BFC FinTech Monitor (April 2023)

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:
    • As of Q4 2022, Stripe,, Revolut, Chime and Ripple are the top 5 fintech unicorns in the world.
    • According to the non-profit organization CFA Institute, 78% of institutional investors believe that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in decision-making improves investment results.
  • Innovations:
    • Mastercard has launched the Mastercard Cross-Border Services Express tool, which helps financial institutions organize international payments for individuals and legal entities in more than 60 currencies across 100 markets.
    • Bloomberg has developed its own language model for the financial sector. BloombergGPT is capable of analyzing the tone of texts and generating answers to applied financial questions.
    • The Innovation Center of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Singapore has created a multilateral payment network that combines various national fast payment systems.
  • Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi):
    • The European Parliament has passed a bill for the comprehensive regulation of the crypto industry. The primary provisions of the bill will come into effect one year after adoption.
    • The price of Bitcoin has increased 80% since the beginning of the year, surpassing the USD 30,000 mark.
    • Cryptocurrency has become a popular investment option in Singapore, with more than 40% of the country’s residents owning digital assets.
    • Intel will discontinue support for Blockscale chips used in bitcoin mining.
    • The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) plans to track data on cryptocurrencies and DeFi as part of the Atlas Project.
    • The European Parliament has approved a law that mandates all crypto payments for goods and services exceeding EUR 1,000 go through the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing system.
    • Credit Agricole CIB and SEB have developed a blockchain platform for issuing So|bond bonds.
    • The crypto exchange Uniswap has launched the Uniswap Mobile Wallet, a decentralized mobile wallet that enables users to buy cryptocurrencies at a commission of nearly half that of competing DeFi protocols.
    • According to The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong banks have started serving crypto companies.
    • BTG Pactual, one of the largest investment banks in South America, has introduced a dollar-pegged stablecoin called BTG Dol.
    • The UK government has scrapped Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s proposal to compel the Royal Mint to create an NFT, although the concept will remain under consideration.
    • Startup Blocktrace is developing a chatbot that employs ChatGPT to monitor blockchain transactions.
  • Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs):
    • The Digital Currency Administration (DCMA) has launched an international CBDC called Universal Monetary Unit (UMU).
    • The European Banking Federation (EBF) has proposed a concept for a digital euro ecosystem.
    • Cathy Fortune, senior manager in charge of the Bank of England’s CBDC, has stated that the digital pound may not necessarily include programming features in order to avoid public perception of authorities interfering in the CBDC project.
    • According to Bank of Japan chairman Haruhiko Kuroda, CBDCs should coexist with other forms of money and digital currencies such as stablecoins.
    • The Central Bank of Israel has outlined the conditions for launching the digital shekel based on CBDC decisions taken by the US, EU and others.
    • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has noticed an unprecedented uptick in the level of interest in CBDCs, with 30 countries already working with IMF on CBDC issues and another 40 requesting IMF assistance in this regard.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Applications are now open for fintech startups to participate in the Visa Everywhere Initiative Competition. The deadline for submissions is May 14, 2023.
    • Mobile apps enabling billions of dollars to be withdrawn from deposits at Silicon Valley Bank within hours are posing a new risk to bank liquidity planning.
    • Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch a savings account in the US that offers an annual rate of 4.15% to customers with an Apple Card. Apple has also introduced a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service enabling customers to split purchases into four equal payments.
    • Mastercard has announced its plan to use more sustainable materials, including bioplastics, in its payment cards.
    • Lloyds Banking Group is seeking fintech companies to participate in its Launch Innovation Program.
    • WhatsApp has launched a new feature for Brazilian users that allows them to pay for purchases directly through the chat function of the messenger app.
    • Microsoft has developed an AI-powered tool called Security Copilot to assist cybersecurity experts.
    • The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its first version of guidance for AI risk management.
    • The European Union (EU) is planning to create a pan-European digital identity wallet capable of storing digital versions of ID cards, medical cards, certificates and other documents.
    • Finastra will partner with the platform Alygne to help asset managers make smarter investments based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS) startup Loft Accelerator has launched the AWS FinTech Africa Accelerator Program to support early-stage fintech companies in Africa.
    • Fintech startup Sibstar will collaborate with the Alzheimer’s Society and Mastercard to offer financial solutions for people with dementia.


  • The Crypto & IT & Marketing Conference will be held in Lviv on May 20, 2023 and feature topics related to Web3, blockchain and the metaverse.
  • The Ministry of Digital Development has signed a memorandum with Techosystem for the development of the fintech industry. It is expected that this will contribute to the development of a startup ecosystem and innovation infrastructure in Ukraine.
  • The National Bank of Ukraine has made a number of changes to the structure of the BankID system aimed at increasing the level of protection of confidential customer data during transactions.
  • The Ukrainian crypto-exchange Kuna is blaming local regulators for its decision to stop supporting the hryvnia.
  • A recent study by Analytical Center MasterIndex found that over half (51%) of Ukrainian respondents are willing to completely switch to digital banking within the next two years.
  • The State Tax Service of Ukraine in the Lviv region has clarified that income generated from operations involving cryptocurrency is subject to taxation.
  • Over 500 companies, including developers of immersive solutions and products for augmented reality, have joined the City tax project.
  • Fintech Farm (founded by Dmitry Dubilet, Oleksandr Vityaz and Mykola Bezkrovny) has launched a new neobank in Vietnam, attracting over USD 20 million in investments.
  • Privatbank has introduced a new feature that allows users of the Paysera fintech service to make money transfers through the PrivatMoney system.
  • Monobank has recently simplified its internet payment system, including updated its algorithms and transaction limits.
  • The Ministry of Digital Development plans to expand its cooperation with Clearview AI, a facial recognition program creator.


  • The National Bank of Kazakhstan has removed Mastercard from its list of significant payment systems, which now includes the regulator’s interbank clearing system, VISA and the Zolotaya Korona money transfer system.
  • Negotiations are underway with regulators for Binance Kazakhstan to issue its own crypto card.
  • Rafal Trepka, CEO of Mastercard in Kazakhstan, discusses the company’s achievements over the past decade.
  • kz has published an article on the regulation of cryptoexchanges in Kazakhstan.
  • Sun Finance Group has been recognized as the fastest-growing fintech company in Europe for the third consecutive year.
  • Fintech startup tayyab has launched an auto-sadaqah option for Islamic payment cards that allows users to set up automatic donations to a charitable foundation account based on a percentage of each transaction made.
  • Neotech founder and owner Felix Khachatryan discusses current fintech market trends in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan.


  • MEGA CEO Nurlan Mamytov has hopes that the MEGA Pay app could become the Kyrgyz version of Tinkoff and Kaspi.
  • PLUS magazine has published an article summarizing the key takeaways of and the developments discussed at the Digital Kyrgyzstan Forum.



  • The new Visa Unlocking the Benefits of Digital Payments study, which surveyed more than 700 residents of Namangan, Samarkand and Tashkent, has found that most people believe that digital payments have had a positive impact on their business and personal lives.
  • Uzbekistan-based fintech startup IMAN has received funding from the international venture fund 500 Global. While the exact amount of investment remains undisclosed, the fund typically invests up to USD 500,000 in early-stage startups.
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and TBC Bank Group PLC have collectively invested USD 28.1 million in TBC Bank Uzbekistan.
  • Fintech expert Alexander Melnikov, who previously worked with Humans and Sberbank, shared his insights on the future of the financial technology market in Uzbekistan.
  • Two new neobanks–Apex Bank and Hayot Bank–have been registered with the Central Bank of Uzbekistan.


  • Fintex Summit 2023 is scheduled to take place in Baku June 13–14, 2023 and cover topics related to financial ecosystems, open banking, the future of payments, digital assets, big data in banking and fintech, BaaS, cybersecurity and digital onboarding.
  • The Azerbaijani regulator does not view the simplification of e-KYC processes as an effective means to enhance financial inclusion.


  • Chris Skinner, an independent observer of financial markets and fintech expert, believes that Armenia has the potential to become a hub for digitalization as well as the main fintech hub of the region.


  • Gate Pay, the payment service of io, has formed a partnership with Georgian payment operator that will allow more than 600 merchants throughout Georgia to accept cryptocurrency payments.
  • The digital payment volume in Georgia is expected to surpass USD 1 billion by 2023.


  • Maib, the largest bank in Moldova, reports that one in five loans and every second deposit are processed online, highlighting the bank’s success in digital transformation.
  • Several Moldovan startups will showcase their solutions at the Seamless Middle East Exhibition in Dubai.