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Weekly News Highlights – 9 February 2023

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

Membrane Finance launches a regulated Euro stablecoin (The Paypers)
Finland-based fintech company Membrane Finance has launched a fully reserved, EU-regulated stablecoin and payments network.  The EUROe stablecoin represents the first product of its kind in Europe, and it was launched on the Ethereum blockchain, where it is 1:1 pegged to the euro. One of the most important characteristics of this stablecoin is that it was designed to solve the issue of costly and time-consuming payments settlements. The creators of EUROe hope that it will support near-instant, close to zero-cost transactions anywhere in the world. According to Membrane Finance representatives cited by cryptodaily.co.uk, this regulated EUR-based stablecoin aims to bring decentralised finance to the masses by building trust with users who have previously been discouraged by crypto volatility. Read more

Crypto exchange Binance snaps up majority stake in South Korea’s Gopax (Fintech Futures)
Binance has acquired a majority stake in South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Gopax as part of its ‘Industry Recovery Initiative’ (IRI). The investment, the financial details of which are undisclosed, marks the company’s return to the South Korean market after its exit in 2021. Announcing the deal, Binance says that in November, Gopax “halted the withdrawal of principal and interest payments in its decentralised finance (DeFi) service GoFi as a consequence of the upstream challenges experienced by Genesis Global Capital, LLC”. “Since then, Gopax has been working closely with local regulators and industry partners in an effort to raise funds to make affected users whole,” it adds. Read more

ECB publishes financed climate-related indicators and emissions (The Paypers)
The European Central Bank has announced the publishment of a new series of statistical indicators that aim to help analyse and manage climate risks in finance. The new series of statistical indicators show that the volume of sustainable and green bonds has grown faster that the larger bond marketplace. This number is doubled in the euro area in the past two years. The data indicators cover three important areas, including sustainable finance, the impact of physical climate risks on loan and security portfolios, as well as financed emissions. The carbon emissions financed by companies and financial institutions are indicated as well, including information on the carbon intensity of the organisation’s securities and loan portfolios, as well as on the sector’s exposure to counterparties. They offer information on models that include carbon-intensive representations. Indicators of this industry cover financed emissions and the total greenhouse gas emissions of an issuer or a debtor. Read more

Google is investing $300M in an OpenAI challenger that will take on ChatGPT while focusing on A.I. safety (Yahoo finance)
On Friday (Feb 3), Google announced a partnership with Anthropic, a startup founded in 2021. Anthropic makes Claude, which like ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot. With the $300 million deal, Google will take a roughly 10% stake in the startup, according to the Financial Times. Anthropic for its part gets both a financial boost and cloud computing resources it needs. The deal could give Anthropic a valuation of roughly $5 billion, the New York Times reported. Of course, ChatGPT maker OpenAI has Microsoft money behind it—lots of it. In a deal revealed last month, Microsoft will invest $10 billion in the startup. It also invested $1 billion in 2019, then quietly added another $2 billion in 2021. The software giant plans to incorporate OpenAI technology into a wide variety of products, including the Bing search engine, possibly disrupting Google’s search dominance. Read more

Twitter applies for license to allow in-app payments (Affiliate Insider)
In an attempt to gain substantial income from using the app, Twitter has applied for regulatory licences from the US Treasury that would allow in-app payments. This is the next legal requirement the platform needs to provide payment services in the app. As reported by the Financial Times: “In November, Twitter registered with the US Treasury as a payments processor, according to a regulatory filing. It has now also begun to apply for some of the state licenses it would need in order to launch, these people said. The remainder would be filed shortly, in the hope that US licensing was completed within a year, one of the people said.” It follows Elon Musk’s plan to have his source of income from the app come from the users rather than the marketers. Read more

Apple to launch BNPL feature (The Paypers)
Apple has announced that its Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution is in beta testing among Apple employees and is set to be soon available to the public in the US. The offering, set to be entitled Apple Pay Later, was initially announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 as a feature of iOS 16, looking to enable customers to pay in instalments by having the option selected in the Wallet app when purchasing something with Apple Pay. The initial expectation was for the feature to be introduced late in 2022, however, this was delayed, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has now confirmed that the Apple Pay Later payment method is set to be ‘launching soon’. Read more

FCA sets up Innovation Advisory Group (Finextra)
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has appointed seven advisors to a new Innovation Advisory Group (IAG) which will meet for the first time this month. The watchdog says the IAG will help to keep it up sto speed with new innovations in fintech and RegTech. The group’s experience spans artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, competition, digital markets, financial inclusion, and sustainability. It will help to support the FCA’s current plans and initiatives for 2023 and shape its innovation pathway to better serve businesses and consumers. The advisory group will consist of the following rotating members for a minimum one-year term. Read more

Interpol to police crimes in the metaverse (The Paypers)
Interpol has confirmed it is investigating how it could police crimes in the metaverse, as criminals have started targeting users on similar virtual world platforms. The announcement details that the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) revealed its intent on overseeing criminal activity in the metaverse to the BBC, with Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock having highlighted the ability of ‘sophisticated and professional’ criminals to adapt to new technologies to commit crimes. To be able to do so, defining a metaverse crime is first needed, which Interpol executives believe brings forth issues. Read more

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