Issue 325 August 19th, 2021

China closed 11 crypto companies (see link below). What's the strategy behind that move? The local government wants to be the leader of the delivery process of digital services for capital projects, with the help of China Merchants Bank. The bank will also carry out online businesses that will allow local citizens to use foreign exchanges. Additionally, commercial banks will face mandatory implementation of different services developed by the Central Bank.

Top Stories

    As political demonstrations show the world that Cubans are tired of dictatorship, Bitcoin is providing an option to peacefully protest and opt out of a broken system.

Podcasts & Videos

    Deep-dive by Gert into what Network-based Finance is. It's covered how, in a sense, it inverts the whole “Open Banking” paradigm putting the opening of transactions first (which after all represent real business) with banking rails (open or not) below. And as Gert explains there are many reasons that this works smoother/better.more naturally in this space yielding superior information and hence insight and ability to offer more competitive products. Nor is it just a question of strategic sketches on the white board – there is a lot of devil in the detail about how one makes real digitisation work.

    In this episode hosted by Silvan Krähenbühl, a serial entrepreneur and host of Swisspreneur podcast, Silvan spoke to the co-founder of Neon, a leading Swiss digital bank, Simon Youssef, about the future of banking. Topics: Leaving your well-paying corporate job +++ The business model behind a free product +++ Is Revolut a competitor? +++ Being on Höhle der Löwen +++ Doing a 5M tokenized crowd investment

Crypto

    International Organization continues to seek relevance in the fast-expanding cryptocurrency space as a result, Honor has unveiled the first Snapdragon-powered smartphone to support the Chinese digital Yuan. According to the announcement, Chinese smartphone manufacturers Honor will roll out the Magic3 brand, an affordable smartphone with built-in capability to support a hardware wallet for the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) CBDC project.

    Cardano’s smart contracts are set to launch on September 12th. To become Alonzo-ready, crypto trading platforms are actively working with the Cardano team. So far, 6 platforms are collaborating with the Cardano Foundation, but more to be expected in anticipation of the launch of the Alonzo hard fork.

    A subgroup (the Shenzhen branch) of People’s Bank of China is going after crypto trading and forex trading companies and it has shut down 11 already due to their involvement in illegal activities, according to a CNStock report.

    The Shenzhen branch formed a list that contains 46 companies in total that are targeted for investigation. The goal is to pursue and close any company that provides illegal financial services.

InsurTech

    HSBC Holdings said Monday it has agreed to buy AXA Singapore for $575 million to boost its global wealth and insurance franchise in the city-state and support its expansion across Southeast Asia.

    The acquisition will give London-based HSBC the eighth-largest life insurer in Singapore, with net assets of $474 million as of December 31, 2020, according to the statement. AXA Singapore is also the fifth-largest property and casualty insurer in the city-state.

FinTech

    Fintech outfit Ualá has raised $350 million at a $2.45 billion valuation in the largest private investment round ever for an Argentine company.

    The Series D was co-led by Chinese behemoth Tencent and the SoftBank Innovation Fund, with participation from Goldman Sachs, Soros Found Management, Ribbit, Greyhound and Monashees.

    Chime said Friday it raised $750 million in a Series G funding round that values the fintech company at $25 billion. That’s $10 billion higher than its last reported valuation of $15 billion from October 2020, according to PitchBook data. Chime — a so-called challenger bank known for fee-free banking, early paydays for those who use direct deposit and a feature that lets users go negative in their accounts without overdraft fees — said it intends to invest the new capital in scaling operations, as well as launching new products and services.

    Just a few years ago, robo-advisors were seen as the future of investing, a disruptive software-driven service that promised a set-it-and-forget-it approach, at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional advisors. Then came Robinhood Markets (ticker: HOOD) and the pandemic, which turned novice investors into day traders. Meme stocks got all the attention, but the robos are doing just fine, and they’re poised to benefit from the new interest in financial markets. Here are the top 20 for the US market.

Banking

    While financial service's digital ad spending has historically outpaced the digital ad market, we expect a slowdown in 2021 and beyond as incumbents in both banking and insurance focus their budgets on technological innovations to compete with emerging fintech companies. Finserv institutions will spend $24.49 billion on digital ads in 2021, up from $20.99 billion in 2020, but spending growth is declining. Finservs spent 20.3% more in 2020 than they did the previous year, but this growth will slow to 11.3% by 2023.

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