Weekly News Highlights – 24 November 2022

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

Ukrainian pro-crypto groups to roll out roadmap for Web3 (The Paypers)
As presented by The Cointelegraph, Blockchain4Ukraine — a group of pro-crypto Ukrainian lawmakers — and the public union Virtual Assets of Ukraine (VAU) have revealed a joint roadmap for promoting and developing Web3 in the country. The document was signed by its co-authors on 14 November, according to regional media cited by Cointelegraph. The roadmap proposes a set of measures for promoting Web3. Among them can be named the launch of a regulatory sandbox for blockchain and Web3 projects, creation of a national blockchain-backed land and realty register, preparation of a ‘blockchain plan’ to rebuild the country after the war, and integration of Ukraine into the European Blockchain Partnership. VAU and Blockchain4Ukraine also intend to work on a self-sovereign identity pilot project and to seek ways of implementing blockchain into Ukraine’s healthcare and education systems. Read more

Digital Services Act: Commission is setting up new European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (European Commission)
Following the entry into force of the Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU’s new landmark rules for or a safer and more accountable online environment, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is setting up a European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT). It will support the enforcement of the new rules with top-level technical and scientific expertise. The ECAT will have its main seat at the JRC’s Seville site, with staff also located in Brussels and Ispra. It is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2023 and aims at becoming a centre of gravity for the international research in the field, acting as a knowledge hub for vetted researchers analysing data provided under the DSA. The DSA calls for increased oversight of the algorithmic systems used by very large online platforms and search engines. This includes how they moderate content and propose information to their users. The new Centre will support the Commission in assessing whether the functioning of such algorithms is in line with the risk management obligations under the DSA. Read more 

Goodwell Investments launches $154m uMunthu II fund (Disrupt Africa)
Goodwell Investments is an impact investment firm focused on inclusive growth in sectors providing basic goods and services and income generation opportunities to underserved communities in Africa and India. The firm provides early-stage equity to high growth, high impact businesses. With teams in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the Netherlands and a track record of over fifteen years, Goodwell demonstrates the ability to simultaneously deliver significant social impact and strong financial returns. Goodwell is raising EUR150 million (US$154 million) to finance innovative, scalable, small and medium-sized businesses that improve the access and affordability of basic goods and services for unserved and underserved consumers in Africa. The diversified investment portfolio will focus on financial inclusion (35%), food and agriculture (25%), and mobility and logistics (15%), with a secondary focus on healthcare, education and energy. Read more

Brussels demands share of London derivatives clearing (Fintech Times)
EU-based traders could be required to clear a minimum amount of ‘systemic’ derivatives contracts inside bloc. The EU will demand that derivatives traders use accounts at clearing houses in the bloc for some of their transactions, as part of plans to take a share of the €115tn market processed through the City of London. Banks dealing with large quantities of contracts that are deemed “systemic” by regulators would have to clear a minimum amount of business via active accounts in EU-based clearing houses, officials briefed on the proposals said. The plans are part of a package intended to boost Europe’s capital markets and reduce the EU’s reliance on the UK’s financial services sector after Brexit. The European Commission is planning to outline the measures next month when it publishes proposals. Read more

Estonian men arrested over $575m crypto fraud (Finextra)
Police have arrested two men in Estonia in connection with a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering scheme. Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turõgin were picked up on an 18-count indictment returned by a grand jury in the US. They are accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of people, tricking them into entering into fraudulent rental contracts for crypto mining equipment and getting them to invest in a virtual currency bank that never launched. Victims paid more than $575 million to Potapenko and Turõgin’s companies. The men then used shell companies to launder the proceeds and to purchase real estate and luxury cars, according to the indictment. Read more

Microsoft Joins Web3 Companies to Launch Ethereum Climate Platform at COP27 (The Fintech Times)
The Ethereum Climate Platform plans to both incentivise and fund the development of projects that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, alongside delivering positive environmental and social impact. At COP27 a host of Web3 companies joined civil society leaders and the UNFCCC Climate Innovation Hub to announce the initiative. The Web3 companies were convened by blockchain software technology ConsenSys and enterprise software developer Allinfra. Founding members of the platform’s launch team a large number of firms. These include: AAVE, Art Blocks, Celo, CodeGreen.Org, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, ERM, Filecoin Green, Gitcoin, Global Blockchain Business Council, Huobi Global, Laser Digital, Microsoft, Polygon, The Climate Collective, UPC Capital Ventures and W3bcloud, in collaboration with Gold Standard. Read more

Canada publishes consumer directed finance standard (The Paypers)
The CIO Strategy Council has announced the publication of a new National Standard of Canada that will focus on consumer directed finance, an official blogpost states. 2022, the standard specifies minimum requirements for planning, designing, developing, implementing, maintaining, and improving the customer experience surrounding access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data from bank and non-bank financial institutions. The Standard can be applied by financial product- and service-related organisations. Any organisation, regardless of its type or size, or the financial products and/or services it provides can use it, including third-party providers that design products or services to facilitate access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data from bank and non-bank financial institutions. Read more

European Central Bank becomes a member of Gaia-X (The Paypers)
The European Central Bank (ECB) has become a member of Gaia-X, a non-profit association advocating digital sovereignty for Europe. Gaia-X develops common standards for digital services like cloud services. This allows data to be collected and shared in an environment of trust. This will support the digital transformation of the economy and is in line with the European Commission’s digital strategy. These common standards make services interoperable, meaning that users can combine different digital services in the way that meets their specific needs. For example, they will be able to store their data with one service provider and analyse those data with the services offered by another. The common standards developed by Gaia-X will also enable users of digital services to retain control of their own data. Data owners can, for instance, ensure that their data are solely stored in Europe and subject to European law. Read more

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