Good morning FinTech Fanatic!
Let's start with some BREAKING news: Binance founder Changpeng Zhao agrees to step down and plead Guilty. Binance will also admit wrongdoing and agrees to pay $4.3 billion in fines.
The chief executive of Binance, the largest global cryptocurrency exchange, plans to step down and plead guilty to violating criminal U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, in a deal that may preserve the company’s ability to continue operating, according to people familiar with the matter.
Binance, which Zhao owns, will also plead guilty to a criminal charge and agree to pay fines totaling $4.3 billion, which includes amounts to settle civil allegations made by regulators.
To be continued...
On to better news from the FinTech industry: UPI is a huge Payment Success Story. India's real-time payment system is now expanding beyond India's borders, and The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have partnered with financial entities in over 30 countries to enable UPI-based transactions.
In addition to expanding to new countries, UPI is also being used to build new payment platforms. For example, Nepal is building its own UPI platform with India's help. Japan is also reportedly considering launching a UPI-like platform.
UPI is still in its early stages of globalization, but it has the potential to become a global payment system.
The next big wave of UPI adoption in India will probably come from check out finance, or buy now pay later. Consumers will have a credit line extended by their banks to a specific account. They can use UPI to pay from the credit line.
Currently, with more than 11 billion UPI payments happening every month and more than 300 million users using the payment method, it is a huge market that is waiting to be tapped. In comparison, there are only around 93 million credit cards in the country used by around 50 million Indians.
So it's no surprise that today, Credit card management solutions startup Kiwi has secured $13 Mn (INR 108 Cr) as a part of its Series A funding round. The Bengaluru-based startup plans to deploy the fresh proceeds to scale up its ‘credit cards on UPI’ offerings across the country.
It launched “credit cards with UPI” by issuing digital RuPay Cards in tandem with banking institutions. Its mobile application empowers users to execute secure payments, utilising either a credit card or a bank account directly through their smartphones.
As a licensed UPI third-party app (‘TPAP’), certified by NPCI, Kiwi presently boasts a portfolio of 25,000 issued credit cards and in collaboration with Axis Bank, the startup intends to forge partnerships with two major banks within the ensuing six months.
I'm pretty sure this won't be the last startup in this segment announcing funding rounds in the near future.
Enjoy more FinTech industry news I listed for you below, and I'll be back with more tomorrow!
POST OF THE DAY
🇩🇪 Germany approved a litany of changes to its rules for stock-based compensation at tech startups, listing of companies and taxation. Learn more here:
🇺🇸 Apple faces class-action lawsuit over Crypto Payment restrictions, accused of conspiracy. The lawsuit suggests that Apple is intentionally limiting peer-to-peer payment options and blocking the smooth integration of crypto tech in iOS payment apps. Read the full article here
🇬🇧 Payhawk launches purchase order system. The solution integrates purchase requests, approvals, Purchase Order creation, three-way matching and the ability to pay in local or cross-border transfers in one seamless platform.
🇸🇬 Visa, UOB, and Doxa partner to accelerate contractor payments in APAC. This collaboration is aimed at providing faster and more efficient access to working capital for contractors through deep-tier financing.
🇸🇬 Maybank Group unveils Islamic Wealth Management Hub in Singapore. This marks a significant expansion of the group’s Islamic wealth services, which previously operated primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia.
🇨🇴 Mesfix, a leader in financial innovation, has introduced a new investment model called 'crowdfactoring' in Colombia, through its platform Mesfix by Plataform. This model is designed to change the traditional rules of investment, enabling companies to invest in other businesses' invoices.
🇺🇸 Remitly has announced an expanded five-year collaboration with Visa aimed at streamlining global money movement for Remitly customers and building on the company’s initial integration of Visa Direct.
🇸🇪 Form3 and Klarna partner for European payments. Through this agreement Form3 will be providing Klarna with direct technical access to STEP2 and RT1 via its single API account-to-account platform. Read on
🇧🇷 Pix Payments in Brazil turned 3 years old. This 100% Brazilian innovation offers an instant payment system, where money transfers are immediate, enhancing efficiency and convenience. Read the full piece here
🇬🇧 Lithuania's Paystrax launches in the UK after receiving its Payment Institution License from the FCA earlier this year. The company provides card transaction acquiring and payment solutions for UK & EU merchants, is a member of the European Payments Group, and holds a Principal Membership license with VISA and Mastercard.
DIGITAL BANKING NEWS
🇺🇸 Varo Bank doubles Varo Advance limit to $500. The bank says that Varo Advance is one of the lowest-cost short-term loans available among finance apps. It only takes a few taps to apply, with no impact on credit score.
🇬🇧 A group of former Revolut, Coinbase and Spotify staffers have unveiled Zeal, a digital wallet for managing crypto and interacting with web3 and decentralised finance apps. Zeal claims to be a digital wallet "built to handle your whole financial life" and solve the user experience shortcomings of current offerings.
🇿🇦 Stitch launched "Pay with crypto": Now, consumers in South Africa can use crypto for purchases, and businesses can accept crypto payments via exchanges like VALR and Binance, or directly in Bitcoin or Ethereum.
🇰🇭 Cambodia’s Bakong digital currency expands reach with Alipay+ tie up. Chinese visitors can use Alipay for payments in Cambodia, while Cambodians with KYC bank-linked Bakong wallets can make global payments at Alipay+ affiliated merchants.
🇺🇸 Ex-NYSE President Tom Farley’s Bullish buys CoinDesk in all-cash deal. CoinDesk will maintain editorial independence, with former WSJ Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray at the helm of its editorial committee. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
🇺🇸 SEC sues Kraken accusing the crypto trading platform of operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, dealer, and clearing agency. The SEC alleges that Kraken intertwines the traditional services without having registered any of those functions with the Commission as required by law.
DONEDEAL FUNDING NEWS
🇮🇳 Fintech startup for travellers Scapia raises $23M. The startup will deploy the capital to enhance its customer base, add more banking partners and further strengthen its product suite.
🇦🇺 Touch2Pay secures $3.2m in pre-Series A2 Funding as total capital reaches $6.3m. The fresh capital will be utilised to accelerate product development, expand the company’s market reach, and enhance customer support capabilities. Read more
🇬🇧 London-based TRIVER raises further €22.9 million to revolutionise how SMEs access finance with Open Banking. The deal will enable TRIVER to offer over £200m of funding annually to help small businesses in the UK and further its product development.
🇺🇸 Twelve Below secures $108M across two new funds. The company aims to lead or co-lead pre-seed and seed financings with the goal of earning a 10% to 15% ownership stake in the core investments from the fund.
🇪🇸 ID Finance has secured a €12 million financing deal with a listed European bank to fund the company’s thriving consumer lending business in Spain This agreement will allow ID Finance to expand its credit portfolio in the Spanish market.
Payment24 acquires stake in Swiss tech firm. The businesses will collectively provide customers throughout Europe access to the Payment24 platform, including payment, fleet management, mobile and retail, loyalty, electric vehicle (EV), and Cloud Switch solutions.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
🇷🇴 Romanian software company FintechOS has been experiencing significant workforce reductions, raising concerns about its stability and future. In the past 18 months, the company downsized from almost 550 employees to fewer than 200 through multiple layoffs.
🇺🇸 Plaid appoints Brian Dammeir as Head of Europe. Dammer has joined Plaid to spearhead the company’s growth in the region, partnering with customers to bring innovative products to market that drive better financial outcomes for consumers.
🇺🇸 US fintech Brex names Karandeep Anand as its first president. Commenting on his new role, Anand says: “My biggest priority is to maximise the synergies between the teams who build our products and the teams that bring our products to customers.”
🇬🇧 Checkout.com appoints Mariano Albera as new Chief Technology Officer. In his new role based in London, Mariano will accelerate the evolution of Checkout.com’s platform and focus on offering merchants high-performance payments.
Paystack reduces operations outside of Africa, affecting 33 employees in Europe and Dubai. This decision comes as part of a streamlining effort, particularly in markets where the company had previously hired technical roles to support its primary operations in Africa.
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