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The Fintech highFIVE!

FinTech High Five (2)

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! 😉

Apple opens up 📡

Apple is planning a new service that will allow small businesses to accept payments directly on their iPhones without connecting any extra hardware. This new feature will likely be rolled out in an upcoming update and will effectively turn the iPhone into a point of sale terminal, allowing merchants to accept fees with the tap of a card onto the back of their device. Apple has been working on this new feature since it acquired Canadian payments startup Mobeewave in 2020. The system will most likely use the iPhone’s near field communications technology, which Apple currently restricts to use for Apple Pay, this could be a sign that they are going to open up access to this, as last October, the EU filed an antitrust charge against Apple, for limiting this service to Apple Pay only. This is great news for merchants who use iPhone’s but maybe not such fantastic news for Block’s Square terminals, which offers a similar service at a cost, Block’s shares fell 3.6% as a result of the announcement. Apple’s fintech services continue to grow, following the launch of their credit card with Goldman Sachs in 2019 and recent rumours surrounding their plans to launch a BNPL service. Apple’s trend of opening up continued into their app store, they are now letting developers distribute unlisted apps through the store that only users with a direct link can access.

Markets up, markets down 📉

As we await the dreaded detail on rising interest rates and soaring cost of living in the UK, the story is reflective in our global public markets, as many big players are seeing stocks slide. Pandemic winners such as Zoom, Peloton, Moderna and Roku are all down more than 20% over the past week as part of an underlying shift of investors looking for profits rather than growth potential. PayPal have seen a 25% drop in shares since reporting their 2021 Q4 earnings this week, which could signal more bad news to come for other fintech players. While public markets are seeing widespread dips, private markets are seeing the opposite, as funding for crypto and blockchain focused companies continues to grow. Funding in the space has hit more than $21 billion in 2021, far surpassing the $3.7 billion invested in 2020. Are public markets just going through some extended January blues? And will public markets follow suit?

Let the dividing of the assets commence 😭

Meta (formerly Facebook) is selling off its Diem assets to Silvergate Capital for $200m. The sale will help Facebook return some of the capital to the investors behind the project while Silvergate Capital will become the only company in charge of the Diem project. Diem (formerly Libra) was Facebook’s most ambitious bet on cryptocurrencies, and was a direct play for creating their own digital currency/stablecoin, a play which just about every central bank and regulator was ready to shut down around the world. While the project was bold and ambitious, brought to life by a group of incredibly innovative people, it was simply not to be, at least not in this form, and definitely not governed by Meta.

A cool $12b 📈

Last year, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon admitted he was ‘scared shitless’ of fintechs! Fast forward a year, and his bank has announced a $12b technology investment to turn the tables on their disruptive competitors. The bank aims to spend the funds on microservices architecture, cloud and modern engineering practices to accelerate software development. The bank is also betting big on AI and machine learning to get more value out of its data and stressing its commitment to cybersecurity. They also plan to continue making acquisitions, hot on the heels of their spending plans came the announcement that they had acquired a 49% stake in European cloud-based payment network Viva Wallet. While the announcement is big news for the industry and eager fintechs the world over, the increased spending will hit its return on capital equity, and has already led to a dip in share price.

Revolut aims for US-Mexico Xborder market 🏹

Revolut is offering US-Mexico remittances to enable 10 free transfers per 30-minute window. This updated product sees Revolut aim to take a chunk of the $45b US-Mexico remittances market in 2021. This is part of Revolut’s plan for world domination, specifically in Mexico and broader Latin America next year. While this is an interesting play, this is becoming an increasingly crowded market, their fellow challenger banks Nubank, Albo and Klar have been offering similar services in the region since 2020. In other news in their world domination plans, they are to begin offering loans and credit cards to their customers in Ireland. This is on the back of the withdrawal of KBC and Ulster Bank from Ireland. Revolut already has 1.7 million customers in Ireland, not bad considering the entire population is just over 5 million people, and they have opened up a waiting list for the credit products. Revolut seems to be more than happy to introduce competition and choice in the name of international customer acquisition.

🗞️ x5 big news

📰 x5 interesting articles

⚠️ x5 funding announcements

If you are sharing on Twitter, please use the hashtag #fintechhighfive and mention me, @gary20203, or @money2020.

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24 May 2021

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