Weekly News Highlights – 3 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!

Singapore, France and Switzerland to Collaborate on Wholesale CBDC Project (Fintech News)
BIS Innovation Hub is launching a project around central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and Decentralised Finance (DeFi) protocols as part of its 2022 work programme. Dubbed Project Mariana, it explores automated market makers (AMM) for cross-border exchanges of the hypothetical Swiss franc, Euro, and Singapore dollar wholesale CBDCs. It also evaluates the potential between financial institutions to settle foreign exchange trades in the financial market. Read more.

Fintech layoffs continue with digital bank Chime cutting 12% of staff (Private Banking)
Revolut rival Chime has become the latest fintech to slash its workforce due to market uncertainties. The neobank has laid off 12% of its staff due to “current market dynamics”, according to a spokesperson speaking with Reuters. That represents roughly 160 jobs being lost. Chime – which agreed with a Californian regulator last year that it would stop referring to itself as a bank as all of its banking services were handled by actual banks – is only the latest fintech firm to announce mass layoffs. Read more.

Bakkt to Acquire Apex Crypto (Businesswire)
Bakkt Holdings, Inc., a digital asset platform that unlocks crypto and drives loyalty to create delightful, connected experiences for a broad range of clients, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Apex Crypto, LLC from Apex Fintech Solutions, Inc. This acquisition is expected to significantly bolster Bakkt’s cryptocurrency product offering and expand its footprint into additional client verticals including fintechs, trading app platforms, and neo-banks. Read more.

SC announces four new digital-related initiatives to spur capital market growth (New Straits Times)
The Securities Commission (SC) has announced four new digital-related initiatives to spur the growth of the capital market and help support the country’s economic recovery. Chairman Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin said the initiatives would pave the way for further liberalisation of the capital market. Awang said this would also allow micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMs) and mid-tier companies (MTCs) better access to funding to grow their businesses. Read more.

Meta to Trial Minting and Selling of NFTs on Instagram (The Fintech Times)
Meta-owned Instagram is set to trial functionality to enable its users to mint, showcase and sell digital collections. Powered by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the move could give creators on the platform a new way to engage and monetise their followers. Meta explained it will initially test a range of new features with a small group of creators in the US. If successful, it plans to expand to more users and countries soon. Instagram’s aim is to integrate a full end-to-end toolkit that can be used for the whole process. Read more.

MAS Launches Project Ubin+
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today launched Ubin+, an expanded collaboration with international partners on cross-border foreign exchange (FX) settlement using wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC). Ubin+ will look into how atomic settlement based on digital currencies can improve efficiencies and reduce settlement risks compared to existing payment and settlement rails. Additionally, it will develop technical standards and infrastructure to support cross-border connectivity, interoperability and atomic settlement of currency transactions across platforms using distributed ledger technology (DLT), and non-DLT based financial market infrastructures. Read more.

Singapore Fintech Festival 2022: Alipay launches merchant payment toolkit (Finextra)
Announcing at Singapore Fintech Festival, Angel Zhao, president of international business, Ant Group, revealed the launch of Alipay+ D-storeTM, a business digitalisation solution for brick-and-mortar businesses in the service industry. Alipay+ D-storeTM provides a suite of toolkits to digitalise merchants’ payments, operations, services and marketing, unlocking new revenue opportunities and delivering better services to consumers. Businesses could have digital stores on digital platforms in the form of mini programmes. Read more.

Standard Chartered Invests in JPM and DBS-Backed Blockchain Payment Network Partior (Coindesk)
Standard Chartered (STAN) has invested in Partior, the blockchain-based payment network founded by JPMorgan (JPM), DBS Bank (D05) and Singapore government-owned investment fund Temasek. The size of the investment has not been disclosed. Neither Standard Chartered nor Partior immediately responded to CoinDesk’s request for comment in this area. The bank will become a “founding shareholder” in the network, serving as the first euro settlement provider for the platform, according to an announcement Thursday. Read more.

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