Banks Embrace Tech to Navigate Economic and Cyber Challenges, ISG Highlights

In an era marked by economic disruptions and cyber threats, global banking and financial services (BFS) firms are increasingly leaning on technology. Their goal? To bolster customer experience and navigate the tumultuous landscape, as outlined in a comprehensive report by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III).

The ISG TechXchange event, slated for September 19-20 in Paris, promises to be a deep dive into this evolving trend. It’s an exploration of how BFS institutions can harness data, automation, and AI to carve out a niche in a saturated market. The conference will feature a who’s who of the BFS world, with leaders from prominent banks and financial institutions, including Standard Chartered, Citi, Santander Germany, and Crédit Mutuel, sharing their insights.

Colas Truong, an ISG partner and the event’s host, emphasized the transformative role of technology, especially during the pandemic’s peak.

Agile use of technology enabled these institutions to navigate the pandemic and it is now enabling them to meet consumer demands for new digital assets, personalized services and security, while demonstrating their shared commitment to social values.”

Truong noted. Especially pertinent is the realm of digital assets, personalized services, and security. Truong’s data suggests a shift in consumer sentiment, with up to 10% considering a change in their banking relationships if they sense a lack of commitment to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles.

But it’s not just about consumer demands. The backend of BFS operations, particularly cybersecurity, remains a paramount concern. An ISG study threw light on this, revealing that a significant 80% of BFS executives view emerging technologies, notably AI and machine learning, as top challenges. The rapid evolution of cyber threats, coupled with the integration of new tech, has made the BFS landscape a veritable minefield.

The event’s agenda is as diverse as it is rich. Discussions will span a range of topics, from the delicate balance between offering seamless customer experiences and ensuring robust security measures, to the potential and pitfalls of concepts like banking as a service and the metaverse. The future of banking, especially in the context of these emerging tech platforms, promises to be a highlight.

In a nod to innovation, startups like Welcome Place, Multiverse Computing, and Quandela will be in the spotlight, pitching their cutting-edge solutions to a discerning panel. Their innovations, which range from quantum computing to community-driven banking solutions, represent the BFS sector’s future.

The ISG TechXchange has garnered significant industry support. Major sponsors include industry stalwarts like Wipro, Accenture, and Cognizant. The event also boasts media partnerships with several outlets, ensuring a broad reach and diverse audience.

In conclusion, as BFS firms navigate the challenges and opportunities of the current landscape, technology emerges as the beacon, guiding them towards enhanced customer experiences and operational efficiencies. The ISG TechXchange promises to be a melting pot of ideas, innovations, and insights, shaping the BFS sector’s future.

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From $5,000 to $120,000: Standard Chartered’s Controversial Bitcoin Price Predictions

According to Retuers, Standard Chartered predicts Bitcoin’s price to reach $120,000 by 2024, reaching $50,000 this year and $120,000 by 2024. This upward trend aligns with the recent increase in Bitcoin’s value, encouraging miners to hold onto the digital currency.

Standard Chartered predicted earlier this year that the price of Bitcoin would reach $100,000 by 2024, and that the challenging “crypto winter” had ended.

However, it’s crucial to note that Standard Chartered’s past Bitcoin price predictions haven’t always hit the mark.

In September 2021, the bank’s cryptocurrency research unit predicted that Bitcoin would reach $100,000 by early 2022, along with a significant Ether price spike. However, Bitcoin experienced a dramatic drop of more than 75% in 2022.

In December 2022, they issued a warning of a potential plunge to $5,000. Eric Robertsen, global head of research at Standard Chartered Bank, explained, “Yields plunge along with technology shares, and while the Bitcoin sell-off decelerates, the damage has been done. More and more crypto firms and exchanges find themselves with insufficient liquidity, leading to further bankruptcies and a collapse in investor confidence in digital assets.” However, Bitcoin’s price action since then showed that the lowest price since its record high in November 2021 was $15,476 on November 11, 2022, defying the bank’s prediction.

Despite these past missteps, the current market sentiment aligns with Standard Chartered’s optimistic view. On July 6, Matrixport reported that Bitcoin hit a one-year high on June 22, 2023, signalling the end of bear markets and the onset of a new bull run. Drawing from past trends in 2013, 2017, and 2021, Matrixport predicts a 100% chance of another massive Bitcoin bull market by 2024, with a price target of $125,000.


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Shaping the Future of Banking: Standard Chartered and PwC China Release White Paper on Central Bank Digital Currency”

Standard Chartered, in collaboration with PwC China, have co-published a comprehensive white paper detailing the potential advancements in the future of banking, courtesy of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). This report highlights the benefits that CBDCs could offer in retail sectors, international trade, and supply chain finance, as well as their potential to enhance customer loyalty programs and provide innovative supply chain financial solutions.

The study underscores that CBDCs are particularly beneficial for simple retail operations initially. However, to expand their utilization in trade and supply chain finance areas, significant evolution in technology and international collaboration is necessary. The successful execution of this can provide immense advantages, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises. The report identifies four pillars to support these developments: smart contract execution, efficient data management and sharing, seamless integration with other payment ecosystems, and robust local and international regulatory backing.

The Greater Bay Area encompassing Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao is proposed in the report as an ideal location for pioneering CBDC’s innovative applications, particularly those with global growth potential. Within this context, the paper delves into the programmable aspects of CBDCs, examining their developmental prospects and pinpointing practical, innovative application scenarios.

One key discussion in the paper pertains to retail customer loyalty programs. It proposes that programmable CBDCs can disrupt traditional point-based systems, waking up a massive amount of “inactive” points and promoting “universal redemption” in multiple scenarios, including cross-border ones, thus increasing consumer activity and spending.

Deputy Head of Standard Chartered China and General Manager of Personal, Private and SME Banking, Li Feng, has praised CBDCs’ transparent nature and programmable capabilities, which he believes can foster stronger connections within fragmented information sources in the present industry value chain. This, in turn, could catalyze innovation through open collaboration and streamline the financial system to meet real economy needs more effectively.

The report also emphasizes that programmable CBDCs could significantly boost trade and supply chain transactions. Many SMEs currently struggle to secure financing due to their size, or lack of collateral and credit history. Supply chain finance solutions often face standardization and interoperability issues in cross-industry and cross-border operations. The combination of trade and payment information with CBDCs, programmed according to the relevant rules and terms, could be a revolutionary tool in trade finance. This could enable commercial banks, key enterprises, and SME suppliers to navigate credit transparency and funds circulation more efficiently and securely.

Ricky Kaura, Head of Transaction Banking for Standard Chartered Bank in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and Middle East regions, notes that CBDCs hold the potential to mitigate these challenges through innovative models, providing better liquidity support for SMEs, thus promoting long-term stability and sustainability within the supply chain.


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Standard Chartered raises $36m for crypto custody platform

Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a new series A funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody. The funding round was led by Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings, which reportedly became the second-largest shareholder in Zodia Custody. Prior to this funding round, Zodia was backed exclusively by Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with Standard Chartered holding a 90% stake in the firm. However, it remains the majority shareholder even after the latest fundraise, according to Zodia Custody CEO Julian Sawyer.

Zodia Custody was launched in December 2020 as a joint venture between Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with a focus on providing custody services for digital assets. The platform is designed to provide institutional investors with a secure and compliant way to store their cryptocurrencies. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.

Standard Chartered’s move to raise funding for its crypto custody platform is part of a larger trend of global banks expanding their capabilities in the cryptocurrency space. As more institutional investors look to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, banks are stepping up to provide the infrastructure and services needed to support this demand. In addition to Standard Chartered, other major banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of New York Mellon have all recently announced plans to offer cryptocurrency-related services to their clients.

The involvement of SBI Holdings in the latest funding round is notable, as the Japanese conglomerate has been a major player in the cryptocurrency space for several years. SBI Holdings operates a number of cryptocurrency-related businesses, including a crypto exchange and a mining subsidiary. The firm has also invested in several blockchain startups and is known for its bullish stance on cryptocurrencies.

In summary, Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody, with SBI Holdings leading the round. The move reflects a larger trend of global banks expanding their cryptocurrency-related capabilities to meet growing demand from institutional investors. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.


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Bitcoin’s $100K price target returns as BTC price breaks out of bull pennant

Bitcoin (BTC) looks poised to pursue a run-up towards $100,000 as its price breaks out of a classic bullish structure.

Dubbed as Bull Pennant, the setup represents a price consolidation period with converging trendlines that form after a strong move higher. It ultimately prompts the price to break out in the direction of its previous trend to a level typically at length higher by as much as the size of the initial large move.

On Bitcoin weekly charts, the cryptocurrency appeared to have been trending inside a similar consolidation structure, with its price fluctuating inside a Triangle-like structure following a strong move higher (Flagpole).

BTC/USD weekly price chart featuring Bull Pennant setup. Source:

Last week, Bitcoin broke above the structure’s upper trendline as it rose by 13.5% with rising trading volumes to boot. As a result, the cryptocurrency’s breakout move indicated its potential to rise by as much as the size of its previous trend (nearly $50,000).

Measuring from the point of breakout (~$48,200), the Bull Pennant’s upside target thereby comes out to be another $50,000 higher, i.e., almost $100,000.

Other predictions

The technical setup projected Bitcoin at $100,000 no longer after many analysts envisioned the cryptocurrency at the same, six-digital valuation.

A team of researchers at Standard Chartered, headed by its global head of emerging market currency research, Geoffrey Kendrick, predicted BTC to hit $100,000 by early next year. They cited Bitcoin’s potential to become “the dominant peer-to-peer payment method for the global unbanked” behind their bullish prediction.

David Gokhshtein, the founder of Gokhshtein Media and PAC Global, also imagined Bitcoin above $100,000 before the end of 2021. The executive based his bullish outlook on the amount of available fiat liquidity in the market, which, according to him, has prompted leading Wall Street players to purchase Bitcoin.

“Not everybody’s going to come out publicly and tell you that they’re buying bitcoin, but they are,” Gokhshtein told Business Insider.

“There’s too much money in the market. Way too much money. Institutions did not come in here to play for five minutes.”

His statements appeared after George Soros’ investment firm revealed at a Bloomberg event that it owns Bitcoin, sending the cryptocurrency spiking. That soon followed up with JPMorgan & Chase’s latest report that showed institutional investors’ preference for Bitcoin over Gold as an inflation hedge.

In an earlier study published in May, the banking giant projected Bitcoin to reach $140,000 in the long term.

Holding sentiment on rise

On-chain indicators highlighted a rise in holding sentiment among Bitcoin traders.

Related: Tesla may have made more money holding Bitcoin than selling cars

In detail, the Bitcoin reserves held across all crypto exchanges recently dropped to their lowest levels in a year, as per data provided by blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant. The decline illustrated traders’ intention to hold their Bitcoin tokens close than trading them for other fiat/digital assets.

BTC reserves across all exchanges. Source:

Therefore, declining Bitcoin balances on exchanges typically follow up with rise in the BTC price.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.