This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
For many, at least in fintech, the conversation on innovation has begun to shift from an emphasis on disruption to a focus on the possibilities of collaboration.
But the title of “Technology Disruptor” is still a coveted one, especially in the popular media where talking heads talk about technology trends like celebrities mincing down the red carpet on awards night.
CNBC has been culling the ranks of Technology Disruptors for nearly a decade and, this week, introduced its ninth CNBC Disruptor 50 list. The collection of technology companies is designed to highlight private firms that have helped lead the way out of the COVID-19 era “with business models and growth rates aligned with a rapid pace of technological change.”
See the full list at CNBC.com. For now, here’s a look at the four Finovate alums who made this year’s roster.
Like most of the Finovate alums that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, Marqeta was first introduced to our audiences via its participation in our developer’s conference FinDEVr SiliconValley 2016.
The company leverages its open API platform to enable its clients and partners to instantly issue and process card payments. With more than $528 million in funding, the Oakland, California-based firm is reportedly readying for a $100 million initial public offering later this year.
Does anyone remember OpenCoin? That was the company that Chris Larsen brought to FinovateSpring in 2013 to introduce a new virtual currency and distributed open source protocol called Ripple.
In the years since then, Ripple has grown into enterprise blockchain company with hundreds of customers in more than 55 countries who are using its solutions. The company’s XRP Ledger and digital asset XRP, running on Ripple’s global network, improve and enhance payment services for businesses around the world.
An alum of our developers conference FinDEVr, Plaid became a household word in the fintech community when Visa tried to acquire the company in January 2020. That plan was nixed by the U.S. Justice Department, but Plaid has continued on its innovative path to promote open finance via API.
Dedicated to helping connect people’s financial accounts to their apps, Plaid has added key insights to the data access it facilitates via a suite of analytics solutions such as its new income verification product, Plaid Income.
International fintech has always been part of the Finovate/FinDEVr beat. Back in 2016, a Brazilian financial services startup with the backing of an impressive array of venture capitalists demonstrated its unique approach to fintech development at FinDEVr New York 2016.
Today, that company, Nubank, is the biggest fintech in Latin America. The company operates as a challenger bank with more than 34 million customers and offices in Berlin and Mexico City, in addition to its São Paulo, Brazil headquarters.
Other fintechs that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 are:
Payments network Ripple is bolstering its ranks this week with the appointment of Kristina Campbell as CFO.
Campbell has been tapped to drive Ripple’s financial strategy, accelerate growth, and deliver value to shareholders. She most recently served as CFO at PayNearMe and has also held multiple roles at GreenDot.
“Digital asset technology allows us to rethink and improve the systems and infrastructure around how money moves. With this technology, we will make the global financial system accessible to all,” said Campbell. “Ripple is uniquely positioned to improve global payments in ways that have yet to be defined and I’m excited to be a part of that solution.”
Ripple also revealed that Rosa Gumataotao Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States, has joined its Board of Directors. In her role as Treasurer, Rios oversaw all currency and coin production and focused on economic development, urban revitalization, and real estate finance.
“I’ve dedicated my career to financial inclusion and empowerment, which requires bringing new and innovative solutions to staid processes. Ripple is one of the best examples of how to use cryptocurrency in a substantive and legitimate role to facilitate payments globally,” said Rios. “Blockchain and digital assets will underpin our future global financial systems. Cryptocurrency is the what. Ripple is the how.”
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that the new appointees come “at a pivotal time for the company.” Garlinghouse’s phrase, “pivotal time,” is in reference to Ripple’s international expansion efforts; earlier this spring the company acquired a 40% stake in Asia-based cross-border payment specialist Tranglo. It is also a head nod to the lawsuit Ripple is currently facing.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse conducted an illegal securities offering that raised more than $1.3 billion through sales of Ripple’s XRP currency. Ripple, which considers XRP as a currency and not an investment contract, is denying the allegations.
Backed by SBI Holdings, Santander, Andreessen Horowitz, and Lightspeed, Ripple has raised $294 million and is valued at $10 billion.
With bitcoin and cryptocurrencies enjoying renewed interest, it’s worth noting that many fintech fans encountered their first bitcoin-related businesses through Finovate conferences.
Here’s a look at some of the companies that have brought their bitcoin and crypto-powered innovations to the Finovate stage.
OpenCoin – FinovateSpring 2013 – The company now well-known as Ripple was introduced to Finovate audiences back in 2013. At FinovateSpring that year, Chris Larsen – CEO of a startup called OpenCoin – introduced its virtual currency and distributed open source payment network. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Ripple currently has more than 300 financial institutions who leverage its RippleNet blockchain network to power real-time payments.
KlickEx – FinovateAsia 2013 – New Zealand-based KlickEx unveiled its asset-backed and algorithmic cryptocurrency for institutional and retail users at FinovateAsia in 2013. The company, founded in 2009, recently announced a partnership with the National Reserve Bank of Tonga to launch a new national payment system.
Coinbase – FinovateSpring 2014 – Among the bigger names in bitcoin and cryptocurrency to have demonstrated their technology at Finovate conferences is San Francisco, California-based Coinbase. Debuting at Finovate with its Instant Exchange in 2014, Coinbase has grown into one of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency market with more than 35 million verified users and more than $320 billion in total volume traded on its platform.
AlphaPoint – FinovateEurope 2015 – With more than $350 million in monthly trading volume and 20 digital currency exchanges operating in 15 countries, AlphaPoint is a leading fintech exchange platform provider for digital currencies. The company demoed version two of its digital currency exchange platform at FinovateEurope in 2015.
CoinJar – FinovateEurope 2015 – Australia’s largest and longest-operating bitcoin company, CoinJar demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2015. The Best of Show-winning firm was the first in its market to offer a bitcoin debit card that enabled cardholders to use the cryptocurrency for everyday purchases.
Bitbond – FinovateEurope 2015 – Berlin, Germany’s Bitbond offers a global P2P bitcoin lending platform that enables anyone with an Internet connection to both get loans as well as invest their savings for interest. The company demonstrated its AutoInvest functionality, which facilitates and automates fund allocation in a portfolio, at FinovateEurope 2015.
itBit – FinovateSpring 2015 – New York-based itBit demonstrated its bitcoin trading platform at FinovateSpring in 2015. The company’s technology enables both institutional and retail investors to buy and sell bitcoin. Rebranded as Paxos in the fall of 2016, the company has since highlighted its work in private blockchains and distributed ledger technology.
Blockstack.io – FinovateFall 2015 – Best of Show winning Blockstack.io offers a hosted and licensed enterprise blockchain platform that enables financial services companies and others to build applications on their own private blockchain. The San Francisco, California-based company, founded in 2015, was acquired by Digital Asset Holdings for an undisclosed sum before the end of the year.
ArcBit – FinovateFall 2015 – With a pledge to leverage bitcoin and blockchain technology to bring banking to the underbanked, ArcBit, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall in 2015, offers a mobile wallet specifically designed to give bitcoin owners full control over their cryptoholdings.
Coinalytics – FinDEVr San Francisco 2015 – Our developers conference, FinDEVr is one way that many bitcoin and crytocurrency innovators were able to bring their innovations to the public. Coinanalytics, which offers an end-to-end intelligence platform for the bitcoin industry, is an example of the kind of company developing solutions to make bitcoin a better opportunity for payments, financial services, and IoT.
BlockCypher – FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015 – Another alum of our developer’s conference, BlockCypher offers companies a cloud-optimized, enterprise-grade blockchain platform that enables them to build reliable blockchain apps. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company was founded in 2014.
Gem – FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015 – Founded in 2014 and based in Venice, California, Gem demonstrated its API which provides a comprehensive security solution for bitcoin apps – without taking control over funds. With a few lines of code, Gem enables developers to provide an interface to their bitcoin apps that gives users better funding options.
Ledger – FinovateEurope 2016 – Headquartered in Paris, France and founded in 2015, Ledger designs trusted hardware solutions for bitcoin and blockchain apps. The company’s solutions, including the Nano X and Nano S, provide cryptocurrency owners with a secure, portable way to take and manage their digital assets wherever they are.
Stratumn – FinDEVr New York 2016 – Enterprise blockchain technology company Stratumn provides firms with the infrastructure and tools they need to to build, deploy, and run blockchain. The company presented the high performance, proof-of-existence engine of its development platform at our developer’s conference in 2016. Jerome Lefebvre took over as CEO of the company from co-founder Richard Caetano in the fall of 2019.
Plutus.it – FinovateEurope 2018 – London-based Plutus demonstrated its Tap & Pay and Debit Card solutions that enable consumers to pay with bitcoin or Ethereum at any contactless point of sale. Founded in 2016, the company currently supports more than 26,000 Plutus accounts and credits its users for acquiring more than $100,000 in rewards via its Pluton Rewards program.
Amber Labs – Finovate MiddleEast 2019 – Best of Show winner Amber Labs is a bitcoin exchange, wallet, and micro-investment app in one. Headquartered in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and founded in 2017, Amber Labs offers a mobile first, automated investment platform for retail customers looking to buy and sell bitcoin.
Payments network Ripple, in conjunction with research and advisory firm Celent, recently released their 2020 Blockchain in Payments report. The two conducted a survey to better understand adoption of blockchain-based payments across retail and digital banking, payment aggregators, and money transmitters.
The findings of the study illustrate how far the banking industry has come with regards to blockchain adoption for payments and what challenges lay ahead. In the end, Ripple offers suggestions for helping the blockchain reach mainstream adoption in payments.
The study surveyed 854 respondents across 22 countries who are directly involved with payment services at their organization and found:
59% of respondents are in production or near production for payments-related use cases.
44% of respondents leveraging the blockchain recorded strong business growth in the past 12 months.
98% of respondents working with the blockchain for payments have also deployed the technology for non-payments use cases.
99% of respondents’ organizations would consider using a digital asset as a currency or as a means to instantly process cross-border payments.
Overall, Ripple found that businesses that have leveraged blockchain technology for cross-border payments cite four benefits: improved data quality, increased data security, cost savings, and business growth. Interestingly, the company noted that COVID-19 has had a net positive impact on the use of the blockchain in payments. Both the pandemic and the economic downturn have increased demand for payments services.
However, there are challenges ahead for the emerging technology. Specifically, Ripple noted difficulties in expediting implementation for financial institutions and securing regulatory clarity as two outstanding issues holding back more prolific use of the blockchain for payments.
With this in mind, Ripple issued three recommendations to help firms fully harness the blockchain for growth. First, governments must increase regulatory clarity. “Without clarity, mature markets will fall behind and be challenged to catch up,” the report notes. Second, integration costs must be lowered. Fortunately, standard APIs and cloud-based services are already helping to bring down costs. Finally, security must be addressed. Though blockchain networks are inherently secure, they must vet participants and prevent bad actors from gaining access.
Payments network Rippleannounced a move today that will make its climate change activist users happy. The company has pledged to be carbon net-zero by 2030 and to decarbonize public blockchains.
“The blockchain and digital asset industry will play a critical role in building a sustainable future for global finance,” the company said in a blog post. “We, as an industry, need to come together to dramatically reduce our collective environmental impact as broad adoption takes hold.”
Ripple plans to decarbonize public blockchains in partnership with the XRP Ledger Foundation, Energy Web, and Rocky Mountain Institute. To achieve this goal, the group is using Energy Web’s EW Zero, an application to find and source emissions-free renewable energy. EW Zero provides an open-source tool that enables any blockchain, not just Ripple’s XRP Ledger, to decarbonize by purchasing renewable energy in local markets in partnership with Energy Web Foundation.
In addition to this, Ripple announced it is:
Measuring its own carbon footprint and reducing it by purchasing clean, renewable energy for its offices and business activities
Investing in carbon removal technology with the goal of removing all of its emissions by 2030
Driving new research with the University College London (UCL) and the National University of Singapore to evaluate energy consumption across digital assets, credit card networks, and cash; and understand environmental impact of crypto adoption
Cryptocurrencies don’t have the same negative environmental impacts as paper currencies, which contribute to pollution, deforestation, and a large carbon footprint. The mining techniques that cryptocurrencies require, however, consume large amounts of energy. This is especially true with Bitcoin. Ripple reported that XRP is 61,000x more energy efficient than Bitcoin, which last year consumed almost as much energy as the country of Portugal does on average.
Ripple is the first major player in the crypto space to make a move like this but it likely won’t be the last. According to a report by Morningstar, over the past three years Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index funds have doubled in both number and asset size. Ripple’s new environmentally friendly approach will likely piggyback on the success of ESG investing.
Six companies that have demonstrated their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage have been recognized this year by CNBC as part of their Disruptor 50 roster for 2020.
This year’s list, the eighth in the series, is marked by the high number of billion-dollar companies, or “unicorns.” Fully 36 of the firms in the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 have reached or surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark. Combined, the 50 companies have raised more than $74 billion in VC funding and achieved an implied market valuation of almost $277 billion.
The companies making the cut range in industry from cybersecurity and healthcare IT to education and, of course, fintech. In fact, the top-ranked company in the 2020 Disruptor 50 is none other than Stripe, the $36 billion payments platform founded in 2010. Stripe earned a #13 ranking in last year’s Disruptor 50 roster, and likely owes its first place appearance this year to a major $600 million funding raising – the company’s largest to date – and the economic and social consequences of the global health crisis.
“With many people throughout the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CNBC’s capsule on the company noted, “the move to shopping online has never been greater. That’s good news for digital payments platform Stripe.”
Stripe was not the only fintech to earn high marks from the 2020 Disruptor 50’s methodology. In addition to the half dozen Finovate alums below, some of the other fintechs on this year’s roster include:
Virtual bank WeLab (Hong Kong)
Digital mortgage company Better.com (New York City)
“Buy now pay later” e-commerce company Affirm (San Francisco, California)
Challenger bank Chime (San Francisco, California)
Banking app Dave (Los Angeles, California)
Microfinancier TALA (Santa Monica, California)
Trading and investing platform Robinhood (Menlo Park, California)
Also earning spots in this year’s list were a pair of insurtech companies, Lemonade and Root Insurance, as well as cybersecurity and biometric authentication firms SentinelOne and CLEAR, respectively.
Here’s a look at the Finovate alums that made this year’s list.
Blockchain payment solutions company Rippleannounced this week it has signed Banco Rendimento to RippleNet Cloud. The addition of the Brazil-based bank marks the first bank to leverage Ripple’s cloud-based solution.
This news comes a year-and-a-half after Banco Rendimento joined RippleNet in 2019. “Migrating our payment infrastructure to RippleNet Cloud allows us to provide our customers with a best-in-class experience,” said Banco Rendimento FX Superintendent Jacques Zylbergeld. “Customers can now enjoy more transparency and easier navigation for both submitting payments and trading. RippleNet also allows us access to global partners, offering a standardized solution, and ensuring the integration and onboarding processes are seamless.”
Banco Rendimento considers itself a pioneer in the international payments space and is working to grow the payments ecosystem with high quality, fair cost solutions. With the implementation of RippleNet Cloud, the bank expects it will increase payment volumes by the first quarter of next year.
RippleNet is Ripple’s global payment network that connects 300+ financial institutions worldwide to enable faster, lower-cost payments. Currently, two dozen non-bank financial services companies, including Azimo, MoneyMatch, iRemit, Usend / Pontual, MoneyGram, and Viamericas, are clients of Ripple’s cloud service. And the customer list is increasing. Ripple reported that in the first quarter of this year, 81% of new RippleNet customers opted for cloud deployment and and 30% of all RippleNet payments are now being sent and/or received through RippleNet Cloud.
Earlier this year, Ripple announced that Azimo, in partnership with Thailand’s Siam Commercial bank (SCB), began leveraging RippleNet to launch instant cross-border payments from Europe to Thailand.
Ripple has offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York, London, Mumbai, Singapore, São Paulo, Reykjavik and Dubai, and counts more than 300 customers around the world. The company’s payments network operates in 45+ countries across six continents. Ripple was founded in 2012 and has since amassed $294 million across 13 rounds of funding. Chris Larsen is founder and CEO.
The world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and financial services and fintech companies are no exception. We’ve taken a look at how lenders are working to help small businesses struggling with cash flow challenges, and how firms are offering their services free of charge during the crisis to help businesses continue operating with as little interruption as possible.
Beyond this, a number of institutions around the world have taken more innovative approaches to helping manage the dislocations caused by COVID-19. Stockholm, Sweden-based Swedbank, for example, has supported hackathons in Latvia and Lithuania dedicated toward finding solutions to help businesses and individuals deal with COVID-19 related issues. The firm announced today that it is sponsoring a global hackathon in April, called “The Global Hack” to broaden the effort to get fintechs involved in the effort.
Swedbank is specifically sponsoring the economy track of the hackathon, which Swedbank Head of Digital Banking and IT Lotta Lovén said would help drive innovation in products designed to help keep markets moving.
“We not only dive into topics that will help our customers and industry through these unprecedented times, but the results will also support the local communities and the society as a whole,” Lovén said.
The Global Hack event is also supported by the European Commission, the World Health Organization, The World Economic Forum, and LinkedIn, among others.
The Fintech Times has just published its special edition on Asia – guest edited by The Finanser’s Chris Skinner. And while the timing does not allow for much consideration of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s fintech industry, a handful of articles nevertheless feature worth-reading insights on what that industry might look like on the other side of the current public health crisis.
Foremost among them – and having the most relevance for Western audiences – may be Jim Marous’ article, Tomorrow’s Model for Banking Exists Today. Marous, publisher of The Financial Brand, credits “big data, advanced analytics, modern digital technology and an innovation culture” for what he calls “the spectacular growth of innovative financial services in China.” The fact that this innovation is accompanied by – instead of being ahead of – successful financial inclusion makes the achievements of China’s techfin and fintech enterprises all the more worth learning from.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Eastern Europe
Payments platform Paysafe launchesPaysafecash in Latvia.
Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank, announces big data joint venture with telecom Rostelecom.
Polish payments processor KIR partners with Danish authentication solutions provider Cryptomathic.
Middle East and Northern Africa
PayBy, a fintech based in Abu Dhabi, begins mobile payment services in the UAE.
Dubai-based Rise, which provides banking services to underbanked migrant workers in the UAE, raises $1.4 million in funding.
Mobile banking services provider Khazna secures seed funding in round led by Egyptian VC Algebra Ventures.
Central and Southern Asia
Recko, an Indian fintech that leverages AI to reconcile digital transaction plans, raises $6 million in Series A funding.
Fortune India looks at the impact of COVID-19 on India’s fintech industry.
Uruguayn-Mexican fintech Mozper, which specializes in helping parents financially educate their children, raises pre-seed investment of $770,000.
Mexico-based digital payment processor Kushki locks in Series A funding in round led by DILA Capital.
Brazil’s Cora adds cash flow boosting feature to its SME platform that enables customers that are observing quarantines to purchasing vouchers today from their favorite merchant for goods and services to be picked up later.
Japanese digital banking startup Kyash raises $45 million in Series C funding.
Hong Kong virtual bank Airstar Bank pilots its virtual banking service.
Ripple to power cross-border payments for Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank.
South African fintech TaxTim teams up with PwC to support expansion to Nigeria.
Zeepay Ghana wins approval for mobile money license.
Bank of Zimbabwe inks memorandum of agreement with Apollo Fintech to build a gold-based digital currency.
The fight against the coronavirus pandemic has captured the attention of people all over the world. From medical professionals on the front lines of caring for the sick to small businesses making hard decisions about how to keep their workforces intact during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, everyone has been touched by the current crisis.
Earlier this week, we took a look at how fintechs and financial services firms are rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. Looking at three different areas – safety, digitalization, and service – we saw how companies in countries ranging from Russia and India to the U.K. and the U.S. are lending their insights, talents, and generosity to the cause.
Companies like London-based Aire, a Finovate alum that is offering lenders three months of free access to its credit insight service, are an example of what is happening across the fintech space. “We’re seeing an unprecedented level of change in the market for consumers right now,” company founder and CEO Aneesh Varma said. “Lenders are understandably stretched and struggling to build accurate pictures of their customers in real-time.”
CoinDCX Cashes In: Two weeks ago we interviewed Neeraj Khandelwal, co-founder of Indian cryptocurrency trading platform CoinDCX, on cryptocurrencies and cashlessness. This week, we learned that the company has raised $3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and HDR Group. The capital will help the company launch new products, boost R&D efforts and marketing, and build the CoinDCX team.
“As the country’s largest exchange, we are in a position to drive national crypto adoption forward responsibly,” CEO and co-founder Sumit Gupta said. “This successful investment round will go a long way in funding our vision of accelerating India’s growth into a $5 trillion economy.”
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Kenya-based telecom Safaricom to waive fees for its M-Pesa mobile money service to help customers avoid cash during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Somalia’s MyBank to deploy Sharia-compliant, core banking technology from Path Solutions.
Ghana goes live with its Universal Quick Response (QR) Code and Proxy Pay system.
Central and Eastern Europe
SME Finance, a factoring services provider for businesses in the Baltics and Poland, picks up 10 million euro investment from new partner, Citadele Bank of Latvia.
Berlin, Germany-based, digital business bank Penta raises 18.5 million euros in new funding.
The COVID crisis has authorities in Russia decontaminating cash and urging citizens to use digital payments.
Erste Bank Hungary deploys mobile security technology from OneSpan.
Middle East and Northern Africa
DriveWealthannounces its first MENA region partnership: a collaboration with UAE-based wealth management firm, Wealthface.
Al Ansari Exchange taps Pelican for financial crime compliance.
Emirates’ World Investments commits to investment of $255 million in Australian challenger bank Xinja.
Central and Southern Asia
Mobile payments company HUMBL forges new partnership with Digital India Payments.
Singapore-based anti-fraud solutions provider Advance.AI opens offices in Bengaluru and Delhi.
Indian alt lender Vivriti Capital secures $50 million in Series B funding.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Mexican SME lender Creditjusto raises $100 million in debt financing from Credit Suisse Group.
Brazilian fintech Creditas announces plans to boost staff by 500 by the end of the year.
Wirecard teams up with Mexico’s Banca Afirme as the German digital payments solutions provider extends further into the Mexican market.
TransferWiseteams up with Alipay to enable fund transfers to China.
Bank of China launches its AI-based FX trading signal app via Eikon.
Thai remittance company DeeMoney goes live on RippleNet.
Last fall, blockchain payments company Ripple, in conjunction with Celent, conducted a survey to better understand payment services providers’ adoption of blockchain-based payments. The findings of that study are published in a report issued by Ripple, and illustrates how far the payments industry has come with regards to blockchain adoption, and what’s needed to keep the momentum going.
The study surveyed 1,050+ payment services industry representatives across 21 countries. Overall, it found that:
35% of respondents are in production of a blockchain payments solution
27% are nearing implementation of a blockchain-based payments solution
31% say that the blockchain offers the opportunity to expand existing services into new regions
71% are “very to extremely” interested in digital assets
Ripple indicated that leveraging the blockchain for payments has gained a significant amount of momentum thanks to its fair pricing for end consumers, attractive revenue for payments providers, and the overall level of trust placed in the technology.
Now all that’s needed is to pick up the pace of adoption– but what is holding back mass adoption of the technology? Ripple’s study identifies three drivers responsible for faster blockchain adoption:
Payments companies are concerned about implementing a blockchain-based payments solution because they are worried it will be expensive and difficult to integrate into their existing platform. In fact, a third of respondents to the study cited implementation as a concern of using the blockchain for payments.
When integrating new technology into existing platforms, regulatory hurdles are almost always a concern. With blockchain technology, however, this seems to be even more true, especially with legacy financial institutions. As one would expect, regulatory concerns of digital banking providers are less acute, since they are accustomed to operating using non-traditional models.
One of the top perceived benefits of using the blockchain for payments is the time savings. In fact, three quarters of the survey respondents were interested in leveraging the blockchain for digital assets in cross-border money transfers. Fueling this interest is the speed at which these transactions can occur when compared to traditional payments. The study found that early adopters of blockchain technology are most interested in using digital assets.
Russia has a new tech billionaire. The $500 million raised by financial platform Revolut this week not only establishes the U.K.-based business as the country’s most valuable fintech. It also makes its founder and CEO, Moscow-born Nikolay Storonsky, the latest fintech billionaire to come from the Russian Republic.
The investment was led by Technology Crossover Ventures – a U.S. firm – and takes Revolut’s total capital to $836 million. Revolut now sports a valuation of $5.5 billion.
Storonsky’s net worth figure – on paper, at least – is based on a Forbes report from last February in which he noted that his stake in Revolut was being diluted to 30%.
As part of this big week for U.K. fintechs, SME lender iwoca picked up $109 million funding and expansion into Germany. B-Social, a social payments app based in London, raised $10 million ahead of its transformation into a fully-licensed challenger bank later this year. And Azimopartnered with fellow Finovate alum Ripple to facilitate cross-border payments to the Philippines.
This week on Finovate.com, we featured a profile of Innovate Israel founder and CEO Itai Green and his thoughts on open innovation and collaboration between corporates and startups. We also highlighted Finovate newcomer Sonect, a Swiss company that demonstrated its Best of Show winning virtual cash network at FinovateEurope earlier this month.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
Indian fintech PhoneParLoan announces new investment from accelerator MOX. The amount of the funding was not disclosed.
Bengaluru-based digital billpay company XPay Life goes live in India.
Envestnet | Yodleeacquires Indian data aggregator FinBit.io.
Latin America and the Caribbean
AlphaCredit, a Mexico City-based fintech, raises $125 million in round led by the SoftBank Innovation Fund.
Mexico issues its first license – to NVIO Pagos Mexico – under its new fintech law.
U.S. Bancorp’s merchant acquirer subsidiary, Elavon, sells its Mexican operations to banking group Santander.
AzimotapsRipple for cross-border payments to the Philippines.
Philippines-based Tonik Financial raises $6 million ahead of the launch of its new digital offering.
Malaysia’s biggest telecom, Axiata Group, is the latest company in the country to announce plans to pursue a digital banking license.
South Africa’s Jumo raises $55 million in combined debt and equity funding.
Nigeria’s The Nation looks at how fintech empowers startups.
Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform Sokowatch locks in $14 million Series A funding.
Central and Eastern Europe
Mastercardexpands its partnership with Rakuten Viber to bring P2P payments to Romania.
A new $500 million funding round for Revolutmakes the company’s founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky Russia’s latest tech billionaire.
Apple Pay goes live in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Middle East and Northern Africa
Kashat, an Egyptian mobile app that offers short-term loans of up to $95 to the underbanked, goes live in Cairo and Alexandria.
Jordanian SME lending marketplace Liwwa raises $5 million in growth funding.
A new agreement between Tencent Holdings and Network International will expand WeChat Pay’s presence in the UAE.
Digital money transfer service Azimoannounced today that it has partnered with fellow Finovate alum and blockchain payment solutions company Ripple to power cross-border payments to the Philippines.
Fueling these payment transfers is Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution that uses XRP to source liquidity and complete money transfers within three seconds. This time reduction results in a 40% to 60% cost savings over the traditional method that requires businesses to hold cash in pre-funded accounts. ODL has proven especially useful for international payments in emerging markets. The technology is currently available in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Europe, and the Philippines, with plans to expand across APAC, EMEA, and LATAM.
Azimo, which plans to expand its use of ODL to more markets in 2020, opted to start with the Philippines because it is one of the top remittance destinations. In 2018, the region received $34 billion in remittance payments.
“We’ve been interested for a long time in the potential of digital assets like XRP to make cross-border payments better for customers,” said Azimo CEO Richard Ambrose. ”Ripple’s ODL solution has significantly reduced the cost and delivery time for cross-border transfers, and our customers are seeing the benefits. As more banks and financial institutions use ODL, we believe it has the potential to replace current methods of foreign exchange trading and to reduce settlement time to close to zero.”
Founded in 2012, Azimo has amassed one million customers. The company facilitates money transfers from 25 countries to more than 200 regions across the globe.
Ripple has 300+ customers in more than 45 countries and six continents. The company’s flagship global blockchain network, RippleNet, facilitates faster and cheaper payments in 40+ currencies.