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Austria’s BitPanda Reaches Unicorn Status; A Look at the Latest in French Fintech




Still looking for evidence that cryptocurrencies have arrived? The $170 million raised this week by Austrian digital asset neobroker Bitpanda is a testament to both the surging interest in cryptocurrencies as well as the vitality of fintech innovation in the CEE countries.

Bitpanda’s Series B round earned the company a valuation of $1.2 billion, giving Austria its first fintech unicorn. The Vienna-based company, founded in 2014 by co-CEOs Eric Demuth and Paul Klanschek, along with CTO Christian Trummer, plans to use the capital to add to the types of investments available on its platform, as well as expand to more markets in Europe.

This latest funding round was led by Valar Ventures and featured participation from DST Global. The round is more than triple the amount raised by Bitpanda in its Series A financing back in September, which was also led by Valar Ventures (SpeedInvest of Vienna was an investor in the round, as well). The capital arrives the same week that Bitpanda announced that it had reached a new milestone of more than two million registered users on its Bitpanda and Bitpanda Pro platforms.

Bitpanda enables cryptocurrency investors and traders to buy, sell, save, and send more than 50 digital assets including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The neobroker also offers the world’s first real crypto index and a Bitpanda Card that enables Bitpanda accountholders to spend their digital assets as easily as they spend their cash.

With FinovateEurope right around the corner, we’ve got more than a little continental fintech on the mind these days. This week we take a quick look at fintech news from France, a country whose fintech industry is often overlooked in the broader conversation on European fintech.

Earlier this week, we learned that Finovate alum Ledger was launching a new business division dedicated to taking advantage of growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies. Headquartered in Paris and founded in 2013, the company announced that its Ledger Enterprise Solutions unit will support enterprise adoption of the company’s core custody technology, Ledger Vault, as well as advise institutional clients with regards to technology implementation, security, and governance of digital asset portfolios.

On the French fintech funding beat, PayFit, a payroll and HR platform launched in France in 2016, announced that it has secured $107 million (EUR 90 million) in Series D funding. The investment was led by Eurzeo Growth, Large Venture, and BPI France, and featured participation from the company’s existing investors Accel, Frst, and individual investor Xavier Niel.

The company said that the capital will help support its comprehensive HR solution for SMEs and enable the company – which also operates in Spain, Germany, the U.K., and Italy – to “increase headcount from 550 to 800” by the end of 2021.

PayFit serves more than 5,000 small businesses, and includes Revolut, Starling Bank, and Treatwell among its customers. The company experienced growth of 40% in 2020 – a pace PayFit anticipates doubling this year – and credited much of this “hypergrowth” to the digital imperative brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

“As a result of the pandemic, HR professionals have faced a much higher workload and unfamiliar challenges,” PayFit co-founder and CEO Firmin Zocchetto said. “They have had to deal with various issues, including supporting the company’s management with the implementation of remote work policies and ensuring employee wellbeing through new initiatives.”

Zocchetto said that there are “tens of millions of SMEs” that are ready for digital transformation. “The market is huge, and our ambition remains the same: to become the point of reference for payroll and HR management for all SMEs,” he said.

Striking another note in the funding beat, French fintech Silvr announced a EUR 3 million seed investment this week. The company, launched last year by Nima Karimi and Gregory Tappero, provides financing for digital businesses that cannot access traditional bank financing and want to raise equity capital.

Silvr offers a revenue-based financing model based on the performance of the financed company, an approach that contrasts with both traditional asset-based lending and fundraising models. Karimi has said that Silvr’s strategy offers a new option for SMEs in France, calling it simpler and more transparent.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

  • SEON, a Hungarian startup helps companies weed out false accounts and prevent fraudulent transactions, secured $12 million (EUR 10 million) in funding. The round is Hungary’s largest Series A funding to date.
  • Lithuanian fintech FINCI has gone live with Temenos’ Payments and Transact core banking solutions.
  • Estonian financial services company LVH invested GBP 4.45 million in U.K.-based B-North, which is building a SME lending bank.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo by Tim Abee from Pexels

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What happened to reduce RFR trading?




  • March 2021 saw 8.8% of all derivatives risk traded versus an RFR.
  • This reduced from the previous levels around 10%.
  • The pre-cessation announcements last month do not appear to have accelerated RFR Adoption.
  • There was an increase in the amount of IBOR-related activity last month.
  • Overall for Q1 2021, the total amount of RFR activity was about the same as Q1 2020.
  • We also take a look at CCP conversion plans, Open Interest and Client activity.

The latest ISDA-Clarus RFR Adoption Indicator has just been published for March 2021. It saw a decrease to 8.8%, somewhat lower than the ~10% level that it has hovered around for the past 3 months.

  • The overall Adoption Indicator was at 8.8%, lower than the 10.0-10.6% readings of the prior three months.
  • There were declines in the adoption of RFRs in each of the six currencies that we monitor.
  • USD SOFR trading declined to 4.7% from 5.1% of the total.
  • GBP SONIA trading declined from 45.8% to 44.9%. At least this has remained at relatively high levels.
  • CHF and JPY (SARON and TONA RFRs) saw just 6.4% and 2.4% of overall Rates risk traded as RFRs.

LIBOR Risk Traded

With the pre-cessation announcement last month, this blog expected a speeding-up of RFR Adoption to show in the data. Instead, we saw an increase in LIBOR and other indices traded. March 2021 saw the largest DV01 and largest notional traded in ‘IBOR type products since last March:

DV01 of IBOR-linked products:

And notional of IBOR-linked products:

It is worth noting that March 2021 is an This blog looks at IMM dates in detail.” class=”glossaryLink ” target=”_blank”>IMM month, therefore associated with the rolling of contracts from March to June (or further out). When we look at other IMM months in our time-series, we do not typically associate these with an increase in the amount of IBOR-linked activity (despite the roll) or with a decrease in RFR activity.

RFR Risk Traded

All of this increase in IBOR products was set against a decrease in DV01 traded of RFR-linked products last month:

At least the total amount of RFR risk in Q1 2021 was almost the same as Q1 2020 (within 2%).

For RFR-specific markets, we saw:

  • A near-record amount of SOFR DV01 transacted at $954m. This was up by 6% compared to last month and only bettered by the “big bang” month of October 2020.
  • A record amount of futures (ETD) RFR risk traded. It was over $1bn DV01 for the second month running (across all currencies).

LIBOR Open Interest

Recall that the RFR Adoption Indicator monitors new trading activity in the month. You can read about the full Indicator construction in the white paper here. Therefore it is worth checking how open interest at CCPs has developed recently in IBOR-linked products. With a quarter-end included, we are used to seeing a reduction in notional outstanding:


  • Oh dear, notional outstanding of IBOR-linked products now stands at roughly $160 TRILLION.
  • This is higher than year end 2020, and roughly the same as the $161-163Trn we saw in the same weeks last year.

There was part of me that hoped the increase in IBOR-linked activity we saw last month was due to risk-offsetting trades in LIBOR, that would result in reduced open interest once compression had taken effect.

Unfortunately, the data does not back this up. It looks like much of the IBOR activity was new trade activity, not risk-reducing activity related to legacy positions.

Where is the Client RFR risk?

Looking at the Open Interest in OIS we have seen a reduction in Client-related open interest in OIS across the six currencies:

And across all of the RFRs, there has been a reduction in Open Interest in Swaps whilst Open Interest in Futures has stayed constant:

CCP Conversion Plans

LCH has recently announced that any outstanding LIBOR trades (excluding USD) will be converted later this year to vanilla RFR trades (plus historic spreads as calibrated by ISDA). This means that the trades will not use the ISDA Fallbacks.

From their most recent circular, the applicable dates for RFR conversion of existing LIBOR trades are:

  • 3rd December for CHF and JPY.
  • 17th December for GBP.


  • Conversion will not be free. I assume to encourage market participants to voluntarily convert ahead of time, there will be a fee applied. The fees have not yet been made public.
  • From 30th September, there will also be a monthly fee of £5 per contract applied to all outstanding CHF, GBP and JPY LIBOR contracts.

Full details are here. CME have also just published a proposal today, that includes the very same dates.

I do not know how significant the fees will be at LCH or whether other CCPs will also charge.

However, given the data for March, is there an argument to be made that bilateral LIBOR risk will find its way into clearing to access these conversion services? A back-to-back LIBOR in bilateral space versus LIBOR in clearing would at least move the LIBOR conversion into vanilla RFR products. However, we will also see changes in IM etc associated with this.

One to keep an eye on in the data…..

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Local trading app Superhero says it’s no Robinhood clone




Millennial-focused share trading platform Superhero says it’s not a clone of the popular but controversial US app Robinhood, insisting it is subject to far more stringent regulation than its overseas peer.

Superhero, which launched in September last year, has secured $25 million in funding from billionaire Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group, Phil King’s Regal Funds Management, Afterpay co-founder Nick Molnar, Zip co-founder Larry Diamond and Finder co-founder Fred Schebesta.

The latest funding round values the fledgling startup at more than $100 million and Superhero, just like Robinhood, is tapping into the surge in retail investors into the market, which fuelled the GameStop short selling frenzy in the United States.

Robinhood played a key part in helping Reddit posters buy GameStop stock, driving up its price, but then controversially moved to restrict their purchase to contain market volatility. With the episode highlighting the power trading apps can exert in distorting the financial markets, Superhero’s co-founder and chief executive John Winters said while the platform was built to remove barriers to sharemarket investing it wasn’t looking to be a clone of Robinhood.

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What’s new in CCP Quant Disclosures – 4Q20?




Clearing Houses just published their CPMI-IOSCO Quantitative Disclosures, lets look at what’s new:

  • Initial margin for IRS remains close to record highs
  • Initial margin for CDS down 12% from the high
  • Initial margin for ETD down 15% from the high
  • OCC and Eurex OTC IRS the only CCPs with IM QoQ up > 10%
  • ASXCL, ICE Clear NL and ICE Clear SG are new additions to CCPView
  • DTCC GSD, largest payment obligation of one participant, $102 billion!
  • DTCC NSCC maximum IM call on a day of $17 billion
  • And a lot more below


Under the CPMI-IOSCO Public Quantitative Disclosures, CCPs publish over two hundred quantitative data fields covering margin, default resources, credit risk, collateral, liquidity risk, back-testing and more.

CCPView has 5 years of these quarterly disclosures for forty Clearing Houses, each with multiple Clearing Services, covering the period from 30 Sep 2015 to 30 Dec 2020. This disclosure data provides insights into trends over time at one CCP and comparisons between CCPs.

Initial Margin for IRS

IRS at major IRS CCPS (usd billions)
  • Total IM for these four CCPs was $270 billion on 31-Dec-2020
  • Similar to the all time high of $271 billion on 31-Mar-2020
  • Up 22% from $221 billion on 31-Dec-2019
  • LCH SwapClear with $204 billion or £149 billion on 31-Dec-2020
  • Is up 3% QoQ in USD terms, but down 3% in GBP terms
  • While YoY, LCH SwapClear is up 19% in USD terms and 15% in GBP
  • CME IRS with $38 billion, down 3% QoQ and up 28% YoY
  • Eurex OTC IRS with $18.6 billion or €15.2 billion
  • Up 14% QoQ in USD terms or 9% in EUR terms
  • Up 51% YoY in USD terms or 38% in EUR terms
  • JSCC IRS with $9.5 billion or Y977 billion
  • Flat QoQ, but Up 16% YoY in USD terms or 10% JPY terms

IM for IRS remaining at the record highs we saw on 31-Mar-2020, the Covid-19 crash quarter. A little surprising that IM has not come down given the lower market volatility, but then again the risk position of members at CCPs on 31-Dec-2020 will not have been the same as on 31-Mar-2020.

Initial Margin for CDS

IM at major CDS CCPs (usd billions)
  • Total IM for these three CCPs was $59 billion on 31-Dec-2020
  • Down 12% from the high of $67 billion on 31-Mar-2020
  • Up 29% from $46 billion on 31-Dec-2019
  • ICE Credit Clear with $44 billion, down 3% QoQ and up 26% YoY
  • ICE Europe Credit with $10.8 billion, down 5% QoQ and up 43% YoY.
  • LCH CDSClear with $4.4 billion, down 16% QoQ and up 35% YoY.

CDS IM continuing to drift down from the 31-Mar-2020 high.

Initial Margin for ETD

Initial Margin for selected ETD CCPs (usd billions)
  • Total IM for these CCPs was $417 billion on 31-Dec-2020
  • Flat QoQ, Down 15% from 31-Mar-20 and Up 42% YoY
  • (Note the chart shows slightly higher totals as the Eurex Clearing amount in the chart includes OTC IRS IM, which I exclude in my figures here)
  • CME Base with $152 billion, down 3% QoQ and up 39% YOY.
  • OCC with $109 billion, up 19% QoQ and up 104% YoY.
  • ICE Europe F&O with $55 billion, down 9% QoQ and up 16% YOY.
  • Eurex with $46 billion, down 2% QoQ and up 21% YOY.
  • ICE US F&O $27 billion, up 8% QoQ and up 42% YOY.
  • JSCC OSE Listed ETP with $14.3 billion, down 4$ QoQ
  • SGX-DC $7.8 billion, down 18% QoQ and up 4% YoY
  • ASX CLF $7 billion, up 4% QoQ and up 37% YoY
  • HKEX HKCC with $5.8 billion, down 10% QoQ and up 6% YoY

OCC standing out as for the second quarter running it is up by 20% and at $109 billion is higher than the $91 billion reached on 31-Mar-20, with both Client and House IM increasing.

Other Disclosures of Interest

Next let’s do a quick scan of Dec-2020 disclosures highlighting a few with a change tolerance >20% outside the 3 year range of values:

  • ASXCLF – 23.1.2 NZ Futures – Interest Rates, Average Notional Value cleared of $11.6 billion is up from $8 billion in the prior quarter
  • B3 – 7.3.1 Same day payment, estimated largest same-day and where relevant, intraday and multiday payment obligation that would be caused by the default of a single participant, was $3.6 billion, far higher than the high of $2.4 billion in our history from 31-Mar-2018 onwards
  • BME – Repo 6.1.1. Total IM required of $2.1 billion is up from $1.2 billion, while the prior high was $1.7 billion on 29-Mar-2018
  • CCIL – Forwards 4.4.3.  Peak Day amount in previous 12 months where the estimated largest aggregate stress loss (in excess of initial margin) that would be caused by default of a single participant was $408 million, up from $340 million
  • CDCC – 4.1.4 Pre-funded Aggregate Participant Contributions required of C$2.3 billion are up from C$1.4 billion and have been up and down significantly in each of the prior 5 quarters
  • CFFEX – China Financial Futures Exchange, 6.1.1 Total IM required of $24.4 billion is up from $19.5 billion, $12.5 billion, $10.4 billion in prior quarters
  • CME Base – 6.2.11 Total IM Pre-haircut of Non-Cash Commodities – Gold was $4.2 billion, up from $3.6 billion, $2.6 billion, $1.6 billion and $400 million in prior quarters
  • DTCC GSD – 7.3.4 Actual largest intraday and multiday payment obligation of a single participant over the past 12 months, peak day amount was $102 billion, up from $77 billion in the prior quarter and $53 billion 3 years ago. Wow, that is a big number!
  • DTCC MBSD – 4.1.4 Pre-funded Aggregate Participant Contributions required of $13 billion are up from $10 billion, $7 billion, $11 billion and $5 billion in prior quarters.
  • DTCC NSCC – 6.8.1 Maximum aggregate IM call on any given day over the period was $17.2 billion, far higher than any previous quarter; $8.5 billion in 31-Mar-2020 quarter being the prior high
  • EuroCCP NV – Number of times over the past 12 months that margin coverage against any account fell below the actual marked-to-market exposure of the account was 40, up from 34, 30, 28, 4, 5, 5, 6 … in prior quarters. So even after the covid quarter of Mar-20, when there was a large jump, there were further increases in subsequent quarters, which is surprising.
  • …..this is the point I realize that I have only got as far as the letter E and there are a lot more CCPs to go, so let’s do the time honored trick and skip to CCPs starting with last letter we have…..
  • TAIFEX – Taiwan Futures Exchange, 6.1.1 Client Gross IM required increased to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion in the prior quarter and $830 million in Dec-2019
  • Takasbank of Turkey, BIAS FI, 4.4.10 Actual largest aggregate credit exposure (in excess of initial margin) to any two participants was $1.25 billion, up from $947 million in the prior quarter

The letters from H to S cover a lot of Clearing Houses, but I will leave that to those of you with your own CCPView access.

More Disclosures

CCPView has disclosures from forty Clearing Houses, each with many Clearing Services, so there is a lot more data to look at covering Equities, Bonds, Futures, Options and OTC Derivatives.

With over 200 quantitative data fields and quarterly figures from September 2015 to December 2020, there is a lot of interesting data.

Please contact us if you are interested in” class=”glossaryLink ” target=”_blank”>CCPView.

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Tech firm unveils Australian first initiative to help charities access blockchain funding




In an Australian first, social enterprise Little Phil is partnering with a cryptocurrency provider to provide local charities access to alternative and sustainable fundraising streams.

To deliver this groundbreaking initiative it is working with Netherlands-headquartered firm Legends of Crypto (LOC) – a non-fungible token trading card game – to implement a trial that will see 10% of all sales go towards directly funding selected causes on the Little Phil platform.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a special class of digital assets that cannot be exchanged with one another for equal value, or broken down into smaller bits, that often operate as a type of collectors’ item and cannot be duplicated. These represent the next phase in the application of cryptocurrency technology with LOC itself receiving significant support from leading industry heavyweights such as the CEO of

This initiative is designed to provide not-for-profits access to alternative streams of fundraising outside of traditional avenues and aid them in diversifying their revenue raising activities.

According to Little Phil Co-founder and CEO, Josh Murchie this trial is designed to test the efficacy of alternative funding streams as it seeks to empower charities to diversify how they raise revenue for their causes.

“This is a really exciting trial for Little Phil and Legends of Crypto as we seek to test this groundbreaking fundraising trial,” said Mr Murchie.

“Although awareness among the public about crypto currency is generally around Bitcoin and maybe Ethereum, the reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the technology explosion in this space. What we are seeking to do here is to trial the efficacy of utilising NFT’s to create a recurring revenue stream for charities and see if we can free them up from continually asking for donors to donate.”

Founded in 2017, Little Phil is a total giving ecosystem that connects donors, businesses, and brands more directly with charities and beneficiaries through its Blockchain inspired Fintech technology platform that allows users to select a cause that they care about and directly give to that specific initiative – allowing them to track their impact in real-time.

Its technology provides donors full transparency around where their donations go, while providing charities the ability to showcase the difference every dollar makes as it provides not-for-profits the ability to give updates on the impact each gift has – ensuring transparent giving.

Some of its clients and partners include Greenpeace, mental health charity LIVIN, and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary located on the Gold Coast.

That is why it is trialing the partnership within LOC’s marketplace that sees users buy and sell uniquely designed NFTs only available via its marketplace – as it adheres to this philosophy of directly allowing donors to connect via the causes they care about.

In this instance the 10 per cent of the funds raised will go directly towards cancer survivors requiring funding for their treatment.

For Josh Murchie, this initiative is all about ensuring that Little Phil is providing the charity sector access to funding and technology that might otherwise not be available to them.

“Last year we ran a national survey – the State of COVID report into Australia’s not-for-profit sector – that unearthed some of the biggest issues facing the industry as a result not just of the pandemic but broader micro and macro trends,” Mr Murchie said.

“One of the critical elements we unearthed from the data is that the sector is beset by two key issues, the giving behavior of Gen Z’s and millennials, along with digital transformation and technology usage. This trial, allows us to test the ability of charities to raise funds using the latest digital currency technology to hopefully better engage these demographic cohorts by creating greater connectivity with causes they care about using these new financial assets.”

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