SnapSwap, a fintech startup developing innovative solutions for financial institutions and other businesses, won the ninth edition of the biggest international FinTech competition for startups, BBVA Open Talent Identity in Washington D.C. yesterday. 

The competition final was held at the K(NO)W Identity Conference, a three-day gathering of the world’s most influential organisations across all industries that have a stake in shaping the future of identity. More than 200 startups from all over the world applied to this competition, and 10 finalists were finally selected. 

SnapSwap has been granted a €30.000 prize, and will have the chance to integrate BBVA headquarters in Madrid for an immersion week. 

SnapSwap will work with the bank on integrating its Remote Onboarding solution to BBVA retail network in Europe, US and Latin America. BBVA Open Talent comprises five competitions where SnapSwap competed in the identity category. The winners of these competitions will participate in the grand final, BBVA Global Summit, seeking to become a BBVA Open Innovation Universe hero. 

SnapSwap has pitched its “Remote Onboarding”, a unique fully automated solution to onboarding customers in compliance with anti-money laundering and “Know Your Customer” requirements remotely via a personal mobile device (a phone or a tablet) or on a personal computer. 

Integrated in a mobile app or an internet site, Remote Onboarding allows the verification of the customer’s identity, collection of KYC data, performance of due diligence and obtaining a legally binding electronic signature. The service is fully automated end-to-end and is available 24/7 at a fraction of the cost of manual onboarding. 

“We are really grateful to the BBVA team for inviting us and giving us a chance to showcase our product on the stage with all of the other great startups here,” SnapSwap founder and Chief Executive Denis Kiselev told One World Identity after accepting the award Wednesday. “It’s a great opportunity for us.” 

“The judges all agreed that SnapSwap is one of the most promising fintech startups in the world of identity,” said Head of Open Innovation and Open Talent for BBVA Marisol Menéndez. “SnapSwap has a solid team with a great deal of knowledge in compliance, and it has answered a common issue when it comes to identity, which is creating a compliant and convenient user identity verification experience. We’re excited to look for collaboration opportunities with them in the coming months.” 


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At the International Science and Engineer Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles last week, Camilla Hurst’s project of a self-cleaning door handle took away fourth prize from among 2,000 participants aged 15 to 18 from 78 countries in a major first for Luxembourg. 

Just 16 years old, Camilla already has a string of impressive scientific achievements under her belt with three national competition wins and several international awards, and now adds this prize at the largest international science fair for young students in the world. 

Her project concerned the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, which is becoming a major public health problem. The variety of treatments but especially the prevention of the transmission of pathogenic bacteria are the solutions advocated by the public health authorities. This is the heart of Camilla Hurst's project: after discovering a new bacterium in 2015, and then demonstrating anti-bacterial properties still unknown to untreated pine in 2016, the young researcher sought to identify and then isolate the molecule responsible for these anti-bacterial properties in 2017. In order to limit the particularly high risk of contamination in public places, she designed and built a prototype for a self-cleaning door handle which also disinfects the user's hands whenever the mechanism is engaged.

Camilla's multidisciplinary approach demonstrated to the American judges a global understanding of the problem and has emphasised the scope of her work in microbiology, biochemistry and engineering to help find concrete solutions to the problem. An issue as vast and comprehensive as epidemics, even pandemics.

ISEF is organised by the American Society for Science and the Public and highlights rigour and scientific innovation as well as the commitment of young people who are the researchers and innovators of tomorrow, but today offer their contribution to the challenges that shape the contemporary world. 

Camilla, together with Luxembourg students Ines Bahlawane and Lavinia Kadar, was able to travel to the fair with support from the Young Scientists Foundation, Capitalatwork and Foyer Group.

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The Ministry of Economy is organising a public conference on the concept of the Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative in cooperation with the Media and Communications Service of the Ministry of State and the Chamber of Commerce on 24 May.

The conference will look at how a “Smart City” that aims to optimise infrastructure management through a combination of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the Internet of Things is created. 

Secretary of State for Economy Francine Closener will introduce the subject and present the links with the strategic study of Third Industrial Revolution.

The conference will present innovative solutions to help local authorities improve the quality of life of their citizens and technology companies will present on their stands their innovative products and services related to the subject.

The speeches will be held mainly in French and English, and simultaneous translation between these two languages ​​will be proposed.

Entrance is free. As places are limited, it is recommended to register under the following link:


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At the meeting of the Council for Foreign Affairs (CAE) in Brussels on Friday last, Luxembourg Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action Romain Schneider said he regretted the New European Consensus on Development’s move away from its original objectives.

At the conclusion of the Council meeting, minsters adopted the new European Consensus on Development, which will be signed by the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament on 7 June 2017 at the European Development Days.

For Luxembourg, Minister Schneider made a unilateral statement in the minutes of the meeting to say that Luxembourg regrets that the new consensus has moved away from the main objective of its raison d'être, eradication of poverty.

The meeting ranged over issues in the Middle East and African-Caribbean-Pacific regions. At the start of the meeting,ministers first discussed the serious humanitarian situation in Africa and Yemen with a threat of famine which, according to recent United Nations estimates, could affect nearly 20 million people in four countries, Somalia, Sudan South Africa, Nigeria and Yemen. 

Conflicts and violence in the countries concerned hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance. An underlying theme of the discussion was the link between development and humanitarianism, and in particular how to make this interaction more operational at European level, while respecting the mandates and principles of action of each. The Ministers adopted specific Conclusions on this point. 

Minister Schneider expressed concern at the scale of these humanitarian crises and recalled that this year Luxembourg has disbursed more than €5 million in humanitarian funding for the affected countries in the Horn of Africa, Africa and Yemen. The minister joined his European colleagues in appealing for a preserve of a humanitarian space and insisting on respect for international humanitarian law.

Ministers took stock of the ongoing work on the current EU-ACP partnership which expires in 2020. Minister Schneider voted in favour of a future comprehensive chapeau agreement with substantive content and regional agreements adapted to the specific needs and potential of each of the three Africa - Caribbean - Pacific regions. A future agreement should also include a development cooperation component, the application of which would, however, be strongly differentiated.

Development ministers also adopted a number of Council conclusions, including those on the legacy and follow-up of the European Year of Development (2015) and on the creation of a sustainable value chain in the textile industry.

Image: Minister Romain Schneider with Zanda Kalnina-Lukaöevica, parliamentary secretary of state for European affairs

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This April, La Belle Etoile shopping centre together with the Luxembourg Federation of Marche Populaire held a collection for walking and sports shoes today for distribution to migrants and refugees hosted by the Luxembourg Red Cross, receiving almost 500 good condition shoes in the process. 

In return, Freelander's Outdoor & Adventure store offered a voucher of 10 euros for each pair.

La Belle Etoile and the Luxembourg Red Cross say they would like to thank all the donors for this beautiful moment of generosity.

Image: Manu Konsbruck (Belle Etoile), Robert Oé (Luxembourg Red Cross), Romain Buschmann (Luxemburgish Federation of Popular Walk), Alex Kapp (Freelander’s).


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Liberal democrats resident in Luxembourg may soon have their own representative party. The Luxembourg Liberal Democrats branch will be formally launched during an EGM at the IBIS Findel Hotel on 31 May. 

The inchoate party branch already has 38 members and Chris Garratt, who is currently the national coordinator for Lib Dems in Luxembourg, will be standing for election as chairperson for the branch. 

 The branch hopes to secure a referendum on the final Brexit conditions and to form overseas constituencies for British expats once we have the vote for life, one of the core objectives of the Lib Dem manifesto.

 The meeting starts at 19:30. 

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Following the expiry of the term of office of the members of the board of directors of the Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall, a new Board of Directors has been appointed for a term of five years.

It is composed as follows: 

Pierre Ahlborn, President

Marcel Gross, Vice-President

Marco Battistella, Ministry of Culture

Anne Heniqui, Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth

Gilles Lacour, Ministry of Culture

Jean Leyder, Administration of Public Buildings

Lydie Polfer, City of Luxembourg

Myriam Schmit, independent consultant

Michelle Steichen, Department of Finance


ICT and telecommunications company Telindus has developed SmartMatch Solution in collaboration with IntellectEU based on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain framework and one of the five Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. 

Frank Roessig, head of digital finance solutions at Telindus and Dirk Avau, CEO of IntellectEU will make a live demo of the SmartMatch Solution at the Hyperledger Mini Summit during Consensus 2017, the annual blockchain technology summit organised by Coindesk in New York on 22 to 24 May this year. 

Dedicated to the Financial sector, SmartMatch Solution renders transactions more effective, faster & cheaper. It does also identify and resolve outstanding transactions in a collaborative, efficient plus auditable manner. This solution allows multiple parties to identify and resolve items that have been posted to a chain but do not match. It is based on Smart Contracts that will solve unmatched items based on pre-defined rules in a swift, transparent, traceable, and partly automated manner. 

Many uses are claimed for this tool in the financial Sector, including asset management, fund administration, depositary, private banking, wealth management, lending, payments, and more 

According to Telindus, the benefits to the financial sector encompass improved process efficiency, superior execution quality as well as enhanced user experiences. 

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Funk legend Billy Ocean, who has sold over 30 million records worldwide, is coming to Luxembourg for a special gig at Den Atelier on 17 November. 

Born in Trinidad, Ocean settled in London’s East End when just seven years old. The calypso crazy kid soon got turned on to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, as well as pop groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, leading him to spend much of his study time in the music room. Billy Ocean wrote a chapter in pop history with the multi-million selling singles Caribbean Queen, Loverboy, and Suddenly, which became the first of Billy’s killer ballads.

Tickets for the concert are just €39, and can be reserved online:


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Collective investment bodies in Luxembourg, including UCIs subject to the 2010 Law, specialised investment funds and SICARs, held net assets amounting to €3,906.027 billion at the end of March 2017, compared to €3,860,317 billion on February 28, 2017, an increase of €45.710 billion or 1.18% over one month, according to the latest report from Luxembourg’s financial sector watchdog, the CSSF. Considered over the last twelve months, the volume of net assets is up 13.78%.

This increase represents the balance of positive net issuance up to €31.804 billion (0.82%) and favourable movements in financial markets up to €13.906 billion (0.36%).

The number of undertakings for collective investment (UCIs) taken into account is 4.139 compared to 4,130 the previous month. 2,650 entities have adopted a multiple compartment structure representing 13,097 sub-funds. By adding the 1,489 entities with a conventional structure, a total of 14,586 units are active in the financial centre.

The report says that diverging developments impacted the course of the month under review. 

In developed countries, European equity funds showed strong price gains in a context of continued economic recovery in the euro area, a reduction of political risks in Europe and the maintenance of the accommodative monetary policy by The European Central Bank. If US equities experienced a lateral shift in relation to the uncertainties surrounding the expansionary fiscal measures announced by the US President, the depreciation of the USD against the EUR closed the category of UCI To US equities in negative territory. Faced with mixed economic indicators in Japan and a depreciation of the YEN against the EUR, the class of Japanese equity funds experienced price losses.

In emerging countries, equity mutual funds in Asia ended with price gains on the back of, in particular, an improvement in the global economic environment. A major negative development of stock exchanges in the Eastern European countries was more than offset by the appreciation of the region's main currencies against the euro, so that the category of East European shares has appreciated. Faced with the very divergent developments in stock exchanges and currencies of the various South American countries, the category of Latin American equity funds closed with a slight increase.

In March, equity fund categories overall posted a slightly positive net capital investment.

In Europe, the favourable economic environment and the reduction of political risks have led to a slight increase in yields on government bonds, while yield spreads between the euro area countries have at the same time been reduced. Corporate bond yields followed this trend so that the Euro-denominated bond fund category suffered price declines.

In the United States, the rise in key rates by the US central bank and the positive economic data were offset by the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the stimulus measures envisaged by the President of the United States so that, in short, Market in USD denominated bonds has changed little. The depreciation of the USD against the EUR resulted in the US dollar-denominated category of UCIs being in a loss situation.

Strong investor demand for emerging market bonds, offset by higher bond issuance and lower oil prices, resulted in a near-standstill in the level of bond emerging countries.


During the month of March, fixed-income fund categories overall posted a positive net capital investment.

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