Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Seeking crypto transparency

Seeking crypto transparency

The concepts and realities of digital currencies are, at best, confusing. To understand more about the Lebanese cryptocurrency community, and the opportunities that the cryptocurrency economy opens for Lebanese business and banks—including the idea of a sovereign digital currency issued by Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank—Executive sat down with Stéphane Abichaker. A locally well

Disruptive technology

In the long run, which will be the bigger B? Will the banking industry do to blockchain, and thus to the soul of Bitcoin, what in recent years it started doing to feeble fintech operators: acquire challengers and digest unwanted competitors before they can threaten legacy players? Or will the blockchain bacterium lead to a

The crypto challenge

For years, the world has been engulfed in accelerating debates full of fear and fascination about Bitcoin, altcoins, and blockchain economies. Just look at January 2018, which brought threats and announcements of state regulation over cryptocurrency in some jurisdictions, bans of exchanges, rumors of impending restrictions alongside news pointing to the opposite, reporting on both

The rock and the magic beanstalk

Human rights are the rock from which modern civilization mines its values, its social contracts, and its entire portfolio of identities. Human rights are the very justification for our system of social coexistence and stratification. They are key to understanding humanity’s (mostly unsuccessful) attempts of balancing the logic of solidarity against the logic of economic

The long journey of a large retailer

Local markets have proven remarkably resilient when it comes to resisting the dominance of large retailers that offer fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in hypermarkets and supermarkets—those behemoths of daily shopping that you enter with an empty shopping cart the size of a compact car and leave with said cart overflowing. One operator of mega-sized retail

Predictive analytics and TMI syndromes

Too-much-information (TMI) syndrome is a chronic affliction of contemporary existence. The affliction is growing, without an app that can alert us to its threats and update us on the speed with which the disease of big data is invading ever more of our lives. Other IT buzzwords with mystifying potentials are artificial intelligence (AI) and

From foggy to cloudy

Ethereal. Ephemeral. Elusive. ETP, perhaps. Questing for upcoming banking-sector development opportunities in 2018 brings a whole palette of e-words to mind, including the “e” in ETP (electronic trading platform), but not the favorite e-word of marketers and their PR minions: exciting.  It seems that development opportunities in the banking sector are increasingly scarce, partly, of

Five cheers for stability

A good starting point for reviewing the Lebanese banking sector at the end of 2017 to study a document that was published early in the year and is referred to in financial High Valyrian as a FSAP. For common folks, this stands for Financial Sector Assessment Program. A FSAP is undertaken by the institutions missing

Deeply dancing diversity of culture

Culture in Lebanon is a mosaic of many histories and identities, from the most ancient of civilizational triumphs—such as the sarcophagi exhibited at Mathaf, the National Museum—to the reconstruction and re-imagination of Beirut’s urban core that began in the last decade of the 20th century and is still progressing in the Beirut Central District. In

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