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Weekly FinTech news digest: 13—19 October 2020

The first edition of the FinTech Wire takes us first to Germany and India, then leaps to Nigeria and across the Atlantic to San Francisco, before finally coming back to Europe. From product launches and major acquisitions to jackpot funding rounds and blockchain twists—this week in October was as eventful as could be expected.

C24 open banking platform launched in Germany

Can a “green” neobank compete with the European challengers?

If you’re familiar with the German digital market, you must have heard about CHECK24: the leading price comparison portal in the region with over 15 million customers. The company had decided to use that momentum and ventured into the world of open banking with a new mobile banking app C24. Apart from standard banking services, C24 offers multibanking features, attractive cashback options for purchases made via the CHECK24 comparison site and… a greener future. The neobank positions itself as a climate-positive company, invested in offsetting all carbon emissions from its business activities. Will it be enough to successfully compete with more mature challenger banks, including other German startups such as N26, Fidor, and Kontist? Time will tell…

Read more about top third-party open banking providers

Razorpay becomes the fifth FinTech unicorn in India

India’s sharpest PayTech closes a Series D funding with panache (and $100 M!)

An Indian payments startup Razorpay, founded in 2014 by Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar, has just earned the title of the country’s fifth ever FinTech unicorn. In a Series D round led by GIC and Sequoia, the company has raised a handsome $100 million, thus entering the realm of businesses valued at over $1 billion. Already a market leader in payment processing for SMEs, Razorpay can now further diversify and expand its offer with neobanking (RazorpayX) and line-of-credit services (Cash Advance). However, the ambitions of this rising PayTech superstar don’t end there. Razorpay wants to become the FinTech partner of choice for India’s business innovators and double growth over the next year.

Read more about challenges and opportunities in PayTech

Nigerian payments startup Paystack acquired by Stripe

Will Stripe help Paystack accelerate online commerce in Africa?

In 2018, Stripe led Paystack’s Series A financing round and 2020 sees the partnership consolidate in the company’s biggest acquisition to date. With more than 60,000 B2B customers and an impressive market coverage (processing over half of all online transactions in Nigeria), Paystack seems a natural strategic partner for a global payment technology leader such as Stripe. The more so, as both businesses claim to share a common “tech-first approach” and a “strong cultural DNA”.

Read more about top online payment processors for startups

SoFi introduces social trading and investing features

How do you put the “social” back to social finance? SoFi has the answer

A San Francisco-based PFM company SoFi has recently broadened its offering by adding social trading and investing components within SoFi Invest. Apart from using the company’s digital products for smarter borrowing, spending and saving, SoFi members can now share investment portfolios, follow other users on their investment journeys, exchange comments and compare their investing performance on a dynamic leaderboard. Those socially-enabled features are supposed to help them build better investing habits. The company believes this development marks an important step towards a “more informative, engaging, interactive mobile investing experience”.

Read more about innovations improving customer experience

Circles launches the first ever UBI app on blockchain

Can blockchain revolutionize Universal Basic Income? Circles joins the race

Circles is a new money system based on personal cryptocurrencies. It uses a smart contract-enabled blockchain to “mint” coins for each individual currency, which can be transferred or exchanged, thus creating an interconnected network accessible to anyone on the Internet. For the system to work, it has to be resistant to Sybil attacks and users have to trust each other’s currencies. In this respect, Circles relies heavily on a “chain of trust”, meaning that well-integrated users with many trusted relationships will find it easier to exchange personal currencies. At this early stage of development, the Universal Basic Income solution proposed by Circles can still seem a bit obscure, but it does shed more light on the use of blockchain in building a more human-centered economy.

Read more about peer-to-peer technologies in FinTech

More news from FinTech Wire coming soon…

What a week in FinTech! We hope the selection above has whetted your appetite for more bite-size news from the huge melting pot of digital innovations. If so, you can rest assured that FinTech Wire will come back next week with gourmet food for thought for all finance professionals. Subscribe to the #FinTechWire hashtag on our LinkedIn and Twitter to receive updates straight to your news feed!