By Gary Dempsey, Content Leader Money20/20 Europe
Welcome to the Fintech highFIVE! 🖐 Every day, I’m amazed by the sheer amount of news and innovation happening in the fintech industry. 🤯 Fintech truly has not stopped, even during these crazy times. I can’t help but notice common themes in this huge sea of news — so I’m trying something new to bring these headlines together. Bi-weekly, I’ll be hitting you with the biggest themes seen in the news — all counted down on just one hand. 👊 So gimme 5 🙏 as we celebrate 🙌 the best of fintech each week.
*We’re socially distant here. Virtual high-fives only 👏 Please don’t hit your screen.
1. We’re in the money. 🎼 Great to see global venture funding hitting an all time high in Q1 with a total of $125 billion in investments. Here is a closer look at (and a graph), of the fintech deals in Q1, broken down into venture, debt financing, IPOs and more by Nik Milanović.
2. Coinbase opens high. ⚡ Coinbase raised their valuation over $100 billion last week when they debuted on the stock market. This is an incredible feat for a modern startup in the crypto economy, debuting on a very old-fashioned platform. Coinbase’s recent success comes after a record quarter of monster profits on the back of the huge surges in cryptocurrency price levels, but it does make me wonder what will happen if they start to ebb?
3. The Alibaba scandal continues… 😱 Another scandal I can’t get enough of. China’s Alibaba was fined a record $2.77 billion for antitrust violations - ouchx2.77b!!! The company publicly vowed to fix the problems highlighted by the antitrust probe and saw their shares raise by 9% - this is just an incredible show of confidence by their investors, not a hard feat for Alibaba to achieve, as they have extensive media assets which have become a red flag for the regulator, who worry (with good reason) that they may have too much influence.
4. Previously on CSI: Wirecard… 🧟 If you’ve followed the high five for longer than a few editions, you’ll know I can’t get enough of the Wirecard saga! The fintech industry’s very own Enron case teaches us that we need to behave in a way that adds robustness to the industry, not to our bank balances. Here is an article-by-article account of the entire saga, including the original breaking news, the manhunt of Jan Marsalak, the extent and duration of the fraud and the consequences to the German regulator.
5. A word to the wise! 🧐 UK fintech Wise, formerly TransferWise, are apparently in talks with the regulator about a potential IPO. This would be a real coup for the UK, as Wise could easily list in the US, but the Estonian founder duo Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus have chosen where they founded. I was wondering why they changed their name, are they trying to sound more mature ahead of their listing? More importantly, though, TransferWise’s brand was built on and associated with money transfers, but as the company matures and adds more and more products and services into the suite, they want the branding to reflect it and move away from a single-purpose association.
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