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BFC FinTech Monitor 21st – 28th December

Stay up-to-date on all the all the latest FinTech news and information from around the world in the BFC FinTech Monitor.

Around the World

  • The number of neobanks around the world is approaching 300, with most of them operating from France, Sweden or the United Kingdom. These neobanks are expected to start developing products and services beyond the standard ones they now offer, including investment services and potentially even those that go beyond the financial sector.
  • According to Ye Wangchun, the chairman and general director of the FinTech Division of Ping An Insurance – OneConnect, FinTech has become the main driver of growth in the financial services industry, especially among small- and medium-sized financial institutions.
  • The largest FinTech investors expect that the pace of financing will not slow down in 2021. In particular, a wave of mergers and acquisitions is expected in the first half of the year. In addition, it is expected that private equity firms that rarely interacted with FinTechs will take more of an interest in them going forward.
  • CB Insights has ranked the most promising blockchain companies on its Blockchain 50 list. This list is expected to garner more attention this year as blockchain continues its move from possible to practical.
  • Investment company Digital Horizon predicts that the future of FinTech will include financial institutions distancing themselves from consumers, an increase in the use of real-time data, a new life for insurance and loans, improved automated financial solutions, payment solutions without intermediaries, a simplification of digital infrastructures and a flourishing of digital assets.
  • The “big five” tech giants (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet) took over 13 artificial intelligence (AI) startups this year. Most of these startups were focused on the development of solutions related to computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning.
  • The Block has released a new digital asset outlook report that highlights 3 key points: (1) investors expect 2021 to be an even more significant year for stablecoins and corporations buying bitcoin, (2) bitcoin is increasingly seen as a viable macroinvestment and (3) we should expect an acceleration in the development of banking cryptocurrencies in 2021.

Russia

  • Russian banks are planning to implement solutions in 2021 that will read the emotions of consumers during a telephone conversation and when visiting branches.
  • The Central Bank of Russia has provided some clarifications regarding the development of the digital ruble. In particular, the regulator notes: (1) they are still working on how to handle offline payments; (2) the digital ruble will not replace its physical (i.e. cash) counterpart; (3) conversions to foreign currencies will follow standard procedures; (4) transfer limits will be put in place; and (5) the digital ruble will not be allowed for making deposits or used in lending.
  • Alexey Malinovsky, the head of Mastercard in Russia, spoke with PLUS magazine about trends in Russia’s payment industry, how payment technologies and digitalization are helping overcome the crisis, what the new norm is becoming and how Mastercard conducts business in pandemic conditions.
  • Markswebb has proposed enhancements to help build a quality ATM consumer experience, including a description of the technical aspects necessary for their implementation.
  • Steen Jacobsen, investment director at Saxo Bank discusses how the Russian banking system coping with the COVID-19 crisis, what will happen to the economy after the launch of the digital ruble, how much oil will cost in 2021 and more.

Ukraine

  • PaySpace Magazine asked experts how Ukrainian FinTech changed in 2020. Many experts are optimistic about the future given that pre-quarantine indicators have already been reached or exceeded. The publication also compiled a list of the main FinTech startups in Ukraine, all of which are also nominees for the 2020 PaySpace Magazine Awards.
  • Elena Sosedka, the creator of Concord FinTech Solutions (the first open FinTech ecosystem in Ukraine), discusses the importance of an open FinTech ecosystem for local financial markets.

Kazakhstan

  • According to Sedred Asretov, managing director of Ranking.kz, Kazakh banks are well prepared for crises and, thus, were able to survive the COVID-19 pandemic without significant losses. He also noted that an increase in the use of digital and contactless services has also allowed many for the increase of assets during the pandemic.
  • The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) has created a unique platform for the development of FinTech startups in post-Soviet spaces. The head of the startup support program at AIFC’s FinTech hub discusses the role of this platform as well as the development of financial technologies in the country as a whole.
  • More than 2,100 entrepreneurs took part in the Support Your Own educational program supported by Visa and AIFC. The program has the goal of helping entrepreneurs adapt to the post-coronavirus realities and start rebuilding their businesses.

Tajikistan

  • Tavhidbank, a Tajik Islamic bank, is preparing to enter the international environment, with plans on first conquering Central Asian markets. To accomplish this, the bank plans on developing competitiveness and business growth strategies based on the implementation of a complex of Islamic financial solutions and the introduction of modern digital banking services.

Uzbekistan

  • The concept for creating an international financial center in Tashkent has now entered its second stage. During this second stage, models for such a center will be researched and used as a basis for the further development of a unique financial and legal ecosystem that is supported with appropriate infrastructure.

Azerbaijan

  • Visa recorded an impressive increase in the number of contactless transactions in Azerbaijan (including tokenized ones) recently, noting that the country has become a significant contributor to the total volume of payments on its cards in the Caucasus.

Armenia

  • VTB Bank will be the first in Armenia to issue payment cards for children and adolescents. The cards will allow them to store funds in several currencies at the same time, make intra-bank and inter-bank transfers, pay for goods and services and make online purchases. The cards can be opened as a primary card on an account or as an additional card to a parent’s account.
  • Unibank received the Sustainability Icon award from Visa for its partnership with Visa on international payment solutions. The bank expressed hopes for continued projects with Visa in 2021.

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