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El Salvador to Adopt Bitcoin as Legal Tender – Why They Did It

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President Nayib Bukele made waves recently when he announced his intention to have El Salvador become the first sovereign nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. He announced this at the Bitcoin 2021 Conference in Miami.

For Bukele, the move will hopefully spur an economy that has sagged under his watch. First elected in 2019, Bukele was seen as a progressive who attracted votes due to his youth and strong command of social media. The reality of two years of his rule hasn’t matched the hype, however, as economic growth has averaged 2.3 percent in recent years, according to the World Bank. Bukele has also should some authoritarian tendencies.

While El Salvador quickly responded to the pandemic with cash transfers, food distribution to the poor, hospitals, payment deferrals, and tax extensions, COVID has hit the country hard. They need a boost and perhaps Bitcoin will bring it.

One area it should help in is remittances. Twenty per cent of the eight million Salvadorans live abroad, with many sending remittances home. Those remittances, accounting for more than 20 per cent of GDP, are key to the economy, but excessive fees and delivery inconvenience hamper their impact.

Those are a few reasons why Bukele took the step, Blockchain Coinvestors managing partner Matthew Le Merle said. A venture capital fund of funds, Blockchain Coinvestors invests in blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.

“When you live in a country with a reliable and relatively stable fiat currency, it is sometimes hard to understand the attractiveness and utility of Bitcoin,” he said. “When you are a citizen of a country with a less secure, less reliable, less stable fiat currency, you fully understand why Bitcoin serves such an important role, and yes you want your country to support its usage officially”

Le Merle said he expects other small countries to follow Bukele’s lead, reasoning they are not market movers or contenders for reserve currency status. While many large countries are looking at CBDCs, they will eagerly watch these developments to gauge their impact.

“We could not be more excited than to see central banks beginning to agree that Bitcoin has a role in their financial ecosystems as a trustworthy complement to their fiat currencies,” Le Merle said. “As Satoshi told us ‘the central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.’ By complementing a fiat currency with Bitcoin, a central banker can make sure the citizens he/she serves sleep well at night.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176399-el-salvador-to-adopt-bitcoin-as-legal-tender-why-they-did-it/

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Fintech Glint Says Most Savers Don’t Trust Banks

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Glint Pay Services, a Fintech that is a regulated e-money firm and payments provider, says that savers don’t trust banks.

According to Glint and an in-house survey of their users, 68% of savers no longer trust banks to protect their wealth and are searching for alternative currencies and stores of value. Glint states that consumers are seeking alternatives to fiat currency – including crypto.

Jason Cozens, founder & CEO of Glint, claims their research demonstrates the scale of the monetary system’s failure to appeal to some consumers.

“Traditional financial institutions have not been able to cater to changing demand and for many of us, our trust hasn’t been rebuilt since the catastrophes of the financial crisis. Consumers and savers alike are increasingly turning their backs on the current monetary system and searching for alternatives ways to spend and save their money that won’t put their wealth or purchasing power at such long-term risk,” says Cozens.

He says that rapidly rising inflation and ongoing low-interest rates have punished savers. These factors and more have joined to devalue money and savings and alternatives to the current system are vital. Cozens believes that gold remains a reliable store of value while crypto has grown in interest – it remains highly volatile.

“The looming threat of increased regulation and the several collapses the market has experienced recently should act as a major wake-up call to any consumers considering entering the crypto market. The extreme volatility of these assets has been demonstrated by the market impact of Elon Musk’s tweets, first in sending prices soaring to record highs when Tesla purchased $1.5bn worth of Bitcoin and then sent provoking a plummeting in value with tweets hinting the company may exit the market just a couple of months later – this crash was further compounded by another Chinese announcement banning cryptos, with similar noises emerging from South Korea too.”

Cozens says the message from consumers is clear; they want reform of the monetary system and more control over their finances.

“Although the establishment of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) may appear as though consumers are set to be gifted with greater control, as these assets are tied to fiat currencies, and therefore subject to the same factors which erode the value of paper money. It’s likely that CBDCs, alongside increased regulation, are a move by central banks to push cryptos out of mainstream use. We’re at a pivotal moment in deciding the future of money; many believe true alternatives such as gold as an everyday currency is the future, rather than incredibly volatile cryptos or CBDCs which will continue to punish consumers.”

Glint is in the process of doing transatlantic security offering issuing securities to both US and UK investors. Glint is seeking up to $1.5 million in a Reg D offering on Republic while aiming to raise £2 million on Seedrs. The securities offering on Seedrs is already in over-funding having raised £2.9 million from over 900 investors. The offering on Seedrs is at a pre-money valuation of £35.9 million. On Republic, the securities offering holds a pre-money valuation of $32.5 million. Glint uses gold as an alternative global currency via an App and affiliated Mastercard.

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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176813-fintech-glint-says-most-savers-dont-trust-banks/

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Singapore based Wealth Management Firm Endowus Appoints Wei Mei Tan as Chief Advisory Officer

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Earlier this week, Singapore-headquartered digital wealth management service provider Endowus confirmed that it had appointed Wei Mei Tan as its Chief Advisory Officer.

In her role at Endowus, Wei Mei will be expected to lead strategic initiatives in order to accelerate the company’s ongoing growth while providing leadership and guidance in curating the advisory and investment solutions that are offered to customers across all key market segments.

As a key member of Endowus’ Investment Committee, Wei Mei will be tasked with supporting various portfolio strategies and fund selection processes.

With more than 2 decades of financial markets experience, Wei Mei brings to Endowus a solid background in managing and expanding online advisory platforms and investment strategies, having occupied senior management positions at some of the world’s leading private banks.

Recently, she was serving as MD at Deutsche Bank as the Global Co-Head of Advisory & Investment Solutions, where she was focused on supporting the institution’s dbXpert wealth advisory solutions.

While working at Credit Suisse, Wei Mei was the APAC Head of Portfolio Solutions and successfully managed to deploy CS Invest. Wei Mei also worked for around 6 years at UBS Wealth Management where she served as the APAC Head of Mandate Specialists. She has a lot of experience advising ultra-high net worth clients or UHNWIs (or people with at least $30 million net worth) on asset allocation and portfolio construction strategies.

Wei Mei is notably a Harvard Business School graduate and has also earned qualifications from the prestigious Nanyang Technological University. She’s a Temasek scholar and possesses Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Accountant (CA), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. She’s also an Adjunct Lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University.

Her appointment has been announced soon after Endowus acquired SGD 23 million in capital from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Softbank Ventures Asia.

Samuel Rhee, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Endowus, stated:

“As an industry veteran, I believe her wealth of experience in client advisory and investment solutions will be essential in our next stage of growth and in meeting the needs of our clients. Endowus is expanding its range of client solutions and bringing onboard new best-in-class fund products across various asset classes, and Wei Mei’s expertise will contribute to our clients finding more solutions suitable to their investment needs.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176853-singapore-based-wealth-management-firm-endowus-appoints-wei-mei-tan-as-chief-advisory-officer/

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Open Banking: Indonesian Fintech Brankas Exceeds 10M Monthly API Calls with Over 80 Network Partners

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Indonesia-based Brankas, an Open Banking services provider, recently revealed that it has managed to exceed 10 million monthly API calls with more than 80 network partners.

The Brankas platform currently operates in over six different countries and has teamed up with over 30 financial institutions in order to bring Open Finance to the Southeast Asian region.

Brankas offers open finance tech solutions to financial institutions and online or all-digital businesses across the Asia-Pacific region, building the area’s supply of available financial API products. The company aims to make it easier for online or digital businesses to integreate embedded finance into their line of products and services.

The Brankas Open Finance Suite allows financial institutions to launch their open API products within 8 weeks or less. Brankas’ aggregated data and payments APIs allow clients to benefit from better choice, flexibility, and security while accessing modern financial services.

Brankas’ management noted that they now offer around 80% market coverage in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. The company has also expanded its business operations to Singapore, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.

Brankas was one of the five startups that was chosen to be a part of the first Visa Accelerator Program in the APAC region.

Komo, a digital banking service developed by East-West Banking Corporation (EastWest) (PSE: EW) in the Philippines, teamed up with Brankas in May 2021, in order to support instant in-app deposits.

Through this partnership, Komo users will be able to instantly top-up their balance via the app.

Users just have to enter the amount they want to top-up and choose a source bank through Brankas’ secure (software development kit) SDK flow in order to deposit funds to their Komo accounts.

Through Brankas’ fund transfer APIs and bank integration suite, clients are able to receive funds from their choice of Philippines-based banks instantly in the app.

Todd Schweitzer, CEO of Brankas, stated:

“At Brankas, we’re impressed with Komo team’s passion for their customers. Komo provides a beautiful, intuitive, and secure neobanking experience, raising the standard for Philippine consumer banking. At Brankas, we believe Filipinos should have more choice and flexibility in managing their hard-earned money, and we’re excited to partner with Komo to introduce customer-centric Open Banking solutions.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176851-open-banking-indonesian-fintech-brankas-exceeds-10m-monthly-api-calls-with-over-80-network-partners/

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BaaS Fintech Unit Acquires $51M in Capital via Series B from Accel, Better Tomorrow Ventures, Others

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After acquiring $51 million in capital through a Series B round led by Accel, Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider Unit has introduced a product that will allow firms to offer live bank accounts and issue payment cards within minutes.

Better Tomorrow Ventures, Aleph, Flourish Ventures, and TLV Partners also took part in Unit‘s latest investment round.

Established in 2019 and having come out of stealth mode in late 2020, Unit’s management noted that their modern technology stack has been developed on a native ledger. The company’s platform features embedded compliance, along with built-in bank relationships. This enables companies or businesses to go live in around four weeks. During the past 3 months, Unit has seen deposit volume increase by more than 300%, and banked end-clients grow by 600%.

The firm recently completed integrations with Plaid and Allpoint. Unit’s management said that the proceeds from the new round should help it expand operations and offer various other financial products. The company will also be working on other types of integrations, while also implementing a richer feature set, such as (software development kits) SDKs and front-end components.

First up in the company’s line of products is Unit Go, which aims to allow firms to create live bank accounts and issue physical and virtual cards in just a few minutes. Founders and developers are able to sign up for free accounts, build solutions in Unit’s live environment, and instantly test out their products with real funds.

Unit CEO Itai Damiti stated:

“After interacting with hundreds of builders, we believe even more strongly that the next decade in Fintech will be defined by tech companies using their unfair advantage — the flywheel of distribution, trust, software, and data — to launch massively successful fintech products in their verticals. Our mission continues to be helping these companies bring those products to life, unlock value, and expand financial access for all.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176791-baas-fintech-unit-acquires-51m-in-capital-via-series-b-from-accel-better-tomorrow-ventures-others/

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