FinTech Weekly - Fintech News Issue #322

Issue 322

2021-07-27

The decade of regulation started. Microsoft recently increased its legal team by 20%. China is cracking down on Big Tech and wiping out significant amounts of the market cap in a few days. RegTech funding records in H1. Binance CEO "CZ" wants to step down from his role to be replaced by a new CEO with a background in regulation. Meanwhile, the "King of Regulation" aka EU introduces new rules to trace crypto transfers to reduce money laundering. What does all that mean: Perfect job perspectives for all the legal students :)

Europe’s top 10 ‘unicorn universities’
Europe’s top 10 ‘unicorn universities’
via Sifted

Using data from Dealroom, Sifted looked into which universities count the most European unicorn-founders among their alumni. We also looked at the number of founders in general and alumni-founded startups, focusing exclusively on those that are Europe-based.

Amazon To Integrate Bitcoin Payments And Launch Its Own Token By 2022, Insider Confirms
Amazon To Integrate Bitcoin Payments And Launch Its Own Token By 2022, Insider Confirms
via Bitcoinist

The rumors that Amazon might be dabbing into Bitcoin and crypto payments are strengthening. The e-commerce titan is looking for a Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead, according to a job posted on their website.

Solarisbank raises $224M at a $1.65B valuation to acquire Contis, expand API-based embedded banking tech in Europe
Solarisbank raises $224M at a $1.65B valuation to acquire Contis, expand API-based embedded banking tech in Europe
via TechCrunch

Solarisbank, a Berlin startup that provides a range of financial services by way of some 180 APIs that others use to build end-user-facing products (including basic banking and card services, lending, payments, and know-your-customer services) has raised €190 million ($224 million) in a Series D that values the company at €1.4 billion ($1.65 billion) and announced the acquisition of one of its competitors in the space, Contis.

Revolut, Europe’s $33 billion fintech giant, launches a travel booking feature
Revolut, Europe’s $33 billion fintech giant, launches a travel booking feature
via CNBC

Revolut launched a new feature Tuesday called Stays, which lets users book hotels and other accommodation through its app. The move marks a challenge to travel industry giants like Booking Holdings, Expedia and TripAdvisor. The $33 billion fintech firm is aiming to become what’s known as a “super app,” which offers multiple services through one interface.

Live with Cathie Wood, Jack Dorsey, & Elon Musk - "Bitcoin as a Tool for Economic Empowerment"
Live with Cathie Wood, Jack Dorsey, & Elon Musk - "Bitcoin as a Tool for Economic Empowerment"
via Ark Invest

Live session on "Bitcoin as a Tool for Economic Empowerment" featuring Cathie Wood, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk. Steve Lee will moderate this live panel discussion where nothing is off limits!

Mastercard on Recovery, Response and the Future of Payments
Mastercard on Recovery, Response and the Future of Payments
via Finextra

Valerie Nowak, Executive Vice President, Product and Innovation, Europe Mastercard, speaks to FinextraTV about changing behavioural changes in the payments industry and some of the latest emerging technologies, whilst reflecting on the past year and the impact of Covid. We learn how the pandemic triggered significant behavioural changes in the payment industry, how the latest emerging technologies will further accelerate those behavioural changes and how Mastercard has responded.

Binance’s CZ Is Looking for His Replacement as Exchange Gets Regulatory House in Order
Binance’s CZ Is Looking for His Replacement as Exchange Gets Regulatory House in Order
via Coindesk

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is looking for someone with a strong regulatory background to become its new chief executive, replacing its charismatic leader Changpeng Zhao, also known as “CZ.”

Retire early with crypto?
Retire early with crypto?
via Cointelegraph

"Of course. I’m jealous of people that have built a $1.5 million [portfolio] overnight.” The Financial Independence / Retire Early community is quite sceptical. This applies also to crypto. Here is the story of people who made it.

The Lightning Network Is Going to Change How You Think About Bitcoin
The Lightning Network Is Going to Change How You Think About Bitcoin
via coindesk

Lightning is the engine that’s driving this burst of bitcoin adoption. And you could make a good case that the Lightning Network is the most important project for the most important asset in all of blockchain. Yet the team at Lightning Labs, led by CEO and co-founder Elizabeth Stark (which is building the most widely used Lightning implementation) is almost oddly off the radar. And now it’s actually starting to happen. Stark and her team have a message for the globe: Lightning is no longer just about “potential.” It’s no longer just the future. Lightning is here. And it’s working.

Mastercard announces new program for crypto wallets
Mastercard announces new program for crypto wallets

The solution is a result of a collaboration between Mastercard, Paxos Trust Company, Evolve Bank & Trust, and Circle. The solution’s pilot will use PAX and USDC stablecoins in order to “facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions” amongst card issuers, this way making it easier to settle payments to Mastercard.

Study - Most institutional investors are ready to buy digital assets
Study - Most institutional investors are ready to buy digital assets
via Cointelegraph

Coalition Greenwich conducted a survey on behalf of Fidelity Digital Assets to find out the expectations regarding digital asset investments of institutional investors. There were 1,100 participating institutional investors 70% of the these investors expect to invest into digital assets within the next 5 years. The survey took place between December 2020 and April 2021

Square to build DeFi platform business
Square to build DeFi platform business
via Finextra

Square is creating a new standalone business that will act as a platform for developers to build decentralised finance projects based on bitcoin.

New EU AML rules will ensure full traceability of crypto transfers
New EU AML rules will ensure full traceability of crypto transfers
via Finextra

The package of legislative proposals includes the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering and a single EU rulebook to provide a consistent and harmonised framework for tackling financial crime across member states.

Spendesk bags €100M to reinvent corporate credit cards in the UK
Spendesk bags €100M to reinvent corporate credit cards in the UK
via UK Tech

Founded in 2016 by Rodolphe Ardant, Guilhem Bellion, and Jordane Giuly, Spendesk offers a spend management solution that provides visibility and control on all company spending. The platform provides information on every purchase trackable to a person, a project, and a budget. With Spendesk, businesses can automate recurring expenses and automatically match invoices to expense claims saving a lot of time.

Robinhood Reportedly Testing Feature to Protect Crypto Investors From Volatility
Robinhood Reportedly Testing Feature to Protect Crypto Investors From Volatility
via Coindesk

Bloomberg’s report, which was based on iOS developer Steve Moser’s analysis of new code contained in a beta test version of the Robinhood iPhone app, claims Robinhood is developing a new feature called “price volatility protection,” which is aimed at reducing the impact of crypto price volatility on users.

The great ASEAN e-wallet battle: traditional banks vs fintech companies
The great ASEAN e-wallet battle: traditional banks vs fintech companies
via Techwire Asia

Despite the COVID-19 economic impact, e-money payment values are expected to register growth in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Card payments are also being overtaken by digital payment options. Singapore-based Sea Ltd. has emerged as a major payments intermediary, alongside Grab, Gojek, and China’s Ant Group.

After Tink, Visa acquires London fintech Currencycloud for £700M
After Tink, Visa acquires London fintech Currencycloud for £700M
via UK Tech

In the current world of financial services, remittance and currency transfers are big businesses that are growing. Both these factors are driven by e-commerce. At this point in time, Currencycloud, the London-based developer of APIs that power remittance and currency exchange services has hit the headlines.

Global RegTech funding already set a new annual record just six months into 2021
Global RegTech funding already set a new annual record just six months into 2021
via FinTech Global

RegTech companies raised $9.2bn across 222 deals in the first half of the year driven by large transactions over $100m.

Sequoia, Jay-Z, Will Smith back Landis’ $165M debt, equity round toward making homeownership accessible to everyone
Sequoia, Jay-Z, Will Smith back Landis’ $165M debt, equity round toward making homeownership accessible to everyone
via TechCrunch

U.S. homeownership rates in 2020 were about 65.8% according to Statista. The rate reached its peak of 69.2% in 2004 before falling sharply due to the economic recession of 2007-2009. The rate reached 63.7% in 2016 before steadily going back up. To continue with its mission, Landis raised $165 million in a combination of debt and Series A equity funding.

computer chip flexible microprocessor Topics Arm’s New Flexible Plastic Chip Could Enable an ‘Internet of Everything’
computer chip flexible microprocessor Topics Arm’s New Flexible Plastic Chip Could Enable an ‘Internet of Everything’
via Singularity Hub

The ultimate goal of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to build computing capabilities into every object in the world, but that’s a pipe dream with today’s chips. Now British chip designer Arm thinks it might have the solution after unveiling the most powerful plastic microprocessor to date.

QR Codes Are Here to Stay. So Is the Tracking They Allow.
QR Codes Are Here to Stay. So Is the Tracking They Allow.
via New Yorck Times

Fueled by a desire for touchless transactions, QR codes popped up everywhere in the pandemic. Businesses don’t want to give them up. QR codes “are an important first step toward making your experience in physical space outside of your home feel just like being tracked by Google on your screen,” said Lucy Bernholz, the director of Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab.

Can AI learn to reason about the world like children?
Can AI learn to reason about the world like children?
via Tech Talks

“Our goal, following the literature in developmental psychology, is to create a benchmark for evaluating specific commonsense capabilities related to intuitive psychology which babies learn during the pre-lingual stage (in the first 18 months of their lives),” Dan Gutfreund, principal investigator at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, told TechTalks.

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