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The Front Page of Global Fintech

The the largest fintech community in the world. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in news opinions, and all things financial technology.

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The coins are stable but the regs are not (TWIF 2/17)

The coins are stable but the regs are not (TWIF 2/17)
My Ordinary Life: Improvements Since the 1990s

Hello Fintech Friends,

Sometimes we are confronted by news that transcends our day-to-day lives in importance, and reaches across our immediate projects, aspirations, and rivalries.

Last week’s devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria has already claimed 42,000 lives and affected countless others. In his outgoing speech in December, the Turkish ambassador to Athens said he hoped that "we won't need fires, earthquakes, or other disasters to remind us that we are neighbors."

Ultimately, we are all neighbors. That is why we donated $1,000 to the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation.

We hope you will join us by supporting one of these vital disaster relief organizations:

👷 Separately, if you’re a fintech builder we’d love to have you join us in the fintech world’s largest online community! Come join 5,644 other fintech enthusiasts at

✈️ The TWIF team is officially going to Fintech Meetup in March. Would you like to co-host an event with us in Las Vegas? Reach out to and let us know.

👍👎 Have feedback for us? Let us know!

Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.

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💬 Quote of the Week
📖 Read of the Week

Increasingly more US financial services providers are migrating to cloud solutions for their data storage and core business (just this week, Deutsche Börse tied up with Google Cloud), as Azure, AWS, and GCP race to enable cloud migration in banking.

Switching to cloud can lower costs, facilitate faster development (or even just core systems properly talking to each other…), and enable faster product releases. However, there are also relevant data security, safety and soundness, and disaster recovery concerns when it comes to moving away from on-prem. The Treasury this week issued an interesting report outlining some of these opportunities and challenges, including:

  1. Insufficient transparency to support due diligence and monitoring by financial institutions.
  2. Potential impact of market concentration in cloud service offerings on the financial sector’s resilience.
  3. Dynamics in contract negotiations given market concentration.
  4. International landscape and regulatory fragmentation.

Elsewhere, fintech friend and writer Jason Mikula put together a comprehensive Banking-as-a-Service: 2023 Market Analysis research report covering origins of the partner banking model, the explosion of banking-as-a-service, its killer use case, key metrics on 30+ partner banks, and profiles on six major BaaS middleware players.

📊 Stat of the Week

Buy-now-pay-later payments in the UK have grown by 10% due to cost of living increases. (Source)

65% of Canadian small businesses are excited for open banking. (Source)

🏦 Financial Services & Banking
🚀 Product Launches

I hate expense reporting and this particular launch makes me excited: American Express partnered with Microsoft to launch AI-powered expense reporting.

HSBC launched a multicurrency payment platform for Hong Kong e-commerce merchants.

Standard Chartered Bank partnered with Singaporean fintech Allinpay to enable instant cross-border QR code payments for Hong Kong businesses.

ETFs NANC and CRUZ launched to track US congressional trades, which have a history of outperforming retail trading.

📰 Other News

The city of San Francisco this week moved closer to creating a public municipal bank. The city’s Reinvestment Working Group “offered guidelines with the intent of freeing up loans to city residents and business concerns for affordable housing, small businesses and green investments.” Research has shown that the city could start a public bank with as little as $20 million in capital. I am biasedly excited about this idea, as a long-time proponent of local public banking.

Elsewhere in public fintech and banking initiatives, the United Arab Emirates is planning to launch a central bank digital currency and a new set of card rails as part of a public infrastructure plan.

JP Morgan is pushing for the acceptance of bank-issued deposit tokens over private stablecoins.

Zelle has grown by 40% to 1,800 institutions.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, is killing off its consumer credit card idea as the bank’s strategy shifts.

We’ve come full circle: Westpac bank will let credit card customers pay off debt in four buy-now-pay-later installments.

Members of European parliament are giving their backing to a continental digital identity framework.

Banco do Brasil, Brazil’s oldest bank, will now allow residents to pay their taxes using crypto.

The SEC finalised rules to cut securities settlement times to 1 day.

Only a couple years after acquiring Worldpay, financial services conglomerate FIS plans to spin off its payments business, following numerous integration challenges of the payments provider.

India is blocking 230+ lending and betting apps with ties to China.

💻 Fintech
🚀 Product Launches

Revolut launched a donations page for the Turkey-Syria earthquake.

Keeping in-theme with my hate for filing expense reports, TripActions (now Navan) launched ChatGPT expense reporting.

Starling Bank launched a high-yield savings product for small businesses, offering 2.5% per year on balances over £2,000.

Egyptian fintech Copal launched a payment and expense management app for families.

Mondu launched its new MonduSell product for B2B merchants and companies.

Neo Tax* launched its Neo Tax 2023 product to help businesses navigate new tax codes and get R&D credits.

Mortgage provider AmeriSave launched personal loans.

📰 Other News

There’s trouble in crypto-land, and this time it’s with staking and stablecoins.

The SEC fined crypto exchange Kraken $30 million for not registering its staking-as-a-service product - which it was forced to close down - but not all SEC members are happy with the approach - Commissioner Hester Peirce excoriated the organization for not sitting down with leaders in the crypto industry to learn and consult before handing down enforcement actions ad-hoc.

Given the Kraken litigation and Paxos lawsuit, PayPal put its stablecoin project on-hold, and now the OCC is taking a closer look at the banks that work with crypto providers.

It’s not all doom-and-gloom in stablecoin land though: Tether generated $700 million in profit in the last quarter. Aave launched Gho, its native ETH stablecoin, onto its testnet. And crypto payments platform Wirex inked a deal with Visa to issue crypto-enabled debit and credit cards in 40 countries across APAC and EMEA.

Finnish neobank Saldo expanded to Lithuania.

Portão 3 was founded as a Brazilian corporate travel startup but, when covid hit, pivoted successfully to issuing corporate cards.

European small business-focused neobank SME Bank added SEPA Instant Credit Transfers via its SWIFT membership.

Payroll API Pinwheel is pushing for payroll data to be included in open banking rules.

The window is closing on UK embedded banking provider Railsr's attempt to sell itself, as the fintech is accused of "gross anti-terror finance and money laundering failings" at its Lithuanian subsidiary. Meanwhile, German regulator Bafin is clamping down on banking-as-a-service, requiring Solarisbank to apply for permission to add any new accounts.

Publicly-traded crypto app Bakkt is killing off its consumer product and pivoting to B2B.

Kenya withdrew its financial impropriety claims against Flutterwave.

The US FTC ordered Moneygram to pay $115 million to victims of payment scams on its services.

Ex-Wirecard CEO Marcus Braun pleaded not guilty to all charges….

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