This week was full of new, surprising news, most notably about the crypto adaptation and growing compliance costs in the UK. But as usual, we also have some great news about successful funding rounds all over the FinTech sector. Read more for all the exciting details!
Weekly FinTech news digest: 15—21 June 2021
After over a decade with us, cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream
Understanding the concept means trusting it
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency on the market, was introduced in 2009 and since then it has struggled with the mass-consumers’ trust. After all, it’s something completely different than fiat money and the idea behind it seemed crazy. However, it still seems crazy for the most part of the society. Is this attitude changing, though? The latest research conducted by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority underlines that a lot is changing. 78% of adults have already heard about cryptocurrencies and only 38% consider it “gambling”, compared to 47% last year. As the market is growing, more and more consumers are able to use crypto in real life situations, either as an investment or as an actual payment method. Moreover, UK regulators react to the trends accordingly. From 2020, the FCA became the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing supervisor of UK cryptoasset businesses. Sheldon Mills, FCA’s executive director, admits that the sector is growing fast and he wants the customers to understand it as well as possible, for their own security.
Read more about FinTech regulations.
Open payments firm Volt raises $23.5m in a funding round led by EQT Ventures
A giant success of a fast growing company
Volt — the leading open payments gateway, has raised a $23.5 million Series A to fund expansion into new territories and build out its global instant payments footprint. When it comes to open banking related enterprises, this is a record sum! The round was led by EQT Ventures, a hybrid between a VC and a startup. EQT Ventures is part of EQT, EQT is a differentiated global investment organization with more than EUR 62 billion in raised capital and around EUR 41 billion in assets under management across 20 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 21 billion and approximately 127,000 employees.
Read more about open banking.
Novus, an “impact-driven” startup will build a reward app with Visa and Railsbank
Everybody loves rewards, so the merrier the better
Set to launch this summer with a 15,000 waitlist, Novus rewards its community with real-time impact points that can be spent, saved and tracked via the app. What’s interesting is that its users can choose to spend their points on charity, for example to fight gender discrimination, pollution or hunger and poverty problems. The app will also measure the actual impact they make, thus motivating them to be more active. Jill Docherty, executive director, business development (UK & Ireland), Visa, says: “Digital payments can empower consumers to understand, measure and manage the social and environmental impact of their everyday spend.
Read more about green FinTech.
Sharp is soon launching a new change card and app to replace coins
New services by a popular startup are being tested
With a significant reduction in cash use – particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic – the cost of maintaining the infrastructure to sort, transport and distribute cash has become unsustainable. Sharp, a startup whose mission is to let us live without coins, is planning to finally realise its goal by launching a system that will allow shops to give change not in a physical form, but directly on a card. This will greatly increase the comfort of running business and make our wallets lighter. Shrap is regulated by the FCA and makes money by earning interest on the cash it holds. “One of the biggest risks to cash is its continued acceptance by businesses, and the biggest driver of cash acceptance is the cost and hassle of handling it” says Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair of the Community Access to Cash Pilots
Read more about digital banking product development.
Compliance costs are getting lower and lower, thanks to increased AML regulations
The UK’s FinTech industry is getting less expensive to maintain
LexisNexis has researched the topic and surveyed over 300 enterprises to prepare the newest report. According to the collected data, the increased AML regulations have allowed most companies to reduce the compliance costs, which is great news. If the trend continues, we may count on expenses needed to run a FinTech getting even lower in the future, so the country should attract new investors from abroad and convince local ones to keep their money in the Kingdom.
Read more about managing a FinTech in a reasonable way.
This would be all for FinTech Wire #34, stay tuned for more news next week. Be sure to subscribe to our social media: Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, it’s the best way to not to miss out on what’s going on in the FinTech world!