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'99 percent of blockchain companies are overhyped'

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Machines +1, Humans 0. BlackRock, standard-bearer of the financial industry, looks like it's joining
 
April 2 · Issue #76 · View online
Tearsheet Weekly Newsletter
Machines +1, Humans 0.
BlackRock, standard-bearer of the financial industry, looks like it’s joining the machines when it announced a plan this week to roll much of its human-managed assets into computerized strategies. “We have to change the ecosystem — that means relying more on big data, artificial intelligence, factors and models within quant and traditional investment strategies,“ said founder and CEO, Larry Fink.
– Zack Miller, Tearsheet
P.S. Join us to explore how computers are really moving in at our Money Conference in New York City this June. Details + reserve your seat here.

WTF is an ICO?
Well, it’s kinda like an IPO for new digital currencies. For blockchain-related businesses, ICOs are all the rage.
Ask a VC: How startups are turning away traffic from payday lenders
In our Ask a VC series, Tearsheet’s Suman Bhattacharyya quizzed Kathleen Utecht, managing partner of Core Innovation Capital, about startups working on financial products for the underserved
Bitconned
You don’t need a venture capitalist to tell you that 99 percent of blockchain companies are overhyped. That’s exactly what one investor told Tearsheet’s Tanaya Macheel as she explored why blockchains won’t revolutionize finance
In other cryptocurrency news, the Feds are ramping up pressure on a leading digital currency company to turn over a vast amount of its customer records as part of a tax evasion probe, getting some people up-in-arms around privacy concerns. Also, there’s (another) ideological battle over the future of Bitcoin

How an anarchist Bitcoin coder found himself fighting ISIS in Syria.
The state of fintech funding in 5 charts
fintech investing still strong?
Private equity and corporate VCs have emerged as alternative financing sources. But overall VC funding is down as firms increase investments in late-stage deals and seed funding slows. Here, in 5 charts, is the state of fintech funding.
Video killed the robo-adviser star
The Royal Bank of Canada is piloting MyAdvisor, a feature that allows customers to connect to a financial adviser through video conference.
MyAdvisor could be a sign of an emerging consensus that digital banking may always require some form of human connection.
Why cardless ATMs haven’t taken off in the US
Technological hurdles and cultural resistance are two major factors inhibiting widespread adoption of cardless ATMs in the U.S. Nevertheless, cardless ATMs are being rolled out by all major domestic banks.
Experian’s Laura DeSoto: ‘This is an area ripe for disruption’
digitizing the credit bureau
Offline lenders still struggle with cycle times and the massive paperwork required to issue a loan. Experian’s Laura DeSoto joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast to discuss the digitization of the credit bureau.
Wells Fargo is busy with product launches
Out of the critical eye of public scrutiny, Wells Fargo has gotten back to business, developing a somewhat-expensive robo-adviser. The bank also announced the upgrade of ATMs with card-free access.
Deal flow
  • Robinhood stock trading app valued at $1.3 billion with big raise from DST (TechCrunch)
What we're reading
  • As millennials ’Venmo’ each other money, banks fight back with their own mobile apps (LA Times)
  • Venmo looks to branch out from P2P mobile payments (Payment Week)
  • BBVA creates global head of data role (Finextra)
  • J.P. Morgan set to run first apps in public cloud (WSJ)
  • Square boosts global payments ambitions with U.K. expansion (Bloomberg)
  • Bank of America invests in Charlotte’s fintech initiative (Charlotte Business Journal)
  • Could Google give fintech apps a needed boost? (American Banker)
  • Oops! German bank accidentally transfers $5.4 billion to four other banks (Bloomberg)
Stay connected to Tearsheet
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  • Have a tip or story you’d like to share? Email us with tales of mistaken billion-dollar bank transfers, broken Bitcoin dreams, and the state of fintech funding at zack [at] tearsheet.co
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