China: Bitcoin trading accounts to be shut down by 15 April 2014

Thursday, 3rd April 2014

According to this, the Central Bank of China has ordered the country's commercial banks and payment companies to close Bitcoin trading accounts until 15 April 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"According to the source, these rules have a direct impact on more than a dozen Bitcoin exchanges, and are a further consolidation of regulations the financial institution put in place in 2013. Authorities have closely monitored Bitcoin's expansion, as it has been regarded as inflicting financial stability and because it has attracted speculative retail investors looking for ways to make profits. In 2013, China recorded a huge increase in demand for Bitcoin and this has led to a growth in global prices and also attracted the attention of regulators."

"In December 2013, the People's Bank of China ordered financial institutions to stop dealing with Bitcoin. Later that month, it made clear that third-party payment processors could not help exchanges collect money from users."

"According to sources familiar with the latest directive, cited by the Wall Street Journal, the People's Bank of China has no intention to ban the currency trading in China, and mentions that the move is aimed at enforcing what was already said in the December 2013 document. More specifically, the document stipulates that Bitcoin is not a currency with "real meaning" and does not have the same legal status as a currency, but that the public is free to buy and sell Bitcoin online provided that they accept the risk."


New Directors

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

Graham Duerden has joined us.  Graham is the MD of Greif UK Ltd., based in Ellesmere Port.  He not only brings considerable senior management experience but also a very significant financial grant from his parent company, as well as the offer of invaluable volunteering resources from the Greif UK team.  We are so looking forward to working with Graham and his team.

Victoria Jones has joined us.  Vicki is a partner with Knights Solicitors Llp, who proclaim that they are "not afraid to be different".  We love that!!  Vicki has been involved with us from day one as a trustee of our founding charity, Bridge Enterprises.  Now she is fully engaged!!  Thank you so much, Vicki, for joining BCF.

Paul Norman is on our top team.  As Relationship Director, Corporate Banking, with Santander, Paul brings great experience of financing AND a fabulous network of local movers and shakers.  Paul has already pitched into fund raising activities for BCF.  We are truly blessed to have him on the team.

UK merchants to sell in Eastern Europe via export companies

Tuesday, 1st April 2014

According to this, UK’s online platforms are considering various means by which trade with Central and Eastern Europe can be expanded - i.e "local ecommerce website aims at informing UK companies about business opportunities in Romania, while another initiative is focused on selling UK food online in Poland".

"The British Business Portal networking platform provides information on several sectors of the Romanian economy, such as business opportunities, events, requests for partnerships, know-how business management and on scope legislation."

"Executive chairman at the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce, Raymond Breden, states that the Eastern European country has potential for business with lower costs in resources and facilities, its need to develop and its size and resources. There are currently more than 4,000 UK companies operating in Romania. Trade between the two countries topped EUR 3.28 billion in 2013, which is a growth of 11.9%, as compared to 2012."

"In Poland, for example, Heart of England Fine Foods, an organization for producers, growers and processors of specialty food and drink from several UK counties, has joined forces with the UK Trade & Investment team in Warsaw and some Polish business leaders with focus on boosting the profile and sale of produce from the heart of England to Eastern Europe."

"They also launched a new ecommerce B2B website, featuring products from 41 companies across the Midlands. As of now, there are 41 companies which will have their products exhibited on the B2B website for Polish buyers, Karen Davies from HEFF tells"

"Ian Livingston, Minister for Trade and Investment, launched two new UK Business Centres in Slovakia and Hungary in March 2014. Business centres were also open in Poland in 2013 and in Romania in late March 2014. Business centres in the Czech Republic and Slovenia are due to open shortly."

"Lord Livingston informs that UK firms have doubled trade exports to Eastern and Central European countries in the last ten years. He also states that by 2020, the main goal is doubling exports to this region and in order to achieve that, support is needed for UK firms on the ground by opening a network of business centres and increasing the number of trade missions to introduce more UK businesses to potential buyers by 2020."

Multi-factor authentication market to hit USD 10.75 bln by 2020

Tuesday, 1st April 2014

According to this, multi-factor authentication (MFA) market is expected to register USD 10.75 billion by 2020.

"According to data, two-factor authentication model covers almost 90% of the market for multi-factor authentication, wherein banking and finance, travel and immigration, commercial security are the major applications."

"The report describes the various types of biometric and non-biometric technologies such as hardware and software tokens, OTP (One Time Password), and biometric recognition that are being used for different applications. The above-mentioned techniques can be combined to form two, three, four, and five-factor authentication models. Out of these models, two-factor authentication is commonly used in most of the applications. Two-factor authentication is the oldest type of MFA technique and can be seen at banks, ATMs, and at various government offices."

"The same source mentions that three, four, and five-factor authentication models are less used when compared to two-factor authentication. The three-factor authentication methods include smart card with PIN and biometric technology, smart card with two biometric technologies, PIN with two biometric technologies and three biometric authentications. On the other hand, four- and five-factor authentication includes the use of smart card and PIN with more than one type of biometric technology such as face recognition, fingerprint recognition, voice recognition, and so on. Three-factor authentication is mostly used in private access areas like bank lockers, secret data access, defense, travel and immigration. The use of four- and five-factor authentication models is restricted to high cost projects in defense, research, and government-based applications."

"Multi-factor authentication implies user and employee authentication by verifying two or more authentication techniques (Hardware token, One Time Password, Password/PIN and Biometric traits) provided by him/her. MFA has become the most important part of security due to increase in unauthorized access, frauds, border intrusion, and so on. MFA is increasingly getting deployed at all the security checkpoints in airports, commercial complex, retail malls, banking and finance, and so on. MFA provides accurate authentication and negligible margin of duplicity or error."

Recent data breaches put high pressure on fraud operations

Tuesday, 1st April 2014

Recent data breaches suffered by US-based retailers have had a major impact on the operations of financial institutions.

"According to data 44% of customer accounts have been compromised. The same source points out that while the headlines continue to highlight data breaches, which involve compromised payment, banking and personal data, financial institutions must stay vigilant in combating fraud loss and maintaining customer goodwill."

"Over 15% of respondents declared that recent breaches put increased pressure on fraud operations. Another 12% indicated that they suffered a negative impact on their brand, while 22% said they felt no direct impact from breaches."

"More than 75% of respondents said they are looking at additional resources to combat fraud in their organizations. Of those, 50% stated they are looking to invest in fraud detection technology, more than 15% are investing in more training for their fraud management teams and 10% are beefing up staff with new personnel."

"The survey also reveals that when it comes to EMV technology and standards, many in the US are re-evaluating their strategies after these recent events. Regions including Canada and UK attribute decreased card fraud to the more secure chip & PIN methods employed as part of their EMV strategies, which were rolled out years ago. More than 40% of respondents indicated they are more aggressively looking at their EVM plans. Another 30% are still exploring options required to meet the 2015 liability shift, and just under 10% indicated they are already EMV compliant."

More information here.

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