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Now you can send money internationally through Facebook Messenger

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Sending money through Facebook is finally international.
Sending money through Facebook is finally international.
Image: Eric Risberg/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sending money on Facebook is finally international. 

A new bot released on Facebook Messenger on Sunday lets users send money to and from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia or Europe. 

Powered by TransferWise, the bot completes money transfers and guides users through the process. 

TransferWise customers on the company’s own app already send and receive almost $1 billion a month. The app boasts that it allows transfers without the usual fees charged by banks or hidden in exchange rates. Instead, TransferWise uses the current exchange rate and charges an upfront fee, usually based on 1 percent or so of the money being transferred. 

The TransferWise Facebook Messenger bot.

The TransferWise Facebook Messenger bot.

Image: transferwise

TransferWise’s app allows customers to send money in plenty of other currencies outside North America and Europe, but its selection of currencies available on Facebook Messenger will be more limited. 

Along with sending money, the Facebook bot will notify users about changing exchange rates and send alerts when it’s a particularly good time to exchange a currency. 

Facebook has allowed users to send each other money through Messenger for several months, but only domestically. TransferWise’s bot will be the first to facilitate international money transfers. That’s a big deal — even Venmo is limited outside the United States. 

“Our mission at TransferWise is to bring faster, cheaper, and more convenient international money transfers to everyone in the world. Building the TransferWise bot for Messenger is a great step in that direction,” TransferWise Head of Global Partnerships Scott Miller said in a statement. “It’s also a powerful example of how our API can be used to seamlessly integrate TransferWise into almost any messaging, bank or business payment system.”

Facebook and TransferWise have been linked before — most notably in rumors that the social network would buy the fintech startup. No acquisition yet, but a bot is a promising start. 

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Source: https://mashable.com/2017/02/21/facebook-messenger-bot-transferwise/

Blockchain

Founder´s Packs now available for the first AAA blockchain game BLANKOS BLOCK PARTY

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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).

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/founders-packs-now-available-for-the-first-aaa-blockchain-game-blankos-block-party/

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How these fintech partnerships are shaking up finance

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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.

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/how-these-fintech-partnerships-are-shaking-up-finance/

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The Carlyle Group to acquire Calastone

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Calastone, the largest global funds network, announce that global investment firm The Carlyle Group has today reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the business from its current shareholders, including Octopus Ventures and Accel. Calastone management retains a minority stake. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, Calastone has grown to become the largest global funds network and has transformed the mutual funds sector through its innovative use of technology and network interoperability. Calastone’s network brings together the entire fund trading process, offering automated order routing, settlement, dividend and transfer services to asset and fund managers.

In May 2019, Calastone launched its Distributed Market Infrastructure (DMI), enabling the full automation and digitalisation of the fund transaction process via distributed ledger technology. Leveraging this technology innovation, Calastone has scaled and diversified its strategy to develop from purely Mutual Fund services to offer automated fund services to the Money Market Funds sector. Today, the company serves over 2,300 clients in 43 countries and territories processing £200 billion of investment value each month.

Funds affiliated with The Carlyle Group will support Calastone in accelerating its growth, including broadening its market-leading product suite as well as the applications of its technology, and international expansion.

Commenting on the acquisition, Calastone’s Chief Executive Officer Julien Hammerson, said, “We have made great strides in the past decade to meet the needs of our customers and their investors in reducing friction and costs within the mutual fund industry. Our business has grown from strength to strength and has created the Distributed Market Infrastructure (DMI), a hugely innovative and market leading DLT based platform to drive yet more efficiency. At the same time, we have continued to expand internationally and created new opportunities in Money Market funds.”

Source: https://australianfintech.com.au/the-carlyle-group-to-acquire-calastone/

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