What The FinTech #127 - 5 Feb 2023
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What The FinTech Episode 50
Florian Spiel, the founder and CEO of EVIDENT, a platform for investing in sustainable alternative assets, will join me next week.
Their goal is to bring together those who want to invest in sustainable alternatives and entrepreneurs who are working to address society's most pressing issues. EVIDENT uses the latest technology in asset tokenization and web3 to streamline the private capital markets, all within a secure and regulated setting. This offers investors increased access, reduced complexity, and smoother compliance, and provides asset owners with more opportunities to reach new investors, improved liquidity, and heightened transparency.
Check out the previous videos here: on What The FinTech, Instagram or Youtube.
The previous interviews are available on podcast: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.
What was the FinTech this week in: 📰
S’pore’s economy to grow more than 2x faster than the US, 4.6x faster than the EU in 2023
At a forecast of 2.3 percent local GDP growth (in real terms), Singapore would outperform USA’s one percent and EU’s measly 0.5 percent by 2.3 and 4.6 times respectively, continuing its historical trends of first closing the gap and now overtaking Western nations. In fact, entire Asia is predicted to do much better than the West this year. This includes the typically sluggish Japan, though 4.5 percent growth in countries like China or Malaysia is still below what could have been expected before the pandemic, suggesting they’re not out of the woods yet. Inflation in Singapore has just hit its lowest level in seven months, driven down by decreasing transportation costs, while the latest GDP figures beat expectations, setting a positive tone for 2023. Price growth is expected to hover around 4.5 to 5 percent this year, a bit higher than the forecast of 3.2 percent for the US (since the spike in prices started several months earlier in the US and is about to wind down a bit earlier too) but still below the, yet again lagging, EU which is expecting to see 6.3 percent for the whole of 2023, facing a double-whammy of higher prices and lower economic output. Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand are among the most likely beneficiaries, particularly as pre-pandemic tourism in ASEAN was dominated by the mainland Chinese. It couldn’t come at a better time, given the fears of global recession and the still unclear outcome of the war raging in Ukraine.
S’pore users are hyping over new social app Bondee, but some are skeptical of its NFT plans.
Fiserv looks to support new payment flows with a major payment institution license from the monetary authority of Singapore.
A Fiserv, Inc. operating entity that provides payment solutions for merchants in Singapore, First Data Merchant Solutions Private Limited, has been granted a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), effective January 1, 2023. The license allows the company to provide merchant acquisition services and domestic and cross-border money transfer services under the Payment Services Act (PS Act) 2019. Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions that have its regional headquarters in Singapore, has been providing solutions to some of the largest banks, fintechs, and merchants in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region for over two decades. Fiserv provides end-to-end payment acceptance solutions for small businesses in Singapore as well as solutions for large enterprise clients, facilitating integrated payment acceptance across physical and digital channels and offering a wide range of payment methods locally and at a global scale. The MPI license permits the continued offering of merchant acquiring services in Singapore and will allow Fiserv to support new payment flows for its clients including cross-border funds transfer services and real-time account transfers. Fiserv has a well-established Global Risk and Controls Framework and Global Cybersecurity Services to help ensure adherence to the regulations established under the PS Act in Singapore, as well as the regulatory bodies in markets around the world in which the company operates. Fiserv, as part of the MPI license obligations and its own internal standards, will continue to enhance its rigorous compliance program, which includes anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing measures, as well as industry-leading cybersecurity standards to protect customer data.
Mastering the AI advantage: how DBS transformed into a digital leader
DBS’ 2022 performance, demonstrating high returns and a resilient franchise, again highlights how the optimization of its digital transformation strategy is paying off. So, DBS has bucked the trend in 2022 amid a sea of red across the banking sector. Few major banks around the world can achieve a CIR of the magical 40% or less, but DBS has achieved just that. In this role, she was responsible for driving scalable business growth by delivering data-led customer and distribution operating models, frontline tooling, and hyper-personalised digital offerings to the bank’s consumer banking and wealth segments. DBS’ much-lauded digital banking operation is built around four key pillars: augmented banking, open banking, automation banking, and intelligent banking. meantime, automation banking enables operations to be performed digitally. The bank was an early advocate of open banking, which centers on its ecosystem of partnerships, while intelligent banking refers to using digital and data to scale the business.
Baidu may soon launch Microsoft-backed ChatGPT rival
The Chinese search engine Baidu plans to release its own AI chatbot. Baidu plans to introduce the chatbot as a separate application, much like ChatGPT. It would work similarly to ChatGPT, giving conversation-style results. The Chinese search giant plans to incorporate the language model within its search engine to cater to chatbot-generated results instead of providing links. Baidu has been actively researching artificial intelligence for a few years, spending billions of dollars, and transitioning from online marketing to deep technology. The 'Ernie' system of the company, a large-scale machine-learning model trained for several years, will reportedly be the foundation of the company's upcoming ChatGPT-like chatbot.
Samsung Wallet to launch in India
Samsung will merge its mobile payment solution, Samsung Pay, and password management application, Samsung Pass, into Samsung Wallet in India. Following the introduction of the product, users will be enabled to Tap & Pay or UPI with Samsung Pay, store their digital IDs in one place, and make their Wallet their password with Samsung Pass. An exclusive service to Samsung smartphones, Samsung Wallet enables users to store in a secure manner things the likes of boarding passes, credit cards, cryptocurrency, debit cards, digital keys, identification cards, login passwords, vaccine certificates, and even loyalty/membership cards. Additionally, certain Samsung Galaxy devices also have the capability of carrying out contactless payments through their debit or credit cards via both NFC and UPI payments. What is more, Samsung Knox, a defense-grade digital security system, helps protect all the data in the application. Already existing users of Samsung Pay are set to receive an update that will help switch their app to the new Samsung Wallet, whereas new users can download the app from the Google Play Store once it is available in the region.
Judo Bank: Redefining the challenger bank
Judo Bank, an Australian-based challenger founded in 2016 is dedicated to providing support and capital to SMEs by turning traditional banking on its head. Challenger banks are newer, more specialized banks that often operate online through mobile banking services. On the bank’s specialized focus on SMEs, Frazier comments: “Improvements in banking for SMEs start by recognizing they are different. They are not like consumers or large corporates; they have unique needs which require servicing in a differentiated way. Our research indicates that trust between banks and customers is broken –in fact, SMEs give banks 2 out 10 on trust, and two-thirds of SMEs rate their relationships with banks as low. Building trust back into banking is our purpose and our challenge to get right.” The ”high touch –high tech” approach at Judo Bank relies on human-driven customer relationships. They pride themselves on the prioritization of customer interaction and advice from their bankers, supported by data-driven experiences and digitization to streamline the services the bank has to offer. Data democratization and cloud-based data platforms are critical to outperforming competitors and ensuring client information is secure and protected.
GCash, Grab Philippines to offer cashless payments
Mobile wallet GCash has partnered with super app Grab to enable a direct cashless payments option when using the app’s transport and delivery services in the Philippines. The collaboration is set to enable Grab users with access to easy, convenient, and secure cashless transactions when they add GCash as a direct payment method on the Grab app. As per the information provided in the announcement, GCash is set to be officially available as a payment method on the Grab platform by February 2023. Following this partnership, users are enabled to select GCash as their payment method and carry out cashless payments for Grab services of the likes of GrabCar, GrabFood, GrabMart, and GrabExpress, amongst others, with a couple of taps on their smartphones. Furthermore, this collaboration enables users to avoid transfer fees, which go as high as PHP 50 (approximately USD 1). The company aims to realize its commitment to improving the lives of Filipinos by providing payment methods for their rides and food and grocery deliveries that are increasingly convenient, secure, and cost-efficient. The company is looking forward to the partnership and advised that it will continue to innovate and build partnerships that are set to improve Filipinos’ lives. Looking to make their cashless transactions more convenient and rewarding, Grab customers will also be enabled to take advantage of GCash exclusive deals and receive special rewards when they leverage GCash to pay for their transactions.
PhonePe raises $350 mln, becomes India's most valuable payments firmkikm
Walmart-backed PhonePe raised $350 million from private equity firm General Atlantic at a $12 billion valuation, making it India's most valuable payments firm and giving it funds to expand into the lucrative lending space. Despite a funding winter, the Indian digital payments space has been a bright spot due to the popularity of online payments and startups' ambitions to branch into the lucrative financial services space.PhonePe will use the funds for infrastructure and new businesses, including insurance, wealth management, and lending. While the Indian government has pushed the country's cash-loving merchants and consumers to adopt digital payments, it wants to control the clout of payments firms, seeking to cap any one firm's market share at 30% by the end of 2024.
Worldline launches digital payments suite for Indian SMEs
Worldline, a global leader in payments services, announced the launch of its Buland Bharat digital payments suite, which is designed specially keeping in mind the needs and wants of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India. The Buland Bharat digital payments suite is in line with the Digital India initiative by the government of India. It will go a long way in extending a secure and seamless digital payment ecosystem to small and medium businesses (SMBs) from every nook and corner of the country. The Buland Bharat digital payments suite supports all the digital payments acceptance requirements of the merchant, be it In-store, Online, or Omnichannel payments, all available under one roof. Worldline’s Buland Bharat digital payments suite includes these features: In-store Payments Acceptance via POS terminals, SoftPOS, Voice Alert Box, QR codes; Online Payment Acceptance via Next Gen Payment Gateway, Subscription Payments, Payment Links, integration kits of popular plugins (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce); Omnichannel Payment Acceptance to interact with your customers across multiple touchpoints (In-store and online) with our single convergence platform; Supply chain finance solution for seamless cash flow management and growing liquidity for business growth.
StanChart’s Zodia forms Japanese custody JV with SBI Digital Assets
Zodia Custody, one of Standard Chartered’s institutional digital asset subsidiaries, said it is launching a joint venture with SBI Digital Asset Holdings (SBIDAH), with SBI owning 51%. The newco will provide institutional digital asset custody in Japan, subject to regulatory approval. SBI first disclosed that such a custody venture was in the works during an investor presentation in mid-2022, at the time mentioning that it might involve SBIDAH and SBI VC Trade, its cryptocurrency trading initiative. SBI and SC Ventures had already collaborated to create ecosystems for startups, including blockchain, crypto-assets, fintech, and AI.
BLOCKCHAIN - CRYPTO - DIGITAL ASSETS - DE FI
South Korea to start tracking crypto transactions in Bid to crack down on money laundering
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice plans to start tracking crypto transactions as it looks to crack down on money laundering. The ministry will initially use third-party software to monitor transaction history, extract information on transactions and check the source of funds. It plans to develop its own system, which should be ready in the second half of the year. South Korean lawmakers are considering 17 separate proposals for regulating crypto, from which they plan to formulate the Digital Asset Basic Act.
500 Global-backed M’sian metaverse startup bags funding to help businesses enter Web 3
Virtualtech Frontier (VTF), a Malaysian virtual solutions startup, has closed its Seed III bridging round. The fresh funds come from Blockchain Founder Fund (BFF), a Singapore-based early-stage Web3 venture capital fund.BFF typically kickstarts rounds with new companies in its portfolio at RM800,000.BFF typically kickstarts rounds with new companies in its portfolio at RM800,000. Other than the funding, BFF is known to also offer additional support within their ecosystem, including access to BFF’s extensive curated expert network, an opportunity that the entrepreneur aims to capitalize on. Specializing in Metaverse, Web 3, and virtual events, VTF is also backed by venture capital firm 500 Global. VTF will use the fresh funds to grow its team, support its marketing activities, and further develop its Mitoworld.io (Mitoworld) platform.
Meta starts testing ‘members-only worlds’ in Horizon Worlds
Meta is starting to test closed spaces called “members-only worlds” in Horizon Worlds, its social VR experience. The company has begun a limited alpha test to give creators the ability to grow and moderate their own communities. Meta has selected a small group of creators to build and obtain feedback about members-only worlds. In a blog post, Meta explained that creators can hand-select members and offer them exclusive experiences. During the alpha test, each members-only world can have up to 150 world members and 25 concurrent visitors at any given time. With members-only worlds, creators can launch a dedicated space to do things like host a book club, gather a gaming group, organize a support group or just hang out with friends and family without having to worry about uninvited guests. Meta will provide the tools to allow creators to set the rules for their communities and maintain those rules for their closed spaces. The launch of the new test comes as Meta expanded the availability of “personal space” in Horizon Worlds in September. Personal space gives users a place where they can hang out, play minigames, or invite friends over before heading to an event.
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