BFC FinTech Monitor (December 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

  • Analysts at investment bank Jeffries believe that the problems facing European payment companies will only intensify in 2024 due to a difficult macroeconomic situation. »»»
  • According to a report from research firms ACI Worldwide and GlobalData, losses from authorized payment fraud in the top 6 payment markets (Australia, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US) are expected to reach USD 6.8 billion in 2027. »»»


  • Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services will be available in Google Pay for American users from 2024. »»»
  • Mastercard has introduced Shopping Muse. The new technology allows users to receive personalized product recommendations based on AI. »»» Mastercard is also launching the Wallet Express Program to accelerate the spread of digital wallets in Europe. »»»
  • Apple is considering opening access to its NFC module for third-party payment services. »»»

#Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • The European Parliament, the European Commission (EC) and European Union (EU) countries have, in principle, reached an agreement on the world’s first artificial intelligence legislation. »»»
  • Google has launched the Gemini AI model within the Bard chatbot. The initial version is available in English in more than 170 countries. »»»
  • Singapore has released an updated version of its national AI strategy. The updated version contains plans to improve government competence, create a “smart nation” and increase computing power. »»»
  • Global investment firm BlackRock is launching generative AI tools for both employees and clients. »»»
  • Mastercard has released its Generative AI: The Transformation of Banking report, which describes 10 key areas for using generative AI in banking. »»»

#Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in collaboration with the World Bank (WB) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), has begun work on the tokenization of financial instruments. »»»
  • Residents of Argentina will be able to make some payments in cryptocurrency. »»»
  • A survey by the Grayscale Foundation has shown that 70% of American voters want a presidential candidate that understands cryptocurrencies and other innovative technologies. »»»
  • According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 42 countries implemented regulatory initiatives in 2023. »»»
  • CoinGecko recently conducted an analysis of the state of cryptocurrency legal standings around the world, finding that cryptocurrencies are legal in 119 countries, neutral in 25 countries and banned in 22 countries. »»»
  • American financial holding JPMorgan Chase expects that Ethereum (ETH) could eclipse the growth of Bitcoin in 2024. »»»
  • The Coinbase exchange has launched the ability to complete crypto transfers using links sent to Telegram and WhatsApp. »»»
  • The EU has prohibited citizens of the Russian Federation from owning or managing crypto companies within its territories. »»»

#Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)

  • A BIS advisory group believes that central banks, in general, currently lack the experience and skills needed to mitigate CBDC risks. »»»
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) plans to test the use of a CBDC in wholesale payments. »»»
  • Ri Chang Yong, Governor of the Central Bank of South Korea, has stated that stablecoins are forcing regulators to rush into issuing CBDCs. »»»


  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched the Youth in Business Program in Central Asia. The program aims to develop youth entrepreneurship by providing financial support and training to MSMEs run by entrepreneurs under the age of 35 years. The official launch of the program took place in Tashkent on December 12 with the support of Swiss consulting boutique Business & Finance Consulting (BFC), which is responsible for technical assistance within the program. »»»
  • The European Parliament has approved a draft regulatory framework for a pan-European digital identity system that includes the implementation of an EU digital identity wallet. »»»
  • The Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to approve specifications for the Wi-Fi 7 standard by March 2024. »»»
  • A team of researchers, led by scientists from Harvard University and funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has succeeded in creating a processor that could revolutionize quantum computing. »»»
  • Ripple continues to collaborate with leading European universities as part of the University Blockchain Research Initiative program (UBRI), which aims to intensify academic research on blockchain and attract a new generation to innovation in the cryptosphere. »»»


  • At the request of IMF, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) and the National Commission for Securities and Stock Market are preparing a draft bill on the regulation of virtual assets. The draft bill is expected to be ready by June 2024. »»»
  • The winners of PaySpace Magazine’s 2023 fintech awards have been announced, with Whitepay awarded as best cryptocurrency project, awarded as best online payment service and monobank awarded as best neobank. »»»
  • NBU plans to initiate the process of Ukraine’s accession to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) in 2024. »»»
  • The British company Fintech Farm, known for launching neobanks Leobank (in Azerbaijan) and Liobank (in Viet Nam) plans to enter the Indian market in the summer of 2024. »»»
  • The developers of the Diya app will be engaged in the creation of the EU digital wallet. »»»
  • Most Ukrainian banks were unaffected by the recent hacker attack on the Kyivstar network. »»»
  • Four Ukrainian startups (Aspichi, Wantent, Harmix and CheckEye) have presented their projects to international investors as part of the AI State: Government Tech with Startups event. »»»
  • NBU has updated the procedure for registering payment systems, payment system participants and payment system technology operators. »»»
  • Ukrainian AI startup AiSDR has received USD 3 million from local and international investors. »»»
  • The new Groshi POStiino service, launched by Abank and Mastercard, enables entrepreneurs to receive funds from sales via POS terminals or online transactions within an hour. »»»
  • NovaPay users will be able to receive a payment card within a few minutes using the Diya app. These cards can also be added to Google Pay. »»»
  • Privatbank has canceled its commission for SWIFT transfers in Czech crowns. »»»


  • The National Bank of Kazakhstan has announced that a pilot project on using the digital tenge in retail transactions was successful. The regulator now plans to extend this pilot by testing offline transactions using the CBDC. »»»
  • Kazakhstan plans to cooperate with Google and Amazon Web Services in the field of AI. »»»
  • Payments for electricity and taxes for cryptocurrency miners will be reduced starting in 2024. »»»
  • The Financial Monitoring Agency has blocked access to 980 crypto exchanges due to appropriate registrations. »»»
  • Kazakhstan plans to open an innovation hub in Saudi Arabia to promote startups in the region. »»»
  • Regulators in Kazakhstan and Switzerland are implementing a joint project on the digitalization of currencies. »»»
  • Kazakhstan ranks in the top three countries for the number of users attacked by cryptocurrency mining malware. »»»


  • The National Bank of Kyrgyzstan has proposed conducting annual audits of the information systems of systemically important banks. »»»
  • Mobile operator MEGA and RSK Bank have announced a partnership to create an integrated state fintech ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan. »»»
  • The Digital Kyrgyzstan Forum will be held in Bishkek on February 28, 2024. »»»
  • Authorities are planning to introduce AI within public service centers. »»»


  • The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has received the authority to block cards and accounts associated with questionable transactions. »»»
  • Paynet has launched Uzbekistan’s first online store for trading cryptocurrencies. The store allows consumers to buy and sell crypto assets using HUMO and UZCARD bank cards as well as store and transfer cryptocurrencies to other wallets anywhere in the world. »»»
  • An hour-long video detailing the work of TBC Bank has been released on the YouTube channel ‘Alter Ego. All about Uzbekistan’. »»»
  • Uzbekistan plans to implement partial restrictions on cash payments to combat the shadow economy. »»»
  • Kapitalbank has been named the winner of the local Visa award in five categories. »»»
  • Microfinance banks that provide basic financial services will begin operating in Uzbekistan in 2024. »»»


  • Mastercard is introducing new solutions to accelerate market monetization in Azerbaijan. »»»
  • FinTech Alliance hopes to foster closer cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UK in the field of fintech. »»»
  • Azernews has published information on the prospects for the further development of the startup industry in Azerbaijan. »»»


  • Armenia has initiated the development of a concept for the digital dram. This includes the preparation of a comprehensive legal framework to support the blockchain industry. »»»


  • The National Bank of Georgia has issued its third digital banking license to Pave Georgia. »»»
  •  Lithuanian fintech company Paysera has begun operations in Georgia, allowing Georgian users to benefit from instant SEPA transfers. »»»
  • Tether Limited, the company behind the largest stablecoin by capitalization (USDT), participated in the Series A round of the Academy of Digital Industries Educational Project in Georgia. »»»


  • Fintech startup Fagura has launched a crowdlending platform in Romania. »»»