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
- The volume of investment in the fintech industry continues to decline in all regions, with fintech funding down 33% in the second quarter of 2022 as compared to the first quarter. At the same time, the share of early-stage transactions is growing.
- A Transparency Market Research report predicts that the global biometrics market will reach USD 136.18 billion by 2031. Growth is expected to be driven by the steady adoption of biometrics for identification and authentication in the banking, insurance, automotive, military, fintech and healthcare sectors.
- Salaam Gateway, DinarStandard and Elipses has released the 2022 Islamic FinTech Report, which includes an analysis of Islamic fintech markets in Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, the Global Islamic Fintech Index and a database of Islamic fintech companies in the world.
- Forbes Middle East has released a list of the top 25 fintech companies in the Middle East. Most (70%) are located in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
- The Bank for International Settlements Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure is inviting comments on the G20 Cross-Border Payments Program Promotion Report on Promoting Widespread Acceptance of Payment Against Payment.
#Innovations and Neobanking
- Norwegian companies IDEX Biometrics and Reltime have launched Europe’s first biometric Web 3.0 payment card, which features a ‘cold storage’ function for cryptocurrencies.
#Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
- A joint study by Deloitte and PayPal has found that an increasing number of private companies will begin using cryptocurrencies as part of their everyday services.
- The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is planning to collect trade data (“off-grid crypto data”, or crypto transactions that do not originate from blockchains) on crypto transactions.
- Investors are warning of further volatility in digital asset markets amid International Monetary Fund forecasts of a slowdown in global economic growth.
- The number of cryptocurrency ATMs worldwide now exceeds 40,000.
- British neobank Revolut will increase the number of staff it has involved in cryptocurrency technologies.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini will partner with open banking provider Plaid to enable UK users to buy digital assets through their bank accounts.
- The European Banking Authority is concerned about how it will enforce new cryptocurrency regulations planned to come into force in 2025 as the regulator still lacks the ability to control digital assets due to a lack of staff.
- Payments giant Strike is preparing to release Strike Card, its own cryptocurrency card.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is partnering with Mastercard to issue crypto cards in Argentina. The exchange also recently lost billions and 90% of its customers due to know-your-customer (KYC) checks.
- Meta has expanded its NFT integration pilot for Instagram, making the new functionality is available to users in 100 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and North and South America.
- Fashion house Gucci has become the first major brand to accept payments in the digital currency ApeCoin (APE). However, this only applies to US customers for now.
#Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
- Analysts at the US Treasury’s Financial Research Administration have found that a well-designed CBDC can only contribute to financial stability.
- The European Central Bank has stated that CBDCs represent a best solution for cross-border payments due to their low cost and security.
- British bank Barclays will host the Barclays CBDC Hackathon September 27–28, 2022, with the goals of promoting the emergence of new technologies in large banks and exploring the potential of a CBDC in payments.
- The Bank of Japan is not ready to issue its own digital currency due to a lack of public interest. According to the regulator, the majority of citizens do not yet support the idea of a CBDC.
- The Central Bank of Thailand plans to pilot retail CBDC developments before the end of the year.
- The Viber app has launched the Payments on Viber payment service, which allows users to set up digital wallets linked to messenger accounts.
- Online broker Robinhood is facing a class-action lawsuit for market manipulation.
- American Express has launched American Express Global Pay, a digital B2B payment solution that allows business customers to send payments to more than 40 countries in various currencies.
- Finextra, one of the world’s leading fintech publications, will hold the first Financial Cloud Summit on March 2, 2023 in London.
- Investment firm Portage is planning to raise up to USD 1 billion for a new fund that targets late-stage fintech startups.
- Italian payment company Nexi will partner with Microsoft to digitize payment solutions and secure cloud infrastructures in the European market.
- Five Turkish banks are introducing the Russian payment system Mir.
- American fintech company FinTech Automation (FTA) has become a Mastercard for open banking in the Mastercard Engage partner network. Its mission is to spur innovation through access to its open banking platform.
- Pakistani fintech startup DBank has received USD 17.6 million in investments. The company has already applied for a digital retail banking license in Pakistan and is preparing to serve those who do not have access to banking services in Pakistan and throughout the pan-Islamic world.
- The Israeli government has imposed a restriction on the use of cash in order to combat money laundering.
- Jack Ma is planning to relinquish control of Ant Group due to regulatory pressure.
- The State Tax University has launched the new Financial Technologies educational program.
- The first crypto bank may soon appear in Ukraine, which is likely to focus on digital businesses interacting with the global WEB 3.0 economy.
- The National Bank of Ukraine has begun actively working on Ukraine’s accession to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).
- Fintech company Wise has blocked the accounts of charitable foundations that helped Ukraine.
- The Ministry of Digital Development intends to launch an online platform that will give access to data to banks. In return, they will be able to better provide social benefits.
- Yulia Barabash, managing partner of SBSB Fintech Lawyers, discusses the state of the cryptocurrency market.
- The BankID system of the National Bank of Ukraine is becoming more and more in demand as 6.5 million electronic identifications were carried out using the system in the second quarter of 2022, a 25% year-on-year increase.
- More than USD 1 million will be given to Ukrainian startups under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Competitive Economy of Ukraine program.
- Monobank clients can no longer use borrowed funds on preferential terms.
- Privatbank and MoneyGram have launched a service for direct transfers to hryvnia accounts.
- Customers of West Oil Group filling stations can now top up any Ukrainian bank card in cash at checkout.
- The National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) and the Center for the Development of Payments and Financial Technologies of the NBK have published the Development of Open API, Open Banking and the Ecosystem of Digital Financial Services in the Republic of Kazakhstan overview report.
- The volume of venture investments at the Tech Hub site of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) now exceeds USD 10 million. The main areas of startup work are venture investments, which are developing in the areas of payments, transfers, mobile wallets and financial software.
- The Department of the Financial Monitoring Agency of Kazakhstan has launched an investigation into the organization of a ‘mining’ financial pyramid.
- Russia’s MTS-Bank now offers Korti Milli card users of Tajik banks the opportunity to replenish their cards at their outlets.
- The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has prepared a draft regulation on the introduction of a special legal regime for a regulatory sandbox in the field of financial services.
- Access to the websites of popular foreign crypto exchanges has been blocked in Uzbekistan due to the lack of licenses to operate in the country.
- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have each provided neobank TBC Uzbekistan with USD 7 million in financing.
- Instant transfers from Mir cards to UZCARD cards has become available in Uzbekistan.
- Vladimir Dobrynin, founder of the fintech platform Humans, discusses the company’s first successes in the Uzbek market as well as a new function that allows the transfer of savings from a cashback account to other users.
- PLUS magazine has published the details of the Banks and Retail. Digital Transformation and Interaction exhibition, which took place at the end of May 2022.
- The Plug and Play innovation platform office is expected to open in Uzbekistan this autumn.
- The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is discussing the launch of the Russian Mir payment system in the country.
- According to the regional manager of Visa for Central Asia, e-commerce, contactless payments and tokenization will serve as the basis for further innovations in Azerbaijan.
- Artur Janibekyan (philanthropist and entrepreneur), Hakob Hakobyan and Avag Simonyan (co-founders of Seaside Startup Summit) have founded a new international venture company called Triple S Ventures. The company is targeting startups working in artificial intelligence (AI), fintech, SaaS platforms, the creative economy and blockchains.