32 Brain-fizzling facts from Informa’s Fintech, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies course ✨🧠
Updated: Apr 3
Walking into Informa’s course, “Mastering Fintech, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies”, I wasn’t sure if I’d made a mistake. Why had I signed up for two days of studying something I already knew? D'oh. I’ve written hundreds of articles on these topics. Award-winning articles. Nearly all my clients are fintech, blockchain and crypto firms. Honestly, I was kicking myself.
… But you know what? I learned SO MUCH. The experience was as insightful as it was humbling. Loads of things just clicked into place. So many A-HA moments (the feeling, not the band).
Here are the 32 most psychedelic, brain-fizzling facts I took home:
Starbucks is the tenth largest lender in the US by number of deposits. The coffee chain also created a non-bank payment system that's cheaper than VISA, and a (sort of) cryptocurrency.
Duolingo powers Google Translate. It uses data to assume that the most popular answer is correct. That’s why our translations have been getting more accurate.
You need 100,000 million users to be considered a successful tech firm.
Picoseconds are one trillionth of a second
US stocks are traded in picoseconds. This is how high-frequency traders can make a fortune in less than a minute. They use super-fast algorithms.
“Digital Resident” is the politically correct name for “Digital Native”
Buying a flight ticket from an Apple product typically costs 15% more. This is because the platform guesses how rich you are based on your device and adjusts the price automatically. Time to get that old Nokia out!
TechFin describes big tech moving into finance.
Between 2015 – 2018, OakNorth’s market share grew by 37,000%. Uhhh... I hope the marketing team got a pay rise.
“Freemium” services are the future. They are free, except when you want an occasional premium product.
Revolut users help the company run by providing it with global liquidity for free. This is a ground-breaking move.
A market needs at least eight participants.
Dark pools are the private stock exchanges of banks. I think that sounds shady.
The London Metal Market is one of the last in-person trading pits. Participants gather in a ring and bellow orders.
In India, you can pay with WhatsApp.
Facebook may have created the first stablecoin, Diem. Diem was pegged to the US dollar, but it tanked... Probably because Zuckerberg is so unlikeable.
AltCoins means anything except Bitcoin. I felt a bit dim for not realising that sooner, to be honest.
Sterling is a metal that's at least 92.5% silver. So, £1 used to equal one pound of silver!
One dollar was one-twentieth of a once of gold.
Bitcoin is not programmable, but Ethereum is. This makes it a GAME-CHANGER. Ethereum is a programmable Bitcoin.
Bitcoin solved the double-spend issue of digital currency. The other problem of a digital signature was solved in the early 2000s.
Litecoin can do everything Bitcoin can in a quarter of the time. BAM! It processes the transaction in 15 minutes rather than 60.
By solving the double-spend issue, Bitcoin proved a concept, but it was never intended to be the digital currency of the future.
Ethereum was the first “smart money”.
In 2021, the Chinese government clamped down on mining. The operations instead moved to Kazakhstan!
North Korea is massively mining Bitcoin.
Mining pools are groups of miners who collaborate and split the profits.
Solana’s unique point of difference is that it provides an unalterable timestamp, a proof of history.
IslamicCoin is a thing! Somehow… Even though it doesn’t seem to be asset-backed. Hmm...
Ripple is backed by 40 banks, and the mines are centralised. This kind of defeats the whole point of crypto, right? Tss banks.
Fungible means "interchangeable". Non-fungible means "unique". Never thought to look it up before, but now everything makes much more sense.
Politicians are trying to get their fingers into our crypto. The European Central Bank is looking at how digital currency can be used to restrict purchases, for example, alcohol or unhealthy foods. Uhhhh…. Not a fan.
My brain is officially fizzled. ✨🧠
Massive thank you to...
Petros Geroulanos for teaching this course, and to Informa for letting me join!
Sidenote: If you get the opportunity to enjoy a coffee on the 19th floor of 240 Blackfriar’s Road, take it! The views are immense. It’s like falling through a London guidebook and standing on top of the world at the same time. A truly amazing location.