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Post Office to close 600 ATMs

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The UK’s Post Office is set to shut 600 of its 2000 ATMs over the next 18 months as it takes ownership of a network of machines currently operated by Bank of Ireland.

Bank of Ireland currently owns and operates 2000 ATMs at Post Office branches throughout the UK but has decided to pull out of the business.

In response, the Post Office has joined the Link network and promised to invest £16 million over four years to maintain the network of free to use machines.

However, it will only operate 1400 commercially viable ATMs once the transfer is complete in March 2022. It will also keep almost 60 low transacting ATMs at locations where the next free to access ATM is a significant distance away.

By mid-2023, all 1400 ATMs will be replaced with new devices, with Cennox contracted for its software solution and managed services. Post Office will also use Vocalink to provide the transaction processing services for Link, Visa, MasterCard and Post Office Card Account transactions.

At sites where there is no longer an ATM, the Post Office says people can get cash over the counter.

Martin Kearsley, banking director, Post Office, says: “In the areas where we have been unable to sustainably operate the existing ATMs, customers can still withdraw cash over the counter free of charge and in a secure manner. Many of our branches are open long hours and at weekends, ensuring continued access to cash.”

The UK’s 2019 Access to Cash Review found that 17% of the UK population rely on cash, with vulnerable communities, including the poor and those in rural areas, at particular risk from reduced access to cash. The Covid-19 pandemic has further heightened the problem, with many high street businesses spurning cash payments in favour of contactless transactions.

Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/36826/post-office-to-close-600-atms?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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CardUp’s New Solution Enables Businesses to Use Credit Cards for Overseas B2B Payments

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CardUp, a digital credit card enablement platform, has launched a new solution that enables businesses to instantly access credit on international payments at competitive rates.

While the global remittance market is dominated by bank to bank transfers, CardUp enables these payments to be made via credit cards to overseas suppliers who do not accept card payments.

CardUp’s technology connects to accounting and ERP platforms, to provide businesses with seamless data flow and reporting. This is said to provide a solution that enables any payment made by bank transfer or cheque to be shifted to cards regardless of whether the end-recipient accepts card payments.

This means businesses can make use of their available credit limit to delay the outflow of that expense for up to two months, on payments to over 100 countries.

CardUp’s solution leverages the company’s status as a registered Visa Business Payment Solution Provider (BPSP) to help more businesses in Singapore tap onto their underutilised credit limits.

To do so, CardUp charges a processing fee per transaction, but the company’s status as a registered Visa BPSP means customised rates can be offered to businesses, helping companies maximise their cash flow at a competitive price.

Nicki Ramsay

“Sustaining cashflow continues to be a problem for Singapore’s businesses during the economic slowdown. At the same time businesses are operating in an increasingly global market, and make payments to suppliers around the world.

We saw an opportunity to provide a solution that offers an alternative credit facility on these international payments, using available credit card lines whilst equipping businesses with the tools they need to automate their payment processing,”

said Nicki Ramsay, CEO of CardUp.

Kunal Chatterjee

“Businesses often think of credit cards solely as a payment method. However, a business credit card can also double up as a planning and budgeting tool, helping businesses extend their outstanding payables and optimise their working capital,”

said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.

“Our partnership with CardUp helps expand the options for businesses to pay with their cards, especially for suppliers who do not previously have card acceptance. This will help to promote usage of digital payments for the entire business supply chain and help these businesses to have better visibility of their cashflow.”

CardUp allows businesses to use their credit cards to pay domestic and international business expenses to non-card accepting recipients, which includes payroll, supplier invoices, rent and more.

Businesses are provided with a digital interface where they can schedule recurring payments and monitor payment statuses all from one dashboard, allowing them to leverage data to track and reconcile payments.

Banks and payment networks can also benefit from increased coverage, capturing incremental spend in non-card accepting sectors, as well as advance digitisation efforts. As such, this helps the cards sector open a US$1 trillion opportunity as businesses are able to use their heavily underutilised credit limits for large business expenses previously not possible by card.

Currently, CardUp collaborates with all major banks in Singapore such as Citi, DBS and UOB. Outside of Singapore, the company has launched its services in Malaysia and Hong Kong to help drive the digitisation of payments in more markets across the region.

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Source: https://fintechnews.sg/45627/payments/cardups-new-solution-enables-businesses-to-use-credit-cards-for-overseas-b2b-payments/

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Equity Crowdfunding Part 2: Innovation from two world’s colliding

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The equity crowdfunding market is consolidating (see Part 1). That does not signal the end of disruptive innovation. The wild unregulated Crypto ICO world is colliding with the now more established equity crowdfunding market.

The Crypto ICO (Initial Coin Offering) world is bleeding edge and unregulated. ICOs were like the Napster phase of digital music – free and illegal replacing expensive and legal. The next phase will be like Spotify or iTunes – cheap and legal. The reason Crypto ICO is disruptive is because, like digital music, it is at least 10x more efficient due to “Concurrent Delivery Versus Payment ” which was first defined by BIS as long ago as 1992 and which which we described in this post as having two key points:

  • Both assets and funds need concurrent settlement. Transfer has to be final & unconditional, without any time lag between the two (any time lag is ripe for fraud). This concurrency requirement is absolute. Just faster (e.g. Getting from T+3 to a few hours or even minutes) does not meet the concurrency requirement, because hours or minutes are eons to a fraudster.
  • Must be on a gross (trade for trade) basis. Any attempt at netting creates delay and creates a multi-tier market infrastructure that will impede innovation. We have Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) today – between Central Banks. The disruptive change is RTGS between individuals and companies in a permissionless network (i.e the way that the Internet works).

What was a gleam in the futurist’s eye in 1992 is a bit of smart contract coding today.This is what makes the recent news of

Publicly Traded INX Crypto Exchange to Acquire Broker-Dealer Openfinance so interesting. This is these two worlds colliding.

Notice the words being used. INX is “publicly traded”. It is also regulated by the SEC. Yet it is traded on Ethereum like a token. INX is buying OpenFinance which is described as a “broker dealer” which is a term that  anybody living in the regulated finance world is familiar with.

Tokens are interested because they can represent ”rewards” or “securities” or both and they are 10x more efficient due to Concurrent DVP.

Scale starts with consolidation and disciplined execution. Myth makes it a trade off of disciplined execution or innovation. The equity crowdfunding market is showing us that it is scaling through disciplined execution and innovation. Watch this space!

Bernard Lunn is Editor and CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy

Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/11/30/equity-crowdfunding-part-2-innovation-from-two-worlds-colliding/

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Delaying the inevitable by regulating self-custody wallets

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In a tweet on Thanksgiving day, Tim Armstrong, CEO at Coinbase, posted that US Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, is rumored to be working on a law to regulate self-hosted crypto wallets. Supposedly he’s rushing to wrap and deliver this law before the end of Donald Trump’s term of office on January 20, 2021. The proposed regulation will require exchanges to verify the identity of users who use self-hosted wallets, before a withdrawal could be sent to their self-hosted wallet. According, to John Bolton’s book, the former National Security Advisor claims that Trump told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in May 2018, to “go after Bitcoin”. Well, as expected the news triggered a lot of concern, and the price of bitcoin dropped by $3,000, before it rebounded above $18k. While the announcement of such regulation may have a short-term negative impact on prices, the long-term outcome doesn’t change, because bitcoin is linked to a new frontier, the digitization of money and value. In response the Blockchain Association released “Self-Hosted Wallets and the Future of Free Societies – A Guide for Policymakers”, a new report presenting policy options for self-hosted wallets to regulators. Coin Center published “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Unhosted Wallets”, an expert opinion by Jai Ramaswamy (formerly the head of the Department of Justice’s Anti-Money Laundering division), also defending non-custodial crypto wallets. Both the Blockchain Association and Ramaswamy agree that AML is needed but for on/off ramps for fiat to crypto and vice versa. The essence of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is that they allow anyone to have custody privacy and control over their digital assets. If US regulators did go down this path, they would be fighting against open source wallets and open source currencies, a difficult thing to do on many different levels.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the founder and CEO at Kryptonio, a “keyless” non-custodial bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet, that lets users manage bitcoin and crypto, without private keys or passwords.

Self-hosted crypto wallets or non-custodial crypto wallets are cryptocurrency wallets that let individuals and organizations store and use their digital assets, instead of having to depend on a third-party financial institution to store their coins. Users can create a wallet by downloading third-party software on their computers and mobile phones or through hardware devices that store digital assets.

There are many types of wallets that range from full-custody to self-custody wallets. Most cryptocurrency users, store their bitcoin on exchanges or hot wallets because of the ease they offer, but also have a history of being hacked. Smarter and more experienced users, use self-custody or hardware wallets that let them manage the private keys of their bitcoin.

In the past, when bitcoin faced regulatory uncertainty, its price skyrocketed. Last time it happened was in 2017 when China announced it would ban bitcoin. This time around it’s the US beating the drum.

If the rumor Armstrong tweeted about becomes a reality, there could be several cases that are affected:

  1. Sending crypto to smart contracts to use DeFi apps. Smart contracts are not necessarily owned by any individual or business that could be identified.
  2. Paying online merchants using crypto, and require customers to verify the identity of businesses before they can buy a product.
  3. Sending crypto to people in emerging markets, where it may be difficult to collect information about the recipient, since people may not have a permanent address or identity documents.
  4. Sending crypto to people in developed markets who value their financial privacy and may not want to upload  identifying documents to receive the cryptocurrency.

Why is this a big deal?

Governments want to be in full control of monetary policies, because this gives them power to govern. In times of crisis, like we are facing now with the coronavirus pandemic, being in control allows them to print money and hand out stimulus to people and businesses. But this is a losing and near-sighted strategy.

If this regulation comes to pass, it would instantly increase the demand for DEXs and create two markets. On one side you will have users that relinquish all their privacy to centralized services and on the other you will have “orthodox” believers of the original principles of crypto.

Bitcoin’s growing popularity poses a risk to the traditional banking system. Mnuchin is only trying to delay the inevitable and give banks more time, to figure out their next step. The U.S. must recognize that strong financial technology companies are a matter of national security. But technology alone is not enough. Supportive regulations for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is essential.

The existing financial and banking system is based on antiquated models and technologies and faces dramatic change from digital wallets, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies that are coming from everywhere around the world. Regulation needs to get in tune with the times.

The rumor about this regulation, only puts the US at risk, as a financial and innovation hub. Unfortunately, this opens the door for other countries to become “friendlier” and dominate future innovation. Instead of embracing openness and the values that allowed the U.S. to dominate the global market in the Internet era, the US. is taking a tough stance. The reality is that the USA is not nearly as relevant in the crypto markets as most people think. The EU and Asia are already the main drivers for crypto adoption. Binance has over $13 billion in spot volume, while rejecting customers from the US.

The US needs to change its strategy, understand that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are the new frontier and play the long game to maintain its lead.

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Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/11/30/can-non-custodial-crypto-wallets-replace-banks%e2%80%a8/

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This Week in Fintech ending 27th November 2020

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This week our experts brought you the following insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy and occasional opinion columnist.

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Should You Buy Bitcoin Right Now? Buy, but Don’t Sell

Another week, another high. Bitcoin’s price is surging, nearing its all time high, as the year comes to a close. Looking at all of 2020, it’s been surging all year long. The largest digital currency is up 160% since January 2020, and up 190% since March 15, after a nose dive in the second week of March, when the price dropped 25%. As I write this post, bitcoin’s price is hovering around $18.5k and it’s market cap is at $343 billion. Thirteen hundred bucks… not that far from its all-time-high of around $19,800 at the end of December 2017.

Editor note: Ilias explains, with data, why this bull market is so different from 2017.

Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Equity Crowdfunding Part 1: Consolidation always follows the Cambrian Explosion phase

The world is in crisis on many levels – economic, political, health, climate. Recovery from this crisis will require innovation and innovation requires risk capital. That is why we are publishing our next 4-parter (each post is a 3 minute read, one week apart) on the subject of equity crowdfunding, which shook up the capital markets by allowing the general public to buy shares in early-stage companies to help them raise money.

Editor note: Both entrepreneurs and investors will benefit from consolidation by creating an easier decision on which platform to use.

——————————————-

Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Funding Diversity is still underestimated

`Women tend to transform, they tend to change the terms, they tend to bring innovation and diversity. And it is critically important, because that diversity itself, is conducive to innovation, is conducive to changing the way in which you look at things` Christine Lagarde at the Women`s Forum November 2020.

Editor note: To quote Efi “The female leadership style (this can be adopted of course by men) is still largely underestimated even though there is tangible evidence that it outperforms.”

Wednesday Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 25 November 2020.

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market.

——————————————-

Thursday

Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: Chatbots with Blockchain – Plumbing or Showerheads?

Shopping for insurance or filing a claim can be arduous. But not so, when chatbots with conversational interfaces, mimic humans and respond with accuracy, speed and personality. PolicyPal is a Singapore based digital platform that launched a chatbot to allow customers to buy and manage policies conveniently. The bot took in-depth training on 9000 policies, enabling it to answer customer’s queries with impressive precision.

Editor note: Read this to understand hard core Insurtech innovation that actually changes the plumbing

Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL News for investors, Australia, and data quality

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.

——————————————-

Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London, wrote: Alt lending for week ended 27 November 2020

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Alt Lending market.

——————————————-

To continue receiving ‘This Week in Fintech’, the weekly recap of our articles, you will need to fill this form to give us consent to send this to you. Please note that Daily Fintech requires your organizational email address (e.g. corporate, educational or government) and your LinkedIn URL. This information is required for subscribers who want ‘This Week in Fintech’ for free. If you prefer to not provide this information, you can still receive all our content by becoming a paying member.

Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/11/27/this-week-in-fintech-ending-27th-november-2020/

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