Fintech Roundup Newsletter: Issue 5
A summary of the fintech space from Gauss Ventures
Welcome to our fifth fintech roundup newsletter, where we share the latest industry highlights. (Read our previous issue here.)
The “double whammy” of Covid-19 and Brexit could threaten the U.K.’s attractiveness in the long term — for example, if taxes are raised, “we may see a fintech as well as an investment drain,” said Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer to CNBC earlier this month, on the topic of how ‘Britain’s fintech industry braces for a no-deal Brexit as transition deadline looms’.
London-based fintech startup Zilch has broadened its offering in the buy now pay later (BNPL) market. The brand new ‘Snooze’ feature means that consumers can postpone repayment of an instalment or entire payment plan by between four and seven days — without any interest or fee.
Earlier this year Wirex, a leading payments company, in partnership with The Fintech Times launched the 2020 ‘Rising Women in Crypto Power List’, as part of Wirex’s inaugural ‘Women in Crypto’ campaign. Our very own Ruth Wandhöfer was one of the judges and reflects on ‘the ‘Hidden Women of Crypto’ in an opinion piece that celebrates diversity in digital assets.
Payment card disruptor Curve is opening a subsidiary in Lithuania to scale operations and to keep serving customers across the EEA following the Brexit transition period. Lithuania was chosen as an EEA base as it is a fintech friendly regulator with strong AML competencies, a diverse workforce, and because of its passporting rights.
Curve, along with Revolut, is also one of the partners benefiting from Mastercard extending the Google Pay service to cardholders across Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania. This means that users with eligible Android devices will be enabled to buy securely, efficiently and conveniently in stores and online and through phone contactless payment.
Visa is rolling out “Fintech Partner Connect” — a new initiative to link up European financial institutions and merchants with innovative digital payments services. It will “support new ways for businesses and consumers to seamlessly and securely pay, get paid, send money and more,” according to a Visa spokesperson. Visa is joining forces with 13 different FinTech “solutions” in Europe it believes are at the “forefront of this technology.” This follows a successful pilot program and the chosen FinTechs focus on small business credit risk as well as buy now, pay later, and merchant search and transaction compliance.
A new PwC report “Time for trust: The trillion-dollar reason to rethink blockchain” looks at how the technology is being used and the potential global impact. A top finding is that blockchain innovation could possibly help worldwide GDP by $1.76 trillion over the following decade. “It’s driven by an intense need to win trust in the computerized world. Organizations are reconsidering their activities and are finding not exclusively is blockchain innovation key to conveying trust, yet it’s an open door open to all,” says Steve Davies, accomplice and blockchain pioneer, PwC UK.
Also quoted in the report was Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, who stated: “Blockchain will be at the core of digital trade finance, delivering benefits of automation efficiency, transparency, provenance, immutable records and ultimately trust. With the ability to reduce fraud, lower costs and improve the network, blockchain will enable credibility and support continued, growing international trade. This will also help businesses to achieve their ESG ambitions.”
Leading blockchain analytics and AML company Coinfirm is integrating Chainlink’s oracle network to its AMLT oracle service. This will bring its AML data to the ever-expanding decentralized finance (DeFi) economy. The integration will make Coinfirm’s AML data available on-chain for application and users “to add compliance as an optional plug and play feature when using smart contract applications, allowing DEXs, traditional finance, enterprise companies, and more to meet their compliance requirements when interacting on-chain,” according to the official announcement by Coinfirm.
Russia is about to welcome Open Banking, as The Bank of Russia has published the first standards of Open API. These were created jointly with the Russian FinTech Association and the largest market participants, and their use (at least for now) is non-mandatory. Published documents include API standards for account information, payment initiation and security standards based on the OpenID specifications.
We’re excited about Bettr’s product-launch in Q1 2021 — to celebrate there is a new brand campaign called #WeDeserveBettr. This refers to Bettr’s mission around creating a new culture of money. Bettr CEO & Founder Tobie van Zyl shared it on Linkedin here.
Sifted has revealed a new “Fin-influencer” boom, with Instagram and TikTok deemed the new battlegrounds for digital banks to win market share and customers online. Social-media influencers are being paid to post across Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, by challenger banks such as Starling, Revolut, N26, and Chime in the US. A few other consumer fintechs are also engaging in influencer marketing, including Plum, digital mortgage-broker Habito, SME bank Penta, and Klarna.
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