BFC FinTech Monitor (29th November – 14th December)

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

  • CB Insights has released an updated map of the global unicorn club. Fintechs now represent 20.4% of this club.
  • App Annie has found that users have spent USD 135 billion on mobile apps so far in 2021.
  • Paypers has published an overview of open finance regulations around the world, finding that open banking is thriving in Europe, the US and southeast Asia. It also found that other regions, most notably Africa and Latin America, hold much promise for open banking in the

#Innovations and Neobanking

  • Users of Facebook’s Novi digital wallet will be able to transfer money via WhatsApp.
  • Facebook Messenger has started testing its Split Payments feature, which allows common expenses (e.g. rent) to be divided between several accounts.
  • Microsoft plans to build an extension into its Edge browser that will allow users to order products on sites in installments.
  • Goldman Sachs is making its financial data and analytics available to third parties through the Amazon Web Services Data Exchange initiative.
  • Latvian startup Nordigen is launching a set of new products to help developers create open banking apps.
  • Brazilian digital bank Nubank raised USD 2.6 billion during its initial public offering (IPO), becoming the most expensive financial institution in Latin America.


  • Visa will form a new cryptocurrency division to provide digital asset advisory services. The company believes this will have a positive effect on how fast financial instrument are adapted to accept cryptocurrencies in the market.
  • The Parliament of the European Union (EU) has announced an agreement with the European Council to pilot a program that will allow financial markets to use blockchain technologies.
  • Asia Business Law Journal has published a comparative review of non-fungible token (NFT) regulations worldwide.
  • The Omicron cryptocurrency rose 900% in value after the COVID-19 strain of the same name appeared.
  • Hackers withdrew more than USD 196 million from Bitmart, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • CIA chief William Burns stated that the crypto industry figures prominently within the analytical and intelligence work of the Agency.
  • Japan plans to limit the emission of stablecoins, believing that fiat-based tokens should only be issued by banks or payment companies.
  • Tax incentives for licensed crypto exchanges have been revoked within the UK.
  • Konzum, the largest retailer in Croatia, has started accepting cryptocurrency for payments made online.
  • Morgan Stanley analysts believe that the NFT market for luxury brands could reach USD 56 billion in less than 10 years.
  • Gou Wenjun, director of the Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center of the People’s Bank of China, has stated that China needs to develop and implement a mechanism for controlling cryptocurrency transactions.
  • Hackers have learned to use the resources of Cloud Google for cryptocurrency mining.
  • Investment company Defiance has announced the creation of an exchange-traded fund that will track the NFT sector.
  • Digital travel tokens may appear in Thailand and would likely help the country recoup some lost income stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

#Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)

  • Digital Asset Exchange is slated to launch in China to support local CBDC distribution.
  • France and Switzerland are completing their testing of cross-border payments in euros and Swiss francs.
  • Bank Indonesia is considering the launch of a national digital currency as a measure to combat cryptocurrencies in the country.


  • Deloitte Global analyst believe that requirements for deploying artificial intelligence (AI) systems for facial recognition may become more stringent in 2022, although they are also not likely to take effect quickly.
  • British fintech startup Thought Machine has raised USD 200 million from top players in the financial market and received unicorn status. The company develops software that helps large traditional banks move from legacy infrastructure to cloud platforms.


  • RB.RU, with the support of VTB Bank, has created an updated map of the Russian fintech market.
  • According to the Business Internet Banking Rank 2021 study from Markswebb, internet-based financial institutions for businesses are on the verge of completely digitalizing user tasks.
  • Sber chairman German Gref has stated his belief that the issuing of plastic cards is likely to decrease in the coming years due to the popularity of contactless payment methods.
  • The State Duma has adopted the draft Law on the Know Your Client Platform.
  • Beginning in October 2023, all payments apps will be required to accept payments made using Mir payment cards.
  • The Office of the Prosecutor General is insisting that the term “cryptocurrency” appear in Russian legislation.
  • According to draft Guidelines for the Digitalization of the Financial Market for 2022–2024, the Central Bank of Russia will test exchanges between the digital ruble and foreign currencies.
  • The international money transfer system WebMoney has been instructed by the Russian regulator to suspend money transfers and the replenishment of wallets for six months, starting December 7, 2021.
  • Nearly 50% of Russians disagree that cash-based payment methods should be cancelled.
  • Stanislav Kuznetsov, deputy chairman of the board of Sberbank, has stated that the volume of cyber fraud in Russia has reached its maximum.
  • publicly-available service for the independent assessment of the digital economy has begun operating in Russia within the framework of the Human Resources for the Digital Economy project, which is part of the national Digital Economy program.
  • In other news from Russian financial institutions:
    • Sberbank has launched a service for loans to friends. It also hopes to receive approval from the Central Bank of Russia on its platform for issuing digital financial assets by the end of the year.
    • Alfa-Bank has introduced AI into retail lending.
    • PSB has introduced an online service for accepting payments in Telegram.


  • Non-profit organization Open Banking Exchange has launched Open Banking Exchange Ukraine to support the development of open banking and open financing in the country.
  • The first NFT-marketplace, ArtBay, has launched in Ukraine. ArtBay sells digitized paintings, photographs and other art objects. PaySpace Magazine has also announced the country’s first-ever charity NFT auction.
  • Andrey Dovbenko, managing partner of Evris Invest, talks about if the Ukrainian market is ready to launch new financial platforms, what investment areas are most in demand and why agribusiness and IT have the best investment opportunities.
  • Oschadbank has presented a new app based on Flutter technology that will allow faster platform update.
  • Nikolay Shapovalov, managing partner of the QPDigital Venture Fund, discusses what nuances should be considered when launching a startup in Ukraine.
  • The Antimonopoly Committee is allowing Kazakh fintech giant to buy BTA Bank in Ukraine.


  • Belinvestbank has launched mobile SoftPOS acquiring for businesses, which allows users to accept non-cash payments using a smartphone via NFC module.
  • The number of bank payment cards among the population of Belarus decreased 237,600 in the first three quarters of 2021.


  • Google Pay has begun operations in Kazakhstan. Find a complete list of financial institutions and cards that are compatible with the payment service here.
  • The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Tayyab, an Islamic fintech startup.
  • According to the chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the development of a digital tenge prototype has been completed. He also stated that a decision on the introduction of the digital tenge will be made in 2022.
  • In a meeting with foreign investors, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev stated that the IPO for fintech giant has made it possible for the dynamism of the country’s capital market to increase.
  • Yerlan Khairov, Minister Counselor at the Consulate General of Kazakhstan in San Francisco, discusses how Kazakhstan is pursuing cooperation initiatives within Silicon Valley.
  • SME Banking Club presents information on, an online platform for small-sized and medium-sized businesses.
  • Freedom Holding Reg. plans to expand its range of services in Kazakhstan, including through the purchase of online payment aggregator
  • Halyk Bank has expanded its digital loan products available for small-sized and medium-sized businesses.
  • Timur Khudayberdiev, member of Kcell JSC’s board of directors, discusses what awaits the Kazakhstani mobile app market and whether super apps will replace independent services.


  • The Digital Ishker forum has named the O! Money payment service as 2021’s best fintech project in Kyrgyzstan.


  • Financial institutions operating in Tajikistan and Russia are planning to work together to create joint banking products for labor migrants.
  • Within the framework of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Youth for Business and Innovation project, a new mobile app has been launched to provide entrepreneurs with important information about legislation related to businesses, investing, benefits, state inspection plans and more.


  • The United Fintech payment system will begin operating in Uzbekistan in 2022, with Qulay Pul overseeing it.
  • Uzpromstroybank has received an award from JPMorgan Chase for the quality of its clearing of commercial US dollar payments.


  • Vusal Gasimli, executive director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications, announced that the state program for expanding digital payments has been 73% implemented.
  • Azerbaijan plans to develop a mobile app for the sale of insurance products.
  • Negotiations are underway with the Central Bank of Azerbaijan to bring Google Pay and Samsung Pay to Azerbaijan.
  • New legislation is planned to be drafted that will provide greater support to fintechs.
  • Mastercard and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan have signed a new five-year agreement that is expected to help grow the use of digital payments in the country.


  • Inecobank has launched a new buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service that allows customers to pay for purchases of up to AMD 5 million in installments of 3 or 6 months.
  • ACBA Bank clients can now get a consumer loan of up to AMD 5 million online. The service is available 24/7.


  • Georgia’s TBC Bank, which recently began operating in Uzbekistan, is now considering entering the Ukrainian market. Nika Kurdiani, deputy head of the bank, also discusses Space Neobank, its international success and its plans for the future.


  • Global Banking & Finance Review has listed fintech startup Fagura in its list of 100 Most Innovative and Promising Companies.