How to Recognize and Avoid Online Fraud Attempts

02-04-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

It’s safe to say that we all have a lot on our minds right now. Unfortunately, whenever there’s a situation that causes people to feel uneasy and panicked, there will be fraudsters and criminals who take advantage.

We have recently seen a surge in demand for our services, and in that surge there have also been vulnerable customers that have been manipulated by opportunists. In addition, the recent uptick in fully remote and online work has also opened doors for online scam and fraud attempts.

At XE, keeping our customers and their personal information safe is our greatest priority. We want to help you to protect yourself from fraud attempts. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some of the most common online scams, and read through our tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fraudulent activity.

Phishing emails

Last year, Microsoft reported that phishing attacks were the greatest online security threat by far, having increased by 250 percent since their previous report.

Usually coming by email, these attacks encourage you to click on a link or attachment and download malicious software, which attacks your device and hacks access to your files. You may also receive an email from someone posing as a trusted figure (such as your employer or a reputable company) and asking you to provide sensitive information.

How to handle these: Verify everything. Reach out to the sender or the company and confirm that this email did come from them. It takes just a few moments, but it can have a huge impact.

Banking and online account scams

Take extra caution when reading an email from a bank. Many scammers send emails or texts that appear to be sent from your bank, highlighting a problem with your account. Often, they will request a verification of your details to resolve the problem. Once they have your details…you can imagine the rest.

How to handle these: Call your bank directly to clarify the issue. Never submit your personal details to this email, or to any email. Most reputable providers will not ask you for sensitive information over email, so that should be an immediate red flag.

Online shopping scams

Online shopping was already on the rise, and now that people are taking the majority of their shopping online, scams in this area have become more prevalent. Scams include selling faulty products, attempting to sell a product to gain bank details, and promising goods at a low price (only for those goods to never arrive and the site to close down after taking your money).

How to handle these: Use your head. If it’s a site or store that you’ve never heard of, research the company and see if you can find verified reviews from other customers. Ask yourself: “Does this seem too good to be true?” If it does, then proceed with caution.

Lottery, competition and inheritance schemes

Say you receive emails stating that you have won monetary prizes in competitions you did not enter, or messages from people overseas claiming that you have inherited money. These are just attempts to obtain your personal details.

How to handle these: Ask yourself, “Did I enter a competition? Do I know these people?” As much as we’d like to believe the fairy tales, winning or inheriting money completely out of the blue is not likely to happen. Once again: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Charity scams

Scams that take advantage of good-natured individuals often make a special appearance around the holiday season, but these could be active at any time of the year. Scammers will pretend to work for a charitable cause and may even exploit news of a current crisis. Scams surrounding COVID-19 are already in circulation, and seek to prey on people’s fears.

How to handle these: Do your research. If you plan to make a donation, make sure you know who you’re donating to and what your donation will be used for. If possible, make donations only through reputable organizations’ secure sites.

How can you avoid future scams?

When it comes to avoiding online scams, there are some key precautions that everyone should take. Pass these along to your friends, family, and clients, and take a critical eye in your own online habits.

  1. Read every email carefully. Emails are the most common scam vehicle. One way to check whether the message is from a reputable source is by checking the URL before you click. Extra characters and misspellings could both point to a suspicious link. If you’re still not sure, treat it as you would any other scam email. If it’s a sender who claims to know you, check with them before sending money or information.
  2. Never agree to send money to anyone you have only met online. Sending money online is not something you should take chances on. Don’t send anyone money unless you know them personally and are certain that they are legitimate.
  3. Never make a financial decision based on a phone call you receive from a person posing as a relative of someone in prison. This is a common scam that relies on you panicking and rushing to send money as quickly as possible. Take a second to consider the situation. Odds are, it won’t make sense once you think about it. If you’re still unsure, verify the situation with another relative or friend.
  4. Never share login credentials with anyone online. No matter what they promise to do for you in return. No reputable organization will ask you for this information.
  5. Be wary of unsolicited contact. If you don’t know the person or organization who has just contacted you, be cautious while you verify who they are. Don’t respond or provide them with anything until you know they’re legitimate.
  6. Update your devices. If you haven’t been doing this regularly, now is definitely the time to ensure that all of your devices are updated with the latest security measures.

We hope this information helps you and your loved ones to stay safe online. If you need anything, our team is here to help.

Neville Lacey

Global Risk and Compliance Director at XE

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multibillion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

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

 

 

 

Blockchain and Corona virus: could it prevent future pandemics?

| 31-03-2020 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

The sudden emergence and rapid but uncontrolled worldwide spread of the Corona virus shows us the failure of existing healthcare surveillance systems to timely handle public health emergencies.

Though improvements in healthcare surveillance have been realised, these still fall short in preventing pandemonium. Lack of necessary steps taken to ensure containment and tracking of the virus have aggravated the situation.

Blockchain technology is increasingly been mentioned as a tool to assist with various aspects of containing the outbreak. Could the use of blockchain in the health care industry help to prevent future pandemics?

Outdated health surveillance systems

Preventing, and controlling diseases that have epidemic potential is a major public health activity. Many surveillance systems are used to track potential new diseases and control existing diseases. Though governments are doing everything in their power to contain the spread of the Corona virus, their fight is hampered by difficulties in the timely sharing of information with local and international health enforcement agencies on the ground.

Unfortunately, many of these systems are outdated, hard to access, or inaccurate. China’s current disease surveillance system for instance is an updated version of a system that is five decades old. And there is the privacy and security issue when using centralised healthcare surveillance systems. Time however is of the essence when dealing with outbreaks of this sort of deadly diseases.

Main issues

Epidemiologists who study how diseases spread, are being faced with the task of gathering, verifying and cleaning data in an efficient manner.

Privacy and security issues, language barriers, the sheer distance between the geographical location of an outbreak, cultural differences, and many other factors are issues that slow the transmission and exchange of necessary information.

Non-optimal data management
There is the data management issue. Containing the Corona virus could come down to a question of data management. Gathering data, verifying that data, and then cleaning up that data however is far from optimal. Epidemiologists need high-quality data to model viruses; with models, they can provide governments with recommendations about how to contain the disease. But that data is hard to get or its integrity cannot be verified, thus of no use to epidemiologists.

Underreporting
As a result of that the current infection and death statistics are speculated to be much higher than reported. The coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns over the Chinese government underreporting the number of infected and deceased. This underreporting can be caused by many disruptions in the system, such as the lack of data transparency.

But also a shortage of testing kits reduces the number of confirmed cases, and deaths can be attributed to other causes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know just how serious this outbreak really is without access to a secure, decentralized surveillance system.

Political Complications
And there is the issue of national centralised surveillance systems not talking cross-border. Diseases can spread quickly across political borders. Traditional systems run by governments can miss outbreaks because they happen across physical borders. A decentralized system is the fastest way to report outbreaks.

Lack of innovation in healthcare systems
In many countries healthcare surveillance systems lack innovations, caused by low investments in new technologies leading to less effective healthcare systems. This notwithstanding the upcoming of new technologies including artificial intelligence, big data management and blockchain.

Blockchain could be of help

The time to build borderless solutions based on decentralized technologies has come. Highlighting the need for numerous improvements in the health care sector, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued a Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap requesting ubiquitous, secure network infrastructure; verifiable identity and authentication of all participants; and consistent representation of authorization to access electronic health information.

Hereblockchain could offer ways to improve many public health activities associated with preventing and controlling diseases. Blockchain powered solutions could address and tackle various aspects of the issue. Blockchain technology has the ability to improve health, access to information, supply chains and many more.

These expectations are based on the key aspects of blockchain technology, such as decentralized management, immutable audit trails, data provenance, and robustness. Additionally, multiple nodes in a permissioned blockchain have the ability to share and report vital data instantly, while complying with data privacy and security regulation

Blockchain use cases

Blockchain could be used to improve a variety of health care-related processes, including record management, healthcare surveillance, tracking disease outbreaks, management crisis situations and many more.

Record management: single source of information
Containing virus should be looked at as a data management issue. The biggest opportunity for blockchain in the healthcare industry is as a single source of truth for the data provenance, as the whole world is fighting against this outbreak. It could be used for record management purposes, to manage real-time data and importantly, to ensure its integrity, while identifying and eliminate misinformation about the Corona virus.

In emergencies like these, there are high numbers of incoming data, “with not many hands on deck to manage the same”. With the use of blockchain, data collection will become automated and immutability of the ledger makes it impossible to alter any of the records.

By using blockchain technology one could be able to securely manage health records, ensuring interoperability without compromising patient privacy and security. Those records could include patients’ data, treatments given, and any progress detected. Blockchain will also make sure that data are archived and protected by any unauthorised access, but still keeping it available for the whole healthcare system.

It will enable users to see all the data and trends on the virus in real-time including all information about confirmed cases of infected, death toll, recoveries, etc. The exponential growth of connectivity and the access to the wealth of data it offers  would allow health officials to quickly track the spread of disease, giving vulnerable populations vital information. All this information can be used by research labs working on a vaccine.

Blockchain healthcare surveillance system
Blockchain can also be used for surveillance purposes. A blockchain healthcare surveillance system can provide the means to prevent and control future outbreaks. A permissioned blockchain surveillance system would allow local and national health agencies to access the surveillance data.

A global blockchain surveillance system could easily reach areas where connectivity is poor, and costs must be kept low. Local practitioners can receive real-time information on surrounding areas, regardless of governmental or political barriers. In addition, global organizations like the World Health Organization could access the data. Because the system is decentralized and secured through blockchain, data remains secure and multiple organizations can report the data.

Tracking infectious disease outbreaks
Blockchain could be used for tracking public health data surveillance, particularly for infectious disease outbreaks. Increasing transparency will result in more accurate reporting and more efficient responses. They would allow for rapid processing of data, enabling early detection of infections before they spread to the level of epidemics.

Blockchain can help develop treatments swiftly, and help with management when pandemics do occur. This could enable government agencies keep track the virus activity, of patients, suspected new cases, and more.

They could also use the blockchain to track down where the virus originated, probably It could enable doctors to review patients’ symptoms and monitor diagnostic data in real time, integrating patient history information. Information can be collected in a distributed way and have that information available to different parties, including authorities such as the WHO.

Management crisis situations
Blockchain technology can not only help in keeping track of the virus and outbreak activity. Blockchain could also be used to better manage pandemic situations and the dissemination of treatment. It could instantly alert the public about the Corona virus by global institutes like the World Health Organization.

It could instantly recommend a course of activity should an outbreak be detected. Using blockchain could enable to provide governments with recommendations about how to contain the virus. It would offer a platform where governments, medical professionals, health organizations, media, and all the concerned parties can update each other of the situation and prevent worsening of the same.

Securing medical supply chains
The blockchain could also be used for “track and tracing” of medical supply chains. Blockchain has already proven its success as a supply chain management tool in other industries. Blockchain-based platforms could be used to enable the review, recording and tracking of demand, supplies and logistics of epidemic prevention materials. As supply chains involve multiple parties (from donors and recipients, to warehousing and delivery logistics), the entire process of record and verification by each party is tamper-proof, while also allowing anyone to track the process.

It could help streamline medical supply-chains, ensuring that doctors and patients have access to the tools when they need them and preventing contaminated items from reaching stores. A blockchain-based system could ensure vaccines, testing equipment, and other relief efforts are sent to the right places at the right times and in the quantities needed, and have that recorded. Securing the supply chains of these valuable resources could have life-saving effects. Combined with a surveillance system, a blockchain supply management system could change the way the world responds to epidemics.

Prevent zoonotic diseases
Zoonotic diseases like Corona could be caught in animals before they make the jump to humans if veterinary field records were kept on a blockchain surveillance system. Because many animals are migratory – so not staying in the same area – a decentralized blockchain system would allow for greater collaboration and transparency across the world. Diseases could be “flagged” and eliminated in animal populations before they make the jump to humans.

China and blockchain

Chinese organizations are trying to implement blockchain-based solutions to combat the Corona virus and reduce its economic impact on the country. They have rolled out a number of applications for immediate and emergency use, to fight the spread of the corona virus in public institutions, hospitals, universities and the financial sector. These are touted as performing a variety of different functions.

These blockchain solutions are already being used by local authorities to manage identity information and donation platforms. Additionally, multiple countries world-wide are employing blockchain-based tools to track patients diagnosed with coronavirus and identify the people who might have been infected. The apps are designed to ensure people’s privacy, identity, and medical records using the blockchain against Corona virus and other medical conditions.

HashLog
One of the interesting applications is HashLog, a solution launched by Acoer, a developer of blockchain-enabled applications for public health and global health organizations, to fight against the deadly coronavirus.

The HashLog visualisation engine interacts in real-time with Hedera Hashgraph’s distributed ledger technology to ensure real-time logging and data visualization of the spread of the disease. With the help of public data from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Acoer’s Hashlog Dashboard is capable of providing real-time information for tracking this epidemic. For example, this application is tracing people traveling to and from the country, to pinpoint patients and prevent further infections.

HashLog allows for the real-time visualization of coronavirus data and trends. This includes the overall number of cases globally, rates of deaths and recovery per infections (where we have reliable data), cases filtered by country, as well as Google trends by interest and region on Corona virus.” Acoer’s CEO, Jim Nasr

This should help epidemiologists verify the integrity of records that have been uploaded to their analytics systems. Each transaction is recorded through a verified hash reference on Hedera’s ledger, meaning epidemiologists can trust data to be legitimate. This allows researchers, scientists and journalists to understand the spread of the coronavirus and its trends over time through visuals presented on Acoer’s HashLog dashboard.

IBM Food Trust
This is not the first time blockchain is being applied to track diseases. There have already been a number of initiatives using blockchain and distributed ledger technology to track the origins of food, for example. The IBM Food Trust has been using blockchain to help improve food safety by managing and conducting food tracings in order to identify sources of contamination for occurrences of Salmonella. By being able to identify the cause quickly and effectively, it is much easier to contain the problem and treat it at the source.

Blockchain preventing pandemics: not yet?

Presently, the authorities all over the world are trying their best to contain the Corona virus as it has shown the potential of turning into a pandemic. And that is where blockchain can help. We have seen that disease outbreaks can happen at any time, anywhere on the planet, with little or no warning. These are natural events that have occurred in the past and will re-occur in the future.

Blockchain will not prevent the emergence of new viruses itself. But what blockchain can do is create the first line of rapid defense through a network of connected devices whose only purpose is to remain alert about disease outbreaks. The use of blockchain can help prevent pandemics by enabling early detection of epidemics, fast-tracking drug trials, and impact management of outbreaks and treatment.

With easy access to such data, the containment of an outbreak becomes manageable and is of great help to the health authorities as well. This instant response capability can represent the difference between quick containment and global contagion.

While blockchain holds promise for the health industry, analyst warn a number of issues, including data standardisation, costs of operation and regulatory considerations, still need to be addressed before this technology is suitable for wide adoption. But with this serious Corona virus pandemic a number of these considerations could be solved rather quickly.

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

Webinar Treasury Management gedurende de COVID 19-crisis: risico’s en kansen

| 30-03-2020 | François De Witte

Webinar: Treasury Management gedurende de COVID 19-crisis: risico’s en kansen

Friday 3 april, 2020 from 1.30 till- 2.30 pm CET

With the COVID19 crisis, treasury management is of paramount importance. In this webinar, François summarizes some best practices and give some tips & tricks to weather these turbulent times.

Please note the webinar is hosted in Dutch Language and the Presentation Slide Deck is in English.

Webinar topics:

  • Hoe moet ik reageren? Wat is mijn cash positie vandaag?
  • Wat is de cash forecast voor de komende dagen, of zelfs weken?
  • Noodzaak dagelijkse stuurgroep Cash Positie
  • Hoe beheert de continuïteit van je onderneming?
  • Hoe kunnen we omgaan met betalingsproblemen bij klanten, die ook beïnvloed zijn?
  • Kunnen we de voorraad verminderen: kunnen wij de working capital requirements verminderen?
  • Welke kosten kunnen uitgesteld worden (RSZ, belastingen, enz.)?
  • Hoe onderhandel je een betalingstermijn met leveranciers?
  • Hoe onderhandel ik met mijn banken over een herschikking van een bestaand krediet? Hoe kan ik mijn financiële ademruimte verhogen? Belang van de track-record
  • Risico’s en opportuniteiten: herziening van het businessmodel

Presenters:

François De Witte
Seasoned Treasury & Project Manager at FDW Consult Services
Senior project Manager Treasury at Ardent-Finance
Onafhankelijk Bestuurder bij CKV
Community Ambassador bij Treasury XL
(Former Head International Cash Management Sales at ING Belgium, Luxembourg and Asia)

Date, time and registration

Date: April 3, 2020

Start time: 13.30 – 14.30

Register here

 

 

 

OpusCapita makes Liquidity Management free for all customers

| 26-3-2020 | treasuryXL | OpusCapita |

OpusCapita makes Liquidity Management in a basic version free for their SaaS customers

OpusCapita, treasuryXL partner and leading cash management solution provider announces today that they have chosen to make their Liquidity Management product free for all customers until the end of the year in order to help treasury and cash management professionals to meet the increased demand on accurate cash forecasts due to the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are living in unprecedented times and we want to help our customers. The demands on treasurers are immense right now and I feel if we can help by making our product for free it’s the right thing to do”, states Jukka Sallinen, Head of Cash Management, OpusCapita.

Liquidity Management will be available in a basic version to allow customers to start using it right away without any implementation or set-up needs.

“We are also looking for ways to enable companies who are not our customers to use this functionality at a heavily discounted price”, states Jukka Sallinen, Head of Cash Management, OpusCapita. 

“I am happy that we can help our customers in these tough times and that we as a company can do our part”, states Patrik Sallner, CEO OpusCapita.

What does Liquidity Management Basic enable you to do?

With the basic package, you will be able to enable your subsidiaries across the globe to manually input (or upload from Excel) their current cash balances and future cash flows (for example AR, AP, taxes etc) in OpusCapita. Once you have this data centralized, the basic package enables you to setup Reports and Dashboards which will automatically consolidate and display all entered balances and cash flows.

In short, this includes:

  • Manually entering cashflows (Liquidity Unit Entry)
  • Manually entering cash positions (Liquidity Balance Entry)
  • Liquidity grid and graph, best-practice Reports such as:
    • Cash Visibility
      • Cash balances per bank account, per bank or per company
      • Actual inflows and outflows on bank accounts (if statements are imported in OpusCapita)
    • Cash Forecasting
      • Total forecast
      • Forecast per bank account, per company or per currency
      • Actual vs Forecast
    • Dashboards for visualizations cash positions and forecast

Three steps to get started

1. Get in touch with us so we can enable Liquidity Basic for you.

2. Add cash flows with pre-built templates or import them from Excel.

3. Build reports with our straight-forward drag’n’ drop functionality.

 

Read more information here.

 

About OpusCapita

OpusCapita enables organizations to buy and pay quickly and securely, with a real-time view of their business. OpusCapita customers use their source-to-pay and cash management solutions to connect, transact and grow. OpusCapita processes over 100 million electronic transactions annually on its Business Network.

Visit OpusCapita

Visit Partner Page

Read Customer Success Stories

How to build your emergency fund

26-03-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Emergency situations often strike with very little warning, leaving you very without much time to adapt or plan. Over this past week, people across the world have made major adjustments to their lives in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. From organizations shifting to remote work to government-mandated lockdowns, the world this week is a far cry from what many of us thought to be the norm just a month ago.

Money is one of the greatest concerns for individuals during this uncertain time (along with health). A recent poll found that in the United States alone, 18 percent of people have lost jobs or hours. As more and more governments continue to issue orders to shelter at home, lockdown, or quarantine, this figure will only rise in the coming weeks.

Today, it’s the coronavirus. In the future, there’s always the possibility of a natural disaster or other large-scale emergency forcing you to readjust your habits, spending, and way of life. But for this current situation, here’s some of our advice for budgeting and preparing.

Cash or card?

This has been a common question among people concerned about the spread of coronavirus. Some think that it’s good to have a stash of emergency cash. It prevents you from having to worry about a power outage or business shutdown affecting your bank access, and paying in cash means you won’t be handling your card after it’s been in strangers’ hands or touching the same card reader that everyone’s been touching.

On the other hand, some have raised questions about the possibility of spreading COVID-19 through the exchange of cash, particularly if they’re exchanging bills at busy establishments. However, Emily Martin, associate professor of epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, stated to the Wall Street Journal that she “wouldn’t expect coronavirus to travel far and wide on money.”

So, what’s the answer? It doesn’t hurt to have a few days’ worth of emergency cash on your person or stashed somewhere safe. However, if going to the ATM or bank would put you or others at risk, don’t make it a priority.

Anything to avoid?

You mean, besides other people?

In times like these, the first instinct is to grab everything, just in case. But this isn’t the best approach. We recommend avoiding the following:

  • Panicking. We know, it sounds ridiculous to tell you to stay calm in a pandemic. But panicking can lead to impulsive, irrational, and irresponsible financial decisions. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What do I need to make it through the day? The week? The month?”
  • Buying more than you (and your household) need. As we’ve seen, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential establishments will remain open. Take what you need, take a little extra if supplies allow, but don’t hoard. Does one household really need 500 rolls of toilet paper?
  • Bottled water. If (and only if) your tap water isn’t safe to drink, then you should purchase bottled water. Otherwise, you’ll be fine with the faucet.
  • Frivolous purchases. Think of this as an opportunity to look at your spending and subtract from your budget. For example, many of us won’t be going to concerts, festivals, or bars anytime soon. And you probably won’t need to buy as many clothes if you’re spending all of your time at home. If you can, take this money and put it in your savings, or put it toward other, more pressing expenses.

What if I don’t have an emergency fund?

You’re not alone. Though common advice is to have 3 to 6 months’ worth of emergency money in savings, less than one-quarter of people actually have that. If you’re not happy with the state of your emergency savings, get started now. If you are still working and receiving an income, try to adjust your budget to allocate some or more to your savings each month.

Under normal circumstances, here’s what we’d recommend:

  1. Look at your current budget. Figure out how much you’re making, and calculate all of your normal expenses such as rent, bills, and how much you tend to spend on fun non-essentials.
  2. Calculate what you can save. If you have quite a bit of money left over after expenses at the end of each month, you can set your own goal for how much you’d like to shift to savings. If your budget is limited, calculate how much you could feasibly contribute to a savings account each month.
  3. Put your money into a separate account. If your employer pays through direct deposit, set up an automatic deposit to your emergency savings account. Otherwise, deposit it yourself, and hold yourself accountable. You can withdraw if you need to, but don’t skimp on your savings.
  4. Regularly assess your savings plan. Your saving plan shouldn’t stay the same forever. Every so often, take some time to review. You should reassess your budget and plans any time your financial situation changes, as well as a regular review at least once per year.

However, we recognize that now is not a normal circumstance! In our current situation, here’s what you can do to get your emergency fund started ASAP:

  • See what expenses you can cut. Normally, experts recommend canceling Netflix or other streaming services, but we understand if that’s not doable right now! Instead, take a look at reducing gym memberships or shopping expenses, and take a look at your fixed costs if you need to.
  • Sell a few things. If you have some nice pieces in the back of your closet that you rarely wear, or a few video games that you don’t play anymore, selling those online could help you get a little extra money.
  • Can you find additional income? We understand that this is a difficult time to find employment, even more so than usual. However, if you are really hurting from a lack of income right now, look into essential businesses that need more workers or look for remote work. That said, don’t forget to keep your health and safety a priority.

Ultimately? Anything is better than nothing. Don’t think that you need to have an elaborate plan or a large nest egg for your emergency fund. Every fund starts somewhere, and the sooner you start, the sooner yours can start growing.

If you already have an emergency fund…

…and you don’t need to dip into it just yet, take advantage of this time to continue to build yours. If you’ve been able to cut your expenses during those long days at home, take what you would have spent on non-essentials and add it to your rainy day fund. This situation has offered a lot of us a very close look at what can happen to our lives and finances. If you’re managing to get by now, let’s make sure that you’ll still be fine next time.

If you do need to use your emergency fund? Don’t make yourself feel guilty. This is why you created the fund, after all. Take a deep breath, figure out what you’ll need, and let your emergency fund help you through this.

It’s a tough time right now, and many people feel like there’s no end in sight. But this current situation isn’t going to last forever. We can’t control the world’s future, but we can plan ahead for ourselves (along with a bonus backup plan) to help ourselves face future obstacles.

This is an unprecedented and uncertain time for all of us. We understand the impulse to panic, to overspend, and to worry that we may not have enough to stay safe or keep our loved ones safe. But for most of us, all we can do is prepare ourselves and (safely) support others in any way possible.

Good luck!

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multibillion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

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

 

 

 

Webinar and Q&A: Protect your bottom line from further impacts

| 24-03-2020 | XE.com

COVID-19 Webinar and Q&A on Wednesday March 25, 2020 at 5.00 pm – 5.30 pm CET

As the markets react to the global pandemic, the XE teams have been inundated with calls from concerned businesses who are looking for support during this volatility.

Throughout these turbulent times, our partner XE wish to share insights into how businesses with any exposure to international currencies can look to protect their bottom line from further impacts.

Register Now and and submit your questions, and the XE experts will look to answer the common challenges during the live session. XE may not have all of the answers, but they can look to provide some support to issues regarding currency exposure.

Date, time and registration

Date: March 25th, 2020

Start time: 5.00 pm – 5.30 pm CET

Register here

 

Do you a question that you’d like one of the XE Experts to answer during the session? Please provide details and XE will endeavour to respond during the session. You can submit your question at the registration page.

 

 

 

Blockchain consortia need good governance: but how?

| 24-03-2020 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

Blockchain consortia are creating a massive hype in the market. Many enterprises are highly interested in this type of network willing to join these consortia in order to gain optimal benefits of this technology. However, there is still a large uncertainty among them how these consortia work and how they are governed.  Up till recently the focus was mainly on governance solutions for public blockchain platforms like Hyperledger and Ethereum. Consortium blockchain governance however will become as or even more important to enterprises than public blockchain governance because they will work with this level of governance on a daily basis.

People in the field are increasingly aware that consortium project blockchain governance need to address quite different issues from public blockchains. But what are the main governance issues enterprises should think about ? So let’s take a deeper dive.

What are blockchain consortia?

Before going into more detail in the governance issue, it is good to say that there is no universal sort of blockchain governance. First of it all it depends on the type of blockchain solution that companies can use. Here we can distinct in fact between three main types of blockchain systems: open or public, private or permissioned and consortium or federated blockchains. While the public and private variant are ‘pretty self-explanatory’, the consortium blockchain needs more nuancing.

Blockchain consortia are defined as a type of network where multiple organisations maintain the system  A group of companies thereby collaborate on advancing the state of blockchain technology adoption in the industry, establishing industry standards, drafting use cases, developing key infrastructure and also operating commercial blockchain platforms.

Consortium blockchains are in fact hybrid solutions, in-between public and private, i.e. between fully open, decentralized systems and fully centrally-controlled, thus taking the best of both worlds.  Instead of only one organization, multiple organizations take part in the consortium. As a result, every organization gets similar treatment. So, there’s no single entity ruling over the network.

Types of blockchain consortia

There is however not one uniform type of blockchain consortium. Basically we can distinct between three types at present: technology-focused, business-focused and dual-focused.

The first type of blockchain consortia is the technology-focused. These offer reusable blockchain platforms, solutions based on technical standards. Mainly these have multipurpose use cases. This type of blockchain consortium exists solely for the purpose of helping blockchain reach global recognition. Quorum (based on Ethereum), R3 Corda and Hyperledger have emerged as some of the most popular blockchain development platforms. Each is suited to different industries and types of solutions, and developers are working with them around the world.

The second type is pure business-focused. These tend to develop blockchain solutions for a specific business issue. Instead of offering open-source platforms, many of them go for commercial purposes only. While the majority of these consortia so far are from the financial sector, many other industries like supply finance, trade finance, life science, healthcare etc. are joining in to work on blockchain-based systems and reap such benefits as shared resources, decreased development time and increased communication. Examples include consortia like  Bankchain, We.Trade, Marco Polo, B3i etc.

The third one is dual-focused. Here, they focus on both technology and business when offering a platform or solution, combining the best of both worlds. So, in a way, they would offer an open-source platform suitable for any kind of solution but also commercial products as well.  An example of dual-focused consortium is R3.

In this blog I will focus mainly on the second and third type with from a blockchain governance point-of-view the dual-focused blockchain consortium being the most interesting.

Benefits of blockchain consortia

Joining such a blockchain consortium could bring enterprises a number of interesting benefits, including cost savings, shared (and lower) risks, build critical mass of adoption and offer influencing standards.

First of all such a blockchain industry consortium would help enterprises cut all the expenses quite impressively. Instead of each company building their own solution from scratch, by being part of a consortium, they can share the development costs and time with other organisations.

As these consortia are mainly suited for industrial purposes, enterprises can easily link these up with their existing network more efficiently than public or private blockchain. This can lead to shorter development times and economies of scale. This allows smaller organisations to take advantage of the same system as larger ones. Another significant aspect of this blockchain industry consortium is that they can give a lower transactional fee. As it is a more controlled environment, and only permissioned people can get in, it would be much more stable.

What is blockchain governance?

But what is governance in general and why is it important?  The term ‘governance’ is used in many ways. In the business environment it is often defined in the context of process and IT control. Governance is thereby a structure that every user or participant agrees to follow. It refers to all actions such as decision-making processes that are involved in creating, updating, and abandoning formal and informal rules of a system.

In the context of blockchain consortia we define governance as a set of rules that govern this partnership both organisational and operational. These rules focus on what is the subject of the regulation, who is involved, i.e. what are the roles and what are they responsible for, and, how will decisions be made? These rules can be code (e.g. smart contracts), laws (e.g. fees for malign actors), processes (what must be done when X happens), or responsibilities (who must do what).

Why is proper governance important for blockchain consortia?

One of the aims of governance is to establish a foundation of mutual trust, which allows companies to carry out their business processes using the blockchain solution. Its core purpose is to meet the user or participant’s needs with available resources as efficiently as possible and achieve the long-term sustainability of the structure. There are various reasons why good governance for blockchain consortia is urgently needed.

First of all: from an acceptance point of view.
As the size and complexity of blockchain have grown, better management calls for proper governance. Since the strategic value of the blockchain networks lies in its scaling, it is important to consider that an increasing network size correlates positively with an increase in coordination complexity. Hence, for the few high-potential applications in trade finance, insurance, supply chain and mobility services a proper establishment of sustainable governance principles for the deployment of a blockchain consortium is key.

Second: no one party can exert dominant control
Consortium blockchains have many of the same benefits of private blockchains. But there is something more. That is they could employ a group governance model over their network so no one party can exert dominant control over the others. This increases the trust of a consortium network significantly over a single entity private blockchain, while still maintaining the benefits of a private blockchain. Additionally, consortium blockchains are not restricted to only being visible to network members. Their transactions can be openly seen by the public, engendering increased trust.

Third: to solve the Coopetition Paradox
The strategic value of blockchain technology can only be realised through the respective adoption at scale. These blockchain consortia are thereby effectively obliged to address the so-called Coopetition Paradox through collaboration between natural competitors in a particular industry. The Coopetition Paradox forces blockchain consortia to break up fierce competition between industry rivals in order to access the strategic value of such a business network. Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this topic.

Fourth: as a mean to achieve efficient change
The biggest motivation behind Blockchain governance for blockchain consortia is the goal of efficient change. That means the ability to fix issues as fast as possible and change where change is needed. These issues can be of all kinds, including changes to blockchain parameters, the recovery of lost coins due to hacks.

Governance is especially needed in blockchains with enterprise or end-user use cases. Quick updates could enable enterprise and mass market end-user use cases.
An update/change that takes too much time could cause corporates to abandon the service or not participate in the consortium. Changes could also divide the community and lead to even more uncertainty and hesitation to participate. Conceptually, this is where centralized applications are advantageous.

Fifth: governance mitigates indirect dependence on incumbents
Another motivation to use blockchain governance in blockchain consortia is that it could mitigate indirect dependence on incumbents, such as the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google that determine their own rules, such as the publicly criticized use of personal date. Publicly accessible and governable blockchains could mitigate that indirect dependence. Everybody who is interested in how those systems are set up, could purchase the respective tokens and suggest changes including changes in regards to how personal data is handled.

Sixth: Governance as a competitive advantage
A sixth but not final motivation is that it could improve competition. Given the fact that most blockchain projects are open-source, copying them is a waste of effort. Thus, the biggest competitive advantages for blockchain projects stem from the community’s size and speed of adaption. The more supporters a project has and the quicker the developers can react to issues and competitors, the greater the chances of survival.

What governance model for blockchain consortia?

Governance in blockchain consortia is quite different from that in pure public or private blockchains. A private blockchain is mostly controlled by normal IT governance, while the issue of specific blockchain governance only applies to open and permissioned platforms

Before enterprises can develop governance of the blockchain consortium, they first need to determine the business goals and business model of the blockchain project. So will the blockchain project operate as a service provider (so no direct customer contact) with a relatively limited number of participants, or will it act as a market participant, directly reaching the ultimate customer. The business model may also be affected by regulatory issues in the business.

Key factors to consider
When starting a blockchain consortium it is important to agree on a number of rules right at the outset, such as access to the platform and rules to perform activities. In the context of a permissioned blockchain solution used by a consortium business partner network, there remains the question of what exactly it is important to control.

In order to ensure the reliability, integrity and transparency of the solution, one needs to consider more than just goal-oriented governance issues (such as changes to data structure, codes and technology). One should also define the various stakeholders and their specific roles, as well as assess how to control the ecosystem. But also what entity should represent the blockchain consortium and what legal issues to consider

One should at least agree on a number of questions
There is no best practice here, so there are many open questions and a lot of unknown territory, such as who can decide what, and when?, how should decisions be made? (using people and committees, or using smart contracts?), which data should be visible to whom and what is allowed, what is not allowed, and what do people want?

Governance structure: issues
When thinking about the governance structure, one should address some main  issues. First of all one should ensure that all stakeholder groups in the blockchain eco-system are represented. One should also focus on implementation of the business model for the blockchain consortium (B2B or B2C). While determining intellectual property ownership and licensing as well as how to raise and spend funds to support the blockchain project

Shared values
The governance system should be based on a number of shared values. First of all there should be no dominance by a single player: i.e. as decentralised as possible.
The partnership and the distribution / exercise of power should be governed by rules. It should be an open value-added chain: i.e. – intellectual property is available to the consortium and can be exploited by its members. Relating to collaboration between companies, the process and data standards for the consortium should be defined together and used. And it should be a neutral platform, meaning that  the solution should be ‘open’ whereby all members should have access to the process, data and interface definitions.

Blockchain consortium governance architecture

Governance of blockchain consortia should be looked at on various layers. business network; protocol level and data level.

Business network layer
One of the key challenges of forming a blockchain consortia is balancing the interests of the initiators and the later-joiners. One should take account of the early investments made by the initiators as well as the incentivisation needs for later-joiners of blockchain consortia. This becomes even more crucial if the initiators are industry leaders or key competitors. In such cases, the coopetition paradox urges the operators of the business network to open up towards competitors to materialise the strategic value of the network for all contributors.

A centralized legal entity for the business network, a so-called network operating company governed by open governance principles is the preferred standard. The network operating company would be in charge for the development, administration and commercialisation of the blockchain application. This central entity approach enhances transparency within the business network and compliance with respective laws especially in the field of anti-trust and data protection. However, not every network member has similar interests. Some like to assume a more active role in the management and technical deployment of the network while others just simply want to use the blockchain application as a service through an API-access.

The organisational governance must account for the interests of both the equity holders and the community. The equity holders of the network operating company would elect the members of the board of directors representing their respective interests. The board itself appoints an executive management team in charge of the day-to-day operations of the business network and thereby the platform.

Non-equity holding customers should be given a voice by establishing a so-called community council. This body can be approached for consultation in case of key product development issues, changes to membership admission policies or protocol and data privacy related matters.

In order to ensure maximum reach and acceptance within the ecosystem, the platform should be open-sourced to the community. This means that basic access to the platform is granted for free, provided that the node operation is handled by the respective member. Next to that a tailor-made subscription-based API-access model could be offered.


Protocol layer
The initial protocol layer is normally defined by the initiators of the business network during the assessment undertaken in the proof-of-concept. In general, the framework used should be based on an open-source standard (such as Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda or Ethereum). This would facilitate the integration into legacy systems for the users. Furthermore, the above-mentioned blockchain frameworks also enjoy prominent support by companies operating in the ecosystem. Moreover, in case changes to the protocol become necessary, the network operating company can consult the community council for consent prior to its implementation.

Data layer
And there is the data layer. The blockchain application should be built upon the principle of privacy by design. That means that any data should only belong to its original owner and can only be transacted in agreement with the data owner. Moreover, the network operating company should act as the data controller and data processor in line with the applicable data protection laws, while the data storage would ideally be decentralised (e.g. point-to-point communication or IPFS), although the relevant solutions need to mature further.

Some concluding remarks

What has been written in this blog is just a starter. Blockchain governance is an ongoing discussion and will certainly involve a wide range of different opinions. There is no best-practice. Solutions described here for blockchain consortia governance are still far from complete.

The challenges of governance in blockchain consortia are very similar to those solved (and continuing to be solved) by open source software (OSS) projects, such as Linux and OpenStack. Blockchain project consortia should therefore look to the experience of OSS projects to take advantage of their experience (and avoid their errors).

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

Cashforce Webinar: Coffee & Algorithms – AI-powered Cash Forecasting

| 23-03-2020 | Cashforce

We would like to highlight the following event, held by our partner CashForce: Webinar Coffee & Algorithms – AI-powered Cash Forecasting.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing today’s landscape. For financial professionals it’s no different. It remains a challenge on how to convert the noise into more clear-cut methods that corporates can implement. In this webinar, held by our Partner Cashforce, a concise conversation is held on using AI in Cash forecasting. Furthermore, the webinar highlights the steps a treasurer should take to establish an effective Cash forecasting process.

Nicolas Christiaen, CEO at Cashforce, will be joined by James Kelly, Group Treasurer at Pearson, who led the project of putting an improved and automated group-wide Cash forecasting process in place. We welcome you to save your seat below!

In this webinar you’ll learn:

• the key concepts of Artificial Intelligence in Cash forecasting

• the 7-step approach to a more accurate Cash forecasting process

• how AI & machine learning can tie this all together

• how Pearson went through this process, resulting in an improved Cash forecast

• which benefits does Pearson yield from this process in these challenging times.

1 CTP and FP&A re-certification credits can be earned for attending this live webinar.

Date, time and registration

Date: March 31st, 2020

Start time: 11am EDT / 5pm CET.

Register here

XE shares 5 Best Practices for Working Remotely

19-03-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Within the past few years, remote working has seen a significant rise in workplaces around the world. Some workplaces have shifted to fully remote operations, while others offer remote work as an optional perk for employees with long commutes. Since 2005, remote work has grown by 140 percent, and many employees identify remote work opportunities as a major perk when considering whether to work for a company.

More recently, within the past few weeks in fact, remote work has gone from a modern workplace perk to a necessity for businesses concerned about protecting their customers and employees from the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). For the office workers who are now carrying out their duties from home and the managers who are now virtually leading spread-out, remote teams, this presents a difficult new challenge.

To remain safe and healthy during this uncertain situation, XE wanted to take this time to share some of their advice for those of you who’ve suddenly been thrust into working (and managing) from home.

1. Keep a structure.

It’s easy to stick to a schedule in an office. Even if you don’t have set hours, there’s usually at least a clear window for when it’s time to work and when you’re off duty. When you’re working remotely, it can be hard to maintain the same level of organization.

  • Set work hours. If working hours haven’t already been established by your employer, establish set working hours. Treat these hours like you would any other hours at work. You wouldn’t stop working in the middle of the day to spend a couple of hours reading or gaming, right? And this goes both ways—in addition to establishing when you’re on the clock, make sure to give yourself the same hours off that you would normally have.
  • Establish your workspace. Even if you don’t have your own personal office, you can take over your desk or clear out a spot at your table and dub it the “work zone”. Do you normally like to spread out across your desk in the office? Find a way to do the same at home.
  • Don’t get distracted by household chores.It’s one thing to take 30 seconds to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, or to check on the pot roast in your slow cooker. It’s another to vacuum the living room or make a quick pharmacy run during “work” hours. Make sure to focus on your work. It can be difficult if you have family members home with you, but find a way to communicate that you’re at work and not to be disturbed—whether it’s a sign on the door, a locked door, or a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

2. Communicate everything.

Suddenly, it’s no longer as easy as leaning over to ask your teammate a question or stopping by another coworker’s office for a quick catch-up. Most conversations will happen in writing, and the lack of body language, facial expression, and intonation can easily breed misunderstanding.

You don’t need to micromanage, but you should aim to communicate more frequently and more specifically than usual. What would seem clear in a face-to-face session might not be as clear in a quick email, and you won’t have the benefit of overhearing pertinent conversations when you’re working remotely. Ask yourself: is there any ambiguity here? Could anything I’m saying possibly be misunderstood? Odds are, you’ll be able to say yes to both questions. Communicate as frequently as possible. There’s no such thing as too many details.

3. Take measures to prevent isolation.

In addition to putting a jump on your business communications, don’t forget to frequently reach out to your team on a personal level. In 2018, 21 percent of remote workers reported that they were concerned about feeling isolated, not just informationally but also socially.

We’re not encouraging you to put yourself or anyone else at risk. But along with frequently reaching out to other members of your team to communicate and collaborate, consider other ways to boost connectivity. Some managers have implemented “team lunch” conference calls for everyone on their team to virtually eat together and catch up. While this may not be feasible for your team to do every day or even every week, talk with your team and work out some ways to create socialization.

4. Be patient.

Let’s face it. Technology has revolutionized the modern workplace, but it can create its fair share of issues. Just this morning, the massive influx of remote workers in Europe caused Microsoft Teams’ chat tool to briefly go down.

These events can be frustrating, but they are inevitable when working from home, and even more so when you and your colleagues are not accustomed to regular remote work. Understand that technical difficulties are bound to happen—especially within these initial days—and that some people may take some time to adjust to the new status quo. It can be easy to get annoyed, but think instead of what you can do to help your teammates through the transition.

5. Take time to breathe.

New updates about coronavirus are constantly pouring in, and it can be easy to feel distracted and even overwhelmed by the news, particularly for those who have preexisting health problems or worry about the safety of their loved ones.

In most office settings, you’re free to step out for some air if you need a breather. Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t let yourself have breaks if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Build breaks into your schedule and communicate with your team and managers if things are growing difficult for you.

For managers and higher-level employees, make sure to check in with your teams and direct reports during this tumultuous time. This is an uncertain, overwhelming, and even scary time for a lot of people, and it can be hard to focus on everyday work in these circumstances. Be mindful of the situation and aim to work with your teams, not against them.

For many of us, this is one of the most frightening, challenging things we have experienced in our adult lives. Along with taking the right measures to stay hygienic and prevent the further spread of pathogens, the best thing we can do right now is work together to ensure that our customers and those relying on us have our full support, with whatever we can offer.

Source

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multibillion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

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.

 

 

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treasuryXL announces partnership with OpusCapita

| 19-3-2020 | treasuryXL | OpusCapita |

treasuryXL announces partnership with OpusCapita, a leading cash management provider.

VENLO, The Netherlands, MARCH 19, 2020 – treasuryXL, the community platform for everyone who is active in the world of treasury, today announced the premium partnership with a leading cash management provider, OpusCapita.

As a marketplace, treasuryXL will offer OpusCapita market commentary and insight to its audience. Offering a continuous flow of relevant treasury content, making treasury knowledge available, results in treasuryXL being the obvious go-to platform for its’ audience. OpusCapita will have a prominent role in the Treasury Topic environment with coverage in Cash Management, risk management, Treasury Software, Payments & Banking and Fraud & Cybersecurity. Together they will host virtual roundtables in the near future to connect with partners and experts around the world.

“We are excited to take part in the treasury community that TreasuryXL is building and look forward to join the network of treasury experts.” Marc Josefsson, Head of Strategic Sales, OpusCapita.

OpusCapita has over 800 customers across more than 100 countries. Their secure, cloud-based solution enables Treasury and Finance professionals to harmonize global processes and policies, centralize treasury and finance operations and reduce complexity.

treasuryXL and OpusCapita strive for a fruitful partnership where its’ audience are top of mind making sure that (potential) clients are always up to date with the latest cash management news and events benefit from a comprehensive range of services and products.

About treasuryXL

treasuryXL started in 2016 as a community platform for everyone who is active in the world of treasury. Their extensive and highly qualified network consists out of experienced and aspiring treasurers. treasuryXL keeps their network updated with daily news, events and the latest treasury vacancies.

treasuryXL brings the treasury function to a higher level, both for the inner circle: corporate treasurers, bankers & consultants, as well as others that might benefit: CFO’s, business owners, other people from the CFO Team and educators.

treasuryXL offers:

  • professionals the chance to publish their expertise, opinions, success stories, distribute these and stimulate dialogue.
  • a labour market platform by creating an overview of vacancies, events and treasury education.
  • a variety of consultancy services in collaboration with qualified treasurers.
  • a broad network of highly valued partners and experts.

About OpusCapita

OpusCapita enables organizations to buy and pay quickly and securely, with a real-time view of their business. OpusCapita customers use their source-to-pay and cash management solutions to connect, transact and grow. OpusCapita processes over 100 million electronic transactions annually on its Business Network.

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