How businesses in the healthcare & medical industry can improve their FX outcomes

18-03-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

Having a secure, reliable and cost effective international payment provider as well as the tools and expertise available to support you to weather market volatility is crucial.

Any business that deals with foreign currency, no matter the size or the industry, has the potential to be impacted by the ups and downs of the foreign currency markets. A change in exchange rates from one day to the next could potentially increase importing costs, increase capital expenditure costs, or increase overseas investment costs.

If you are a business in the healthcare and medical industry, preparing for market volatility and knowing how to respond to shifts in currency values is critical. Otherwise, you could end up paying more than you projected on goods or services, which can have a detrimental impact on your bottom line.

Whether you’re importing medical devices and distributing them to local pharmacies or healthcare providers, or purchasing chemicals as part of the medicine production process, having a secure, reliable and cost effective international payment provider as well as the tools and expertise available to support you to weather market volatility is crucial.

How can your healthcare business address foreign currency risk?

Working with a knowledgeable, experienced foreign exchange provider is the first step to safeguarding your business against ups and downs of the currency markets. No one can predict the future, but an FX provider can help you prepare for potential volatility, and will have the tools and guidance to help you respond in the event of unexpected shifts.

Opening an Xe Business account will allow you to take advantage of our full suite of products and services, so you can:

  • Protect costs for imports;

  • Save time through accurate forecasting and quick and easy payments;

  • Save money with cheaper rates and no fees (compared to banks).

Learn More

How can Xe reduce foreign currency risk for your business?

We understand that no two businesses are the same. We work individually with each business in order to identify where their needs lie and what their risk exposures are, and develop an international payments and risk management strategy tailored to their operations.

We offer a range of products and services, including:

  • Spot transfers. Purchase currency and send your international payment at the current rate. If you need to make a quick payment, you can do it on the spot in just a few minutes.

  • Market orders. Identify a target exchange rate, and we’ll initiate your transfer when that rate is reached. If your payment isn’t time-sensitive, you can avoid potential volatility in the future.

  • Forward contracts. Lock in today’s exchange rate and send the payment on a set future date. If you have an upcoming transfer and don’t want to worry about the markets fluctuating, take care of it now for peace of mind later.

  • Risk management. Don’t have the time or the resources to devise a risk management strategy on your own? With our 25 years of experience in the currency markets and dedicated team of currency experts, we can help you to strategise the right one for your business.

How to get started

Signing up for an Xe Business account is completely free, and will take just a few minutes. Interested in learning what the process entails? Contact our expert Maurits Houthoff for quick and transparant information.

Webinar recording: Cashforce & TIS are Partnering Up to Deliver Best-of-Breed Technology

| 17-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Cashforce | TIS

Cashforce & TIS are partnering up to deliver best-of-breed technology. Watch the webinar recording with Nicolas Christiaen and Joerg Wiemer and get to know more about this best-of-breed approach and how this partnership can help you tackle your challenges in cash flow forecasting and corporate payments.

 

 

 

5 concrete tips for preventing Payment Fraud

| 16-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia |

Payment fraud has become a real and permanent threat for companies of all sizes. No company can afford to close their eyes on the risks – fraudsters target all industries, and large and small businesses alike. It is the eleventh hour to start focusing on the safety of your payment process if you want to avoid financial damage.

The good news is that the fraudsters prefer easy targets, so even raising awareness on the topic in your organization is a step in the right direction. With this blog, I want to share 5 concrete tips for preventing payment fraud and improving the safety of your organization’s payment process.

Get rid of risky task combinations

Do you know who has access to your payments at each stage of the process? Risky task combinations may have formed overtime without anyone noticing that a single person can, for instance, create a new payment in the system and approve it to be paid. Overly broad user rights leave unnecessary room for both malpractice and costly mistakes. Applying strong user rights management – the four-eye principle, for example – is a quick way to reduce the risks. You should require double approval also on the changes made in the vendor master data, as well as user rights.

Build your payment process on best practices

Design a secure payment process with best practices approach. Establishing a “no PO, no pay” principle where invoices are approved for payment only if they have a purchase order number or if they are paid to registered suppliers supports preventing payment fraud. You can improve the safety of manual payments when you utilize the ready-made templates of a payment system and demand multi-factor identification from the person who makes the spontaneous request for payment. Many CFO attacks could have been prevented if the origin of an email payment request had been confirmed via another channel.

Automate and focus on end-to-end safety

You would be surprised if you knew how many companies have gaps in their payment process, creating payment fraud risk. For example, if the payment file batches are waiting to be uploaded to bank in a folder or file share, it leaves the data open for tampering even if the process up to that point had been secure. Eliminating manual phases through automation is one of the best ways to increase safety as it reduces not only the risk of fraud but also the risk of mistakes.

Improve transparency

Standardized and harmonized practices build up transparency, which makes spotting and preventing payment fraud easier. Create a uniform, company-wide process for handling payments and make sure that there are no routes round it. By centralizing all your bank connections to a single system, you will take transparency to another level, and, in addition, you are able to better control the risk related to data transfer and system management.

Keep an eye on deviations

It is not rare that payment fraud is discovered only by accident. As a part of good risk management, you need to focus also on the measures that help you spot the fraudulent payments that manage to go through your defenses. Keep an eye on payments that are going to unknown bank accounts or that are made outside normal payment schedule. Your payment system should support you in risk management and filter out deviations from your payment flows before they are paid. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will soon create new possibilities for recognizing and managing deviations in accounts payable in a more real-time and automated fashion.

Preventing payment fraud in an ever-changing threat landscape requires that you take a comprehensive and proactive approach. I recommend that you download and read our e-book, where we take a look at this topic in detail, and provide you with all the different perspectives a corporate payment process should be examined from. In the e-book, you will find best practices and concrete advice you need to keep your organization from falling victim to payment fraud.

About Nomentia

Nomentia is a Nordic powerhouse for global cash management. We believe in a world in which businesses can make the right decisions no matter how unpredictable the times are. Our SaaS-based platform offers solutions for cash forecasting and visibility, global payments with bank connectivity, reconciliation, in-house banking, guarantees, and FX dealing. We serve 2,300+ clients in over 100 countries processing more than 200 billion euros annually. Cash is king!

Meet Jukka Sallinen

 

 

How to anticipate Liquidity risks to secure the Cash Flow

15-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

For the past 10 years we have lived with an overabundance of liquidity. In most people’s minds, abundant liquidity means constant availability. But the subprime crisis, the European debt crisis and now the COVID pandemic have shown the opposite to be true.

In a world of extreme volatility, liquidity flows can be interrupted overnight. And for financial managers therein lies the paradox. Despite its overabundance, it has never been more crucial to secure, diversify, monitor and optimise liquidity.

Prepare for the unthinkable.

In this environment, liquidity is obviously strategic, but above all it must be seen as a volatile and fragile resource, especially vulnerable to market disruptions whose occurrence and scope are unforeseeable by definition as well as by their very nature. The health crisis showed us that nothing is safe from a complete, abrupt halt, not even cash flow from operations, across every sector.

CFOs must now prepare their companies for the unthinkable! They will need to spend more and more time and energy to activate every possible source of liquidity by monitoring prices, availability, term, currencies and security packages for each of these sources. They will do this with a constant focus on optimisation, and above all must be ready to make snap decisions about sources that have run dry. It’s a massive undertaking. In a world of extreme volatility, Active Liquidity Management will make tomorrow’s leaders stand out from the crowd.

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

How can Exchange rate movements affect your business?

11-03-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

If your business works with international currencies, your business could be impacted by exchange rate movements.

Does your business:

  • Make income from overseas operations?
  • Import or export goods and services from abroad?
  • Pay overseas invoices?
  • Or interact with foreign currencies in any way?

If so, your business can be impacted by exchange rate movements. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a large corporation, in manufacturing or healthcare, you will face some level of foreign exchange risk when making international payments.

What is foreign exchange risk?

It’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s the possibility that a business’s financial position or performance could be negatively impacted by fluctuations in exchange rates in the foreign currency markets. As the saying goes, the markets never sleep. Exchange rates are prone to fluctuations at any given moment, and while experts can forecast where they think currency values might go, you can’t predict where the rates could go—or what it could mean for your business. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

How does a falling domestic exchange rate affect your business?

A falling domestic exchange rate can:

  • Increase costs for importers and potentially reduce their profitability.
  • Make domestically produced products more competitive against imported products.
  • Increase the cost of capital expenditure (for example, if it includes the importation of capital equipment).
  • Increase the cost of servicing foreign currency debt.
  • Improve exporter competitiveness.
  • Make a business a more attractive investment proposition for foreign investors.
  • Increase the costs of investing in overseas operations.

How does a rising domestic exchange rate impact your business?

On the other hand, a rising domestic exchange rate can:

  • Make exports less competitive, reducing exporter profitability.
  • Decrease the value of investment in foreign subsidiaries and monetary assets (when translating the value of such assets into the domestic currency).
  • Reduce foreign currency income from investments.
  • Reduce the cost of foreign raw materials, giving importers a competitive advantage.
  • Reduce the value of foreign currency liabilities and hence the cost of servicing these liabilities.
  • Reduce the cost of capital expenditure (for example if it includes the importation of capital equipment).
  • Make a business less attractive to foreign investors.

Did you notice anything? No matter which direction the exchange rate is moving, it could have the potential to impact your business—and your bottom line.

How can you protect your business from market volatility?

No one can predict how the markets will move, but a knowledgeable FX provider can give your business the guidance and solutions to help you to make informed decisions to minimize the impact of market motion.

Are you curious to know more about XE?

Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

[Developer Webinar] Instrument Pricing Analytics for Bond Pricing and LIBOR alternatives

10-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Refinitiv |

Webinar on March 30 at 10 am BTS

LIBOR is widely embedded in operating models and a transition to alternative rates will affect how many contracts are priced and risk managed.

Join this webinar where Refinitiv will showcase and demonstrate examples in Python. Register by entering your details by clicking the banner above.

Refinitiv will be using Instrument Pricing Analytics API to price:

  • Fixed Rate Bonds
  • Floating rate notes on new Risk-Free Rates

From a Quantitative perspective exploring: 

  • Impact of LIBOR transition on Bond Pricing & generating yield curves

 

Interbank Payments Transactions (Dutch Item)

10-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

The playing field of interbank settlement and settlement of international payments is being overhauled. In Europe, Target2, T2S and TIPS are being consolidated in a new platform. The international payment and reporting messages between banks will be switched from MT to ISO20022. Now SWIFT comes with a new Transaction Management Platform for international payments and securities transactions. That means a lot of work for institutions using the Target systems and SWIFT. Enigma Consulting can help you analyze and implement the changes.

Target Consolidatie

De huidige Target2, T2S en TIPS-systemen van de Europese centrale banken worden ondergebracht in een nieuw platform voor Europees interbancair betalingsverkeer. Naast deze drie systemen maken onder meer een centrale opzet van het liquiditeitsbeheer (CLM), centraal beheer van gemeenschappelijke gegevens en een geharmoniseerde interface met de buitenwereld (ESMIG) deel uit van het nieuwe platform. En het berichtenverkeer van en naar Target2 migreert van MT naar ISO20022. Al deze veranderingen krijgen hun beslag in een big bang implementatie per 21 november 2022.

Neemt uw instelling direct of indirect deel aan één van de Target-systemen? Dan moet u vóór die tijd uw processen en IT-systemen aanpassen aan de nieuwe werkwijze, berichtenstandaard en interface. Daarbij moet u voldoen aan de verschillende mijlpalen die de Europese Centrale Bank heeft gedefinieerd.

Migratie naar ISO20022

Het interbancaire berichtenverkeer in het kader van internationale betalingen via SWIFT migreert van de MT naar de ISO20022 (MX) standaard. Het gaat hierbij met name om de betaalberichten uit de MT1- en MT2-serie en de rapportageberichten uit de MT9-serie. Het gebruik van de MX-berichten en de vertaalregels tussen MT en MX worden in goede banen geleid door de Cross Border Payments and Reporting Plus Group (CBPR+) van de banken en SWIFT. De migratie zelf wordt uitgesmeerd over de periode november 2022 tot en met november 2025.

Initieert of verwerkt uw instelling internationale betalingen via SWIFT? Of verstuurt of ontvangt uw instelling rekening- of transactierapportages via SWIFT? Dan moeten uw IT-systemen aan de ISO20022 formaten en regels worden aangepast. En omdat de technische aansluiting op het SWIFT-netwerk met de overstap op MX-berichten ook wijzigt, moet die ook worden aangepast.

Hoe kunnen wij u helpen?

Onze interbancair betalingsverkeer experts kunnen u helpen bij het analyseren van de impact en begeleiden van de implementatie van de wijzigingen in het kader van de Target-consolidatie en de migratie van MT naar ISO20022. U kunt daarbij denken aan het volgende:

Target-consolidatie
  • Adviseren over nieuwe opzet van rekeningen bij de Europese Centrale Bank.
  • Analyseren en inrichten van de processen in het kader van betalingen en liquiditeitsbeheer.
  • Analyseren van de impact van de nieuwe ISO20022 berichten voor uw instelling én voor uw klanten.
  • Workshops over het verandergebied, de processen en de berichtenstandaard.
Migratie naar ISO20022
  • Analyseren van de impact van de nieuwe ISO20022 berichten voor uw instelling én voor uw klanten.
  • Adviseren over en analyseren van de impact van het nieuwe Transaction Management Platform van SWIFT.
  • Workshops over het verandergebied, de processen en de berichtenstandaard.

Geïnteresseerd of wilt u meer weten? Neem dan contact op met één van onze consultants.

Blockchain Technology Challenges: new Third-generation solutions

| 09-03-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

Notwithstanding the various benefits of blockchain technology, there are still a number of big challenges to overcome before mass adoption can be realised. These range from low scalability to lack of regulation and limited  number of qualified people.

In some of my previous blocks I already went into more detail into these challenges and possible solutions to overcome them. In this blog I will limit myself to the main technological ones including scalability, privacy and interoperability that are limiting its uptake. But above all I will show what third generation solutions have been or are being implemented to tackle the various issues.

A. Scalability

One of the main problems related to blockchain’s technology is scalability, or better said the lack of scale. It refers to the limited rate at which transactions are being processed on blockchain compared to existing methods. Large blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum are not able to handle as a result of their technological set up. Caps are placed on the number of transactions that can be processed on-chain. This scalability issue is especially a problem for companies that have to process massive transactions and need networks that enable high transaction throughput while maintaining low latency.

Off-chain scaling solutions

For this reason, many view scalability as something to be achieved off-chain, while security and decentralization should be maximized on the blockchain itself. Off-chain scaling refers to approaches that allow for transactions to be executed without overcharging the blockchain. Protocols that plug into the chain allow users to send and receive funds, without the transactions appearing on the main chain.
There are a number of interesting off-chain solutions that are being explored to solve the scalability issue ranging from the implementation of so-called accelerated chips, the use of sidechains and sharding.

Accelerated chips

Accelerated chips could be used to speed up confirmation and transaction times. A forerunner in this is Skynet Core.

Skynet Core

Skynet aims to resolve the issues of blockchain adoption and the functionality of the Internet of Things (IoT). They aim to deliver an end-to-end system that includes a hyper-scalable IoT blockchain network and the licence free blockchain IoT chip named Skynet Core. The project that includes billions of licence free blockchain chips will deploy to devices worldwide, connecting via the Skynet blockchain network.
This blockchain chip can replace an existing CPU and features a core optimized for blockchain technology as well as the Internet of Things. The hardware makes it possible for Skynet Core devices to run blockchain networks with high throughput while providing secure protection from theft of cryptocurrency.  

Side Chains

Another tool to speed up scalability are so-called side chains. A sidechain is a separate blockchain. However, it is not a standalone platform, as it is pegged in some way to the main chain. The main chain and the sidechain are interoperable, meaning that assets can flow freely from one to the other

Side chains are aimed to reduce the load on a given blockchain by sending transactions via these connected sidechains and putting the end state of the transaction on the main blockchain – thereby offloading all the processing of transactions from the main blockchain. There are a number of ways to ensure that funds can be transferred. In some cases, assets are moved from the main chain by being deposited into a special address, and a matching amount is issued on the sidechain. A more straightforward (albeit centralized option) is to send funds to a custodian, who exchanges the deposit for funds on the sidechain.

Next to the first and second generation solutions like Bitcoin’s Lightning network and Ethereum’s Raiden Network, there are a growing number more advanced applications to upgrade scale including AION protocol and Neo’s Trinity.

Sharding

Another scaling solution being worked on is sharding. Main example is the Ethereum Blockchain. Sharding is a way of spreading out the computing and storage workload from a blockchain network into single nodes. This technology divides a blockchain network into many separate areas, called shards, with each shard assigned a small group of nodes to maintain. Each node no longer has to process the entire network’s transactional load. Each node will only maintain the info related to its specific partition or shards, removing the need for all nodes in a network to be apart of a transaction.

Sharding includes transaction sharding and state sharding. Transaction sharding refers to assigning different transactions to different shards. This way, parallel processing becomes possible, leading to high TPS. In contrast, state sharding allows the data state to be stored in different pieces on different nodes. In essence, it means that a single node is only responsible for saving a portion of the ledger.

Multi-layered structure

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

Cardano

Cardano (ADA) is the most well-known project which proposes this multi-layered structure. Cardano that can be categorized as a third-generation blockchain (with Bitcoin and Ethereum considered the first and second-generation chains.

Cardano is an open-source and decentralised blockchain project with a layered architecture that is composed of two main elements, the Cardano Settlement Layer (CLS) and the Cardano Computational Layer (CCL), which makes Cardano truly unique. Most other existing blockchain platforms only function with a single layer, which often causes network congestion, slows transactions and drives fees higher.

The settlement layer powers Cardano’s unit of account. This is where peer-to-peer transactions are facilitated, such as the transfer of tokens between users. The settlement layer is responsible for transaction confirmation and the flow of the coin. The computational layer maintains the chain’s security, deploys smart contracts and is programmed to recognize the ID of the data. This layer also serves as a framework that is designed to ensure regulatory compliance with various jurisdictions.

CPCChain

Another promising solution to tackle the scalability issue is CPCChain. CPChain, which is partnered with High Performance Blockchain (HPB), VeChain, Qtum, and ETP Metaverse, intends to build a blockchain-based data platform for next generation IoT systems in combination with distributed storage and encryption computation.

It is aimed to provide the whole process solution from data acquisition, storage, sharing to application, for large-scale distributed IoT systems, enabling high TPS and low transaction latency. CPChain thereby separates its blockchain layer from its application layer, so the blockchain only has to store data IDs (which are on a cloud) rather than the data itself – thereby reducing block sizes.

B. Privacy

Another important challenge to overcome is the privacy issue. Blockchain is built in such a way that all transaction are transparent while its actors can be identified. This is especially a problem for public blockchains, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, where the network ledger is open to anyone and all transactions are transparent – so they can be tracked. This lack of privacy might be an issue for certain types of transactions, for instance in the case of confidential corporate deals.

Protocols

In the meantime several protocols have been developed as alternatives to Bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymity. The three main ones being CoinJoin, Ring Signature and Zero-knowledge proof.

Coinjoin

CoinJoin is the technology used by Dash, developed to introduce a layer of privacy to otherwise public Bitcoin transactions. It is an anonymization strategy that protects the privacy of Bitcoin users when conducting transactions with each other. The protocol requires multiple parties to jointly sign an agreement to mix their coins in a single Bitcoin transaction, making the transaction more difficult to trace. The process is also known as coin mixing.

In the meantime, in order to prevent masternodes from being attacked, Dash introduced Chaining and Blinding, allowing senders to choose multiple masternodes randomly with which to send the transaction. The system enables the mixing of transactions among these master nodes, and transactions appear to be sent by the masternodes and not by the users themselves.

Ring signature

Ring Signature as used by Monero is one of the most famous privacy protocols. A ring signature is a type of digital signature in which a group of possible signers are merged together to produce a distinctive signature that can authorize a transaction. It is composed of the actual signer, who is then combined with non-signers to form a ring. Monero utilizes ring signature technology to protect a user’s privacy in the input side of a transaction by helping the sender mask the origin of a transaction by ensuring that all inputs are indistinguishable from each other.

Because Monero makes use of ring signature technology, it must include a feature that allows for the verification of outputs that are being spent in a ring signature transaction, or else, a user would be able to spend the same transaction output twice i.e. a double-spend. This potential issue is addressed by Monero’s use of key images.

A key image is a cryptographically secure key that is derived from an output transaction being spent, and is made part of every ring signature transaction. This process masks the origin of the transaction, and ensure that all inputs are indistinguishable from each other. Only one key image exists for each transaction output on the Monero blockchain.

On top of the Ring Signature, Monero also utilizes Stealth Address technology to automatically generate one-time addresses for every transaction initiated on the Monero network to ensure the privacy of the recipient. It prevents outputs from being linked to a recipient’s public address. Thanks to Stealth Addresses, this transaction process occurs without publicly linking any transaction to the merchant’s wallet address.

Zero Knowledge Proof

Another solution for blockchain privacy issues, used by Zcash to allow anonymous transactions, is Zero Knowledge proof (ZKP). It is a technique by which a prover can convince the verifier of a fact without revealing the actual content. The technology automatically conceals transaction information, such as sender information, receiver information, and the amounts. Only users who own the private keys of the smart contract being performed have full access to the information. In such cases ZKP can ensure that others only know that a valid transaction has taken place, but no information is available to them about the sender, recipient and type/quantity of asset transferred.

Alternative Methods

At the same time other alternatives are available, such as Permissioned or private blockchain platforms like Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric and Corda, which provide the capability of executing private transactions between two or more participating nodes. This ensures that the transaction details pertaining to the sender and recipient are part of a private ledger and will not be revealed to unauthorized participants.

Or self-Sovereign Identity management platforms that provide the concept of pair-wise decentralized identifiers and verifiable claims that can be presented to third party service providers without revealing all the details of a person or entity and thus protecting privacy

C. Interoperability

While blockchain was conceived as a decentralized technology, individual blockchain networks are not inherently open and are not able to communicate properly to each other. There are a large number of blockchain projects, all of which have different characteristics – such as the type of transactions, hashing algorithms, or consensus models – and which focused on a particular area.

The problem is further deepened by different networks and financial institutions running completely different governance rules, blockchain technology versions and regulatory controls. This has resulted in a series of unconnected blockchain ecosystems operating alongside, but siloed from each other, preventing the industry from reaching its full potential.

Isolated inter-blockchain communication can put a strain to blockchain’s scalability and mainstream adoption. To solve this problem, various new-generation cross-chain technologies that could help different blockchains to interconnect are being explored.

Top Interoperability projects

Most blockchains enable the creation of sidechains, that are blockchains running in parallel to the main blockchain. Next to the more well-known examples of cross-chain communication that are mostly first- or second-generation, like the Bitcoin Lightning Network, or the Raiden Network of Ethereum and the Ripple Interledger Protocol, there is a growing number of interoperability projects that are exploring third-generation solutions such as Cosmos, NeoX and Polkadot blockchain.

Cosmos Blockchain

Cosmos blockchain is an interesting blockchain interoperability project, running on the fault tolerance protocol – Tendermint Byzantine. The blockchain project is aimed to become the hub of many projects  Cosmos blockchain architecture consists of several independent blockchains called Zones, attached to a central blockchain dubbed as the Hub. Zones, which are independent blockchains are plugged into the Cosmos Network. These zones can interact with each other because of the Cosmos Hub and new ones can be connected.

A salient feature of Cosmos is permitting zones to preserve their consensus mechanism. Tendermint Core that enables high-performance as well as consistent and secure Practical  Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT)-like consensus engine, powers each zone in this case.

The cosmos Hub connects blockchain projects to enhance interoperability via the Inter-Blockchain communication protocol. Because of the interconnection, people can send tokens from one zone to another in real time and securely, without engaging the services of a third party. Cosmos blockchain can connect different zones from public to private project thanks to the IBC connection.

NeoX

NeoX is a protocol that implements cross-chain interoperability, to allow multiple participants to exchange assets across different chains and to ensure that all steps in the entire transaction process succeed or fail together. But instead of most protocols NeoX is divided into two parts: cross-chain assets exchange protocol and cross-chain distributed transaction protocol.

Essentially NeoX is the functionality of fusing the concept of Atomic Swaps with Smart Contracts. This means it can allow cross blockchain contract collaboration in a single smart contract. In order to achieve this function, one needs to use NeoContract function to create a contract account for each participant. If other blockchains are not compatible with NeoContract, they can be compatible with NeoX as long as they can provide simple smart contract functionality.

NeoX makes it possible for cross-chain smart contracts where a smart contract can perform different parts on multiple chains, either succeeding or reverting as a whole. This gives excellent possibilities for cross-chain collaborations

Polkadot blockchain

Polkadot blockchain is a high-profile multi-chain technology that is aiming to advance blockchain interoperability. It seeks to enhance the transfer of smart contract data through various blockchains. Polkadot’s ecosystem contains of multiple parachains which are individual blockchains thar differ in characteristics but have become part of the Polkadot environment. In Polkadot blockchain, transactions can be spread over a wide area given the number of chains in the network. All this is done while ensuring high levels of security on dealings. A relay chain is the central connector between these parachains.

Polkadot Blockchain interoperability project seeks to ensure a seamless connection between private chains, public networks, oracles as well as permission less interface. Aim is to enable an internet where independent blockchain solutions will be able to exchange information via a Polkadot relay chain. 

Blockchain Industrial Alliance (BIA): Teaming up

What we also see is that a growing number of these projects are teaming up in order to allow their blockchains to communicate with each other. One main example is the Blockchain Industrial Alliance formed by ICON, AION, and WANChain. This teaming up is aimed at solving the blockchain isolation problem. The Alliance has the shared goal of promoting interconnectivity between the isolated blockchain networks. The Alliance’s main priority is collaborate on research on interchain transactions and communication. The Alliance will focus on developing common industry standards, sharing researching, and protocol architecture. All three blockchain projects that are participating in BIA have the common goal of connecting blockchain protocols.

AION

The AION network is a multi-tier federated blockchain network designed to interconnect the various blockchain entities, making it possible to integrate disparate blockchain systems in multi-tier hub. AION aims to become the common protocol used for these blockchains, enabling more efficient and decentralized systems to be built.

At the core of AION blockchain is a “purpose-built, public, third-generation” blockchain called AION-1,  specifically designed to not only be self-sustaining but connect with other blockchains as well. The AION protocol enables the development of a federated blockchain network, making it possible to seamlessly integrate dissimilar blockchain systems in a multi-tier hub-and-spoke model, similar to the internet. This protocol will enable the transfer of value and data between all AION-compliant blockchains by utilizing bridges.

In essence, AION allows networks to communicate with each other, allowing any DApp to run on any blockchain within the network. On top of that, AION will also allow the participating blockchains to create common chains between them in order to conduct on-chain transactions.

Through AION each participating blockchain will be able to transact with all the chains connected to the ecosystem. Along with solving the interoperability problem, AION also wants to create a system which can work with both private and public blockchains and help in solving scalability. In addition AION helps organizations create blockchains which are interoperable but can have its own unique consensus mechanisms, issuance, and participation.

ICON (ICX)

The second partner is ICON, an  interconnected  blockchain technology and network framework designed to allow independent blockchains to interact with each other. In other words a system of sidechains in order to connect all industry chains to the main network.

ICON is supported through a cryptocurrency token, ICX. Communities are connected to the ICON Network through a decentralized exchange. That allows for the maintenance of a verified ledger shared within the community network itself, allowing participants in a decentralized system to “converge” at a central point. That is done by connecting a community to other communities through the ICON Republic and Citizen Nodes.

WanChain

WANCchain is an online interoperable blockchain solution, with secure multi-party financial platform computing. It relies on a proprietary protocol, the WANBridge model, that allows interconnection of private, public and consortium chains, making it easy to transfer digital assets between different blockchains. The blockchain interoperability solution seeks to rebuild finance by housing all digital assets on one blockchain, aiming to unite the world in isolated digital assets. The current WanBridge model allows for digital assets and data to securely and cheaply be transferred between different ledgers using cross-chain smart contracts.

Based on Ethereum, WanChain enables the deployment of private blockchain smart contract execution aiming to unite the world’s isolated digital assets. Privacy on the blockchain is enhanced by the use of Ring signatures as well as one-time stealth addresses. The Wanchain DeFi ecosystem includes WanSwap and WanLend, as well as several other major products that are now under development such as WanFarm and other DeFi applications. This will allow for much more efficient use of collateral and for WanBridge technology to salescalablyably connect any number of different blockchains.

Forward looking

For blockchain technology to become mainstream and implemented at a larger scale, the bottlenecks current blockchain platforms suffer from – scalability, privacy, and interoperability – need to be addressed. While blockchain technology has undergone rapid improvement since its creation, it’s a relatively young technology and some of the main problems still remain today.

Fortunately, many projects are working on some of the solutions proposed above. As more efficient techniques get invented in the near future these technological barriers will likely be overcome sooner rather than later.

 

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

 

Source

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

| 08-03-2021 | Jesper Nielsen-Terp | treasuryXL

In uncertain times like the financial crisis in 2009 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the old phrase “Cash is King” always pops up. By the end of day the Treasurer and the Treasury Department once again sit in the middle of the fire. Although it is the Board of Directors who is overall responsible for the financial strategic target settings, which is influenced by the CEO or the CFO, tasks and responsibilities flow from the top management and end up at the Treasurer’s desk.

To be prepared for the fire place, 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 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 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 guidance for the “how, when and why”, but also because top management, that give 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 extend 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 work flows 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 build, 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 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 life, 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 easy reachable targets, but think big and lay out 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 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 on laying out the entire puzzle, all workflows will be identified and structured by its “Value” and “Importance”. Therefore, the below chart can be the guidance 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 has been sorted.  The next step for the Treasury Department will be to make the final move and bring their game plan. A game plan 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 is stated above in each of the streams as it is something which need 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 potential 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 which 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 times 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

 

 

Wanted! Treasury Mid & Back Office Manager

05-03-2021 | Treasurer Search | treasuryXL

The ideal candidate for this position has an academic degree and at least five years’ experience in corporate treasury. As our client is constantly changing in a high tech market, we expect the candidate will have a flexible and curious mindset. Experience has shown that candidates with a hands-on and proactive approach to work are the successful ones in this team.

Tasks Treasury Mid & Back Office Manager

The set of tasks is not set, three prominent results areas are:

  • Smooth operations; leading a small team, being able to step in and role up the sleeves. Producing monthly, quarterly and annual treasury reports;
  • Subsidiary and leadership support; proactively knowing about what is happening within the organisation and around, analyzing results and help the company move forward;
  • Treasury infrastructure improvement; projects covering policies, TMS, documentation et cetera.

Client

Our client is a globally operating company covering many markets with various offerings. The treasury team in Amsterdam has steadily grown over the last years and completed a number of exciting projects. Ambitions and expectations are high. Employees are well educated, stay within the company and are result oriented.

Remuneration and Process

The expected base salary for this position is €60K, talented juniors or slightly overqualified candidates are invited to respond. For candidates who qualify and are interested, an extensive job description is available. Our client will not sponsor a work permit or move to the Amsterdam region.

Our client values diversity and pays attention to a very objective recruitment process. 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: (0850) 866 798
M: (06) 1111 9783
E: pdk@treasurersearch.com

 

APPLY HERE