will recognize that a solution for the future state and the Best Practise for this, can come in different varieties – it is not a One Size Fits All. When agreed on the Best Practise for the future state, it will then be time to start visualizing the future workflows, which will give some thoughts and ideas for what actually has to be built, changed and implemented.

 

One of the pitfalls to avoid here is to not look too much into what worked in the past and in addition avoid looking at single workflows (in this example Cash and FX Risk Management).
As a normal part of being a human being, there can be a significant probability to start applying what worked well in the past, because the Treasurer might have some experience or preferences from similar projects. Thus, there will be a tendency of implementing the same workflows and systems used in the past, even though they do not fit into the entire puzzle.

 


The entire puzzle

Likewise in our own lives, the CFO wants to see the full picture and understand the full picture, before opening up the purse and increasing capital expenditure. With this in mind and the objective of getting a budget, do not only look into the short-term and easily reachable targets but think big and layout the entire puzzle. Still continue to grab the low hanging fruits though, because they are to be grabbed in order to keep momentum.

What is the entire puzzle and how can it be shown in a simple, but the informative structure, so no one will be in doubt of the individual workflows on the journey of reaching the objectives and creating a best-in-class treasury setup.

To assist in laying out the entire puzzle, all workflows will be identified and structured by their “Value” and “Importance”. Therefore, the below chart can be the guide for where to start as well as be used in the dialogue with the CFO and other stakeholders. Once again it is important to state that the chart is not a golden rule book, but an inspiration for how to make progress on the journey.

 

The red box will obviously be the initial most wins and the focus areas. Even though most wins have been identified, the entire puzzle is still unfinished, because it is actually laying like a puzzle.

The box has been unpacked and the puzzle pieces have been sorted.  The next step for the Treasury Department will be to make the final move and bring their game plan. A game plan is divided into a number of streams showing the how, when and why.

*Policies/Procedures are in the initial phase not a part of the Blank Sheet Treasury, but as stated above in each of the streams as it is something that needs to be in place when start implementing.

 

Using streams and a given timeline for each of the streams as well as combining the different areas and the workflow process identified, the Treasurer now has made a construction manual for how to implement a best practise setup for the future state.

When utilizing some or maybe all of the recommendations and figures in this article, it will be possible for the Treasury Department to start taking the dialogue with the CFO and potentially other stakeholders, who need to be involved in the process. Because when being able to identify the how, when and why, and showing the entire process and the needs, the CFO can see the entire picture. A picture that can be used when moving into the next section, where mandates will be given to the Treasurer and a budget needs to be allocated.

Additional considerations

When using a Blank Sheet Treasury setup, the probability of succeeding is higher if no planning has been made. Moreover, the Treasurer needs to consider whether or not the right resources are in place when moving into the building, crafting or re-shaping the phases. When talking about resources, it will both be human resources and resources in terms of systems.

In terms of human resources, it can be internal resources, such as treasury and/or IT people, or external resources, such as treasury consultants. Speaking about consultants, it might be worth considering. Even though it comes with a cost, advantages are gained in time and knowledge.

On the system side, the Treasurer will have to decide whether or not he/she can bring his/her plan to live with the existing system landscape, and if not, the process will have to be added with a suggestion to make changes to the current system landscape.

Thank you for reading and looking forward to your thoughts.

 

 

Jesper Nielsen-Terp

Treasury & Risk Management Expert

 

 

Refinitiv case study | How LG Electronics reduces operational risk across its FX trading workflow

| 06-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Refinitiv | LinkedIn |

LG Electronics is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances. Following an analysis of the market, LG decided to implement a trading and confirmation solution in order to improve its foreign exchange processes. Read the case study to find out more.

LG Electronics is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances, employing 87,000 people working in 113 locations around the world. With 2013 global sales of US$53.1 billion, LG comprises five business units.

The company’s previous foreign exchange had several inefficiencies and risk of manual errors, and was difficult to audit.  Too much time was spent on simple and mundane processing rather than value-added functions. The task for LG was therefore to find a solution that would allow the company to solve these inefficiencies and allow its staff to focus on other areas of the job.

As a solution, LG decided to implement a trading and confirmation solution in order to improve its foreign exchange processes. The system ensures that the best price will be available and LG can then execute on the platform electronically. With this innovative technology, LG has been able to really reduce its operational risk across their FX trading workflow.

 

“We now have the ability for users in our various Asia entities to create, modify and approve FX spot and forward orders electronically,” says Calvin Lee, Manager, Asia Pacific Treasury Centre at LG. “The solution will then electronically consolidate orders for our Regional Treasury Centre to control and feed approved orders to our relationship banks to obtain an electronic ‘multi-bank quote’”.

 

The new platform LG has implemented has greatly increased the efficiency of the company’s FX process while at the same reducing the risk the group was exposed to. On top of these advantages, LG has benefited from much-improved control as a result of implementing the solution.

Key benefits

  • Productivity gains
  • Process efficiencies
  • Foreign exchange gain(s)
  • Risk removed/mitigated
  • Increased control

 

 

 

Vacancy | Junior Interim Treasury Analyst

| 03-12-2021 | Treasurer Search | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Our Partner Treasurer Search is looking for a Junior Interim Treasury Analyst. The ideal candidate for this position holds a degree in economics or business administration. She completed at least one relevant career step, this might also be a responsible internship position. We are open for candidates who worked in financial services, in a mid or back-office role, as well as within corporate treasury. She can work independently, with Excel and knowledge of SAP and/or a TMS is considered a plus.

 

Tasks Junior Interim Treasury Analyst

  • Managing payments: batches, trouble shooting, non-standard, et cetera;
  • Maintenance of the payment infrastructure, TMS and connections with SAP;
  • Support in liquidity management including cash pools;
  • Reporting and analysis;
  • Various improvement projects.

Ideal Junior Interim Treasury Analyst

The ideal candidate for this position holds a degree in economics or business administration. She completed at least one relevant career step, this might also be a responsible internship position. We are open for candidates who worked in financial services, in a mid or back office role, as well as within corporate treasury. She can work independently, with Excel and knowledge of SAP and/or a TMS is considered a plus.

The candidate should be willing to set up or already have an entity and work as a contractor (ZZP). We can support in this and last year, with this client, successfully placed two candidates who are positive and still work there. They are willing to inform potential candidates.

Our Client

Our client is a multi-billion manufacturing company with a global presence and finance entities in Amsterdam. The treasury team is very international and holds many experienced and ambitious treasury experts.

Remuneration and Process

The expected hourly candidate fee lies between €40 and €50. This is a full-time position (40 hours/week). Currently our client asks employees to work from home but hopes to invite staff in the office in Amsterdam soon. For candidates, who qualify and are interested, further information is available.

The Treasurer Test might be part of the recruitment process. Did you know that you can update your profile online and apply easily for this vacancy via the button ‘apply’ below?

Location

Amsterdam

Contact person

Pieter de Kiewit
T: +31 850 866 798
M: +31 6 1111 9783

Does Your Business Need Protection from FX Uncertainty?

| 02-12-2021 | Xe | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Don’t have a bank account? Want to have cash on you? In those cases, cash pickup could be the money transfer method for you.

One of the most interesting aspects of what the XE Business Solutions team does is having relationships across a broad range of industries. It helps our team curate unique insights into the various pressures and financial models being used by all the businesses we work with. The relationships our foreign exchange sales consultants build fine-tune their understanding of regional business sentiment and common international best practices.

There are many viewpoints on how to treat fast-moving FX rates. Some simply hope that the market will self-correct over time. Others make best-effort forecasts to try to understand all possible currency value directions of currency prices. From our vantage point, we see that businesses which are exposed to significant risks are more likely to achieve their objectives by employing a hedging program.

Foreign Exchange Volatility is a Universal Business Challenge

Big brands are just as susceptible to market movements as any other business segment. Currency volatility can impact profit margins if not managed correctly. Earnings reports are replete with warnings to shareholders pertaining to the value of assets and cash flows being affected by unmanaged or unexpected shifts in values of currency.

Looking deeper into hedging behaviours, enterprise-level businesses have a tendency to employ rich hedging programs and while it is by no means necessary to emulate their level of complexity; certainly the point regarding ‘best practices’ is clear.

Here are some insights on how the ‘big guys’ see ForEx risks across the globe as a result of their survey of corporations (Deloitte 2016 Global FX Survey and IMP Exchange Rate Risk Measurement and Management working paper: Issues and Approaches for Firms):

The top three reported ‘Primary hedging objectives’ were defined as:

  1. Reducing income statement volatility

  2.  Protecting cash flows

  3.  Protecting consolidated earnings

In terms of strategy, the breakdown of risk management strategies is as follows:

  • 8% of those surveyed employ a static or annual hedging programme (buying once a year)

  • 31% use a rolling hedge but a flat amount (buying monthly, quarterly etc)

  • 28% actively hedge using a rolling hedge strategy increasing over time to seek to average rates

  • 33% use ad hoc or hedging by situation

The survey found that global corporate hedging strategies consist of these approaches:

  • Hedging using a financial instrument like a forward contract or option – 89%

  • Naturally hedging through balancing buying and selling in the same currency (some or all of the exposure) – 58%

  • Passing costs to suppliers or customers – 28%

  • No FX risk management practices at all – 2%

These breakdowns further:

  • Using a FX forward or Non-deliverable forward – 92%

  • Using FX Options – 30%

  • Using specifically FX Option collars – 15%

It is always interesting to get a look into the strategies employed by others and particularly the way that large, professional companies approach managing a key part of their risk program.

The key takeaway is that almost all of the companies Deloitte surveyed are hedging using some kind of financial tool specifically designed to provide consistency and protect cash flows.

Probably a much higher percentage than many would think are using Options products and rolling hedges over on a regular basis as part of a specific policy that guides them in virtually any market condition. Some real food for thought there….

Currency Market Analysis

Here is today’s market recap:

GBPEUR – The Pound maintained its position yesterday and this morning against the Euro as many traders await details on what steps Members of Parliament will take when it opens next week. Labour has indicated they will seek and emergency debate on Brexit next week but no information regarding a no-confidence vote is yet available.

GBPUSD – The pound is expected to come under pressure in general as the suspension of parliament is seen as increasing the chances of a no-deal Brexit. With this in mind, it appears likely that we could test and break the 1.2060/1.2015 level downwards, which likely will open up losses against the Dollar of some significant ground.

EURUSD – While the trading calm remains in the pair, there is a chance hard economic data will begin to outweigh hard sentiment from the ECB. Germany reported a decline of 2.2% in Retail Sales in July (on top of a downward revision). Consumption is largely propping up the German economy and this is slowing as well. A potential risk for euro weakness exists.

Please contact us for more info about your international payments or log in.

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How does BRITA GmbH use Nomentia Payments in Germany?

| 01-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

BRITA GmbH, a German water filter manufacturer with total sales of 617 million euros in the business year 2020 and 2,205 employees worldwide at the end of 2020, is the market leader in drinking water optimization and individualization. The company is represented by 30 national and international subsidiaries and branches as well as shareholdings. Brita has manufacturing facilities in Germany, Italy, China and the United Kingdom.

The challenge

Brita has a complex business. The company’s products are distributed globally in over 70 countries on all 4 continents.

Brita’s treasury department was facing the following challenges:

 

– The used multibank payment tool was discontinued.

– Lack of a system that is independent of banks.

– Lack of centralization of treasury and cash management.

 

Currently, cash management is not centralized in the company. But there are group requirements setting a minimum standard for banking systems. However, rolling out the project in Germany was the first step to evaluate the possible adoption also by the subsidiaries.

To roll out Nomentia worldwide and achieve the goal of having one system for all payment transactions, first, Brita needs to take a few vital strategic moves, such as ensuring that all subsidiaries are using a group bank and the same ERP system, as well as setting up connectivity with all the group banks to be able to handle also those payment types that cannot go through Electronic Banking Internet Communication (EBICS).

The solution

Instead of working with as many as 7 different banks just within Germany to process payments, Brita chose to use Nomentia, as a single tool that is independent of banks.

Currently, Brita is connected to two major global banks and a few local banks through EBICS. They are currently discovering the possibility to add more connections, like a host-to-host connection to a major global bank.

In the beginning, Brita’s treasury and IT departments had to work closely with Nomentia to set up the project that required a lot of communication from both parties.

 

“Once our IT understood that Nomentia can do magic by connecting to our ERP system, retrieve a file from the bank and send it to our ERP in the right format, it was easy to get their buy-in. Our team had a lot of experience with long ERP projects and they were impressed with Nomentia’s capabilities” – said Doreen Lenk, Manager Group Treasury & Risk Management.

 

Nomentia’s Payments solution is currently used by almost all Brita’s German branches and they are currently in the middle of rolling out the solution in Italy. In case that’s a success, they may look at starting to use Nomentia in other countries as well.

The benefits

Rolling out a new product for treasury management can often be a challenge. It requires strategic planning from the department, cooperation with IT, and working closely with the solution provider. In addition, aligning the group in different countries also requires a lot of paperwork as well as training.

Brita has realized three key benefits of working with Nomentia. These benefits can be even further realized after further adoption of the solution.

1. One system for all in Germany for better processes and decreasing the number of errors

 

The biggest benefit has been that German branches can use one tool to communicate with all German banks. Without Nomentia, Brita would be working with several systems from several banks. Now all transactions go through Nomentia which makes the process less error-prone.

2. Automated processes

 

The processes have been automated for the German branches and this saves a lot of time for the accountants. As Nomentia is also integrated with SAP, they can see all the invoices from SAP, too.

3. Avoid fraud

 

With having just one system in place, it’s easier to have the highest level of transparency of the transactions and access rights.

 

 

CONTACT US 

 

 

Who is process owner in the search for a treasurer?

| 30-11-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit | LinkedIn | Over the last years, Treasurer Search found hundreds of treasurers. Our client contact persons are HR managers & internal recruiters, the CFO, Group Treasurer and sometimes even procurement. There is no standard first contact. Working with more than one often works best. This is what […]

Non-fungible Tokens: bubble or future?

| 29-11-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL | LinkedIn

A new phenomenon in the blockchain world are so-called NFTs or non-fungible tokens. Although NFTs have been around for some years, the market for digital art pieces, commemorative items, and other assets that now reside in blockchain ecosystems has exploded this year.

The NFT market got an enormous boost after Christie’s auction house sold a digital artwork last March titled “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” made by digital artist Beeple for an astronomic $69,4 million. And there have been more of these exorbitant transactions. This triggered the NFTs market to grow exponentially, thereby gaining profound attention from various players from mainstream companies to retail and institutional investors.

Many are still struggling with the NFT phenomenon. While some see NFTs as a bubble, comparing it with the tulip mania in the 17th century,  thereby debating over how long the NFT trend would last, others believe NFTs are here to stay and see it as the next investment theme.

In this blog, I will go into more detail related to the world of NFTs, what they are, where they could be used and what they may bring. But above all what are the risks and challenges associated with this new phenomenon.


What are NFTs?

NFTs, which stands for non-fungible token, are unique or distinct digital assets that cannot be replaced. Broadly speaking, they’re a one-of-a-kind digital asset. They have distinct properties, and can’t be changed with other assets. They are digital files that can carry any form of digital content (and can even contain access to physical content) from art to video to music.

NFTs rely on blockchain and cryptocurrencies to keep track of digital ownership and create scarcity to ensure they cannot be identically reproduced. NFTs enable to verify the authenticity of a digital artwork.

NFTs are not cryptocurrencies

NFTs are a type of asset which can be bought with cryptocurrencies. Both are tokens that are key elements in the world of blockchain. While both NFTs and cryptocurrencies use the same blockchain technology, they however differ in their attributes.

Cryptocurrencies use fungible tokens, meaning they can be traded or exchanged for one another. They are accessible in various forms and are utilized for various reasons. Every token is exactly the same and equal (represent the same amount of value). Crypto’s fungibility makes it a trusted means of conducting transactions on the blockchain.

A non-fungible token is different from notable cryptocurrencies in terms of fungibility. With NFTs, every token is different and unique. Each has a digital signature that makes it impossible for NFTs to be exchanged for or equal to one another (hence, non-fungible). If a person were to receive two NFTs, they would not represent the same piece of digital content, even if they were both exact copies of the same digital file.

What Are NFTs Used For?

NFTs are considered beneficial in a wide variety of blockchain use cases  They can be literally anything digital such as art, fashion, licenses and certifications, collectibles, sports, etc.

NFTs are nowadays increasingly used in contemporary art auctions, including images, animation or even tweets. Non-fungible tokens also have made their way into real life applications beyond digital art and collectibles, such as music clips, videos, games, or even a ticket to an event, such as a movie or a sport game, that took place at a specific time. But also for domain names, virtual land and real estate.

An upcoming use case for NTFs recently is photography. Photography and prints have been particularly successful in this new online environment. Photographers are increasingly finding a new market for their work with NFTs.

An interesting new use case are political NFTs.  In the US a Democrat-backed group, named Front Row, is planning the launch of a political NFT marketplace, that will be exclusively used for Democratic party campaigns and causes.

How does the NFT market work?

But how does the NTF market work? How can they be created and traded?

Creation of NFTs

Artists who want to create an NFT of one of their digital artworks will have to use one of the NFT platforms or NFT marketplaces. An NFT is created by ‘minting’ a digital asset (whatever it may be) on a blockchain. For that a digital wallet is needed with cryptocurrencies that allows you to store NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

Though there are more blockchains supporting different cryptocurrencies that can host NFTs, most major digital transactions are taking place on Ethereum.  Ethereum’s MetaMask is such a wallet that is mostly used in the NFT market. This wallet can be downloaded from the App Store or via chrome extension.

Artists will need to purchase at least a fractional amount of Ether for so-called ‘gas fees’. This will enable them to cover the costs associated with minting your NFT, which places it on the Ethereum blockchain, and listing it for sale.

When adding an NFT to the Ethereum blockchain, a smart contract is added to the blockchain containing a set of actions and certain conditions to meet. They can be coded to detail the limitations on the use of an NFT. Once the conditions are met, the action takes place (such as providing a digital file to a buyer), and the blockchain is updated with this transaction.

Subsequently, the NFT creator has the privilege of putting up the NFT for sale on a marketplace. At the same time, NFT creators could associate the NFTs with a royalty agreement to receive added compensation with every sale.

NFTs can be sold or bought in the digital market via NFT market places.

NFT selling

In order to connect with NFT marketplaces and authenticate their identity, to access these market, they are required to have a digital wallet to streamline this process. If one wants to sell it or trade NFTs, it depends on the platform and whether he can send it to other platforms or only keep it on that platform. Even if one is just selling an NFT, one still needs to pay a transaction fee in ETH gas, which is a denomination of the token called Gwei (one billionth of ETH).

The new owner of an NFT would receive possession of the NFT through a smart contract. NFT sellers will thereby need to ensure that smart contracts clearly outline the rights that are being assigned as part of the NFT. In most cases, the NFT holder is simply obtaining a non-exclusive license to the underlying intellectual property rights of an asset and only for non-commercial purposes.

NFT buying

How you buy an NFT depends on the type of NFT you want to buy and the platform you are using. Most NFTs are purchased with a cryptocurrency and some with fiat currency. For buying NFTs, you must have a crypto wallet that allows you to store NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

Before purchasing any NFT, one first needs to purchase some cryptocurrency. This depends on what currencies your NFT provider accepts. Most likely this will be ETH, Ethereum’s native token. They can be purchased by using a credit card on almost any digital exchange from Coinbase, Binance, eToro to Coinbase and even Paypal now. Most exchanges charge at least a percentage of your transaction when you buy crypto.

After this one will be able to move it from the exchange to their crypto wallet of choice. From that on it is simple on most platforms to connect the wallet. Once the wallet had been connected, users can begin browsing the market and placing bids.

Each user’s wallet address thereby acts as a passport and lets users interact with certain NFT platforms. And if one later decide to use NFT marketplaces outside of Ethereum, one will still be able to swap ETH tokens for alternative blockchain tokens.

NFT Market places

NFTs allow digital works to at least be traded via NFT marketplaces. On these marketplaces NFTs can be created, bought or sold. Most marketplaces hold auctions where users can submit a bid for an NFT they wish to purchase. Buying an NFT from the primary marketplace increases potential resale value directly after the product goes on sale. That especially goes for a high demand NFT immediately after their release. On the other hand, one of the main issues with buying an NFT from a primary marketplace is it is hard to estimate the demand for the art. On the secondary marketplace, however, users are able compare purchases to previous sales.


Most popular NFT marketplaces

Currently there are several NFT marketplaces and each marketplace sell different types of NFT. The most popular and largest ones include: OpenSea, Rarible and Foundation NFT. Other interesting platforms have names like CryptoSlam, AtomicAssets, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway and NBA Top Shot. Most of these marketplaces are still hosted on Ethereum’s blockchain, thereby acting as Ethereum’s dApps.

OpenSea is a marketplace for NFTs which operates on Ethereum trading rare digital items and collectibles. It hosts a variety of digital collectibles, from video game items to digital artwork. Using OpenSea, users can interact with the network to browse NFT collections to exchange NFTs for cryptocurrency. One can also sort pieces by sales volume to discover new artists.

Rarible s a  so-called ‘democratic’, open marketplace that allows artists and creators to issue and sell NFTs. RARI tokens issued on the platform enable holders to weigh in on features like fees and community rules.

On the Foundation NFT marketplace artists must receive “upvotes” or an invitation from fellow creators to post their art. The community’s exclusivity and cost of entry – artists must also purchase “gas” to mint NFTs – means it may boast higher-calibre artwork.

An interesting newcomer on the NFT market is Coinbase. The cryptocurrency exchange, aims to launch a marketplace that lets users mint, collect and trade NFTs. Users can sign up to a waitlist for early access to the feature. Its marketplace, to be named Coinbase NFT, would include ‘social features’ and tap into the so-called creator economy (a term used to describe the world of people who make money posting videos and other content online).

What may NFTs bring?

NFTs provide a number of  advantages to both content creators, sellers and buyers, depending on the platform they are created on. With NFTs in Ethereum, the smart contract is automatic: The code in the smart contract cannot be changed once it’s added to the blockchain, and the transaction cannot be changed once the criteria have been met and verified. This provides security to both creators and buyers.

For the creator 

Blockchain technology and NFTs afford artists and content creators a unique opportunity to monetize their wares. For example, artists no longer have to rely on galleries or auction houses to sell their art. They can sell it directly to the consumer as an NFT, which also lets them keep more of the profits.

Typically, most art pieces are physically sorted, which exposes them to the risk of being stolen or duplicated. NFTs may eliminate these shortcomings to certain extent by allowing artists to keep the records of the actual copy on the blockchain network. On top NFTs create an ecosystem where artists can authenticate the actual ownership of their work by recording the metadata on-chain.

Most websites where NFTs are sold also allow content creators to add a royalty system to the subsequent selling of their content. Doing this they may receive a percentage of sales whenever their art is sold to a new owner. Importantly, the artist benefits every single time their NFT changes hands. This is seen as an attractive feature as artists generally do not receive future proceeds after their art is first sold.

For the collector

NFTs allow for proof of ownership in the digital world for the collector. Before the invention of NFTs, there was no way to prove the ownership or authenticity of digital artworks or collectibles. With NFTs the investor has true ownership of the non-fungible token they purchase. When a digital asset is tokenized this creates value as it is possible to prove its authenticity and ownership, which also means it can be bought and sold many times over.

With NFTs, a copy can be verified with the use of a unique identifier included in the NFT, and the history of ownership for that copy can be maintained. Because it has a unique identifier, and there’s a record of the work on the blockchain, it’s easy to track.

Next to that due to blockchain technology and NFTs, the principle of ‘scarcity’ now also exists
in the digital world. This because each NFT is rare, unique and indivisible. For a collector, the intrinsic value associated with the purchase of an NFT is supporting an artist whose work they admire.

It also give access to decentralised finance (DeFi) NFT services. Some NFT projects such as Hoard marketplace are providing DeFi services which allows users to buy, sell, loan or rent NFTs. The platform empowers developers with tools to integrate digital art, in-game items and domain names with the Ethereum blockchain.

Other potential benefits of this NFT eco system are growth prospects and value preservation where artist can preserve their art and yield income. The growth prospects of NFTs are significant and present more opportunities for creatives and investors to join the market. The NFT market is firmly growing, which means most NFTs could only become more valuable and innovative as time goes on.

And there are the utility benefits. NFTs enable businesses and individuals to acquire and protect value in real-world and virtual objects. When one owns an NFT on the blockchain, one has the ability to flip it, or sell it on the secondary market, for profit.

The downside of NFTs

While the advantages/benefits of NFTs clearly paint a promising  picture for their future, these markets are also confronted with various challenges and risks that one should consider before deciding to enter the space.

First of all there is the market risk. The market for NFTs such as digital art and collectibles is booming — but that doesn’t mean they are a safe investment. Investing in NFTs comes with its own unique set of risks. Their future is uncertain, and we don’t yet have a lot of history to judge their performance. When investing in NFTs one should be aware of volatility, illiquidity, and fraud in the nascent market.

Though investing in art is often a subjective act, there is the risk of losing its value. The NFT market suffers from massive volatility,  in part because there aren’t any mechanisms in place yet to help people price these digital assets.

When it comes to liquidity of NFTs every seller needs to find a buyer who’s willing to pay a certain price for a particular, one-of-a-kind item. That can put collectors in a difficult position if they have spent a lot of money on a ‘Top Shot‘ moment and the market begins to tank.

Another risk refers to the uncertainty in determining the value of NFTs. The valuation of NFTs depends considerably on the authenticity, creativity, and the perception of owners and buyers. An NFT’s value is based largely on what someone else is willing to pay for it, thereby leading to fluctuations. Therefore, demand will drive the price rather than fundamental, technical or economic indicators.

And there is the risk related to intellectual property issues. Someone who buys an NFT, only gets the right to use the NFT rather than intellectual property rights. It is therefore important to consider the ownership rights of an individual to a particular NFT in the metadata of the underlying smart contract, such as copyrights, trademarks, patents, moral rights, and the right to publicity.

The growing  NFT market is also attracting cybercriminals resulting in various risks of fraud, cybersecurity and hacks. There have been a few instances of fake websites, where NFTs hosted on the platform have disappeared and faced copyright and trade infringements.

Some artists have also fallen victim to impersonators who have listed and sold their work without their permission. And those who own an NFT do not necessarily own the original version of the digital content.

Another risk related to cybersecurity and fraud include copyright theft, replication of popular NFTs or fake airdrops, and NFT giveaways. And there is the risk of smart contracts being attacked by hackers and the challenges of NFT maintenance. This is seen as a main concern in the NFT landscape presently. As a result people can end up buying the fake NFT tokens, which practically do not have any value as an asset.

In addition, NFTs are also associated with jurisdictional challenges as there is no specific precedent for regulating NFTs. Decentralized peer-to-peer transactions on blockchain-based  NFT platforms without any monitoring authority can lead to AML and CFT challenges. As NFT can challenge the conventional FATF standard, regulations and intermediate supervision become necessary for these platforms.

Challenges

An there are the various challenges NFTs may be confronted, that could limit their adoption. Some of these challenges are more fundamental.

One of the most fundamental challenge for this NTF market is how these tokens will have to be fused into an ill-suited legal framework. The lack of regulation creates a lot of pitfalls in NFT adoption. There is the confusion of how NTFs should be classified and thus regulatory treated. As a security or something else. NFT does not have a specific definition and can describe a wide variety of assets. They are unique, not interchangeable, and not fungible. With the increasing variety and number of NFTs, it is difficult to find a solid ground for compliance in NFTs. As of now, many of the existing laws pertaining to NFT are stuck on finding the ideal definition for NFTs. Various countries like Japan, UK, US and the EU have different approaches for the classification of NFTs.

Next to regulatory challenges there is the lack of uniform, universal infrastructure for NFTs that may limit their adoption. For instance the verification processes for creators and NFT listings aren’t consistent across platforms – some are more stringent than others.

Accessibility to NFTs can be a significant barrier for new entrants to the NFT market. While NFT marketplaces are user-friendly, content creators must pay fees for the creation and upkeep of the NFT. These fees are usually required to be paid with a cryptocurrency in a digital wallet. The NFT marketplaces are also only popular for certain types of digital content; currently, for example, there are very few writers who sell their work as NFTs.

Environmental effect

Another pain point of using NFTs is the effect the cryptocurrency industry has on the environment. The current mining practices for the most popular cryptocurrencies use proof-of work techniques, which require a vast amount of energy from powerful computers.

The way forward: bubble or future

The NFT markets are booming. And every day new use case are entering the NFT market attracted by the various benefits and the incredible profits that can be made.

But the risks and challenges this market is confronted with will ask for regulatory intervention. The importance of reflecting on the legal and regulatory NFT risks is clearly evident. As this NTF market continues to grow and expand into different use cases, this raises the importance of having an international regulatory body of Non-fungible tokens for its better regulation and legalization. The outcome could have a great impact and will be decisive for the future of NTFs.

It is however still uncertain how that will proceed.

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

 

Source

Vacancy | Treasurer for build-up situation (Dutch)

| 26-11-2021 | Treasurer Search | treasuryXL | LinkedIn 

Onze Partner Treasurer Search is op zoek naar een Treasurer voor Opbouwsituatie. Onze opdrachtgever is een bijzondere organisatie. Aan de ene kant koopt de organisatie voor ongeveer €8,5 miljard internationaal in, aan de andere kant ben je hiervoor verantwoordelijk met een relatief kleine club van 150 deskundige en betrokken mensen. Dit betekent dat zelfs specialisten in staat zijn om met collegae in diverse disciplines samen te werken en niet weglopen voor verantwoordelijkheden die nog niet zijn toebedeeld. De treasurer wordt lid van het Finance team en werkt samen met collegae van Control, die nu nog een deel van de treasury taken verzorgen.

 

Taken Treasurer

De beslissers bij onze opdrachtgever, zeker die in de financiële kolom, kennen het belang van treasury. Veel taken worden al opgepakt door verschillende medewerkers. Vanuit die situatie zal de treasurer de functie vormgeven. Zonder daarin uitputtend te zijn, zijn dit de belangrijkste taken:

  • Het gesprek aangaan met de leiding van de organisatie over de ideale treasury organisatie enerzijds, inventariseren hoe taken nu worden opgepakt anderzijds;
  • Uitwerken en implementeren van een treasury ontwikkelingsplan;
  • Om de organisatie aan te kunnen sturen en draagvlak te ontwikkelen voor treasury, zal compliance, analyseren en rapporteren essentieel zijn;
  • In het strategische balans management speelt de treasurer een belangrijke rol. Er wordt verwacht dat je na analyse diverse opties kan ontwikkelen en presenteren. Hierin is intensief contact met de aandeelhouders belangrijk, alsook variaties op supply chain financing;
  • Managen van bankrelaties, liquiditeit, cashflow forecasting, rente en valuta exposures;
  • Anders dan bij andere treasury organisaties, behoren verzekeringen en credit risk management van leveranciers ook in deze functie;
  • Vanzelfsprekend wordt van de treasurer verwacht projecten te initiëren en leiden, alsook aan te haken bij initiatieven die relevant zijn voor de functie. Je zet treasury op de kaart!

Ideale Treasurer

Aangezien dit een opbouwfunctie is, is het belangrijk dat de ideale kandidaat zowel brede vakkennis als een passende persoonlijkheid heeft. Treasury ervaring kan zijn opgedaan bij een corporate, een treasury consultant en eventueel bij een bank. Deze functie vraagt expertise in corporate finance, risk en cash management. Een relevante academische opleiding is belangrijk voor het inhoudelijke fundament, maar ook omdat dit een indicator is van benodigde denkkracht. Als persoon moet de treasurer mee kunnen spreken op directieniveau maar tegelijkertijd niet bang zijn om de handen uit de mouwen te steken. Je bent communicatief sterk, hebt een treasury visie en vindt het een leuke uitdaging om deze te vertalen naar de werkelijkheid. Achterover leunen kan natuurlijk niet, de ideale kandidaat moet initiatief nemen en de mensen binnen en buiten de organisatie mee kunnen nemen in de reis.

Onze Opdrachtgever

Onze opdrachtgever is een bijzondere organisatie. Aan de ene kant koopt de organisatie voor ongeveer €8,5 miljard internationaal in, aan de andere kant ben je hiervoor verantwoordelijk met een relatief kleine club van 150 deskundige en betrokken mensen. Dit betekent dat zelfs specialisten in staat zijn om met collegae in diverse disciplines samen te werken en niet weglopen voor verantwoordelijkheden die nog niet zijn toebedeeld. De treasurer wordt lid van het Finance team en werkt samen met collegae van Control, die nu nog een deel van de treasury taken verzorgen.

Arbeidsvoorwaarden en Proces

Het betreft een nieuwe functie, de verwachting is dat het maximum basis salaris voor deze functie €70K is. Onze opdrachtgever biedt goede secundaire voorwaarden en thuiswerken is mogelijk. Voor geïnteresseerde en passende kandidaten hebben wij verdere informatie.

De Treasurer Test maakt zeer waarschijnlijk deel uit van het selectie proces.

Location

Regio Utrecht

Contact person

Kim Vercoulen
T: +31 850 866 798
M: +31 6 2467 9339