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Weekly News Highlights – 15 December 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!

Edinburgh Reforms: UK government announces widespread transformation for financial sector (Finextra)
The Chancellor of Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced The Edinburgh Reforms, a set of developments to catalyse competition and growth in the UK FS sector, that includes moves on a CBDC and the move to Net Zero. In the move towards Net Zero, the UK has prioritised sustainable investment and highlighted the need for private financing to reach targets. As part of the reforms, the UK government is planning to update the Green Finance Strategy next year and possibly bringing ESG ratings under the jurisdiction of regulatory authorities. Through the Financial Services and Markets Bill, stablecoins will be able to be used as means of payment, and will bring cryptoassets further into the regulatory space. The announcement also included confirmation that in 2023 the Financial Market Infrastructure Sandbox will be put into practice and the Bank of England will be considering the development of a digital pound. Read more

Visa to invest $1B in Africa over the next five years (Tech Crunch)
Global payments giant Visa says it will invest $1 billion by 2027 to expand its investments in Africa amidst a digital payments boom on the continent. Visa chief Al Kelly announced this pledge on Wednesday during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a sub-event in the broader U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a three-day event where U.S. President Joe Biden invited heads of state and senior government officials from Africa to discuss several issues ranging from food security to climate change. “Visa has been investing in Africa for several decades to grow a truly local business, and today our commitment to the continent remains as firm and unwavering as ever,” said the Visa CEO in a statement. “Every day, Visa supports digital commerce and money movement in every country across the continent, and Africa remains central to Visa’s long-term growth plans. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to advance the financial ecosystem, accelerate digitization and to build resilient, innovative, and inclusive economies that will create shared opportunity and further spur Africa’s digital economy.” Read more

Binance launches crypto payment service in US (The Paypers)
Binance has introduced its Pay service in US, allowing users to send, request and receive crypto with instant settlement and no fees. The feature has previously been available outside US. The feature has been available to Binance customers outside the US since February 2021 when it was first launched. Back then, Binance founder and CEO said payments is one of the most obvious use cases for crypto. Binance Pay allows users to send, request, and receive nearly 150 different crypto currencies from other users, enabling instant, zero-cost crypto transfers, as the company advertises. Binance recently eliminated trading fees for both bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) to attract more users during a time when crypto trading volumes are at two-year lows. Read more

Total start-up funding drops 35% in 2022; fintech, edtech among worst hit sectors: Report (Business Today)
Funding to fintech and retail sectors decreased 41% and 57% respectively this year compared to the same period in 2021, says ‘Tracxn Geo Annual Report: India Tech 2022’. Start-ups funding in India dropped 35 per cent to $24.7 billion in the January-November period of 2022, from $37.2 billion in the same period last year, reveals a new report by data platform Tracxn. The ‘funding winter’ began in the fourth quarter of 2021 as investors became extremely cautious of their fund deployments due to rising interest rates and fear of a worldwide recession. The significant drop in funding is attributed to a decline in late stage investments, which fell by 45 per cent from $29.3 billion in Jan-Nov 2021 to $16.1 billion this year. The slowdown is slowly catching up with seed stage rounds too which have contracted by 38 per cent so far this year as compared to the previous year. Read more

Bitcoin Miners’ High Hopes for Latin America Dented by Paraguay (Coindesk
The industry’s potential in the region was touted at a conference in Cancun, Mexico, last month, but a crypto mining-friendly bill in Paraguay was shot down last week. The promise of Latin America as the future of crypto mining was subdued by news that Paraguay won’t cap the price of electricity for the industry. At the World Digital Mining Summit in Cancun, Mexico, last month, Bitmain, the world’s largest bitcoin mining rig manufacturer and the host of the conference, touted Latin America, particularly Paraguay and Argentina, as promising countries for mining. About a quarter of the conference was dedicated to the topic of “Latin America: Unlimited Potential Blockchain Land.” Read more

Jordan: central bank to regulate Open Finance (The Paypers
The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) has issued instructions to regulate Open Finance services provided by all banks operating in the Kingdom, according to The Jordan Times. Besides banks, the instructions are also directed towards online payment and money transfer companies subject to the bank’s supervision and control. According to a CBJ statement from 11 December 2022, the guidelines are part of a ‘new modern concept in financial services models’ meant to enable customers of banks and payment companies to share their financial and banking data with third-party providers (TPPs) using Application Programming Interface (API) technology in accordance with the laws and instructions in force in this regard, as reported by the Jordan News Agency, Petra. Read more

EBA publishes sustainable finance roadmap (Fintech Global)
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its roadmap outlining its objectives and timeline for delivering mandates and tasks in sustainable finance and ESG risks. According to the EBA, the roadmap explains the Authority’s sequenced and comprehensive approach over the next three years to integrate ESG risks considerations in the banking framework and support the EU’s efforts to achieve the transition to a more sustainable economy. The roadmap builds on and replaces the EBA’s first action plan on sustainable finance published in December 2019. The roadmap, the EBA claims, ensures continuity of actions assumed under the previous action plan, while accommodating the necessary adjustments following the market and regulatory developments, including new mandates and new areas of focus. Read more

Deutsche Bank partners NVIDIA for AI push (Finextra)
Deutsche Bank has inked a multi-year agreement with NVIDIA to accelerate the use of AI in financial services. Under the deal, Deutsche Bank will use NVIDIA’s AI Enterprise, an end-to-end software suite that can run in the cloud or in the data centre. The partners plan to develop applications across the bank’s business, with an initial focus on three use cases: risk model development, high-performance computing, and the creation of a branded virtual avatar. The bank’s teams have already developed an early concept of a 3D virtual avatar aimed at helping employees navigate internal systems and respond to HR-related questions. Future use cases will explore immersive experiences with banking clients. Read more

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