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BFC FinTech Monitor (27th July – 6th August)

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

  • More than half of the largest banks in the world, including Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, have invested in blockchain companies.
  • Sifted and Checkout.com have presented highlights of current consumer behavior trends, most notably in-app purchases, ethical brand preferences, social media shopping and demand for seamless global payments in real time.
  • FinTech startup BharatPe has become India’s 19th FinTech unicorn.
  • HSBC will soon allow its clients to invest in FinTechs that are playing a key role in digitizing the financial services market.
  • In crypto news: (1) IMF representatives warn about the dire consequences of accepting bitcoin as a national currency; (2) JPMorgan Chase has launched a bitcoin fund for wealthy clients; (3) Robinhood plans to protect its users from high cryptocurrency volatility; (4) Visa has recorded an increase in the volume of cross-border payments amid the growth of cryptocurrency popularity; (5) the value of bitcoin has adjusted to an announcement that the rumors around crypto-based payments being accepted on Amazon are not true; (6) PayPal is preparing to launch artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cryptocurrency super apps; (7) CoinJar, one of Australia’s oldest digital asset exchanges, has launched the country’s first cryptocurrency-based Mastercard card; (8) China will continue to put pressure on crypto community members; and (9) Google has resumed displaying ads for crypto exchanges and crypto wallets.
  • Visa has entered the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) market by implementing a series of APIs that will allow BNPL solutions to be embedded into its products.
  • Mastercard has launched the Start Path program to support cryptocurrency and blockchain projects.
  • In central bank digital currency (CBDC) news: (1) analysts from the US Federal Reserve and Yale University have proposed an alternative to CBDCs; (2) the UK has yet to decide if it needs a national digital currency; and (3) the Central Bank of Estonia, in collaboration with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the regulators of a number of European Union (EU) countries, has successfully tested the digital euro.
  • MarketsandMarkets is predicting that the digital identity industry will grow from USD 23.3 billion in 2021 to USD 49.5 billion by 2026.
  • SWIFT has launched an international money transfer service, with 7 large banks already connected to the service.

Russia

  • The Central Bank of Russia has presented its plan for the development of Russia’s financial market for 2022–2024.
  • IA Banki.ru has ranked Russia’s largest banks in terms of digitalization, with Raiffeisenbank, VTB and Tinkoff Bank ranking the highest.
  • Samsung Pay could be banned in Russia, although most experts don’t believe it will come to this.
  • The second stage of testing face-pay technology (i.e. payment by biometric authentication) in Moscow’s metro has begun.
  • Tinkoff Bank and Yandex.market have launched online customer lending, allowing marketplace users to make online purchases of between RUB 3,000 and RUS 200,000 using credit obtained during the checkout process.
  • In news from Sber: (1) smartphones can now be used in lieu of cash registers; (2) currency exchange is now easier with the use of virtual assistants; and (3) Rosfinmonitoring allows for cryptocurrency transactions to be tracked.

Ukraine

  • Government and business representatives have developed a roadmap for the integration of cryptocurrencies in Ukraine by 2024. The roadmap forecasts that half of the country will use digital currencies by this time.
  • The Ministry of Finance has discovered the current cost of Monobank as well as whether attempts were actually made to acquire the most popular neobank in Ukraine.
  • The Ukrainian Association of FinTech and Innovative Companies has created a discussion platform for dialogue between financial sector players and government agencies regarding necessary changes in financial legislation.
  • Dmitry Dubilet (the co-founder of Monobank), Alexander Vityaz (the creator of Privat24) and Nikolay Bezkrovny have launched FinTech Farm to launch digital banks.

Kazakhstan

  • The AIFC Fintech Hub, with the support of Mastercard and the Internet Initiatives Development Fund, has launched a global industry platform for finding and implementing open innovations in leading banks in Kazakhstan.
  • The AIFC Financial Services Regulatory Committee has proposed limits for retail investors when buying cryptocurrencies.
  • Alfa-Bank has presented a number of digital business solutions, including a mobile app for entrepreneurs, Alfa Pay (which allows payments to be accepted via a smartphone) and online lending.
  • Cool long reads: (1) Aidar Beknazarov, chief compliance manager of Quantdart Fintech Limited, explains how the digital assets regulation rules operate in Kazakhstan and on the territory of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC); (2) Alibek Narimbai, CEO of Biometric, discusses the development of biometrics and (3) Tatyana Batishcheva, financial columnist for Forbes Kazakhstan, outlines the risks of digitalization for banks.

Tajikistan

  • Alif Capital, the largest FinTech company in Tajikistan, has signed an agreement with Refinancing Fund that will help expand access to financial services for the economically active as well as strengthen the microfinance sector.

Uzbekistan

  • The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has launched a financial literacy mobile app to complement the finlit.uz website. Content is available in Russian and Uzbek and covers topics such as lending, deposits and budgeting.
  • The number of users of TBC UZ, the first neobank in Uzbekistan, has reached 500,000.
  • The Central Bank of Uzbekistan recently held a webinar on national strategies for increasing the availability of financial services in 2021–2023.

Azerbaijan

  • FinTech Farm and Unibank are launching the Leobank FinTech service this September. More information on the service is available on their website.
  • Taleh Kazimov, chairman of the board of PASHA Bank, discusses how the bank implements innovative technologies as well as how it launche online loans for businesses.
  • Taleh Tairli, deputy chairman of the board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, discusses how the digital transformation process, how their mobile app has become a mail communication channel with clients and why 90% of business clients use internet banking solutions.

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