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To Libra or not

first_imgI went to the September DN Intersect conference in Las Vegas – hosted by ATM company Diebold Nixdorf – expecting to hear a lot about ATMs but I did not expect to have my mind changed about Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra and that is exactly what happened.I had written off Libra – you probably had too. Too much immediate pushback from regulators and politicians, both in the US and also Europe.  But think again.The scope of Libra is grand – imagine a digital currency with a user base in the billions and global reach. That’s what Facebook has imagined, and it met with quick and wide skepticism.  The world, many immediately believed, just isn’t ready for a new currency.Maybe that is wrong however.Two conversations I had at DN Intersect prompted a rethink on my part.  The first was with Douglas Hartung, a Diebold Nixdorf executive, and the other was with payments guru Richard Crone and also Heidi Liebenguth, managing partner of Crone Consulting.Both conversations are scheduled to surface in the CU2.0 podcast library in early October. Listen to them. They are lively discussions that challenge multiple assumptions about Libra. Here, the highlights are recapped but to get the full energy of the arguments, listen – and be prepared to have orthodoxies challenged.The first mindbending challenge came from Crone.  He set the table this way: there are 2.7 billion users of Facebook and its properties (Instagram, Whats App, Messenger, etc).  Daily users number 2.1 billion. 90 million businesses are in the mix. Maybe 1.7 billion of the users are unbanked or underbanked, making this a universe that has to tantalize financial executives, suggested Crone.So why are none in the initial Libra consortium?  Crone argues that a focus on Libra as crypto currency misleads.  Technically, sure, Libra may be a crypto currency but it also is backed by a bucket of national currencies led by the US dollar, said Hartung.  Facebook has specifically said half the value of Libra will be supported by the US dollar. The Euro, yen, British pound, and Singapore dollar are also in the mix.  That is a very different valuation proposition than applies to Bitcoin, for instance.Libra, says Hartung, is a stable coin – and that’s a very different thing from Bitcoin and its baked in volatility.So what is Libra? Crone puts it this way: “It’s a global p2p network and a giant reloadable prepaid account.”  What’s the use case?  Hartung says that for many users the need when paying online to leave an app and go to a specific payment app creates friction.  Imagine you are in Facebook, chatting with a friend in Bali, and you realize it’s her birthday and you want to send her the value of a Bintang beer, around 90,000 Rp.  How do you do that today?It’s awkward, clunky.Enter Libra and, very possibly, a click will take $6 from you and deliver 90,000 Indonesian rupiahs to the birthday woman.  How easy is that?“The notion that all I need to send money, anywhere, is in my palm is compelling,” said Hartung.Hartung also says that, with Libra, the distribution model is plain and powerful – note the billions of Facebook users.  Note, too, according to Crone, Facebook has slim interests in monetizing Libra per se. What it wants, says Crone, are more eyeballs on its properties which will translate into more advertising dollars and that means more profits.Which just may create an attractive value proposition for financial institutions.Yes, none are presently involved, publicly, with Libra, which involves a $10 million ante for its founding players.  Focus first on who is in: Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Uber, Lyft.And Facebook has said it expects to have over 100 founding members before Libra launches.And as for the regulatory hurdles, Crone says they may be a help to Facebook, not a hindrance, by keeping competitors at bay. He points to the early history of BankAmericard where initial regulatory friction deterred competitors, says Crone, and that gave Bank America literally years to work out the bugs in its concept and build awareness.Crone also says the wide transparency Facebook has applied to Libra thus far will also set a standard would be competitors will have to match.Where do credit unions fit in Libra?  Only a handful are candidates for individually ponying up $10 million to get into the early Libra collective – that’s true.  But Liebenguth says this is where CUSOs come in and that gives credit unions a special edge.  Question to ask: where are the payments focused CUSOs regarding Libra? Ask them.Crone also says, often in the podcast, that every credit union needs a Libra strategy and they need it now.Both Hartung and Crone talk, in very interesting terms, about the role of ATMs in Libra, particularly as a way for the unbanked to load cash into a Libra account.  It could be as easy as punching a few keys on an ATM, perhaps scanning a code, and putting bills in the cash slot.That can be a source of fee income for credit unions, says Crone, who also said that a credit union could pitch that non member into joining and thus avoiding ATM fees.  Win-win-win.Is this pie in a fantasy sky?  Maybe. Maybe Libra busts out before it officially launches.  Tech companies are known for ruthlessly and quickly unplugging flailing initiatives.  It could happen here.But it also could be that Libra – by bringing banking services to the globe’s unbanked – solves a problem that paves the path to success. And meantime the more affluent Facebook users will have a tool that allows for in-app, cross-border payments with little friction and low cost and that’s a tool that  is needed in the 21st century. Want more details? Listen to the podcasts and hear what converted me from a Libra skeptic to having at least mild interest in the potential of a new currency to change how we pay, online and globally. 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Robert McGarvey A blogger and speaker, Robert McGarvey is a longtime journalist who has covered credit unions extensively, notably for Credit Union Times as well as the New York Times and TheStreet, … Web: www.mcgarvey.net Detailslast_img read more

European Investment Bank could guarantee ELTIF-backed projects, suggests PensionsEurope

first_imgThe European Investment Bank should be encouraged to work with managers behind the European Commission’s long-term investment vehicle, offering capital guarantees and its own expertise in evaluating projects, PensionsEurope has said.A position paper published by the European pension association also said the European executive should consider relaxing guidelines around the use of derivatives in its proposed European Long-term Investment Fund (ELTIF), allowing investing pension funds to continue with “sound” risk-management strategies.The association further argued in favour of a broader list of eligible assets, speaking out in particular for the inclusion of listed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and said the vehicles should be also be able to exceed 30% leverage.The draft ELTIF regulation, published by the Commission last June in the wake of its long-term investing Green Paper, currently does not allow the vehicles to use commodities, engage in securities lending or borrowing, or use derivatives “unless these instruments are used for hedging purposes”. However, the association argued that the limitations on derivates should be reconsidered.“We wish that the use of derivatives would be allowed to hedge against risks associated with all ELTIFs investments and not only against interest rate or currency risks,” the paper said.“This would allow institutional investors such as IORPs to have a sound risk management strategy.”It also suggested that the current maximum leverage threshold of 30% should be reconsidered, “especially for funds mainly composed of equities”.“Indeed, we consider the investor to be aware of the risk attached to these types of funds,” it said, arguing that the threshold be raised to 50%.PensionsEurope also suggested that, to make the mutual funds more attractive to the core audience of small to medium-sized pension funds, the European Investment Bank should offer guarantees for some of the investments made through the ELTIF.“The EIB’s Project Bonds Initiative and other similar activities should be directly linked to the ELTIF,” it said, “with the EIB assuming riskier tranches and providing guarantees.“This would reduce the risks inherent to these kinds of investments, and investors would see the ELTIF as a secure investment vehicle.”It also recommended the EIB and other national bodies “actively cooperate” with asset managers and investors involved with the ELTIFs, as smaller pension funds could not be expected to possess the resources to assess infrastructure projects.However, despite suggesting several amendments, PensionsEurope said it was broadly in favour of the funds.“Pooled investment vehicles are important for smaller IORPS so they can invest in long-term projects without jeopardising the diversification of their asset allocation,” it said.“Furthermore, by pooling existing knowledge, institutional investors may profit from each other’s expertise in different areas so that all of them stand to gain from a pooled investment vehicle.”,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to PensionsEurope’s position paper on ELTIFLink to European Commission’s current draft regulation on ELTIFlast_img read more

Town councilor denies ‘politicking’ accreditation of Kalibo fest organizer

first_imgMarte, who also chaired the committeeon Barangay Government Affairs and Non-Governmental Organizations, said henoticed discrepancies in the submitted documents during their committee hearingon Nov. 12.    “Walatayong balak na i-delay ang accreditation dahil malapit na ang Ati-Atihan. Kailangan nilang i-comply angmga requirements saaccreditation,” Marte said in local language on Nov. 13. KALIBO, Aklan – Town councilor RonaldMarte denied they were “politicking” the accreditation of the Kalibo Sr. Sto.Niño Ati-Atihan Festival Management Council, Inc. (Kassamaco) – presentlyheaded by businessman Apolonio Zaraspe III.   “Alamnatin hindi sila maaaring gumamit ngfacilities at pondo ng localgovernment unit (LGU) ng Kalibo, may mga expenses sila, kahit wala pa silang accreditation. May opisina din sila sa public plaza, but they have no leasecontract with LGU Kalibo,” Marte said. “Mayconflict dito sa by-laws at Executive Order nila. Sa kanilangby-laws, ang place of meeting pa nila outside of the Philippines at maaaring maging member ang isang residente sa kanilang grupo, hindinaka-specify kung foreign national or Filipino,” he added.    The Ati-Atihan Festival of Aklan province is the oldest festival in the Philippines at more than 800 years old. Recently, town councilor Ronald Marte denied they were playing politics on any non-government organizations in relation to the alleged delay on the accreditation of the Kalibo Sr. Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival Management Council, Inc. WHEN IN MANILA On Oct. 22, Kassamaco was asked tosubmit its annual accomplishment report, if available; minutes of its Aug. 21meeting when it passed Resolution No. 006-2019, seeking for a civil societyorganization accreditation and the financial statement report signed by thegroup’s executive officers. It is also not a secret that majorityof the Sangguniang Bayan members and the presiding officer Vice Mayor CynthiaDela Cruz were opponents of Kalibo mayor Emerson Lachica and his vice mayoralcandidate Zaraspe in the 2019 local election.    All funds right now are released bythe Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Tourism Office for the honorarium,transportation, snacks, and other expenses in preparations for the festivalpending the accreditation of the festival organizer.(With a report from Akean Forum/PN)last_img read more

Shelvey close to Swansea move

first_img Press Association Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has spoken of the need to increase their quota of homegrown players and Shelvey, an established England Under-21 international who made his senior debut against San Marino last year, fits the bill. “We have got to make sure that the make-up of our squad is right,” Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins told the South Wales Echo. “And obviously part of that is making sure that we have so many British players in there. “We have got to do that – there is no choice because they are the rules.” Swansea also signed midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Real Betis on Tuesday, making him the third Spaniard to sign in the past week after former Betis team-mate Jose Canas and Espanyol’s Jordi Amat. The club have also brought in Gregor Zabret from Slovenian side NK Domzale and Cypriot Alex Gogic from Olympiakos on a free transfer, with both teenagers expected to go into the reserves. Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is on the verge of a move to Swansea after a £6million deal was agreed.center_img Press Association Sport understands the 21-year-old is due in South Wales at lunchtime to discuss personal terms with Swans officials. Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace appear to have missed out on the player as their bid was £1million less. last_img read more

Malawi coach Tom Saintfiet drops demand for win bonus

first_imgMalawi coach Tom Saintfiet has dropped his demand to be paid a $10,000 win bonus should he lead the Flames to victory away to Nigeria in a decisive World Cup qualifier in September.The Belgian agreed with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) in July that he would work for free but would be paid the sum should Malawi, who trail the African Champions by two points, progress to the play-offs.The news received mixed reactions with one fan going to court to seek an injunction against Saintfiet, although he failed because he was told he was not an interested party.Flames captain Joseph Kamwendo also reacted angrily to the news, saying the money could have been given to players who receive only $85 for a win.Speaking at a press conference in Blantyre on Tuesday, where he announced his squad for a friendly against Rwanda in Kigali on 14 July, Saintfiet said he was shocked by the way local media reacted to news of his deal.“The $10,000 was not my main motivation to come to Malawi. I came to Malawi to win over Nigeria and to qualify Malawi for the World Cup,” he said. “After I noticed that parts of the media were attacking me and the Federation about the $10,000, which was already a little bit strange as you know the former coach earned $20,000 as a monthly salary, I thought why not drop it and giving the money to charity.“For me money is not the motivation. I came here as a volunteer. I want to bring Malawian football to the next level and try to qualify them for the World Cup. I think if we win the money must go to youth development.”FAM president Walter Nyamilandu believes Saintfiet’s biggest motivation is to make a name for himself.“Reading between the lines, for him if we beat Nigeria his name is going to be all over the world and I think that is his motive that is his driving force,” said Nyamilandu.Nyamilandu said FAM has plans to hike the players’ win bonus for the match against Nigeria but could not divulge more information on how much each player will get. “The game bonus that our players get is not enough. The request to have the money raised has been rejected by government but we are now looking at digging deep into our coughers to set a good amount of money as a once of thing,” he said.Meanwhile. Saintfiet revealed he has dropped some players from the squad that played at the Cosafa tournament in Zambia for disciplinary reasons.“It’s not for me to talk about what happened at the Cosafa tournament. We have discussed it but I can mention to you that seven players were involved in the issue,” Saintfiet said.Nyamilandu added that some of the players involved have been issued with warning letters while others have had their allowances and bonuses withdrawn.Among the notable missing names from the 20-member squad are goalkeeper Simplex Nthala, midfielders Fischer Kondowe , Frank Banda, Young Chimodzi Junior and striker Gastin Simkonda. Malawi squad to face NigeriaGoalkeepers: Owen Chaima (Big Bullets), Charles Swini (Silver Strikers)Defenders: James Sangala (Free agent), Moses Chavula(CD Costa de Sol-Mozambique), John Lanjesi ( Blue Eagles), Harry Nyirenda (Black Leopards-RSA), Limbikani Mzava (Bloemfontein Celtic-RSA), Lucky Malata (Silver Strikers), Foster Namwera ( Ferroviario de Nampula)Midfielders: Joseph Kamwendo (Liga de Malcumana-Mozambique), Chimango Kayira(Big Bullets), Robert Ng’ambi (Platnum Stars-RSA), Phillip Masiye (Blue Eagles), Miciam Mhone (Blue Eagles), Peter Wadabwa (Thanda Royal Zulu-RSA)Strikers: Chiukepo Msowoya (Liga de Malcumana-Mozambique), Robin Ngalande (Wits Universtiy-RSA), John Banda (Kamuzu Barracks), Gabadhinio Mhango (Big Bullets), Esau Kanyenda (Polokwane United-RSA)last_img read more

Rio Paralympics 2016: Russia banned after losing appeal

first_imgRussia will not compete at next month’s Paralympics in Rio after losing an appeal against a ban imposed for state-sponsored doping.The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) upheld the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ban on all Russian competitors.The IPC made the decision in light of the McLaren report, which detailed a state-sponsored doping programme operated by Russia.The Paralympics begin on 7 September.The IPC’s decision to ban the entire Russian team “was proportionate in the circumstances”, according to the Cas panel, which said it would publish the full grounds for its decision later.It added that the Russian Paralympic Committee did not file any evidence contradicting the facts put forward by the IPC. The IPC’s decision is in contrast to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which chose not to hand Russia a blanket ban from the Olympic Games.The IOC was widely criticised for ignoring the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) recommendation to ban Russia.Instead, each individual sporting federation was given the power to decide if Russian competitors were allowed to compete. A three-person IOC panel then had the final say.In the end, more than 270 Russian athletes were cleared to compete at the Olympics, with Russia winning 56 medals in total and finishing in fourth place in the medal table.Russia had been set to take 267 competitors across 18 sports to the Paralympics. The Cas statement added that it had not looked at the “natural justice rights or personality rights” of individual Russian athletes in making its decision. Russia’s Paralympic team’s lawyer, Alexei Karpenko, confirmed the decision was final, saying they would try to file an appeal with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, but it would take between one and two years for the court to consider the case.”So I’m afraid Russian Paralympians will not be going to the Games in any case,” Karpenko added.Margarita Goncharova, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist in athletics, is among the Russians who will miss out on competing in RioIPC president Sir Philip Craven, who has described Russia’s anti-doping system as “broken, corrupted and entirely compromised”, and claimed it put “medals over morals”, said he was “greatly encouraged” by the Cas decision. He said it was “not a day for celebration”, adding: “We have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out.””It is a sad day for the Paralympic movement,” said Craven. “But we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all.”Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the ban was “political” and “not within legal framework”, while lawyer Karpenko called it a “black day for the sports judiciary”.He said: “I can only express huge disappointment at the ruling. The rights of Russian Paralympians have been blatantly violated.”Regardless of whether the Russian Paralympics Committee is guilty of the charges, punishing innocent athletes and not allowing them to defend themselves – which was an opportunity afforded to the Russian Olympics athletes – this is a flagrant violation of human rights.” Russia won 80 medals, inclduing 30 gold, at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics – the most in a single Winter ParalympicsRichard McLaren, a Canadian law professor, published a Wada independent report that found Russia’s sports ministry manipulated urine samples provided by its athletes between 2011 and 2015.The report identified 27 samples relating to eight Para-sports, five of which are summer sports, including some governed by the IPC.The IPC also found evidence that samples were swapped during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, adding that it planned to reanalyse every Russian sample given at the event. Paralympics going ahead despite major cutsThe Paralympics are going ahead as planned, but face major budget cuts as Rio’s organising committee has not raised enough to fund the event because of Brazil’s struggling economy and poor ticket sales.Cuts will affect venues, workforce and transport. Delayed travel grants will now be paid to athletes, but 10 countries may struggle to get teams to Rio.last_img read more

Kings coach Luke Walton sued for alleged sexual assault, report says

first_imgCan confirm Kelli Tenant filed a lawsuit accusing former Lakers coach, current Kings coach, Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her while he was an assistant with the Warriors. The Kings declined to comment saying only that they’re aware of the report and are gathering information— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 23, 2019The TMZ report states that Walton met Tennant at a hotel in Santa Monica, California, to discuss a book Tennant was writing. Tennant reportedly wanted Walton to write the book’s foreword and the conversation was moved to Walton’s hotel room, where she alleges the incident occurred.The Kings on Monday released a statement addressing the matter: “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”The Kings have issued a statement regarding sexual assault allegations against their new coach, Luke Walton, as reported by TMZ.”We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 23, 2019The Warriors and Lakers also issued statements late Monday, saying they weren’t aware of the allegations.”We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information. We’ll have no further comment at this time,” the Warriors’ statement read.  Likewise, the Lakers said the allegations were never reported to the team.“This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers,” the team’s statement said. “At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA.”The Lakers and Walton agreed to mutually part ways in mid-April after the team finished 2018-19 with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs. Sacramento then hired Walton one day later. Kings coach Luke Walton is being sued for an alleged sexual assault, according to TMZ Sports.The former Lakers coach allegedly made unwanted advances toward sports reporter Kelli Tennant while he was an assistant with the Warriors, according to the TMZ report and the Los Angeles Times.last_img read more

NBA trade rumors: Rockets’ Chris Paul demands trade; James Harden offers ultimatum

first_imgHarden reportedly has not responded to any of Paul’s attempts to communicate with him this offseason.“There’s no respect at all, on either side,” a source told Yahoo Sports. “They need to get away from one another. Chris doesn’t respect James’ standing in the league, and James doesn’t respect the work Chris has put in to this point.” It all came to a head after the Rockets lost in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. Paul then asked to be traded while Harden offered his ultimatum.According to Yahoo Sports, Paul and Harden went nearly two months during the season without speaking to each other while the former Clippers guard reportedly repeatedly complained to coach Mike D’Antoni about how the offense ran with the 2018 MVP on the court. Related News Paul would love to be traded, but his contract makes that difficult. He signed a four-year, $160 million deal last offseason and it might simply be too much money to move.That contract has been a point of contention in the front office as well as owner Tilman Fertitta has reportedly complained about it ever since.It is unclear how this situation will be resolved, but for now, it looks like a relationship that simply cannot be salvaged. Rocket GM Daryl Morey dismisses reported James Harden-Chris Paul tension The town isn’t big enough for Chris Paul and James Harden.Paul has demanded the Rockets trade him while Harden has gone to the organization and said “It’s him or me,” according to a report from Yahoo Sports.last_img read more

NBA Draft 2019: Zion Williamson at a loss for words after being selected by Pelicans

first_imgWilliamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 points per game during a historic freshman year at Duke in 2018-19.New Orleans might have some exciting times ahead. NBA Draft 2019: Zion Williamson overcome with emotion after being selected No. 1 overall Williamson struggled to say much more and his mother followed with words of praise.”He’s worked since he was five (years old) for this moment,” Sampson said. “When you know it’s coming but you just can’t really…you just kind of wait for it to happen.”I’ve seen somebody who believes in the process. Who put in the work. And who put those naysayers aside and just continued to do what he was asked.”Williamson was able to gather himself toward the end of the interview and had one message for Pelicans fans ahead of the 2019-20 season: “Let’s dance.” NBA Draft 2019 rumor roundup: A complete list of trades, news, notes and morecenter_img “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me.”What a moment for Zion Williamson, who shed tears after being drafted No. 1 overall. #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/WBVSRPr04K— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 20, 2019″I mean, I don’t know what to say,” Williamson told ESPN after his name was called. “I didn’t think I’d be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.””She put her dreams aside for mine,” Williamson continued. “She always looked out for the family first, before herself.  Related News Zion Williamson was very emotional after being selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The 18-year-old star broke down and shed tears after being chosen by the Pelicans. He made sure to thank his mother, Sharonda Sampson, for all she did to make his dream come true.last_img read more

Southland Gives Back: Colonels Combat Hunger in On-Campus Event

first_imgTHIBODAUX, La. –The Nicholls Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) committed its efforts to fighting hunger on the Colonels’ campus. The Colonels partnered with Mom’s Pantry in order to combat on-campus food insecurity within the Thibodaux community, collecting nonperishable, ready-to-eat meals and toiletries to disperse among Nicholls students in need.The SAAC-led event was set up prior to the Thanksgiving in order to collect food for students who were unable to travel home for the holiday. The goal was to provide these students an opportunity to obtain a free and accessible meal during the Thanksgiving holiday. Within the opening four hours of the food drive, the SAAC collected 625 items.“As student-athletes, we were excited to give back to our peers and provide meals to those who need them,” said Nicholls’ SAAC President Emily Venable. “No student should have to struggle to find their next meal, especially during the holidays. We hope that our donations lessen the burden on these students.”Mom’s Pantry is located on the Nicholls campus and is a pantry packed with food that is openly accessible to students at all times throughout the school year. The program is part of the Helio Foundation, which was created to address high rates of food insecurity on university campuses, including the Thibodaux community.As part of the “Southland Gives Back” initiative, the Southland Conference will profile a community service outing from each of our 13 member institutions this holiday season.last_img read more