Stay up-to-date on all the latest FinTech news and information from around the world in the BFC FinTech Monitor.
Around the World
#Reports and Studies
- Juniper Research forecasts are predicting that the contactless payment market will more than double (to USD 10 billion) by 2027.
- According to a study conducted by IslamicMarkets.com, most leading Islamic finance experts believe that the Islamic finance sector will move towards more open banking in the next 3 years.
- Analytics service LiveDune has found that nearly 70% of financial institutions in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan are unable respond to customers via social network platforms within 15 minutes.
- International Data Corporation (IDC) researchers observed that global artificial intelligence (AI) sales revenues exceeded USD 380 billion in 2021. This is almost a 21% year-on-year increase.
- A new Mastercard study indicates that privacy concerns are holding back the adoption of biometric technologies in digital payments.
#Innovations and Neobanking
- UAE bank Amjan Bank and Mastercard have joined forces to launch the Touch Card payment card for the blind and visually impaired.
- HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, has become the first to launch a system of variable periodic payments as part of the transition to open banking.
- American independent investment management company Invesco has launched an investment fund focused on the metaverse.
#Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
- A new report by audit and consulting company KPMG shows that the volume of investments in the crypto industry will likely continue to decline. At the same time, the report also shows that, as of mid-2022, crypto industry investments remained higher than they were at any time prior to 2021.
- European users of the Netflix streaming service will be able to pay for subscriptions using cryptocurrencies.
- American financial holding JPMorgan Chase plans to expand its staff of experts involved in cryptocurrencies, fintech and the metaverse.
- US authorities have introduced and published the Principles for the Responsible Development of Digital Assets document.
- Raul Pal, macro investor and former top manager at Goldman Sachs, is predicting a turn in the cryptocurrency market in the next 12–18 months due to the recession ending, rates being lower and inflation weakening.
- MetaMask and other leading crypto wallets are now available in the Opera Crypto Browser.
- A new analytical report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has noted that cryptocurrencies are key to an ideal monetary system, especially as, in the past few years, crypto assets have turned from “niche products” to popular ones. The report then argues that this has caused a need for more comprehensive crypto asset regulations.
- SWIFT is planning to integrate the latest blockchain solutions into its structure. To this end, a pilot project is being launched in partnership with fintech company Symbiont, Vanguard, Citigroup, American Century Investments and Northern Trust.
- Economist and analyst Alex Kruger has projected that more than half a billion people are expected to invest their money in cryptocurrencies by 2030.
- Iranian authorities are allowing the use of cryptocurrencies as a way to circumvent sanctions in foreign trade transactions.
- Umar Farouk, the head of the cryptocurrency division of American financial holding JPMorgan Chase, has stated most cryptocurrencies are used only for speculation.
- A group of blockchain professionals with experience in a number of different technology areas have announced the creation of the India Blockchain Forum (IBF), which intends on making India a global hub for blockchain and Web3 and is ready to cooperate with the authorities to this end.
- Data provided by Chainalysis shows that proceeds from crime related to cryptocurrencies decreased by 65% in the first half of 2022.
- The monetary authority of Singapore is considering introducing what it calls “customer suitability tests” to discourage consumers from trading cryptocurrencies.
- Thomas Tudehope, vice president of global public policy at crypto exchange Luno, is looking forward to working with the new UK Prime Minister and her team to create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies that will promote economic growth, create thousands of jobs and protect consumers.
#Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
- The European Central Bank (ECB) has defined a basis for criteria that it will be used when agreeing on licensing requirements for activities with crypto assets.
- The Saudi regulator has hired Mohsen Al-Zahrani, former managing director of Accenture, to head its Virtual Asset Development Program.
- India’s central bank is “looking forward” to the mainstream adoption of CBDCs as it will cut costs for international transactions. The regulator also asked four state-owned banks to launch a pilot CBDC project.
- The Digital Dollar Project, which aims to encourage research and public discussion around the benefits of CBDC, will launch a regulatory sandbox this October.
- Chinese residents in 23 cities and regions will be able to link their bank accounts to the CBDC where the digital yuan has been introduced on an experimental basis. Additionally, Guangzhou residents can use the CBDC to pay for public transport.
- US fintech giant FIS has launched a RealNet Central infrastructure solution to help regulators move towards real-time payments and a CBDC.
- Mastercard has partnered with crypto exchange Binance to launch the Credencial Payments card in Argentina. The card will allow all Binance users in Argentina to make purchases and pay bills using cryptocurrencies.
- According to Blockdata, 40 of the world’s largest companies (including Google Alphabet, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Samsung, Goldman Sachs and PayPal) invested USD 6 billion in blockchain firms between September 2021 and June 2022.
- A consortium of European experts from six countries is implementing a pilot project to introduce digital ID wallets into the global market system as part of an effort to develop cross-border payments.
- The two largest Turkish banks have stopped accepting the cards of the Russian payment system Mir due to the threat of secondary sanctions from the US.
- Majority, a US mobile bank for migrants, has raised USD 30 million in series B funding.
- The Linux Foundation, a global non-profit organization, will start funding the development of open-source wallets.
- Open banking provider Plaid has entered the Spanish and Polish markets.
- SWIFT has introduced a new functionality that allows users to mark in advance when a payment may be delayed due to incorrect recipient data.
- Other new about Revolut: Audit Claims from the UK Financial Reporting Council; Revolut Pay Payment Service; Revolut Ira Scholarship in India.
- A study by Chainalysis has revealed that Ukraine, along with the Philippines and Vietnam, is a top-3 leader worldwide in terms of cryptocurrency use.
- The EU will provide Ukraine with access to EUR 6 billion in digital project funding. The funding will be used to enhance high-performance computing, digital skills, digitalization, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data and cloud services.
- Ukrainian startups will be able to apply for support from Amazon Web Services, Mastercard and American venture fund Blue&Yellow Heritage Fund.
- Crypto fund Aid for Ukraine has raised USD 54 million to help Ukraine.
- The National Bank of Kazakhstan will start testing the digital tenge in October 2022. A pool of interested consumers and trade and service enterprises has already been formed to participate in the pilot project.
- Monitoring agency Energyprom.kz has found that power surges have had a negative impact on cryptocurrency mining in Kazakhstan.
- Banks operating in Kazakhstan will switch to a single system of QR codes before the end of the year.
- Fintech without Borders: Digital Eurasia, the third international PLUS forum, will be held in Almaty October 26–27, 2022. This year’s key topics are: fintech as a culture of the banking industry, accelerating product creation and digital transformation and CBDCs. Visa, Thales, VisionLabs, softwareGroup, LifePay, TarlanPayments, CheckPoint, eComCharge and BS2 have already confirmed their participation in the event.
- An advisor to the chair of Freedom Bank discusses the benefits of online lending and the role of GovTech.
- Mastercard continues to support fintech startups in Kazakhstan, especially via the Mastercard Sustainable Banking Challenge, which will soon select 3 winning companies (of 12 finalists) to launch pilot projects with partner banks and Mastercard experts.
- Fintech startup Bank4.me received a USD 300,000 investment from MyVentures, an international venture fund.
- ForteBank has launched instant transfers to UnionPay cards issued by banks other than China.
- Renat Bekturov, chair of the Stock Exchange at the Astana International Financial Center, discusses how financial technologies are used in investments in the stock market.
- The Issyk-Kul IT Forum ’22 will be held at the President’s residence in Cholpon-Ata September 22–23, 2022. The event is expected to become a platform for the exchange of experiences in digital transformation between Russian and Kyrgyz participants in the fintech industry.
- The vice president of Korea Telecom Corporation has presented proposals for increasing transparency and developing the economy of Kyrgyzstan to Prime Minister Akylbek Zhaparov. The proposals include the enhancement of digital infrastructure, the improvement of payment systems and the development of fintech innovations.
- Limon.KG has compiled a list of 12 accelerators from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan that invest in startups.
- Tajik fintech startup Alif has achieved annual revenue growth in excess of 150% as well as increased its number of users by 66%. The company plans on becoming a global Islamic fintech unicorn. Managing director Dilovar Amonov discusses the company’s success.
- Russian Forbes has named Uzbekistan as one of the six markets active in developing financial technologies.
- The Uzcard payment system team plans to launch a number of new solutions before the end of the year, including services for paying for internet purchases using international payment system cards.
- Ipak Yuli expects that the implementation of digital transformation initiatives will bring several tens of billions of dollars in benefits.
- Anorbank, the first digital bank in Uzbekistan, celebrated its second anniversary. The bank’s chair, Sherzod Akramov, stated that, since its launch, the bank has increased its total capital to UZS 225 billion, attracted assets of UZS 2,900 trillion and increased its loan portfolio to UZS 1,450 billion.
- Kapital and Ipak Yuli have tightened conditions for ‘card tourists’ following a continual 15–20% increase in the number of bank accounts opened by non-residents each quarter.
- Rustam Ulugbekov, head of Click, discusses how fintech is developing in Uzbekistan.
- Alexey Nagovitsyn, product director of the marketplace company Humans, talks about the impact of digital platforms on the fintech market and consumer habits.
- Avshar Gürdal, CEO of Mastercard for Azerbaijan and Turkey, discusses the launch of Google Pay in Azerbaijan as well as the future of cashless and contactless payments and the prospects for fintech companies.
- Taleh Kazimov, chair of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, announced the regulator’s medium-term plans to develop financial inclusiveness in the country, including work to improve the security of payment cards, the development of open banking, the role of fintechs, the creation of a legal framework to protect consumer rights and the creation of local rating agencies.
- International conference FINTECH360 will be held in Yerevan November 2–5, 2022. Key topics of this year’s event include: mobile services and contactless payments, marketplaces and banking ecosystems, digital currencies, interbank cross-border payments, cryptocurrency settlements, neobanks, Open Banking and green fintech. Inecobank, Unistream, Yandex Money, Unibank, QIWI, MAIB, Monobank and Beeline have all confirmed their participation.
- Russia’s Tinkoff has launched Tinkoff Business, which allows legal entities registered in the Russian Federation to make settlements with counterparties from Armenia and Uzbekistan in dollars and euros without limits.
- Ameriabank has been awarded the ‘Most Innovative Digital Bank in Central and Eastern Europe’ by Global Finance.
- The government of Georgia has approved an updated regulatory framework to regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies in the country. According to Deputy Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili, the package of legislative acts will help the country align with EU directives on payment services, on capital requirements and onvirtual asset service providers.
- The failure of the Coinbase crypto exchange allowed 900 traders from Georgia to enrich themselves with between USD 14 million and USD 140 million.
- Electronic payment systems Google Pay and Apple Pay are now available in Moldova.
- International fintech companies are not interested in entering the Moldovan market due to imperfections in local legislations regulating the industry.