June 26, 2015- In This Issue:


Why Financial Firms Are Investigating Bitcoin Tech

The technological innovation behind bitcoin has the potential to empower the existing financial world, not just disruptt banks out of existence as some have foretold, according to a former Wall Street exec.


"The blockchain is the financial challenge of our time," said Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, on Tuesday at the Exponential Finance Conference hosted by CNBC and Singularity University. "It is going to change the way that our financial world operates."


Arguing that bitcoin's underlying technology has the opportunity to improve settlement latency and system security for firms, Masters said the market for financial blockchain applications will ultimately be "measured in the trillions."


While promoting her own firm-which she said bridges the gap between the blockchain development world and financial services-Masters said that major financial firms "have all begun to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort" to learning about the technology. She previously served as an executive at JPMorgan Chase.


In the past six months, "everybody realized that bitcoin's more than a currency," said Brian Kelly of Brian Kelly Capital. "Everybody had their 'aha' moment, and investors with many millions of dollars to spend are starting to see how it can be used."

Bank's Real Fight with Fintech: Who Owns the Customer?

Bankers and Silicon Valley types are fond of framing their rivalry over the future of financial services as a winner-takes-all game.


But that construct may be too simplistic, according to a growing number of people on the front lines of digital innovation.


As marketplace lenders, tech behemoths and cryptocurrency firms strike more partnerships with traditional lenders, it seems that the two sides will survive one another - and may even need each other.


There's a Bitcoin Music Industry, and It's Amazing

Bitcoin has inspired a lot of emotions recently-relief at the conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, doubt about the so-called "Grexit" and worry about whether it can be a legitimate currency at all.


But one small group of creative types wants the digital currency to make people get up and dance.


The fledgling bitcoin music industry is getting creative about cryptocurrency. Whether remaking existing songs to give them a bitcoin twist or writing their own compositions, these singers and rappers (yes, bitcoin rap is a thing) are making the currency wars a lot more entertaining.


CIBC: Banks will adapt to new financial tech such as Bitcoin

TORONTO - The chief executive of CIBC says the bank is studying the technology underlying digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as traditional lenders face disruption from new entrants in the financial services space.


However, Victor Dodig says he doesn't think banks are threatened by emerging financial technology firms, and says doom-and-gloom rhetoric is overblown.


Dodig says partnering with new tech startups is vital for banks looking to innovate.


He also thinks bank branches are set to evolve, with the focus shifting away from routine transactions and more towards financial advice and relationship building.


Dodig made his comments to the Empire Club of Canada Tuesday, after the bank announced it is backing mobile payment app Suretap.


Deal Brings Bitcoin Option to Over 20,000 Japanese Retailers

A deal between bitcoin exchange Quoine and payments network Econtext will allow more than 20,000 online and eventually physical merchants to accept bitcoin in Japan.


The move essentially allows merchants that already use Econtext's payment processing services in thousands of online stores to accept bitcoin payments without the need for a bitcoin-specific processor. The service will be available for businesses to use today.


Quoine CEO Mario Gomez Lozada said his company had entered into discussions with Econtext last year, and has since done extensive integration work to connect it to Quoine's payments platform.


Gomez Lozada told CoinDesk:


"For us, it's a pretty significant deal."


According to Gomez Lozada, Econtext has signed up a couple of merchants to accept bitcoin already and is actively approaching others.