Issue #319 July 2nd, 2021

Podcasts & Videos

    Each year, new technology transforms how we connect, how we move, and how we pay. But nearly two billion people remain “unbanked.” So do financial technology innovations decrease or deepen the divide between the have and the have-nots? As economies become increasingly digital, what are the stopgaps we need to deploy to protect and empower all? From crypto to credit to portable benefits, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach shares his big ideas on financial inclusion and the products and policies that give promise to its future. Presented by Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

    Not from this week but already a classic: It's the showdown that everyone has been waiting for. Gold financier Frank Giustra versus MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor in the ultimate gold vs bitcoin battle. Our Daniela Cambone moderates.

Top Stories

Top Events

    Latin America and the world are embracing the fight against COVID-19. Despite this challenge, Fintech demand in the Region has been accelerated. More than ever, financial institutions are facing the need to provide digital financial services. Every day increasingly, it is becoming clearer the importance of solid cross-country digital financial strategies.


    650 U.S. banks will soon be able to offer bitcoin purchases to an estimated 24 million total customers. As part of the deal between enterprise payments giant NCR and digital-asset management firm NYDIG, community banks, including North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank, and credit unions, including Bay Federal Credit Union in California, will be able to offer their clients cryptocurrency trading through mobile applications built by the payments provider.


    London-based insurtech hyperexponential (“hx”) — which has a mathematical modeling software for the commercial insurance sector — has closed an $18 million funding round led by growth capital fund Highland Europe. Hx says it helps companies build, deploy and update their insurance pricing models faster, via a SaaS platform called Renew that is aimed at actuaries, data scientists and underwriters.

    Ping An Insurance, a Chinese insurance company has today announced that Ping An Smart City has won a bid to build a Health Emergency Management Platform in China. The project will be constructed in collaboration with Hubei Province and aims to give Ping An a solid foundation in public health systems management.

    Akur8, the Paris-based insurtech firm that automates insurance pricing, has closed a Series B funding round of $30 million, bringing its total funding to $42 million. This latest funding round will accelerate Akur8’s international expansion, with a particular emphasis on furthering its U.S. footprint and establishing a presence in Asia Pacific in 2022.


    The pandemic clearly took its toll on Revolut. Revenue growth of 34% is a dramatic slowdown from the 180% revenue climb it recorded between 2018 and 2019. User growth of 45% was also a drop from the 200% boost in user acquisition it recorded in 2019. Meanwhile, its monthly burn rate sat at £17.3m on average. New CFO Mikko Salovaara argued that the company was doing better than the raw numbers suggested.

    Southeast Asian ride-hailing-to-fintech group Grab and budget airline AirAsia (AIRA.KL) were among more than a dozen bidders involving over 50 companies that are vying for digital banking licences in Malaysia, people familiar with the matter said.


    Fast forward to today, and parents have a lot more decisions to make, and that's especially true when it comes to the way we teach our kids about money and how to use it. Many experts also have strong feelings about when a child should get their own bank account, as well as when most kids are ready for a debit card of their own.

    Earlier this year, I left my internal audit job in an investment bank and joined a Big Four accounting firm. It was a no-brainer: the bank was asking me back to the office, the Big Four firm is letting me work from home. The banking CEOs demanding that staff return to the office are neanderthals. Stuck in the Stone Age, they earn tens of millions and are preparing to retire to Bar Harbor while telling the rest of us - who live in small apartments with huge rents - how to live. Instead of preaching about working habits, they'd do better leaving us alone and letting us be the judges of what works best for us and what doesn't.

    The pessimism on branches and the style of banking that comes with them stems from a study earlier this year by The Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of banking software provider Temenos, that surveyed 305 banking executives about the future of the industry. And 65% said branch banking would be dead in five years, up from 59% last year and 35% in 2018, according to the study.

    It’s understandable that banks have adopted cloud-based solutions to navigate COVID-19’s disruption. However, the act of adopting multiple solutions, or “cloud bandwagoning,” is bound to create friction within a bank’s systems, resulting in unpredictable consequences. Instead of adopting multiple solutions for their unique capabilities, it is more prudent for banks to select one cloud provider that holistically complements their needs and systems.

    German authorities thwarted a cyberattack on a data service provider used by federal agencies and pushed back on a report that a broad assault targeted critical infrastructure and banks.

    India’s central bank has identified Big Tech’s push into financial services as a challenge for banks in the South Asian market, saying the growing presence of these firms have prompted concerns about creation of an uneven playing field. “Nowhere else in the world would the largest corporates, banks [and] telcos in India and the largest tech players in the world would come together to build national payment networks.” analysts at Bernstein said of the NUE.


    Monetising data from in-car technology is a step outside most fleet managers’, fleet operators’ or leasecos’ comfort zones. However, it could be worth braving the pain.

    McKinsey & Company predicts the potential revenue from doing just that could be €380bn - €630bn globally by 2030. Capgemini puts that figure at between €68bn and €670bn.

    Those projections primarily concern all connected fleet data but in-car technology, specifically the HMI (Human Machine Interface) will likely be the hub for in-car commerce.