BFC FinTech Monitor (16th – 25th November)

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

  • A new Frost & Sullivan report indicates that e-commerce and banking are expected to undergo some of the most sweeping and visible changes in the coming decade. This includes the introduction of digital ids, the further development of blockchain-based solutions and blockchain integrations with biometrics.

#Innovations and Neobanking

  • Societe Generale is transitioning to a new data-driven model of operations. For this transition, the French financial conglomerate has developed more than 330 data-use cases, 170 of which were based on artificial intelligence (AI). They’ve also created a hybrid platform that combines private and public clouds.
  • In a recent rating of neobank popularity across the world, Revolut has become the most-demanded neobank in 17 countries.

#Cryptocurrencies

  • The world’s first cryptocurrency city is city planned to be built in the La Union region of El Salvador. The city will use only renewable geothermal energy sources, and residents are expected to be exempt from paying all taxes except VAT.
  • The European Union (EU) has launched a cross-border payment system using PISA cryptocurrencies as part of its Central Bank program. It is expected that large international financial companies will fully switch to the system by November 15, 2022.
  • Payment company Stripe is considering accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method. 
  • US President Joe Biden signed a bill restricting cryptocurrency holders from using the wash sale technique (buying back a security after it has been sold at a loss) to minimize tax responsibilities.
  • Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has proposed a new cryptocurrency use – creating cryptocurrency city tokens that will fill city coffers and contribute to the transparency of taxation and public procurement.
  • Chinese authorities are planning to introduce special electricity tariffs for large organizations and state-owned enterprises that mine cryptocurrencies.
  • A bill has been prepared in India to ban all private cryptocurrencies. At the same time, the country is working to create its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
  • According to the Financial Times, government funds could potentially become investors in the largest cryptoexchange, Binance. 
  • Israel has introduced AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism) regulations for cryptocurrency service providers.
  • John Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England, warns that the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and their integration with traditional financial services can create systemic risks for financial institutions. 
  • PayPal customers will be able to pay with cryptocurrencies in its new app. The new feature does, however, require a W-9 tax reporting form to be filled out.
  • Ned Segal, director of Twitter, stated that there is no reason to invest corporate funds into bitcoin at the moment.
  • Citigroup, one of the largest international financial conglomerates, is planning to recruit 100 specialists to work with digital assets in the institutional sector.
  • Authorities of the city of Williston, North Dakota (USA) have installed a bitcoin ATM at their international airport. The ATM allows more than 40 different cryptocurrencies to be bought and sold on it.
  • Square has unveiled a decentralized cryptoexchange and tbDEX protocol to make it easier for individuals to access digital assets.
  • South Korea’s parliament is discussing the feasibility of introducing know-your-sender (KYS) rules for reporting cryptocurrency transactions.

#Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)

  • John Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England, has announced that every fifth deposit made from companies and individuals can be transitioned to the country’s CBDC.
  • The Digital Currency Forum Group of Japanese Companies will begin testing the digital yen in January 2022.
  • Tim Massad, former chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has stated that the US should consider the potential of CBDCs and digital assets as a means to achieve greater financial inclusion.
  • Just 3 weeks after its launch, nearly half a million users in Nigeria have downloaded the country’s CBDC digital wallet.
  • Ripple will assist Palau in developing an energy-efficient CBDC that is pegged to the US dollar (the country’s national currency).
  • Brazil plans on testing its CBDC in 2022.

#Miscellaneous

  • Collins Dictionary has named “NFT” (non-fungible token) as its main word for 2021.
  • The European Payments Initiative (EPI) is calling for active funding to accelerate its development.

Russia

  • Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Bank of Russia, stated that testing the digital ruble will take at least 1 year. She further noted that the digital ruble will only be launched on a large scale when the regulator is convinced that all conditions are met for its successful and beneficial use in Russia.
  • According to Pavel Novikov (director of the Center for Innovations in the Financial Sector of the Skolkovo Fund), the level of penetration of fintech services in Russia has reached 82%, behind only China and India.
  • Blockchain platform Masterchain plans to issue digital financial assets, the market for which may exceed RUB 1 trillion.
  • NAUMEN study of 103 retail banks in Russia has found that 1 in 5 Russian banks does not provide services to customers via digital channels.
  • Russian retailer X5 Group is piloting financial services under the brand X5 Bank.
  • According to research by Global Finance, Sberbank has become the best retail digital bank in the world. Sberbank was also selected as the best digital bank for private and corporate clients in Central and Eastern Europe, the best digital bank in social media marketing for corporate clients and the best digital bank in web design for private clients.
  • 5 large Russian banks are examining the possibility of cancelling commissions for Visa card transfers made by phone number.
  • The Bank of Russia has made amendments to the Main Directions for the Development of the Financial Market of the Russian Federation for 2022 and the Period of 2023 and 2024. In particular, the regulator will increase its focus on promoting digitalization, including the development of digital profile services and open interfaces (open APIs) as well as services on the Masterchain platform, the fast payment system (FPS), the Mir payment system and the Marketplace project.
  • VTB is launching transfers via QR-code, Bluetooth and AirDrop.

Ukraine

  • Revolut has registered an official legal entity in Ukraine.
  • According to the National Bank of Ukraine, 1 in 9 active payment cards in Ukraine is tokenized.
  • The mobile operator lifecell is planning to actively enter the fintech services market next year.
  • The first NFT conference in Ukraine will take place on November 27, 2021 in both offline and online formats.
  • The creators of the website Minfin, with support from the investment company Dragon Capital, are preparing to launch the Multi Invest app for private investors. The app will allow users to invest in shares of foreign companies, exchange traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies and domestic government bonds.
  • The Mind has prepared material about the most interesting fintech solutions from Ukrainian developers for local and international companies.

Kazakhstan

  • Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, has instructed that work resume on the formation of a balanced regulatory environment for the creation of cryptoexchanges in the country.
  • The crypto mining company Xive closed a mining farm of 2,500 devices in Kazakhstan due to a lack of electricit.
  • Senator Gumar Duisembayev expects that mobile payments and transfers in Kazakhstan will soon become dominant in the country, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged small- and medium-sized businesses to increase their usage of instant mobile transfers.
  • The first fintech accelerator of Kazakhstan held the Kazakhstan: A Window to Central Asia: Advantages, Opportunities and Support Measures for Startups workshop within the framework of the GoGlobal Forum 2021. Read more about it on the PROFIT portal.
  • Maria Guseva, director of strategy and consulting practices for Financial Sector Accenture in Russia and Kazakhstan, discusses how the digital tenge will affect the development of the country’s economy.
  • The volume of non-cash card transactions in January–September 2021 increased 2.2 times year-on-year, reaching KZT 49.6 trillion.
  • Kazakhstan, using blockchain technology, has completely digitized the process of applying for a mortgage and buying an apartment. The whole process now takes approximately 15 minutes and can be completed online from anywhere in the world without the intervention of traditional bureaucratic procedures.

Kyrgyzstan

  • The draft Law on the Development of Fintech has been submitted for public discussion. The draft law proposes establishing KGS 18 million in authorized capital obligations for fintechs, 3% of the amount required for banks.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated USD 1 million for the implementation of a blockchain project to digitalize public procurement processes in Kyrgyzstan. The funds will be used to develop an end-to-end procurement system, purchase server equipment and create new and improve existing software for data exchange between government agencies.

Uzbekistan

  • The National Agency for Project Management Under the President has registered an order with the Ministry of Justice that gives residents of Uzbekistan the right to carry out exchange trading with cryptoassets and tokens in the national currency. Non-residents may only sell cryptoassets and tokens in a foreign currency.
  • The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has authorized the operation of the GlobalPay electronic money system.
  • National Bank and the international fintech company Solfy are planning to jointly launch an interest-free installment plan that will allow holders to make purchases in installments without interest, hidden fees or commissions for up to 12 months.
  • Experts with Visa have shared their experiences in risk monitoring with representatives of Uzbek banks at a forum organized by the Central Bank of Uzbekistan. They also discussed trends in cyber threats and fraud.

Azerbaijan

  • Nikita Yudin, a head of Startup Grind Baku, discusses the peculiarities of the Azerbaijani startup ecosystem and highlights the most successful startup projects.

Armenia

  • IDBank and Idram have become the first financial institutions in Armenia to present a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service called Rocket Line. The service will allow users to make purchases and pay for them within 6 months.
  • According to data from the Central Bank of Armenia, growth in the volume of plastic card transactions has slowed in the first 9 months of 2021 to 21.6%, amounting to AMD 2.3 trillion. During the first 9 months of 2020, growth in the volume of plastic card transactions was 32.5%.

[related_posts_by_tax format="thumbnails" image_size="thumbnail" order="RAND" exclude_terms="10" posts_per_page="3" title=""]