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Six Banks Giving their Branches a Shot of Espresso




When digital banking makes bank branches less necessary, should banks keep their branches simple and cater to those that are less technologically savvy or should they transform their branches into high tech havens with kiosks and robots? As it turns out, a handful of banks are trying something in between.

Six banks across the globe are piloting coffee shop branches. These locations not only serve as a way for folks to buy a coffee and a snack, they are also co-working spaces, meeting rooms for non-profits, a place to gain education about personal financial management and, of course, a location where customers and prospective customers can conduct banking activity and apply for a loan.

Check out each bank’s different approach:

Capital One

Capital One was the pioneer in the bank-coffee shop branch model, launching its flagship location in 2017. The bank now has 31 Capital One Cafes and has replaced its bank tellers with “ambassadors” to make banking more friendly and approachable. These locations also offer free, one-on-one money coaching sessions (that don’t apply any sales pressure) for members and non-members alike.

Capital One has partnered with Peets Coffee and offers Capital One cardholders 50% off coffee beverages.

Each cafe offers free wifi and power outlets, comfortable seating, and private community rooms that are free for nonprofit, alumni, and student group meetings and events.


Photo credit:

Chase opened its first coffee shop branch in December of 2019. The bank teamed up with Joe Coffee for the pilot of a full service coffee shop in downtown Manhattan.

In some respects, calling Chase’s new branch a coffee shop is a bit of a longshot. It looks like the majority of bank branches I’ve walked into. Chase doesn’t even offer any differentiation on the home page of the branch.

That said, the new location has a more modern look, offers a kid’s play area, and is dog friendly. Another differentiating factor is that the branch has only one teller window and it is located in the very back of the branch.


Scotiabank subsidiary Tangerine has built its image around the cafe concept. As the bank’s website states, “People who know Tangerine know we’re not a typical bank. Typical banks have typical bank branches. We don’t. We have Cafés located in some of the busiest Canadian communities.”

Tangerine’s cafes have a laid back, modern atmosphere. Each location has free wifi as well as coffee and treats for sale (all proceeds go to charity).

Unlike other bank cafes, Tangerine does not offer any teller services since it is a fully digital bank. The bank offers ATMs for cash deposits and withdrawals and employs representatives (called cafe associates) for client acquisition, to upsell products, and to answer client questions.


In 2016, CaxiaBank launched imaginBank, a mobile-only bank aimed to serve millennial customers. A year later the bank opened a single physical location, ImaginCafe, to appeal to its user base.

ImaginCafe isn’t quite a bank branch, however. It’s not a place where members can deposit cash or speak with bank representatives. Instead, as CaxiaBank CMO Xavier Mas explained, the cafe is “a place where the ‘imaginBank’ brand is rendered tangible thanks to a blend of innovation, immediacy, the combination of the online and offline environments, interaction with users, and the interests of young people.”

As with many bank-cafes, this location serves as a coworking space and has private meeting rooms and spaces available to rent for meetings and events. It also has an art exhibition space, a fashion showcase room, a modern theatre, a multimedia laboratory, and a gaming area. ImaginCafe hosts multiple events each month including art expos, music discussions, shows, gaming events, and concerts.


Photo credit: Tearsheet

Umpqua bank calls its branch locations “stores” and incorporates retail and hotel-like amenities into the locations to make them more welcoming.

EVP of Umpqua Bank Brian Read explained that factors contributing to the uniqueness of the stores include free Umpqua-branded coffee, a dog-friendly environment, and community spaces that host yoga classes and non-profit meetings.


Work Café

Santander has eight Work Cafes across the globe. These locations look like traditional coffee houses and aim to make visiting a bank something that consumers want to do, not an obligation.

As with many other banks’ concept branches, Santander’s locations offer spaces where events, conferences, and classes are hosted. These cafes are also geared toward offering entrepreneurs a co-working space and offers advertising opportunities for small businesses.

These concept branches have been successful for the Spain-based bank, which reports that anywhere from 2x to 4x more accounts are opened at Work Cafes than at its traditional branches. Additionally, at the bank’s Spain location the number of customers is increasing by 11% per year and new loan production has been boosted by 73%.



Acquisiton of Jay-Z’s Tidal by Square to have No Material Impact on Fintech Firm’s Revenue, Company Says, as Analyst Breaks Down the Deal




Rob Walker, a Senior writer at Marker on the intersections of design, consumer culture, branding and business, is asking whether Jack Dorsey is playing Jay-Z, or is the billionaire hip-hop artist and entrepreneur playing the Twitter and Square CEO?

Walker, a longtime NYT contributor and also the author of The Art of Noticing, recently commented on what he thinks the “surprise” Square (NYSE:SQ) acquisition of Tidal is “really about.”

Walker claims that this is a deal that almost no one was “anticipating.” As reported, payments company Square announced on March 4, 2021 that it will be acquiring a majority stake in Tidal, the music-streaming platform that’s co-owned by Jay-Z.

According to the announcement, $297 million in cash and stock was provided for the acquisition. Square CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed the deal via Twitter — the other company he manages — where he “preemptively” raised the obvious question: “Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?”

Walker pointed out in a blog post that the thread that soon followed provided somewhat vague PR-speak responses and answers to that question: “New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy.”

Although that’s likely to be expected at the announcement stage of a “distinctly unexpected” partnership, Walker described the “immediate” market reaction as “tepid,” with Square shares dropping around 6.75% on Thursday (March 4, 2021). However, there could be several reasons — “perhaps not so lofty as those Dorsey suggested — that this deal isn’t as utterly random as it sounds,” Walker claims.

He added that “for starters, the motivation for buying Tidal could be as simple as Square making a high-level acqui-hire: Jay-Z, whose rep for street cred and entrepreneurial acumen continues to top itself — luxury giant LVMH just bought into his champagne brand, and he’s a backer of soon-to-IPO Oatly — will join Square’s board.”

As noted by Walker, “perhaps this will continue whatever dialogue he and Dorsey may have started while yachting together over the summer.” According to Walker, the “bottom line: There’s no downside to Jay-Z’s counsel and halo effect.”

He continued:

“And it’s plausible that in a world where the business of being a musician really is more of a business, for indie artists as well as mainstream stars, serving as their Fintech solution of choice (for merch payment processing and other tools similar to those Square has developed for its business customers) could be worth something over time for Tidal. This hardly has to be a game-changing, risk-it-all gambit to pay off: The acquisition price is a sliver of Square’s $100 billion-plus valuation, and even the company’s official announcement said it expected no material impact on revenue or profits this year.”

Walker also mentioned that if that “sounds more like a ‘why not?’ than a ‘hell yeah!,’ well, maybe that’s the whole point. And that could be even more true for Tidal, and particularly Jay-Z.

As explained by Walker, one of Tidal’s selling points, along with great sound quality, was its “artist-first attitude,” paying a considerably greater royalty than Spotify and Apple Music in the hopes of acquiring exclusive content.

However, Tidal has never actually come even close to meaningfully challenging Spotify and Apple Music. By 2018, Tidal reportedly had about 3 million subscribers, and has been sort of mum or quiet on that subject ever since, Walker noted.

Meanwhile, Spotify claims over 155 million paid subscribers and Apple Music has over 60 million. Tidal doesn’t disclose its financial results, however, a Billboard report reveals that even though the firm’s revenue surged 13% in 2019, its losses stood at about 52% — from $36 million to $55 million.

As mentioned in a blog by Walker, perhaps this deal “bolsters Tidal’s original mission, or maybe it suggests a new game plan in the offing.” Either way, however, the acquisition price is a “nice improvement” over the $56 million that Jay-Z and several other artists had paid for Tidal just around 5 years ago.

Walker argues that maybe Jay-Z did not really succeed in making Tidal a “dominant” new streaming-music player. But this latest deal suggests that you cannot really call the enterprise a complete “failure,” Walker acknowledged. He added that it’s just been co-signed by “one of the most successful entrepreneurs alive” and “plugged” into a $100 billion Fintech giant that now has a board seat with Jay-Z’s name on it. Perhaps Dorsey didn’t acqui-hire Jay-Z; maybe “it’s the other way around,” Walker argues.

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Apple Pay integration and Staking 3.0 launch push COTI price to a new high




With volumes in the NFT space going parabolic, Solible marketplace is bringing the new craze to the Solana ecosystem.

The SOL-System Gets NFTs

The Non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Solible plans to migrate to the decentralized exchange (DEX), Serum (SRM), allowing users in the Solana (SOL) ecosystem to trade its many collectibles.

This will allow SOL participants to buy and sell Solible’s NFTs in a completely decentralized way. Moreover, Solible’s already open features will be made available to SOL participants. This includes being able to easily create and list customized NFTs.

The marketplace already has a number of interesting auctions in progress. A painting of the famous Shiba Inu dog breed (popularized in crypto thanks to Dogecoin (DOGE)) currently boasts a bid of 500 USDC.

Solible launched late last year in the middle of the NFT boom. Solible NFTs are entirely redeemable, with users able to pay in USDC, FROM or Serum’s own native token, SRM.

Solana Continues To Expand

Indeed, the Solana ecosystem is seeing extensive growth as several new projects either migrate to it or launch in it.

Recently, USD Coin (USDC) announced it would allow SOL participants to use the stablecoin in the ecosystem. This makes USDC one of the first stablecoins on SOL.

Decentralized music streaming application Audius (AUDIO) also made the move, taking with it over 1 million active monthly listeners. Moreover, even major decentralized oracle network Chainlink (LINK) saw fit to connect to the network, with plans to make LINK the oracle “standard” across all SOL dApps.

The moves might be encouraged by the extremely low fees on the SOL network, with an average of just $0.0001 per transaction. The network also has a record fast block time, at just 1433 milliseconds at press time.

In fact, the cost savings are apparent when compared to the Ethereum (ETH) network, the base for most dApps, including DEXs and NFT marketplaces.

On Uniswap (UNI) for example, fees rose to a height of over $100 per transaction last month. Accordingly, a number of DEXs moving over to Binance Smart Chain (BSC), an ecosystem similar to SOL.

NFT Skyrockets

Solible’s migration to SRM DEX comes in an NFT space that is soaring in both volume and value.

Over $338 million has been spent so far in the space after several celebrities hosted auctions for custom and unique NFT pieces. Earlier today, an NFT tokenizing Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet launched.

So far, the highest bid is in excess of $2 million.

Moreover, an NFT collection by the Lil Moon Rockets team has seen over two-thirds of the collection sold within just ten days, raising nearly $1 million.

If this volume continues, the NFT space is likely to reach even higher heights in the near-future.


All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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China: WeiyangX Fintech Review




Chinese Fintech Companies Need to Meet Capital Adequacy Requirements with a Maximum of Two Years

On March 2nd, Guo Shuqing, Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said at a press conference of the Information Office of the State Council that Chinese Fintech companies are expected to meet capital adequacy requirements with a maximum of two years.

Microlenders, consumer finance firms, and banks operated by internet platforms are all included in the plan. In consideration of some historical reasons, the financial regulators have set various grace periods for different platforms. (Source:

CSRC Beijing Branch Opens Applications for Pilot Projects of Fintech Innovation in the Capital Market

On March 4th, the Beijing Branch of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) issued the “Notice on Carrying out the Capital Market Fintech Innovation Pilot (Beijing) Project Application”. According to the document, the plan will focus on the new generation of information technologies such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. The technological empowerment of various businesses in the capital market is guided by the principle of serving the real economy, improving market efficiency, strengthening compliance and risk control, enhancing regulatory capabilities, and ensuring financial security. (Source: CSRC Beijing Branch)

ByteDance Applies for the Registration of “BYTEPAY” Trademark 

According to enterprise information platform Qichacha, ByteDance applied for the registration of “BYTEPAY” trademark on February 22nd 2021 under the categories of “advertising sales and finance property management”. In fact, this is not the first time ByteDance has applied for trademarks related to payment business. As early as 2018 and 2019, ByteDance had already started the relevant trademark applications for “Duoshan Zhifu”, “Duoshan Pay” and “Duoshan Wallet”. In addition, it was said that ByteDance had already taken the domain name last year. (Source: mpaypass)

Hui’an Jinke (Ahi Fintech) Completes 100-Million-Yuan-Level B Round of Financing

Recently, Hui’an Jinke (Ahi Fintech) officially announced the completion of a 100-million- yuan-level B round of financing. The investment was led by Chongqing Liangjiang Zhongxin Jialiang Fintech RMB Equity Investment Fund Partnership, followed by existing shareholders Hillhouse Capital and Innovation Works. Huang Ling, founder and CEO of Hui’an Jinke (Ahi Fintech), said that this round of financing will be used for talent recruitment and further development of intelligent risk-control and regtech products, as to accelerate the expansion and large-scale application of international cutting-edge smart technology products in various industries. (Source: WeiyangX)

The above is a weekly synopsis of the biggest stories on Fintech in China provided by WeiyangX, part of Tsinghua University, in partnership with Crowdfund Insider.

WeiyangX is the most influential website focusing on Fintech in China. The site covers the latest news, industry data analysis, business practices, and in-depth Fintech cases in Fintech. WeiyangX is incubated by Fintech Lab. Founded by Tsinghua University’s People’s Bank of China (PBC) School of Finance in 2012, the Fintech Lab is the first and leading research entity dedicated to leading best practices, promoting interdisciplinary innovation, and encouraging entrepreneurship in the field of fintech through scientific research and innovative project incubation. Checkout PrimeXBT
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Digital Banking Challenger Current Reveals that Average Tax Refund Size Is Just Over $2K, Money Sent with Current Pay Increased Nearly 10%




Current, one of the leading digital banks in the US, reveals that it’s been a busy few weeks at the company as they began receiving tax refunds for thousands of clients five working days faster than regular banks.

Current claims that most of the money is being used for paying back friends and family members and for settling bills, which is “consistent with spending patterns” that the banking challenger saw from the second US government stimulus payments in December of last year.

Current’s management also mentioned that the tax refund season was delayed a bit this year because of stimulus payments. But even though the IRS was not accepting returns until February 12, 2021, Current says this did not impact its ability to receive and credit refunds for its members “five days faster than traditional banks.”

Current further revealed that the spending patterns they’ve seen are “similar to those of the second stimulus payments in December,” when they were the first Fintech challenger to credit payments, and this “reinforces just how many Americans are hurting for cash and still playing catch up nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shift in the workforce and uncertain economic times.”

In just a few weeks into the tax refunds, the majority of the money has reportedly been spent on paying back friends or family members and settling bills, and Current reveals that it has seen “shifting consumer spending patterns”:

  • Spending on “paying back friends, family and paying bills have seen a total 15% increase vs. pre-refund spending for members’ who have received their tax refunds on Current”;
  • In particular, “sending money with Current Pay has increased nearly 10%”;
  • Average tax refund we have seen is “just over $2,000”;

Current’s management added:

“Much like we saw in December, Americans are still hurting for money and refunds and stimulus are stop gap measures helping people make ends meet. We’ll expect to see similar spending patterns with the next round of stimulus payments.”

As reported in January 2021, Current had noted that 2020 was “certainly not the year anyone was expecting,” however, for all the tribulations (not to mention “being in the epicenter of a pandemic” – above all), the company is quite proud that they were able to fulfill their promises or commitments to get their members “faster and better” access to their funds, especially at a time when they may have needed these services the most.

Current claims that it has helped members save over $100 million in overdraft fees in just the past 8 months (as reported in January 2021). The digital bank now claims more than 2 million members. It noted that “A LOT more people joined Current.”

Current members have also been able to earn points at more than 20,000 merchants. Additionally, there are over 30,000 locations where the bank’s members deposited cash.

There are now reportedly over 55,000 in-network free ATMs available to Current members.

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