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This Week in Fintech ending 18 June 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 Bitcoin is now money in El Salvador. What’s next?

El Salvador made history last week. It became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender. In ninety days from now, people in El Salvador will be able to pay for goods and services using the cryptocurrency and no one will be able to refuse bitcoin as payment. Businesses will have to accept bitcoin for any transaction, just like they do with the US dollar. To minimize risk from bitcoin’s volatility, a government trust fund will guarantee the automatic conversion to dollars. This is huge step for the crypto market and testament that bitcoin is not going away, any time soon, even though on countless occasions in the past, it’s been pronounced dead. This is a bold step by a small country, that could drive other nations to follow in its footsteps. This live experiment could serve as case study for bigger countries to see and learn from the mistakes in El Salvador, before they making their step into digital currencies. If this proves successful, then we will see a massive adoption, especially in countries with cash economies, where bitcoin is already the main tender.

Editor note: This first the Rest then the West narrative may drive the next Bitcoin bull market.

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Tuesday Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Part 2 – Some pucks moving in the right direction to democratise Wall Street

I could be accused or being optimistic to the point of naivety but I draw hope from 5 things that are at least moving in the right direction of democratising Wall Street.

Editor note: Last week’s post was about what is pitched as democratising Wall Street, but which is really business as usual. This week’s post is about where real change is coming from.

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

Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Bitcoin fans had a dream about Institutional money that turned out to be a nightmare

Many Bitcoin fans dreamt that Legacy Finance Institutions would lead the way to mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.

This dream was the narrative that drove the last Bitcoin bull market. Now that we are in a Bitcoin bear market, that dream has turned out to be a nightmare.

Editor note: Nightmares (and bear markets) do end. This too shall pass.

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Thursday

Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: The Underwriter’s Gambit Part 3: Third Party Data In Auto InsuranceThe Underwriter’s Gambit Part 3: Third Party Data In Auto Insurance

In previous parts of this series, increased usage of algorithmic underwriting in complex risks and prevalence of integrated workbenches in life insurance were discussed, as ways in which traditional underwriting was modernizing. In this final part, the use of third party, alternative data in auto insurance underwriting is the focus.

A recent Deloitte study found, 90% respondents in insurance struggle to find value in data they access. Though its foundation is tightly linked to data, the insurance industry still relies predominantly on the same data points they used decades ago – claims histories, credit ratings, customer demographics and general business information – to underwrite risk. Hundreds of data sets are available to insurers, but only some show strong promise, such as IoT data, new forms of open source and social media data.  Among the most common applications of IoT are telematics that provide insurers an opportunity to leverage data generated by vehicles on the roads.

Editor note: Auto insurance is huge but should/could be a lot easier for all. Rintu shows how data is the key to this.

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/2021/06/18/this-week-in-fintech-ending-18-june-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.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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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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