Weekly News Highlights – 10 November 2022

Stay up to date with the latest news from fintech! This week, we bring you updates on regulations, legislations, partnerships, and more. Enjoy reading!

ECB to set deadlines for banks to manage climate risks (Fintech Global)
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published the results of its thematic review, which has shown that banks are ‘still far’ from managing climate risks. The ECB is now establishing staggered deadlines for banks to progressively meet all the supervisory expectations it laid out in its guide on climate-related and environmental risks in 2020. In addition, the ECB also published a compendium of good practices observed in some banks, demonstrating that swift progress is possible and aiming to facilitate the improvement of practices across the sector. Read more

Mastercard, Treezor extend partnership (The Paypers)
France-based Treezor, a subsidiary of Societe Generale group and Banking-as-a-Service provider, and Mastercard have announced an extended partnership, according to an official press release. This agreement reinforces a 5-year partnership and reportedly confirms Societe Generale’s and Mastercard’s determination to support the rapid growth of this European BaaS company. As a licenced Mastercard issuer, Treezor has onboarded new disruptive fintechs and both Mastercard and Treezor have accompanied the development of reportedly successful new players including Swile, Lydia, Qonto, Shine, and Pixpay, the official press release states. As part of the agreement, Mastercard has made a minority investment in Treezor which will help provide additional support through improved services, communication means, multi-rail payment infrastructure, and sales support from Mastercard’s local teams to improve Treezor’s success with fintechs and corporates across Europe, the press release continues. Read more

UK government is scanning British internet space for zero-day threats (Tech Crunch)
The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre has launched a new program that will continually scan every internet-connected device hosted in the United Kingdom for vulnerabilities to help the government respond to zero-day threats. The NCSC, part of the Government Communications Headquarters that acts as the U.K.’s public-facing technical authority for cyber threats, says it launched the initiative to build a data-driven view of “the vulnerability and security of the U.K.” It’s similar to efforts by Norway’s National Security Authority, which last year saw the agency look for evidence of exploitation of Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities targeting internet users in the country. Slovenia’s cybersecurity response unit, known as SI-CERT, also said at the time that it was notifying potential victims of the Exchange zero-day bug in its internet space. Read more

Crypto Stocks Continue Drop as Binance Walks Away from FTX Deal (CoinDesk 
Concerns around FTX’s health along with the broader crypto ecosystem spilled into the stock market Wednesday. Cryptocurrency-exposed equities continued their dip Wednesday amid concerns around FTX’s financial health as Binance confirmed Wednesday afternoon it scrapped its letter of intent to buy rival exchange FTX. Shares of tech firm MicroStrategy (MSTR), which holds about 130,000 bitcoins, fell 20% Wednesday. Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) dropped 9.5%. Crypto-focused bank Silvergate (SI) declined 12%, while financial services firm Galaxy Digital (GLXY.TO) fell 16% on the Toronto stock exchange. The stocks of bitcoin miners Riot Blockchain (RIOT) and Marathon Digital (MARA) also took a hit.Read more

J.P. Morgan executes its first cross-border transaction using DeFi (The Paypers)
Financial services company J.P. Morgan has executed its first cross-border transaction using decentralised finance (DeFi) on a public blockchain. The trade took place on 2 November 2022 and was facilitated by Project Guardian of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). According to the MAS, Project Guardian is a collaborative initiative with the financial industry that seeks to test the feasibility of applications in asset tokenisation and DeFi while managing risks to financial stability and integrity. The pilot programme also saw the involvement of entities such as DBS Bank, Tokyo-based banking firm SBI Digital Asset Holdings, and business leadership platform Oliver Wyman Forum. The trade was executed on Ethereum layer-2 network Polygon using an altered variant of the Aave protocol’s smart contract code. Read more

Zurich launches eXchange to foster insurance collaboration (Fintech Global)
Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) has launched Zurich eXchange, a next-generation global API marketplace to enable more efficient collaboration. According to Zurich, the move marks the next chapter of Zurich’s digital transformation journey. An Application Programming Interface (API) enables different systems to communicate with one another effectively, which makes them an indispensable part of any digital transformation. Opening up and publishing its APIs helps Zurich avoid complex point-to-point integrations and allows customers, distributors and partners to connect digitally with Zurich from a single, all in one platform. With Zurich eXchange, customers and partners can now also discover and leverage a collection of Zurich’s best APIs globally. Read more

Sweden’s EQT Ventures closes its third fund at €1.1B to double down on European and early-stage startups (Tech Crunch)
Startups might be in a funding midwinter, but the ray of sun shining on some VCs speaks of a different trend. EQT Ventures, the venture fund arm of Sweden’s investment giant EQT making early-stage bets on startups primarily in Europe, has closed its latest fund and filled its coffers with €1 billion (and $1.1 billion in total commitments). This brings the total raised by EQT to €2.3 billion since EQT Ventures launched in 2016. To date, the firm has backed some 100 companies, with 18 exits and nine “unicorns” (Wolt, Small Giant Games, Einride, Handshake, Netlify and Instabox/Instabee are in that group). This third fund was raised and closed relatively quickly, between February and June of this year (with final paperwork coming in since then), and there have been some 13 investments made out of it so far (Juni, Nothing, Knoetic and Candela among them). The larger EQT has emerged as one of the key deal makers in recent months as larger privately-held companies have been looking for funding and/or exit opportunities. These have included the recent purchase of New Jersey-based Billtrust for $1.7 billion and leading an investment round for Knoetic. Read more

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