You can now watch videos from the 2017 Strate GIBS Fintech Innovation Conference Online

To provide you with a holistic understanding of the impact emerging FinTechs will have on the future of financial services, GIBS partnered with Strate to host the Fintech Innovation Conference during August 2017.


The videos for the following topics are now available online:



Please click on the respective topics to access the video directly, or visit Strate’s YouTube channel to watch our videos online.





South African Financial Blockchain Consortium wins global accolade

The 24 financial market players who form part of the SA financial blockchain consortium (SAFBC) have been recognised for their blockchain research efforts in the Banker Technology Projects of the Year Awards 2017. The Banker is owned by the Financial Times and is one of the world’s premier banking and finance resources, read in over 180 countries.


Formed in 2016, the consortium aims to redefine the South African financial system based on blockchain technology, which has tremendous promise to improve transaction speeds and reduce costs that will help address financial exclusion issues. Members of the Fractal Solutions team at Strate Chair the IT Stream of the SAFBC and are the Secretariat as well for the consortium.


Members of the SAFBC are: ABSA, AlexanderForbes, BankservAfrica, Bowmans, Capitec, Curo Fund Services, Citadel Wealth Management, Finswitch, FirstRand, FNB, Ince, Investec, JSE, Nedbank, PASA, Rand Merchant Bank, Sanlam, Silica, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered, Strate, ZAR X, FSB (observer), SARB (observer).


According to the magazine, SAFBC is exploring different technologies, including Ethereum, Chain, Hyperledger and Corda. “The consortium is attempting to show how this technology is a paradigm shifter. The historic assumptions that were taken for granted, such as digital money intimately tied with credit risk against the institution holding the money, as well as the entire concept of fractional-reserve banking, are being questioned, and this questioning is allowing a whole host of possibilities to emerge, pointing to a much better financial system that better serves the needs of customers and clients of the industry, according to SAFBC,” it reads.


The SAFBC acknowledges its collaboration between members as the key recipe for its success.




Strate: A Pioneer of Exchange-of-Value Settlement Solutions

All too often, good infrastructure goes unnoticed. This is probably one of the reasons why few South Africans know and understand the country’s Central Securities Depository, Strate, however, without it, investors would shy away from South Africa.
Prior to the implementation of Strate in 1999, SA was categorised as one of the worst emerging markets in terms of operational and settlement risk. Trading volumes on the stock exchange were averaging 4,000 trades daily, very thin when this is compared to the 350 000 on average during a month today.

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Infographic: Strate Fast facts

From a Thomas Murray AA- rating, to Strate being ranked among the top Central Securities Depositories globally, click here to view an infographic that tells you all the fast facts that you need to know about Strate.



Strate Africa Blockchain Summit

On 13 October, Strate held its Africa Blockchain Summit in Johannesburg to educate the market about Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology. The event was a great success, attended by over 200 delegates. Below are some pictures from the Summit.


Ten blockchain experts, including four international speakers, presented at the event. The following presentations have been made available:

Blockchain 101 + Public vs Private Blockchains – Lorien Gamaroff, CEO Bankymoon

Exploring the Interledger Protocol – Adrian Hope-Bailie, Web Standards Officer, Ripple

The Blockchain landscape within the EU and practical use cases – Dennis de Vries, Lead of KPMG, Digital Ledger Services Netherlands, KPMG

Blockchain KYC and Perfecting Identity Validation – Llew Claasen, Executive Director, Civic / Bitcoin Foundation


Some pictures from the event:

[Video] GIBS Forum: The Potential of Blockchain

Tanya Knowles, Strate’s former Head of Business and Innovation and now the Executive Director of Fractal Solutions, a Division of Strate, spoke at a Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Forum to introduce the concept of blockchain and unpack some of the latest developments around this disruptive technology.

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Blockchain Technology – A Matter of Survive or Thrive

There is a frenetic and rather exciting energy amongst many financial services institutions.  Boardroom debates and conference agendas are quickly morphing from staid conversations on risk management and regulation to fintech, the internet of things and most noteworthy the potential disruption by blockchain technology. As with all new and exciting innovations, there is somewhat of a dichotomy between the technology visionaries and the Luddites of the industry. However, one thing is certain, those operating in the financial markets cannot maintain their current status quo and need to embrace new thinking which is in line with the exciting changes that lie ahead.


No article on blockchain seems complete without describing it as the distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin. Yet industry debates in recent months have matured far beyond this definition to focus on the additional applications of this technology.


At a high level, a blockchain is a single distributed ledger that anyone can view, with the option of no single participant or authority in control. It is collectively kept up-to-date and transactions are immutably recorded and cryptographically stored.  The technology has the potential to provide credibility and trust to the ecosystem with built-in smart logic and high levels of automation.


The problem today is that many organisations seem to be trapped in the hype of analysing the intricacies of the technology, conducting due diligences on thousands of fintech start-ups and generally focusing on how to protect their legacy business. While some of these are necessary evils, there is a lot to be said for taking a step back to look at the principles (See diagram 1) behind blockchain technology and how those can be applied to optimise, innovate, challenge and grow one’s business for the benefits of the customer.


Principles of Blockchain
Principles of Blockchain


The question that comes to mind is how the financial services industry can apply the principles of blockchain technology to an industry that has become increasingly complex and overly cumbersome. This is not the time to just be substituting existing operating models and systems with blockchain technology but rather realising that there is a completely new paradigm of thinking – one which fundamentally alters the way in which our industry and society hangs together in an entirely new, different and better way.


As a short-term reprieve, the reality is that regulators are not going to allow blockchain technology and fintech start-up to ‘take-over’ the financial markets overnight. This is the most highly regulated industry – the fabric upon which the world’s economy operates. However, they are also not going to sit back and protect legacy businesses when there is real value and benefits to be found. A number of regulators are already showing a strong interest in blockchain technology and the industry is moving at an unprecedented rate that one cannot depend on regulatory protection indefinitely.


It is through truly understanding and applying the principles of what blockchain offers that the industry can begin to have a completely different and rewarding conversation around the future of financial services. Without this, regulation will catch up and fintechs will continue to legitimately offer new and better services to customers – profoundly shifting the balance of power away from established business. Innovative thinking around blockchain’s principles needs to be harnessed for an organisation to thrive and not just survive.

Author: Tanya Knowles, Executive Director of Fractal Solutions, a Division of Strate (South Africa’s Central Securities Depository).

Fractal Solutions


Fractal Solutions is a Division of Strate (Pty) Ltd and responsible for both evolutionary and revolutionary innovation. Fractal focuses on exciting and disruptive technologies, including blockchain / distributed ledger technology.


The approach for the division is to devise and implement a strategy to focus on building a sustainable business that is equipped to identify and implement future trends and developments. The Division adopts the principles of “Lean StartUp” and the Agile methodology to introduce new products and services to the market.


The team is externally focused to collaborate with Fintechs, local innovation / blockchain departments and the international CSD community currently working on blockchain solutions.




Below, you can access various third-party industry articles that highlight market developments and trends: