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Weekly News Highlights – 23 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!

Euroclear targets private markets with acquisition of Goji (Finextra)
Euroclear is to acquire Goji, a London-based provider of digital access and technology to private markets. Goji currently serves nearly 30,000 investors from 80 investor jurisdictions, providing clients with technology that unlocks acess to private markets for a new class of investors. The investment will allow Euroclear to expand its footprint into private markets – currently valued at $9.8 trillion and expected to grow to $14.4 trillion by 2025 – building upon its recent acquisition of the MFEX funds distribution platform. Read more

Rabobank hails blockchain pilot for euro commercial paper transactions (Finextra)
Rabobank has executed a series of real-time euro commercial paper transactions in a blockchain pilot the lender says demonstrates the technology’s potential to provide borrowers and asset managers with real-time liquidity. The Dutch bank executed 19 transactions, more than €40 million in notional, one-week maturity euro commercial papers in EUR and GBP in a fixed and floating format, from the Dutch State Treasury Agency and Rabobank Treasury in the Netherlands and Erste Bank in Austria to UK-based asset manager Northern Trust Asset Management. The transactions were executed, distributed and settled in under 30 minutes, as opposed to the standard two business days, providing close to real-time liquidity to Northern Trust Asset Management. Read more

Barclays to invest £500m in climate tech start-ups by 2027 (Fintech Futures
UK banking giant Barclays is ramping up its equity capital investment in global climate tech start-ups to £500 million by 2027. Barclays says it arrived at the decision following “substantial interest and demand”. The move will see the bank’s Sustainable Impact Capital investment mandate increase from £175 million by 2025 to £500 million by 2027. “The success of the investments to date means an increase in the investment mandate to £500 million is required to allow Barclays to continue existing effordts and support new investments,” Barclays says. With the increased spending, Barclays plans to focus on decarbonisation technologies that are enabling transition within carbon-intensive sectors, “particularly where Barclays has meaningful client exposure such as energy and power, real estate and transport”. Read more

The Bank of England Puts £200,000 on the Table for a Sample CBDC Wallet (The Fintech Times)
The Bank of England this week confirmed via the UK Government’s digital marketplace that it will offer a £200,000 contract for a sample CBDC wallet. Throughout the extensive post, the central bank details the nature and course of the five-month project, including its ambitions and intended audience. Awareness around CBDCs really got rolling last year in the UK in the aftermath of the Kalifa Fintech Review. The Review, conducted by the titular figure Ron Kalifa OBE, identified key areas of improvement and development within the UK’s fintech sector. The necessity for a review was first put forward by the then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his May budget 2020. Consequently, Kalifa delivered his long-awaited review a short nine months later. While the review itself is no less than 100 pages long, it does underline CDBC development as a key component of the future of UK fintech. Read more

Crypto exchange Binance.US to acquire Voyager assets in $1bn deal (Fintech Futures)
Beleaguered US-based crypto lender Voyager Digital is set to sell its assets to crypto exchange Binance.US in a deal worth approximately $1.022 billion. Voyager Digital, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, says that “after a review of strategic options”, the Binance.US bid “sets a clear path forward” for Voyager customers to gain access to their locked funds “as soon as possible”. Binance.US CEO and president Brian Shroder says: “We hope our selection brings to an end a painful bankruptcy process which saw customers unfairly dragged into it at no fault of their own. “Upon close of the deal, users will be able to seamlessly access their digital assets on the Binance.US platform where they will continue to receive future disbursements from the Voyager estate.” Read more

Bankman-Fried left in the lurch as former executives plead guilty (Finextra)
Two high-level associates of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried have pleaded guilty to fraud charges relating to the spectacular implosion of the cryptocurrency exchange. Carolyn Ellison, the former CEO of trading firm Alameda Research, and FTX co-founder and chief technology officer Gary Wang are co-operating with a wide-ranging investigation into criminal misdemeanors at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. According to a charge sheet prepared by the SEC, between 2019 and 2022, Ellison, at the direction of Bankman-Fried, furthered the scheme by manipulating the price of FTT, an FTX-issued exchange crypto security token, by purchasing large quantities on the open market to prop up its price. Read more

SoFi announces partnership with Mastercard for BNPL strategy (The Paypers
US-based online personal finance company and bank SoFi has partnered up with Mastercard to develop their Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) initiative. This partnership will offer customers the possibility to use the Pay in 4 feature anywhere the card is accepted across the US. SoFi’s take on the buy now pay later fray lets its users to split purchases that range from 50 USD to 500 USD into four separate payments, with zero interest, as a feature of the Mastercard Instalments programme. The company launched Pay in 4 and it is available to the customers purchasing with SoFi Checking and Savings programme. It is also being rolled out to select users in the following weeks. The new product is designed to offer clients further flexibility with their money, and to provide support especially when it comes to big-ticket items. The customers will receive a digital Mastercard product for one-time use, and the first payment will be due at the time of the purchase. The following payments will be tied to the client’s SoFi account, and the balance will be paid every two weeks. Read more

UK banks form company to develop shared banking hubs (Finextra)
The UK’s top banks have clubbed together to pay for the development of shared banking hubs across the country. The nine banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest Group, Santander, Virgin Money, Danske Bank and TSB – have incorporated an independent non-profit company, Cash Access UK, to provide cash access, deposit and basic banking services where they are needed, across the UK. David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance, says: “While many people are now opting to manage their money digitally, we want to ensure that people can continue to access cash and do their banking face to face too. The creation of Cash Access UK Ltd is an important step towards a network of banking hubs across the country. Read more

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