Advisory note: The Lafferty Daily Briefing will take a short break beginning on Monday 13 August. Service will recommence on 27 August 2018. In the meantime, please note that you can post stories to our Twitter feed @laffertynews.
The mooted merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank is a perennial question. Deutsche Bank's ill-fated venture into investment banking still playing out decades later, and Commerzbank is busting at the seams trying fruitlessly to increase its profitability. Well, here's a story of two other German institutions that have loads of money: the Protestant and Catholic churches, which are now trying to figure out how to make a return on their vast holdings in a low-interest environment. Political scientist and church expert Carsten Frerk put together some figures: "On the basis of my own plausible estimates, the two churches, including their business enterprises, have an asset value of around 345 billion euros," he said. Berenberg banker Martina Erlwein agreed. "The total wealth of the churches is estimated at a middle three-digit billion figure," she said. The churches, which traditionally invested in the Eurozone, are now looking further afield for returns. What could possibly go wrong?
"What could possibly go wrong?" is a question also being asked about Facebook's new proposal for US banks. US press reports suggested that Facebook was asking big banks to share customer data in exchange for banks' presence on the Messenger app. Curtis Silver, writing for Forbes, suggests that this way lies madness. "Facebook has been a cesspool of privacy issues for quite a while, yet every single warning over the years just seems to fall on deaf ears," writes Silver. "There are two frontiers that Facebook would love to get a piece of. One is your financial information -- the demographics from that would be a golden goose. The other is your medical information, which you might believe is an impossibility, but it's more likely an inevitability." As we've noted in our most recent report, Facebook's reach in Africa alone is stupendous: take a look at any of the Google Play stores for African countries, and you'll find that Facebook, Facebook Lite, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp are in the top ten almost everywhere. Europe's GDPR rules are starting to look progressive.
In the coming months, we'll start to hear more about new technologies behind digital assets. When someone asks you about blockchain, reply by saying that you're now more interested in Tangle and Dag, aka Directed Acyclic Graphs. Tangle is the technology underpinning IOTA, and as Bernard Lunn writes in a recap of the new blockchain killers, the elevator pitch for IOTA is crypto + Internet of Things. Lunn's summary of 2018 in the blockchain and cryptocurrency world harks back to his examination in late 2017 of alternative digital asset platforms and is well worth a read. If much of this seems like a foreign language, we recommend you pick up a copy of the latest RB2020 report, AI, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies to get a grip on these technologies and their use cases.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank scored two stars in our 2017 benchmarking report. The maximum score is five stars.
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