Share The plastic credit card consumers keep in their wallets may soon change. With more consumers demanding eco-friendly business practices, issuing banks could benefit from using more sustainable card materials, according to Aite Group’s report, “Eco-Friendly Card Material: Bringing Sustainability to Card Issuance.” “Not only is there approximately 150 million metric tons of plastic in …Read More
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Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY
Mythical Games, a next-generation game technology studio driving mass adoption of blockchain, today announced the upcoming private beta for Blankos Block Party, an open-world multiplayer game with a heavy focus on player-designed levels and collectible assets, will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, with open beta to follow later this year. Players eager to start their collection of the digital vinyl toys come to life can now purchase a Founder’s Pack, starting at $24.99 (USD), to receive exclusive and limited in-game content, as well as guaranteed priority access to the game’s private beta and Founder’s status in both Discord and in-game.
Blankos Block Party is an online game world that integrates blockchain to facilitate the economy and allow players to buy and sell their in-game items in exchange for real-world currencies, using Mythical’s proprietary technology to track and verify all purchases across any platform, creating a safe transaction for all involved. With this model, Mythical is eliminating the need for grey markets and allowing the community to dictate the value of what is bought and sold in secondary marketplaces.
Limited quantities of the Founder’s Packs are available now for purchase via fiat or supported cryptocurrencies in four different package options, which provide limited-edition Blankos and themed accessories designed by some of the world’s top vinyl toy artists, priority access to the private beta, 100% in-game currency match and other items only available while these packs last. Each Founder’s Pack will be numbered in order of purchase and recorded on blockchain to enhance collectibility and future resale value for players.
Ice Pack: RSVP to the ultimate block party with the Ice Pack, and receive the exclusive Lolli Blanko and three themed Lolli accessories, Founder Status and Lolli emoticon and 2,500 Blankos Bucks. ($24.99)
Tako Pack: Start your collection with the exclusive Tako Blanko designed by multimedia artist Junko Mizuno, two themed Tako accessories, as well as one unique Tako-themed Build Mode asset and one Build Mode item wrap, Founder Status with Lolli and Tako emoticons and 5,000 Blankos Bucks. ($49.99)
Bite Me Pack: Be the life of the party with the Bite Me Pack, which delivers the exclusive ‘Bite Me’ Billy Bones Blanko, six Bite Me-themed accessories, rare gold and black Build Mode materials, plus Bite Me brand Build Mode basic set, Build Mode items and the Bite Me rocket launcher, as well as Founder Status with Lolli, Tako and Bite Me emoticons and 10,000 Blankos Bucks. ($99.99)
Boss Pack: Become a VIP with the Boss Pack and show off your status with the exclusive Boss Dino Blanko designed by legendary toy artist James Groman, two Boss Dino-themed accessories, two Build Mode Materials, three Build Mode items and two themed weapons for Build Mode, not to mention Founder Status with Boss Dino, Bite Me, Tako and Lolli emoticons and 15,000 Blankos Bucks. ($149.99)
Founder’s Pack items will only be available for a limited time, or until the limited quantities sell out; Mythical will not reissue these special-edition Blankos or their accessories in the future. These exclusive Founder’s Pack items will be available for purchasers to unbox and play immediately in the private beta, and can also be sold to other players when the Blankos secondary market launches.
For additional details on Founder’s Packs and their contents and benefits, or to purchase one of the limited edition packs, please visit Blankos.com. Packs can be purchased with fiat currency, or supported crypto payment options via BitPay (Binance USD/BUSD, Bitcoin/BTC, Bitcoin Cash/BCH, XRP, ETH, Gemini US Dollar/GUSD, Circle USD/USDC and Paxos Standard USD/PAX). In addition to purchasing a Founder’s Pack to receive priority access to the private beta, players can reserve their free accounts now on the Blankos website to get on the waiting list for the chance to be included in the private beta without purchase (subject to capacity).
How these fintech partnerships are shaking up finance
Anyone still doubting whether fintech is disrupting Chicago’s financial services industry only needs to look at a handful of recent partnerships to see that innovative technology is necessary for large enterprises to stay competitive in an ever-evolving market, lest they become obsolete.
Take the following inked deals, for example.
Amount — a digital credit solution provider — partnered with TD Bank and HSBC last year to help the two large institutions streamline their personal loan services, reflecting a marketplace that grew by $21 billion in 2018 to a record high of $138 billion, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion. Meanwhile, AI-powered financial compliance solution Ascent recently partnered with global information tech company IBM to help banks and other financial entities meet changing regulatory requirements.
These types of partnerships help banks and financial institutions react to market changes and prepare for the future of finance; namely, by giving consumers more of the seamless user experiences they’re used to and leveraging AI to streamline manual regulatory processes, saving valuable time and resources. More on the fintech startups making waves in Chicago tech, below.
Company background: Amount helps financial institutions transition their products and services to customizable, digital and mobile-friendly infrastructure. Founded in 2018, the company was originally a tech arm of parent company Avant, a digital consumer lending company. According to the Chicago Tribune, Amount focused on providing technology solutions to banks, powering their lending activity and running online fraud prevention, along with other services. Amount officially spun off of Avant in early 2020.
Amount’s partnerships in detail: In 2019, Amount partnered with TD Bank and HSBC — the 10th and 14th largest U.S. banks, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — to power their online personal loan infrastructure. With Amount’s functionality, these two banks were able to help users both inside and outside their customer network to digitally apply for personal loans between $30,000 and $35,000. After a soft credit pull, Amount’s technology quickly generates a credit decision, and funds are delivered as soon as the next day for approved users.
What this means for finance: Consumers are requesting more personal loans than ever, and the aforementioned partnerships mark two large banks investing in innovative technology to power a growing financial sector. A record of $138 billion in personal loans was taken out by over 19 million consumers as of Q4 2018, an increase of 2 million people from 2017.
“Fintechs have helped make personal loans a credit product that is recognized as both a convenient and simple way to obtain funding online,” Jason Laky, TransUnion’s executive vice president of financial services, said in a company press release. “Strong consumer interest in personal loans has prompted banks and credit unions to revisit their own offerings, leading to more innovation and choice for borrowers from all risk tiers.”
Consumers are accustomed to fast and convenient user experiences in every aspect of their digital lives, and many feel getting a personal loan should be no different. Leaders at TD Bank and HSBC are using their partnership with Amount to keep up with consumer demands and take a foothold in that marketplace. Wells Fargo and PNC bank — two of the top 10 largest U.S. banks — both have virtually identical personal loan infrastructure. As these loans grow in popularity, it’s likely that more banks will also broaden their personal loan efforts and partner with fintech startups.
Company background: Founded in 2015, Ascent uses AI to automate compliance programs for customers in financial services. According to the company, its algorithms scan a business’s regulatory documents for areas that require attention and action, saving its customers time and money, as well as ensuring greater accuracy and reduced risk. The company services international tier-one and tier-two banks and raised a $19.3 million Series B late last year.
Ascent’s partnership in detail: In July 2020, Ascent and IBM announced a joint effort to help banks and financial services companies stay compliant. IBM’s AI-enabled governance, risk and compliance solution, OpenPages with Watson, helps organizations stay compliant to changing regulations within their business sectors. Ascent is also integrating its automated register of regulation and rule changes with OpenPages to lower the financial risks associated with non-compliance.
The formal partnership was born from the success of a stress test. Ascent and IBM’s combined compliance algorithms analyzed over 1.5 million paragraphs of regulatory text for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The test successfully identified regulatory terms that required review and action, and saved the bank days of manual work.
What it means for finance: The banking regulatory environment is marked by profound change in 2020, with a focus on financial firms ability to navigate trends like technological innovation, as well as adapt to social and political concerns, according to Deloitte. Keeping up with frequent regulation amendments can require time and resources that aren’t readily available to all financial organizations.
“If you can make it cheaper to follow the rules, people will just follow the rules instead of trying to get around them,” Brian Clark, Ascent’s CEO, said in an interview with Crain’s Chicago.
Breaking compliance rules — whether intentionally or by accidental — can lead to costly outcomes and tarnished reputations; over the last decade, financial institutions have racked up $36 billion in fines for non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know your Customer (KYC) and sanctions regulations.
To better serve consumers and operate more efficiently, financial institutions are placing a high value on regtech, especially as the regulatory landscape grows more complex. Partnerships like Ascent and IBM’s, as well as institutions’ other investments in improving regtech, can reduce the cost and effort associated with compliance and can help financial institutions thrive in an increasingly digital world.
Huobi expands fiat gateway to support AUD, GBP and EUR through Banxa
Huobi Global, the world’s leading digital asset exchange, today announced support for the Australian dollar (AUD), British pound sterling (GPB), and Euro (EUR) through Banxa, an internationally compliant fiat-to-crypto gateway solution. The partnership allows users in Australia, UK, and the European Union to purchase cryptocurrencies with their official fiat currencies.
By integrating with Banxa’s payment solutions, Huobi is able to provide users with more flexibility and choice in payment methods, while also enabling a seamless user experience. Users can access the new fiat-to-crypto gateway directly from the Huobi OTC site and deposit AUD, GBP, or EUR to begin trading cryptocurrencies in just a few clicks. Funds can be instantly added to a user’s account using bank transfers, debit/credit card, and other preferred payment methods with zero fees.
“Our partnership with Banxa allows us to support three of the world’s most widely-used fiat currencies, marking a significant milestone in our global expansion,” said Ciara Sun, Vice President, Global Markets at Huobi Group. “With our newly expanded fiat gateway, we want to help accelerate crypto adoption by making digital assets much more easily accessible to the masses. This integration introduces a new point of access for users in Australia, UK, and the European Union looking to enter the crypto market.”
Domenic Carcosa, founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Banxa said. “Huobi is a first mover heavyweight, with some of the most innovative products and services in the industry. As digital assets become mainstream and move toward mass adoption, regulation and transparency are key to building trust. That is why we’ve chosen to partner with Huobi.”
From the ‘Buy Crypto’ page on Huobi OTC, users can select the digital asset they’d like to purchase, choose their fiat currency, and enter the fiat value or asset quantity for purchase. After selecting their preferred payment method, which includes Visa and Mastercard transactions, users can purchase up to $20,000 USD worth of digital assets in a single transaction. The daily purchase limit is $15,000 and the monthly purchase limit is $60,000.
Users are also required to submit a one-time identity verification as part of the transaction process. Once completed and the payment approved, users can access their assets in their exchange account within a few minutes. From there, users can immediately select a trading pair and start crypto-to-crypto trading.
Sun added, “As we bolster our global presence and expand into new markets, we will continue adding new fiat on-ramps to give all users a frictionless onboarding experience. We recently set out on an ambitious new goal to empower 100 million households worldwide to own digital assets, so we want to ensure we make it faster, easier, and more secure for new users to get started.”
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