Fintech Startups Haven’t Given Up on Blockchain

  • Philip Ryan
  • September 7, 2016
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© Can Stock Photo Inc. / oiassonThe morning session at BBVA Open Talent Challenge was all about artificial intelligence. The afternoon session brought on the blockchain. From these sessions, two winners were chosen that will have the chance to engage with a global bank — perhaps the ultimate prize for a fintech startup today.

The challenge was part of Next Money NYC, put on in concert with NYPAY and Consult Hyperion.

The startups:

Cambridge Blockchain performs KYC and compliance via the blockchain to eliminate the need for banks to perform redundant identity checks.

Forextreme is an education and forex platform. The service provides test accounts and a social platform to exchange information. The company owns a large share of forex transactions in Japan and is looking to launch in North America.

Flowcast provides analytics for financing in B2B marketplaces with its machine-learning, credit risk model. The company focuses on financing earlier — nominally riskier — stages of the supply chain.

InvestmentPod is a wealth management OS for the “bionic advisor”– a digitally-empowered human. Its digital platform is meant to help banks occupy the middle ground between robos and humans, and enjoy lower costs to capture lower-value clients.

CrowdProcess. Bad loans still plague financial services. CrowdProcess offers data science for risk management, using its machine-learning platform, named james.

Keychain is a blockchain-based authentication layer that sits on top of bank systems that is able to encrypt connections between counterparties.

Mark Labs provides data to and about not-for-profit organizations. It employs smart contracts to track the social impact of donations.

Spare (an INV Fintech company) aims to kill the ATM and the identity theft and exorbitant fees associated with it by turning merchants into cash dispensers.

Govbrain is an alternative data provider that calls itself a hedge for hedge funds. It provides big data and political intelligence to financial services firms. It claims to have predicted rise of Donald Trump(!)

Precognitive, which presented in the morning session and uses machine learning, behavioral analytics and device intelligence to fight fraud in realtime, and Cambridge Blockchain were judged winners of the competition and received €30,000, as well as the opportunity to work with BBVA.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at

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