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BFC FinTech Monitor (29th June — 8th July)

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:

  • According to a survey of 300 senior banking executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, branches of financial institutions may well disappear over the next 5 years due to a focus on digital services.
  • The European Banking Authority (EBA) is supporting the development of common rules for the use of RegTech products. They also propose that European banks accumulate more data on their operations, optimize internal management and regularly conduct RegTech trainings for their staff.
  • Credit Agricole CIB has launched a joint project with French company Pasqaland and Spanish company Multiverse to study quantum computing in finance, particularly as related to capital markets and risk management.
  • In crypto news: (1) the Beijing Financial Supervision Authority has announced new restrictions on working with cryptocurrency companies; (2) the British regulator has banned the Binance crypto exchange from doing business in the United Kingdom; (3) German neobank N26 plans to provide clients with tools for conducting transactions with digital assets; (4) Mexican authorities are threatening sanctions against financial institutions that use bitcoin; (5) American startup Worldcoin is collecting the biometric data of its users in exchange for its own cryptocurrency; and (6) Goldman Sachs analysts believe Ethereum will surpass Bitcoin as the main savings cryptocurrency.
  • Danish startup Pleo, which sells corporate expense management software and creates smart payment cards, is the latest FinTech unicorn to emerge in Europe.
  • HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, announced its successful connection to the United Arab Emirates’ know-your-customer (KYC) blockchain platform. This will allow investors to remotely open an HSBC account using data that has already been verified by another financial institution.
  • In central bank digital currency (CBDC) news: (1) the vice chair of the US Federal Reserve is questioning the prospects of a CBDC; (2) Singapore, in partnership with donor organizations, has started work on a retail CBDC; (3) the digital yuan can now be used to pay for metro fares in Beijing; and (4) the chief economist of the Bank of England has stated that CBDCs could protect countries from financial crises.
  • JPMorgan Chase acquired a 40% share of the Brazilian neobank C6, marking the entry of the financial holding into one of the most competitive markets in Latin America.

Russia

  • The Central Bank of Russia has formed a pilot group to test the digital ruble. The pilot group includes 12 financial institutions and will being work in January 2022.
  • The prosecutor general of the Russian Federation has announced that Russia is preparing amendments to its legislation on the confiscation of cryptocurrencies.
  • Sberbank has joined the QR-payment service of the Fast Payments System, likely leading to the development of QR-payment solutions in Russia. The bank has also integrated its voice assistant with the virtual assistant of various public service portals.
  • The composition of the board of directors of Russia’s first blockchain operator (Distributed Register Systems) has been announced. It includes Olga Skorobogatova, deputy chair of the Central Bank of Russia, and Tatyana Zharkova, general director of the Association of Financial Technologies.
  • Promsvyazbank has launched a pilot service that allows entrepreneurs to pay bills via the Telegram app.

Ukraine

  • Parliament has adopted a bill on open banking that will harmonize Ukrainian legislation on the issue to that of the European Union (EU). It will strengthen the rights of users as well as the transparency and completeness of information on usage conditions.
  • According to Mastercard, 49% of Ukrainians are ready to completely abandon cash, and more than a third are ready to pay for purchases using a QR code.
  • Monobank is planning to launch a bitcoin card based on integration with crypto exchanges. It is currently awaiting approval from the National Bank of Ukraine.
  • Vacuumlabs, which develops banking, crypto and FinTech solutions, is inviting Ukrainian specialists to collaborate with them.
  • Elena Sosedka, chairman of the Supervisory Board of ConcordBank and founder of the open FinTech ecosystem Concord Fintech Solutions, spoke about successful cases of FinTech ecosystems in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
  • The head of sportbank discusses how the bank how the bank managed to offer clients the highest cashback rate in the country, how many employees are needed to operate a neobank and whether sportbank can become a superapps.

Belarus

  • Online broker Deriv has opened an office in Minsk and is looking for engineers and project and product managers.

Kazakhstan

  • President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a law introducing a tax on cryptocurrency mining that comes into force on January 1, 2022.
  • The FinTech hub of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) has launched the first FinTech accelerator for banks in Kazakhstan.
  • The Astana Finance Days international conference was held in Kazakhstan. Watch this report of the event for more details.
  • Clients of Freedom Finance Bank are now able to obtain a mortgage of up to KZT 3 million for up to 15 years in just a few minutes.
  • Russian-Kazakh startup TypiPay, which offers unpersonalized virtual debit cards, has raised USD 500,000, reaching an estimated value of USD 5 million.
  • According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the volume of non-cash transactions in the January–May 2021 period has increased 2.6 times year-on-year.
  • Markswebb has published a rating of the most business-friendly banks in Kazakhstan.

Kyrgyzstan

  • The National Bank of Kyrgyzstan is requiring some employees to work remotely due to the COVID-19 situation. Additionally, visitors are temporarily banned from visiting the bank’s premises.

Uzbekistan

  • Startup MayaSoft, together with Visa, has presented the first contactless payment solution in Uzbekistan. It is based on Visa-Tap-to-Phone technology and allows users to use a smartphone as a POS terminal without any additional equipment.
  • The Ministry of Finance has announced cooperation with Apelsin and TBC on the development of the UzASBO software package, which will support the monthly monitoring of wages, microloans for state employees and payments for state services.

Azerbaijan

  • The Central Bank of Azerbaijan has outlined the main directions for a new study on digital currencies.
  • Kapital Bank is launching Mushtari Bank Mobile for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. A desktop version is currently available to registered customers.

Georgia

  • The Georgian company Payze has been declared the winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative for Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The startup helps businesses in CIS countries accept payments from all over the world via a single integration.

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