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.
*We’re socially distant here. Virtual high-fives only 👏 for now! 😉
Jack Dorsey announced this week that he has stepped down as CEO of Twitter, the social media site he set up 15 years ago, but what does that mean for financial services? That means more time to spend on Square! Dorsey has been very vocal about his obsession with bitcoin, and now has the time to focus on Square, where he can steer the payments company into crypto territory. Over the last year, Square has begun work on a number of crypto projects including a hardware wallet, and TBD, a crypto developer unit aiming to build future-looking crypto services. Dorsey intends to step down from Twitter’s board, handing the reins over to CTO Parag Agrawal, while his role as Square will not change at all, I expect a much more laser eyed focus on making the company a crypto services leader. More opinions here.
David Marcus has quit as the boss of Facebook parent Meta’s fintech unit. Marcus will leave at the end of this year and will be replaced by Stephane Kasriel. Marcus has led a frustrating effort to launch the Novi digital wallet and its associated stablecoin Diem. A Novi pilot was finally launched in October this year but does not involve Diem, the stablecoin which has been central to Facebook's plans but has faced a series of setbacks and stiff opposition from financial regulators since it was first unveiled two years ago under the Libra name. His departure from Meta adds more uncertainty to the company’s digital payments push, where can they go from here. With CBDC and stablecoin adoption now top of the agenda for central banks around the world, how can Meta expect to loosen governments grip on their economies in order for them to take a share? It’s a geopolitical game, nobody is going to bet against the monopoly.
Two major cloud services providers received the gold standard in backing this week as they lured some of world’s biggest financial institutions. Thought Machine, the cloud native core banking provider raised $200m in Series C funding, as well as becoming a unicorn, they raised the funds from high profile players JPMorgan Chase, ING and Standard Chartered. Across the Atlantic, Amazon hit the jackpot by announcing they had won big business from Nasdaq, who will begin migrating their services over next year, they have also just inked a deal with Goldman Sachs, who will be opening up access to its financial data resources and analytics to third party institutions via AWS Data Exchange initiative. These landmark partnerships are big business for enablers and follow on the back of some huge announcements in this space over the last year and since the start of the pandemic. Looks like when it comes to the cloud, the only way is up!
India's government could be set to ban private cryptocurrencies as it forges ahead with a CBDC. A bulletin on the Indian parliament website says the government plans to introduce a bill to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India. The bill will facilitate the framework for the creation of the Reserve Bank of India’s digital currency. Certain exceptions to the ban will also be made to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses. The country’s central bank has long been sceptical of bitcoin, and their prime minister, Narendra Modi, believes cryptocurrencies could spoil India’s youth.
Just a few weeks ago, the European Commission enacted regulation that allows European-based businesses and investors to access online fundraising and investing for the first time. Companies in the European Union will now be able to raise up to €5m from European investors and additional capital from investors in the UK and US. This is incredible news for entrepreneurs and investors in Europe and around the world. Online startup fundraising success in the UK and the US proves the internet can radically improve the efficiency of the private capital markets, spurring innovation, job creation and GDP growth. You can read more about this here.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this week’s fintech highFIVE, please share them in the comments section below. ✋
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