BFC FinTech Monitor 18th – 26th January

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

  • Organizers of the World Economic Forum are devoting a separate session to cryptocurrencies. During the session, the declining role of cash and the emergence of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will be discussed at length.
  • The European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB) will jointly explore potential challenges related to the launch of the digital euro.
  • New U.S. President Joe Biden has frozen digital asset regulation in the U.S. as a part of a sweeping 60-day freeze on all pending Trump-era regulations. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called on a compromised approach to cryptocurrency development and regulation.
  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has approved, in concept, a single financial market. In theory, this will enable the simplified and non-discriminatory access of financial market entities to all EEU markets.
  • Santander, Spain’s largest bank, has invested EUR 2 million in the local startup Connecting Visions, which aims to bring together small businesses and experts who can help them solve specific problems.
  • German telecommunications chip maker Infineon and Mastercard have released the world’s first multifunctional employee ID card. The new solution replaces security badges and also allows payments and digital business card transfers via NFC.
  • The China Blockchain Platform Network is developing an international payment system for national digital currencies that will be compatible with any information system (bank, insurance company, etc.). At the same time, the Central Bank of China is planning to tighten antitrust rules for the non-bank payments industry, which will primarily affect Alipay Ant Group and Tencent’s WeChat Pay.
  • mapping service has raised USD 50 million in a decentralized financial (DeFi) ecosystem. The funds will be used to create a multi-currency wallet built into the app. Investors believe that this will help popularize the DeFi sector.
  • FinTech services aggregator Plaid is preparing to expand into Europe, increasing its staff in Europe from 40 to 100. This move comes after the breakdown of a recent deal with Visa.
  • ByteDance (the owner of TikTok) has launched a payment service for the Chinese version of the TikTok app (Douyin). It can be used to pay for virtual gifts, tokens and goods within the application. Currently, the service only works in China.


  • According to AlfaBeta analysts, effective digital transformation could earn Russia up to USD 520 billion, about a quarter of the country’s GDP.
  • MTS Bank and TalkBank are launching banking services in messengers. The MTS TalkBank2 bot will help users apply for cards, manage their financial services and complete other requests within the MTS ecosystem. It will be available 24/7.
  • The head of Visa in Russia discusses a recent prediction that the share of non-cash payments will increase to 90% as well as why QR payments have not taken root in the country and the estimated the costs of introducing the digital ruble.
  • 4 useful longreads: (1) an overview of the first digital banking trends in 2021, (2) recommendations for using FinTech developments to grow a business on, (3) tips from Markswebb on how to make your mobile bank safer without sacrificing convenience and (4) an interview with a board member Alfa-Bank discussing the future of robots in banking, the search for digital talent, working in the cloud and the dangers of building ecosystems.
  • Sberbank plans to launch a remote identification service using the Unified Biometric System (UBS). They are also preparing to release their own digital currency.


  • The Ministry of Digital Transformation has released an educational series about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It consists of 8 short episodes in which experts share advice and answer frequently-asked questions on the topic.
  • The 7th Legal Banking Forum and Bank of the Year 2021 awards ceremony will be held in Kiev on February 10, 2021. View the program of events here.
  • The National Bank of Ukraine has introduced new onsite inspection and offsite supervision control measures over Ukrainian financial institutions. The regulator believes that these are necessary to strengthen cyber protection and information security.


  • Mastercard and Alfa-Bank have launched a money transfer service using the Mastercard Transfers Hub. The new service allows users to receive and send money to Visa and Mastercard cards issued at any bank in Belarus.


  • Zhanna Musrepova, manager of the Technological Strategy Department of Accenture in Kazakhstan, explains how and why banks should migrate to the cloud.
  • Home Credit has been recognized as the best digital bank in Kazakhstan at the annual international Asiamoney Best Bank Awards. Karel Horak, head of the bank, discusses the importance of the award and how the bank earned it.
  • Eurasian Bank and Mastercard have announced the pilot launch of the ProstoPOS application in Kazakhstan. With it, users can accept payments from bank cards and devices directly to their Android smartphone using NFC capabilities.
  • Jysan Bank has launched a free QR business card service that allows business owners to educate customers on all of their services and increase customer loyalty.


  • Spot has examined the latest survey from the Central Bank of Uzbekistan to uncover why the pandemic did not lead to a reduction in the circulation of cash in the country. The main factors identified were the financial illiteracy of the population, the weak growth of e-commerce in the country and poor infrastructure development.
  • Uzpromstroybank has started working with the largest payment system in Japan, JCB. This collaboration will result in all Uzpromstroybank ATM terminals currently servicing the Humo network also having the ability to service JCB cards.


  • Nuru Khalilov, director of the Small and Medium Business Department of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, discusses the launch and features of the Entrepreneurs Club platform, the impact of COVID-19 on its functionality and the bank’s plans to introduce new online services for entrepreneurs.


  • Ardshinbank has started installing contactless ATMs, which allow users to bring their cards close to the card reader instead of physically inserting them into the machine.


  • Vera Platonova, senior vice president and regional director of Visa for the CIS and Southeastern Europe, discusses the digital solutions that Visa launched in the region and in Georgia last year.


  • Moldova Agroindbank, the largest commercial bank in Moldova, is launching a loan project to support businesses during the pandemic. Funds for the project were allocated by the Council of Europe Development Bank as part of the Emergency Response to COVID-19 and Support for Micro-, Small– and Medium-Sized Enterprises program.