The MTBIT Forum in 2016: Remittances, Blockchains & Bitcoin

I developed the MTBIT FORUM in 2015 with the help of Andrew Ittleman, a Miami Attorney who represents companies and individuals in highly regulated sectors in the US and Greta Geankoplis, a fintech leader and industry trailblazer, both members of the IMTC Advisory Board. The forum was conceived as a chance for entrepreneurs, start-ups and project developers using blockchain-based protocols, for international money transfers, remittances & payments, to meet, network and share the challenges they face while at the same time discussing the realistic opportunities available in the industry.

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FATF-GAFI GUIDANCE – A Risk-Based Approach for Money or Value Transfer Services

The timing could not have been better. FATF just published – February 2016, a report that all Compliance Officers of this industry must read, entitled Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach for Money or Value Transfer Services (SummaryFull Report (69 pages). I want to highlight three statements in the presentation of the report:

  • The risk-based approach, the cornerstone of the FATF Standards, requires that measures to combat ML/TF are commensurate with the risks. Such measures should not necessarily result into the categorization of all MVTS providers as inherently high-risk.
  • The overall risks and threats are influenced by the extent and quality of regulatory and supervisory framework, as well as the implementation of risk-based controls and mitigating measures by each MVTS provider.
  • While this Guidance is applicable to the entire MTVS sector (both banking and non-banking institutions offering MVTS); it is primarily intended for non-banking MVTS providers.
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GAO Reports on International Remittances

I think it is very important that every person in this industry reads the GAO Report published on February 16th, 2016, entitled INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCES: Actions Needed to Address Unreliable Official U.S. Estimate – Highlights Page (1 page), Full Report (62 pages). A second report published the same day is entitled INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCES: Money Laundering Risks and Views on Enhanced Customer Verification and Record keeping RequirementsHighlights Page (1 page), Full Report (59 pages), Accessible Version (62 pages).

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The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 10

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Bitcoin, as a remittance tool, is now being used by a few pioneer firms, while the overall acceptance of the blockchain protocol as a significant invention has shifted the rhetoric about VCs for the better. With MTBIT, at IMTC, we have been actively seeking individuals and firms using blockchain protocols to offer solutions to cross-border customers.

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The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 9

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The rise of P2B, B2B, and Forex services in the industry is making the “Payments” side of the International Money Transfer & Payments Industry more dynamic and more important, overall, with new services, new entrants and new offerings. The P2P money transfer and remittance market has been historically closely linked to the Forex Market, although regulations in many countries, as well as currency controls due to AML compliance concerns, broke the bond and led to the demise of many Forex firms, most prominently, the “casas de cambio” in Latin America.

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The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 8

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The continued decline in the price of oil is affecting remittances worldwide, although the effects are varied, depending on the region of the world. But even if oil prices fell to their lowest levels in a decade, remittance outflows from the GCC were not heavily impacted during 2015. Remittances to Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen, with over 70% coming from the GCC, were not affected.

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The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 7

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

It was a good year for Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) in the IMTC&P Industry, with the most notable news coming from the U.S: The July, 2015, $890M deal for the purchase of XOOM by PayPal. You can google hundreds of news articles on PayPal’s acquisition of Xoom or read the SEC merger report.

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The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 6

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The digital race heats up in the U.S. with the entrance of World Remit and TransferWise into the U.S. market, while Western Union opens up online channels in Europe. SaveOnSend articles, written by Alexey Artamonov and his multinational team, are probably one of the best sources to explore the rise of TransferWise and its initial strategy in Europe.

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