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Weekly News Highlights – 17 December 2020

For this week’s news piece, we explore IBM’s latest acquisition, look at fintech Upstart’s shares, dive into mergers and acquisitions, new partnerships between fintechs and BNPL platforms, celebrate Bitcoin’s news on passing the $20,000 milestone, regard the strategic move that Facebook plans in terms of migrating UK users out of EU’s jurisdiction to the US, analyze the latest proposals laid down by EU regulators against Big Techs, and find out more about the US federal government agencies experiencing computer system breaches, believed to be launched as part of a global cyber espionage campaign by the Russian government.

Happy reading!

On IBM’s latest purchase…

IBM’s latest acquisition: Payments Outfit Expertus

IBM acquired Canadian fintech Expertus in order to extend its resources into the AI and payments sectors. With Expertus processing $50 billion daily on its platform, the fintech company offers services to more than 1000 financial institutions, regulatory agencies and corporates around the globe. IBM will be able to focus on providing financial institutions with intelligent workflows and end-to-end business processes embedded with AI, data and analytics, and further develop its IBM Cloud for Financial Services ecosystem. Read more

Upstart fintech on a roll…

Upstart’s shares rose 47% on the first day of trading

Upstart, a Silicon Valley fintech company that makes personal loans to consumers, announced that their shares rose 47% on the first day of trading, giving it a market value of $2.2 billion. Upstart makes loans of $1,000 to $50,000, at interest rates ranging from 7% to 36%. Their clients can use the money for multiple purposes, ranging from credit card debt consolidation to financing weddings. Upstart uses AI technology and alternative data in order to provide accurate assessments on how risky borrowers are. Read more

Fintech acquisition…

Fiserv acquires Ondot

Fiserv, a provider of technology solutions to the financial world, purchased Ondot, a digital card services platform. Ondot’s technological capabilities allow data gathering about user transactions, and spending habits that are directly related to the cardholder. According to Frank Bisignano, president and CEO of Fiserv, the new acquisition will help Fiserv to provide its customers with a holistic CX:  “By combining Ondot and Fiserv capabilities at scale, we plan to provide our clients with a unified digital experience, spanning card-based payments, digital banking platforms, core banking, and merchant solutions, enabling them to deliver best-in-class solutions that continue to reduce friction for their customers.” Read more


Razer Fintech partners with Rely

RAZER Fintech, the fintech arm of gaming hardware and software firm Razer, is partnering buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service provider Rely to offer the South-East Asian market BNPL solutions, designed for merchants registered under Razer’s business-to-business solution, Razer Merchant Services (RMS). With the new purchase, RSM merchants will be able to offer interest-free BNPL solutions to their customers. Read more

More news on crypto…

Bitcoin passes the $20,000 milestone for the first time

Earlier this week, Bitcoin managed to jump 10.5% to $23,655, taking its gains this year past 220%. This spike was encouraged by large investors, attracted by Bitcoin’s offered possibilities in terms of quick gains and perceived inflation-hedging qualities. Investors are starting to see the potential benefits that cryptocurrencies offer, acting as a layer against the risk of inflation, with governments and central banks focused on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Facebook UK post-Brexit…where does it leave the users?

Facebook’s UK users in a post-Brexit world

Facebook announced that it is following in the footsteps of Google, moving millions of UK users outside EU’s privacy laws jurisdictions to the US, which is more flexible in terms of data protection regulations. With the recent Schrems II judgement passed by Europe’s top court, legal risks and uncertainties over EU to US transfers of personal data arise, giving Facebook another potential reason to rework its UK T&Cs. Read more

EU takes a stand against Big Techs…

European regulators are introducing legislative proposals against Big Techs

EU regulators have launched 2 new legislative proposals in order to update regional rules for digital businesses and the monopoly set up by Big Techs. The Digital Services Act (DSA) will update the e-commerce rules while widening requirements to define areas of additional responsibility around content. The second legislative package – Digital Markets Act (DMA), proposes a system whereby a subset of key Internet players are deemed ‘gatekeepers’ and required to abide by specific additional conditions. Read more

US federal government agencies experience computer system breaches…

US federal agencies under attack 

Earlier this week, US Treasury and Commerce departments and other federal government agencies announced that they experienced computer system breaches. The cyber attack is believed to be launched as part of a global cyber espionage campaign by the Russian government. The hacking operation exposed as many as hundreds of thousands of government and corporate networks to potential risk and alarmed national-security officials in the Trump administration as well as executives at FireEye, an US-based cyber security firm. Read more

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