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This Week in Fintech ending 16 July 2021.

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

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at  Kryptonio a “keyless” non-custodial bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet that lets users manage bitcoin and crypto without private keys or passwords and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Is Bitcoin Worth the Risk?

Over the last few years, we’re transitioning from a process of redefining financial services, by altering the architecture that underpins our financial system. Fintech companies are becoming mainstream, but they’ve operated on the outskirts of the traditional financial system. Much of today’s payment infrastructure was built years ago to allow business-to-consumer payments, trade financing, and supply chain activities. Many of these payments use a common template, have a lot of manual overlays, and are typically costly. We can have a fundamental shift where we go from manual to automated with the growth of blockchain technology at scale. Central banks are trying to figure out how to make this new technology without having negative effects, as they try to find the best way to make it more effective. The growth trend in cryptocurrencies is expected to continue. Some, including myself, believe that cryptocurrencies will replace existing fiat currencies. One thing is certain, no one can remain blind to current events in the crypto world and its growing importance for the financial system.

Editor note: Fintech and crypto have both come a long way but are only getting started with a much bigger journey ahead. 

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Tuesday Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: 4 part series on Lightning Network Part 2: Eeyore says nice theory, shame about the traction

Eeyore usually gets negative audience reaction at the Pooh Corner Tech Debates as his pessimistic worldview contrasts with the optimistic enthusiasm of most tech conference attendees. He started by – uncharacteristically –  pandering to his audience by telling people that Lightning Network was a centralised solution; this got a heckle “why does that bother a legacy finance guy like you?”

After that weak start Eeyore went on to ask who is actually using Lightning Network today and to point out two major weaknesses.

Editor note: If you think Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme heading to zero, this post will strengthen your belief.

Wednesday Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote his weekly roundup of Stablecoin news.

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Thursday

Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: Cryptocurrency boom stokes insurer interest, Coincover funding the latest cue

The cryptocurrency industry has been on a roll, peaking at a market capitalization of $2.2 trillion this April.  Motivated by its growing popularity, major corporate investors evinced an interest. Tesla acquired $1.5 billion of bitcoin (BTC) in January 2021 while MicroStrategy stockpiled $2.2 billion of BTC. Insurers slow to enter the crypto world, are warily assessing risks ranging from cyber-attacks on exchanges and users to price volatility. Despite being a growing, multi-trillion dollar industry, crypto assets remain96% uninsured. But as crypto moves away from a HNW user base, insurers are making moves.

Editor note: Rintu looks at three ways that (re)insurers are helping to turn crypto from a store of value to a useful currency for day to day use.

Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Why we are replacing $GS with $RKT in the Fintech 50 Index today

Today is 3 months from when Coinbase went public and we released the first version of our Fintech 50 Index.

The most controversial entry in our Fintech 50 Index was Goldman Sachs (GS) which we classed as Fintech because Goldman Sachs is a Fin that is so smart about Tech that they are almost Fintech.

I believe convergence is real and that there is not a big difference, beyond naming, between a Tech that became a regulated bank and a bank that became totally tech driven.

That is why I chose to include GS in our Fintech 50 Index.

The problem is that other banks are also becoming equally smart and tech driven. If we include Goldman Sachs, why not JP Morgan, Bank of America or UBS?

I opted for a wide definition when building our Fintech 50 Index and included a) old Fintech like Visa and Mastercard b) Traditional Fintech ie selling tech to banks.  That wide definition remains in place, but as of today, by replacing GS with RKT in our Fintech 50 Index I am no longer including any legacy banks, no matter how tech smart and tech driven they are.

RKT (Rocket Companies, Inc)  is big enough to go into our Fintech 50 Index – at  today’s valuation  of over $33 billion it ranks 20 in our Index, which is just above Equifax and below MSCI Barra, but it is also plenty controversial

Editor note: By putting a company into our Fintech 50 Index we are NOT saying it is a good investment. Do. Your. Own. Diligence ( DYOD). Among other factors look at revenue momentum, valuation and debt risk.

Christian Dreyer @x3er, the Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote his weekly roundup of XBRL news.

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Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London, wrote his weekly roundup of Alt Lending news.

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Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2021/07/16/this-week-in-fintech-ending-16-july-2021/

Fintech

BNY-backed crypto platform Fireblocks seals unicorn status

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Fireblocks has raised $310 million in a series D round that values the digital-asset platform at $2 billion, sealing its status as a unicorn.

The latest funding round is co-led by Sequoia Capital, Stripes Group, Spark Capital and Coatue Management, as well as DRW Venture Capital and SCB 10X, the venture arm of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank Pcl. Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and SVB Capital are among Fireblocks’ existing backers.

The Fireblocks platform allows for usage of digital assets in areas like payments, gaming and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The firm’s technology can help financial institutions implement direct custody without having to rely on third parties. Its infrastructure has been used by over 500 institutions and secures more than $1 trillion in digital assets. It supports banks, crypto exchanges, lending desks, hedge funds and market makers such as Revolut, BlockFi, Celsius, Crypto.com and eToro.

“We have seen a certain maturity in the space and the development of projects utilizing blockchain technology that are outside of the crypto native arena,” Fireblocks’ Chief Executive Officer Michael Shaulov said. “We are working with a number of financial services firms around the world to expand use-cases regarding projects for digitization of currencies, securities and other real assets.”

The company plans to use the funds for hiring in areas such as research and development and customer support, as well as in sales and marketing to facilitate expansion in regions including Asia Pacific, Shaulov said. Fireblocks has also seen an uptick in demand given increased regulatory interest in digital assets, he said.

“As Thailand’s largest bank, we are looking forward to bringing Fireblocks’ solutions to future users in Southeast Asia,” said Mukaya Panich, chief venture and investment officer at SCB 10X.

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Source: https://bankautomationnews.com/allposts/infrastructure/bny-backed-crypto-platform-fireblocks-seals-unicorn-status/

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Fintech

Apple Card ‘scaling’ with growth rate +20%

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Apple’s new credit card is part of a basket of products that drove 33% revenue growth last quarter, the company announced yesterday. Services revenue, which includes Apple Card, climbed to $17.5 billion last quarter, up from $13.2 billion during the same quarter in 2020. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, made particular mention of Apple Card during […]

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Source: https://bankautomationnews.com/allposts/payments/apple-card-scaling-with-growth-rate-20/

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Crowdfunding

Payfare, a Fintech Powering Instant Payout and Digital Banking for Contractors, Issued Visa Ready Certification

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Payfare Inc. (TSX: PAY), a Fintech that’s powering instant payout and digital banking services for contract workers, reveals that it has been issued a Visa Ready certification via the Visa Ready for Fintech Enablers program.

The Visa Ready Fintech Enablement program offers partners such as Payfare with access to Visa’s vast partner network via top of funnel awareness, go-to-market support to uncover new markets as well as newly-introduced Visa products and solutions.

Payfare currently powers faster, virtual payments for major on-demand platforms. With this certification, Payfare should be in a position to effectively accelerate the expansion of its sservices,  furthering its goal to support the financial health for the growing gig economy and contract-worker or freelance workforce.

Marco Margiotta, CEO and Founding Partner of Payfare, stated:

“We are thrilled to join the ranks of the innovative fintechs who are certified by Visa. We know gig workers want flexibility in how, and how fast, they are paid, and that demand is only increasing as the gig economy grows globally. With this certification, we will grow the number of gig workers eligible for faster and instant payouts, by bringing our solution to new partners and places.”

As previously reported, Payfare is a global Fintech firm providing mobile banking, instant payment and loyalty-reward solutions for the modern workforce.

Payfare’s financial technology platform aims to support greater financial inclusion and empowerment to next-gen workers globally. The company offers a full-service mobile bank account and debit card with instant access to their earnings and relevant cash-back rewards.

Payfare was founded in 2015 by Fintech professionals and a senior management team with extensiive experience in the banking, payment card and Fintech sectors.

Payfare is backed by “major investors and financial institutions around the world” and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Some of the biggest on-demand economy platforms such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and DiDi “trust” Payfare to pay their workers.

Marqeta (NASDAQ: MQ), the global modern card issuing platform, and Payfare recently formed a new partnership in order to expand the reach of Payfare’s platform.

Payfare also revealed last month that it will be integrating Mastercard Send into its financial technology platform. This should allow the Fintech firm to expand its real-time payment options for the fast-evolving gig economy.

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178426-payfare-a-fintech-powering-instant-payout-and-digital-banking-for-contractors-issued-visa-ready-certification/

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Crowdfunding

Global Fintech GoCardless Appoints Alexandra Chiaramonti as its GM for Southern Europe

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GoCardless, a global Fintech in account-to-account payments, has reportedly appointed Alexandra Chiaramonti as its GM of Southern Europe.

Chiaramonti will be responsible for leading GoCardless‘ ongoing growth in the region by continuing to recruit new talent in order to strengthen the firm’s presence in its existing French market — where it has managed to triple its client base since establishing its Paris office back in 2018 — as well as leading its expansion efforts within the region.

Chiaramonti has notably joined GoCardless after working as Chief Executive at GoBeep, a platform developed to support incremental in-store and online revenue for retail outlets. Before taking up this role, she served in key roles as Director of Global Sales Strategy at Criteo and MD  at Teemo. Her extensive experience in scaling and expanding companies globally should help with placing her in a key position to lead the firm’s growth efforts.

Chiaramonti remarked:

“I’m thrilled to join a rapidly growing company with an amazing team of talented people all focused on making a difference in the payments world. We have a top-notch product solving one of the biggest headaches for merchants: getting paid on time, in a fast and efficient way. Southern Europe represents a tremendous opportunity for GoCardless and I want us to seize it as soon as possible, becoming the go-to provider when businesses look for a best-in-class payment solution.”

Chiaramonti’s appointment has been announced at a time of broader company-wide expansion for GoCardless, which is focused on its Open Banking strategy.

By bringing together Open Banking payments with its international bank debit network, GoCardless believes it is in an ideal position to assist firms with collecting one-off and recurring payments via a single platform — providing merchants with a quick, dependable and more affordable alternative to cards by leveraging the power of account-to-account payments.

Even Walser, Chief Revenue Officer at GoCardless, remarked:

“We are opening up significant new market segments with open banking, including B2C subscriptions, which will further strengthen our growth in the region. Now is the time to bring in a leader who can help us scale the organization in this market and Alexandra is the perfect fit.”

Earlier this month, GoCardless teamed up with Pennylane, a financial management and accounting platform for firms and their accountants.

Through the partnership, the companies will provide SMEs and early-stage ventures with an easy and intuitive way to manage and collect recurring payments. The collaboration will involve combining Pennylane’s subscription management functionality, allowing companies to automate the issuance of recurring invoices and accounting, with GoCardless’ international bank debit network, enabling them to automatically debit clients when payments are due.

This means small businesses and other startups need not rely on inefficient manual processes, like having to maintain a log, to remind them when to send out invoices. This approach should ensure invoices are being sent in a timely manner, thus helping to remove barriers that tend to slow down the payment cycle. This new approach also removes the need to duplicate and update invoices.

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178428-global-fintech-gocardless-appoints-alexandra-chiaramonti-as-its-gm-for-southern-europe/

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