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BFC FinTech Monitor 18th – 28th September

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:

  • The European Commission (EC) is planning the launch of a regulatory sandbox for testing blockchain projects. The sandbox, expected to be ready by 2022, will be used to evaluate blockchain use cases both within the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) and beyond. It is worth nothing that full-fledged cryptocurrency regulations are not expected to appear in the European Union (EU) until 2024 or later.
  • The Astana International Financial Center has released its FinTech Market Entry into the CIS publication, which provides valuable information on trends and the general state of FinTech markets in the CIS region.
  • According to the managing director of Citi and the CEO of Flywire, FinTechs and traditional financial institutions have entered a new era of cooperation, providing numerous benefits to the financial services industry as a whole.
  • According to an Accenture survey of business executives, digital projects are not seeing adequate returns on investment due to divisions within companies competing against each other rather than cooperating on digitalization projects.
  • The first crypto bank will soon open its doors in the United States. The large cryptocurrency exchange Krake has received its license from the state of Wyoming and will soon allow consumers to pay bills, receive a salary and save in investment portfolios completely in digital assets.
  • The Financial Times explored the story of a Revolut user trying to retrieve GBP 150,000 for two months. The individual had tried to transfer the sum through the neobank; however, it continually showed a status of “in progress”. Such cases have caused much concern in the general public about the standards of service of digital banks.
  • According to sustainable finance consultant Sandy Trust, financial institutions need to move beyond traditional models of risk assessment that analyze past events and on to new models that forecast future changes.

Russia:

  • TJournal has published a detailed analysis of the first online Sberbank conference. At the conference, the bank presented a rebranded versions of itself, including new-look offices, new ATMs, TV integration, cloud-based services and ecosystem device capabilities.
  • Yandex has agreed to buy TCS Group for USD 5.48 billion. TCS Group includes a bank, an insurance company, a travel service company, an investment company, a virtual mobile operator and a development and education center.
  • The founders of Modulbank have raised nearly USD 20 million to expand Finom, a neobank for small businesses, further into Europe as well as to develop new products and services.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has celerated the growth of cashless transactions in Russia nearly 5 times. At the same time, experts note that some sellers are still pushing for cash or phone number transfers in order to avoid taxes and fees associated with bank card transactions.
  • Visa has certified the Tap-to-Phone solution for accepting contactless payments on smartphones and tablets in Russia. This allows any Android device with NFC capability to become a POS terminal that can accept contactless payments.

Ukraine:

  • The 2020 iteration of the annual GDPR Summit Ukraine will be held in Kiev on October 7, 2020. View the program for the event here.
  • The National Bank of Ukraine will conduct remote checks of payment companies during the current period of quarantine and restrictive movement.
  • Clients of 10 Ukrainian banks will be able to make contactless payments using the Mi Smart Band 4 NFC fitness bracelet from Xiaomi. The bracelet allows users to add up to 6 Mastercard accounts via the Mi Fit app.

Kazakhstan:

  • Banks in Kazakhstan (including the National Bank) are not eager to work with cryptocurrencies due to the lack of specifics in current legislation. At the same time, the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry is planning to present news regulations for the release and circulation of secured digital assets this autumn.
  • Capital has published an interview with Eldar Tenizbaev, the head of Sberbank in Kazakhstan. During the interview, Mr. Tenizbaev discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviors, whether online services can completely replace physical ones and what areas in banking still need to be developed in the country.

Turkmenistan:

  • Rysgal Bank has become the first in Turkmenistan to launch QR code-based payments for goods and services. The bank is confident that this new development will improve the availability of financial services and improve the quality of services for private entrepreneurship and other industries in the country.
  • Natalia Tamirisa of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has noted that Turkmenistan has the potential to attract more foreign investments into its financial sector if the country undertakes large-scale reforms. In particular, she noted the need to strengthen the prudential system to maintain financial stability, the need to gradually close unsystematic and insolvent state-owned banks and the need to privatize or recapitalize other banks in the public sector.

Uzbekistan:

  • The National Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs is preparing to connect to the SPFS system for transferring financial messages. SPFS is an analogue of the SWIFT system operated by the Bank of Russia.
  • The National Interbank Processing Center and Visa will issue joint cards in Uzbekistan, allowing residents to use a single Visa-HUMO card for payments both within the country and abroad.

Azerbaijan:

  • Rovshan Najaf, Deputy Minister of Economy, recently gave a speech during an Asian Development Bank (ADB) webinar, during which he outlined the importance of new technologies, innovations and digitalization for the development of the Azerbaijani economy.

Armenia:

  • The Skrill online payment system has been launched in Armenia, allowing individuals and legal entities to receive, transfer and withdraw money using Visa cards registered in the country.
  • Ameriabank customers are now able to follow international SWIFT transfers 24/7 by using Ameriabank’s mobile and online banking capabilities.
  • The Minister of High Technologies has announced that a single digital platform in Armenia will be created early next year.
  • The EasyPay payment system has partnered with the Payoneer platform under the Payoneer for Banks program. This will make it faster and easier for businesses of all sizes to make and receive payments independent of geographical location.

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