As we prepare for the weekend, let’s look at some of the FinTech highlights from the past week. Revolut hired a CEO to run their operations in India as they are approximately a year ahead of the launch there. China’s FinTech run into problems with going public on the mainland and start looking for alternatives. Japan’s first app-only bank is set to open next month. Latin America is going through a FinTech funding boom, raising more money than they ever have before. Deep Trading makes AI-powered investing available to everybody. A new report has just been issued, covering BNPL Trends for 2021. To find out details about these and more, take a look at the latest fintech highlights
Yesterday, Open Bank Project (OBP) and API3 Foundation announced their collaboration, aiming at delivering banking solutions to the Decentralized Web
API3 Foundation is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, building decentralized secure data feeds to power Web 3.0 applications. Open Bank Project is a leading open-source API solution for banks.
BERLIN, April 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Open Bank Project (OBP) announces a strategic partnership with the API3 Foundation to deliver banking & open banking data oracles to the Decentralized Web.
Heikki Vänttinen, Co-founder of API3 said: “API3 is incredibly excited to see the blockchain industry begin to merge with open banking, and we can’t wait to see the innovative solutions that will grow out of this. We hope this newfound connectivity between the two will build a foundation for the future of a digital banking experience inclusive of blockchain-enabled systems like DeFi.”
The “Global Buy Now Pay Later Industry and Trends 2021” report has been released, showing the current state of the BNPL industry globally and highlighting the biggest opportunities for the BNPL market sector.
The demand for BNPL services had a huge growth during the pandemic and the biggest competitors in the field are continuing to capitalize on that growing interest.
However, as the interest spiked, government regulators across the world started to raise concerns about the current state of regulations for the BNPL services. The sector is not fully regulated as it often does not meet the standards of traditional loans that require interest rate payments. Thus, special regulations are needed for these services.
The report provides insights on regulations, market trends, global adoption rates, consumer preferences, and international comparisons. The regions included in the report are the United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
While the report focuses on the three biggest BNPL providers (Klarna, Afterpay, and Affirm) and their operations during the Covid-19 crisis, the companies mentioned in the report also include names like Amazon, Apple Pay, Google Pay, hoolah, Mastercard, Paidy, PayPal, Revo, Splitit, Twisto Tymit, ViaBill, Visa, and Zilch.
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DeepTrading is providing investors with a number of AI-drive products that can make investment easier, such as stock price prediction models that are estimated using sophisticated deep learning algorithms.
Offering a range of different subscription plans, the company allows investors to check the daily, weekly, and monthly price predictions and make trading easier and less time-consuming.
“We are a small, closely-knit team of Wall Street professionals who saw an opportunity,” said CEO of Deep Trading, Nektarios Kalogridis. “Our mission is to level the playing field for the next generation of trading. Why should investment houses and hedge funds be able to time the market because they have access to algorithms and sophisticated models? Our AI models use advanced deep neural networks that make complex time-series predictions. This approach allows the model to pick up on patterns and trends not generally evident to investors.”
The technology is hosted on a high-level cloud infrastructure that trains the AI models on daily basis. Thus, not only is investing less time-consuming, the accuracy is also much better.
“Best of all, we will customize your DeepTrading iteration and create projection models to reflect your investment preferences. We have the tools to help you do it,” Kalogridis added.
Benzinga, a financial media and data technology startup that aims at empowering investors announced that it will invest in crypto as a part of their strategy.
Benzinga is earning up to 6% per year interest on crypto assets held with the subsidiary of TradeStation Group, TradeStation Crypto that offers cryptocurrency brokerage services.
“Crypto is beginning to be used as a treasury solution by corporate treasurers to help diversify the mix of assets on their company balance sheets, and our institutional services team at TradeStation Crypto walks treasurers through the process from learning how to acquire and hold cryptocurrencies in a way that is designed to generate interest in their TradeStation Crypto accounts,” said James Putra, Senior Director, Product Strategy at TradeStation Crypto. “We are seeing increased participation in crypto investing at the corporate level, and we’re proud to educate and provide companies like Benzinga with the tools needed to invest in crypto assets.”
“Crypto accounts at TradeStation Crypto are currently yielding higher interest rates than other more traditional cash management solutions, and in this ultra-low interest rate environment, Benzinga sought alternative investment opportunities,” said Luke Jacobi, Director of Operations at Benzinga. “For us, investing in crypto and working with TradeStation Crypto is a win-win. Though not without some added risks, through higher interest rates and a bullish outlook on crypto, Benzinga has the potential to generate more cash in the short-term, while also investing in what could prove to be the monetary system of the future.”
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This week, Revolut has named Paroma Chatterjee, a long-time startup veteran as a man in charge for the India operations. The announcement comes approximately a year before the planned launch of the Revolut app on the Indian market.
India is expected to be a huge market for India as it prepares for the 2022 launch and plans to invest $25 million into the Indian market in the next five years.
“We’re looking forward to transforming the way people in India access and manage their money as we bring our products and services to more people around the world,” said Revolut CEO and co-founder Nik Storonsky. “India is a core market in our expansion strategy with a huge supply of talent, and we’re excited to tap into that talent pool to help Revolut go from strength to strength.”
Revolut plans to hire 300 employees to its India subsidiary.
Revolut is a legend in the fintech market. While the company lost almost $150 million in 2019, they have managed to break even in November and are close to a $10 billion valuation.
The Ant Group’s dual listing has suddenly been suspended, China’s fin techs are reported to be facing troubles as they try to go public in the mainland.
“For financial technology, you can see that … some of the largest one(s), if they’re competing with the bank or insurance company, they will have a hard time,” Ringo Choi, EY’s Asia-Pacific IPO leader said.
Last Friday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued a number of new guidelines for companies that try to list on the Shanghai’s stock exchange. One of the guidelines specifies that the FinTech companies are banned from listing.
“Real estate and firms mainly engaged in financial services and investment businesses are prohibited from listing on the Science and Technology Innovation Board,” the CSRC said in the release.
Just six months ago, many Chinese fintech startups were looking at listing domestically but now that the environment is changing, they are starting to eye other possibilities, with Hong Kong and the U.S. being the most attractive destinations.
There is a boom of investment, both domestic and foreign, in the LatAm FinTech market, as the large population and unbanked or underbanked citizens present a huge opportunity to capitalize for investors.
The industry financing in that region rose 22% only in the first quarter of 2021, reaching $1.29 billion. The most funding went to digital lending, neobanks, and payment segments.
While the funding has never been higher, it also bears a great amount of risk due to the economic crisis as a consequence of Covid-19 and credit quality challenges.
Sebastián Olivera, founder of Uruguay’s fintech chamber and Spain country manager of tax returns support platform TaxScout said, “We envisage a challenging second half, where we will see a high rate of fintech closing and plenty of M&A activity and where, in a scenario of even greater credit scarcity for some sectors of the economy, fintech can prove once and for all their major contribution as access channels to credit.”
“The challenge for all those that bet on achieving growth at any cost is, now more than ever, to demonstrate that this growth translates into active users who can be monetized,” he added
In the first quarter of 2021, Brazil was an unquestionable winner in the amount of funding in Latin America, getting 74,9% of the total funding. Mexico and Colombia follow Brazil with 16% and 3.7% of funding respectively.
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Japan’s first app-only bank is expected to open in May, right after they receive the banking license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency.
Minna Bank, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fukuoka Financial, is attracting digital natives as it offers them account opening, deposits and funds transfer over smartphones.
The next generation bank will run on Google Cloud, using a high-tech system developed in partnership with Accenture.
“Together with our partners, we will widely offer our banking system as a service (BaaS),” Koji Yokota, the president of Minna Bank said. “ We have built our system based on the ideas of digital natives and flexible API architecture, making it possible for everyone to create and deliver embedded finance offerings. We aim to be a pioneer in this space, and plan to deliver this cloud-native banking system to Asia and other regions of the globe.”
To find out more about FinTech highlights, come back next week or take a look at some of the other articles focusing on FinTech: