Weekly News Highlights - 19 August 2021

Weekly News Highlights – 30 March 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!

Burger King starts accepting crypto in Paris (The Paypers)
The US-based fast-food chain Burger King has begun accepting crypto payments at one of its Paris locations, thanks to Alchemy Pay and Binance Pay. The service will use the Instapower power bank top-up service. Users and customers of the French capital’s fast-food chain will be able to pay with cryptocurrency through power bank devices. Instapower’s new solution is currently used in Asia, while Europe only now seems to be beginning to embrace the idea, the partnership with Burger King in Paris being one example. Alchemy Pay launched its first hybrid merchant payment acceptance system in 2019, which allowed in-store and online merchants to receive cryptocurrency payments from customers. By 2021, the cryptocurrency payment acceptance system had touch points with more than 2 million merchants in more than 70 regions. Read more

Binance, CEO Zhao Sued by CFTC Over ‘Willful Evasion’ of U.S. Laws, Unregistered Crypto Derivatives Products (CoinDesk
The CFTC alleged Binance offered unregistered crypto derivatives products and directed U.S. customers to evade compliance controls through the use of VPNs. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued crypto exchange Binance and founder Changpeng Zhao Monday on allegations the company knowingly offered unregistered crypto derivatives products in the U.S. against federal law. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Monday, alleged that Binance operated a derivatives trading operation in the U.S., offering trades for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC), tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD), which the suit referred to as commodities. The suit also alleged that the company, under Zhao’s leadership, directed its employees to spoof their locations through the use of virtual private networks. Read more

ECB publishes climate-related financial disclosures for corporate and policy portfolios (Global Fintech)
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published its first climate-related financial disclosures for its corporate sector and non-monetary policy portfolios. According to ESG Today, the disclosures indicating progress towards the decarbonisation of the Eurosystem’s €385bn of corporate securities holdings. The ECB’s new reports – which cover the Eurosystem’s security holdings as well as the central bank’s non-monetary policy portfolios, including its own funds portfolio and its staff pension fund – offer detail on the portfolio’s carbon footprint and climate risk exposure, as well as on climate-related governance, strategy and risk management. The report found that the carbon intensity of the Eurosystem’s portfolio has fallen substantially over the past few years, with tonnes of CO2 per millions of Euro revenue falling by 30% between 2018 and 2022 to 262 t CO₂. Read more

Apple launches BNPL offering Apple Pay Later in the US (Fintech Futures)
Tech giant Apple has launched Apple Pay Later, its new buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering, in the US, allowing consumers to spread the cost of their purchases over time. Apple Pay Later will allow Apple Wallet users to split their purchases into four payments spread over six weeks, with no interest and no fees. The company has so far rolled out the pre-release version to a select number of customers, with plans to offer it to all eligible users over the coming months. Read more

US regulators sue Binance & CEO CZ (Business Cloud)
Regulators in the United States are suing cryptocurrency exchange Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Binance has been operating in the country illegally, without registration, and said its compliance efforts have been a “sham” as it continued operating practices with “wilful avoidance of US law”. It is seeking financial penalties as well as a trading and registration ban in the US. Binance, founded in 2017, claims to have more than 100m global users as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The civil enforcement action was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Chinese-born Canadian billionaire Zhao “and three entities that operate the Binance platform”. Read more

ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Banks Consider Dropping US Dollar, Euro and Yen, Indonesia Calls for Phasing Out Visa and Mastercard (ASEAN Briefing)
An official meeting of all ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors kicked off on Tuesday (March 28) in Indonesia. Top of the agenda are discussions to reduce dependence on the US Dollar, Euro, Yen, and British Pound from financial transactions and move to settlements in local currencies. The meeting discussed efforts to reduce dependence on major currencies through the Local Currency Transaction (LCT) scheme. This is an extension of the previous Local Currency Settlement (LCS) scheme that has already begun to be implemented between ASEAN members. This means that an ASEAN cross-border digital payment system would be expanded further and allow ASEAN states to use local currencies for trade. An agreement on such cooperation was reached between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand in November 2022. This follows from Indonesia’s banking regulator, stating on March 27 that the Bank of Indonesia is preparing to introduce its own domestic payment system. Read more

State Street to acquire CF Global Trading for undisclosed sum (Fintech Futures)
Financial services firm State Street has agreed to acquire CF Global Trading, a company specialising in outsourced trading for a range of asset classes. The terms of the deal remain undisclosed, with the acquisition expected to be completed by the end of this year subject to customary closing conditions. Founded in 2000 and based in New York, USA, CF Global Trading works on an agency basis to provide asset managers with supplementary and fully outsourced trading solutions. It claims its infrastructure improves access to liquidity, streamlines workflows and reduces trading and infrastructure costs. Read more

SteelEye integrates ChatGPT with its surveillance platform (Global Fintech)
SteelEye, which claims to be the first and only integrated surveillance solution, has integrated ChatGPT into its compliance platform. This move is part of a case study to evaluate the AI tool’s applicability in market surveillance. SteelEye said the results are promising and show ChatGPT can be beneficial for surveillance investigations when complemented correctly and used with care. Generative AI technology can be used to support decision-making, empowering teams to analyse data with greater speed and more efficiently allow them to identify potential risks. As part of the case study, SteelEye has implemented it in its UAT environment. This allows the technology to analyse specific communication records, including voice calls, chats, meetings, and emails against a number of key questions. Read more

Elon Musk and other tech leaders call for pause in ‘out of control’ AI race (CNN Business)
Some of the biggest names in tech are calling for artificial intelligence labs to stop the training of the most powerful AI systems for at least six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.” Elon Musk was among the dozens of tech leaders, professors and researchers who signed the letter, which was published by the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit backed by Musk. The letter comes just two weeks after OpenAI announced GPT-4, an even more powerful version of the technology that underpins the viral AI chatbot tool, ChatGPT. In early tests and a company demo, the technology was shown drafting lawsuits, passing standardized exams and building a working website from a hand-drawn sketch. The letter said the pause should apply to AI systems “more powerful than GPT-4.” It also said independent experts should use the proposed pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared protocols for AI tools that are safe “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Read more

First Citizens Bank strikes deal with FDIC to buy Silicon Valley Bank assets (Fintech Futures)
First Citizens Bank has entered into an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to purchase substantially all loans and certain other assets of Silicon Valley Bridge Bank. The deal includes the purchase of assets of $110 billion, deposits of $56 billion and $72 billion of SVB’s loans at a discount of $16.5 billion. Approximately $90 billion in securities and other assets will remain in the receivership for disposition by the FDIC. As part of the acquisition, the two firms have entered into a loss-share transaction wherein both will share the losses and potential recoveries on the loans. The FDIC estimates SVB’s collapse will cost its Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) an estimated $20 billion in losses. Read more

J.P. Morgan to pilot biometric payments in US (Global Fintech)
J.P. Morgan is launching a pilot of biometrics-based payments with select retailers in the US. This is the first pilot solution to launch from J.P. Morgan Payments’ new Commerce Solutions product suite, which aims to help merchants adapt to the payments landscape. Its biometrics-based payment pilot will include palm and face identification for payments authentication in-store and works on an enrol-capture-authenticate-pay basis. The financial institution hopes the pilot offering will allow for secure and simple checkout experiences for its merchants’ customers. As a major global merchant acquirer, J.P. Morgan Payments believes it is uniquely positioned to offer this solution. Read more

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