Weekly News Highlights – 17 November 2023

Stay up to date with the latest news from fintech! This week, we bring you updates on tech launches, cybersecurity, new entries, acquisitions, and more. Enjoy reading!

Singapore to pilot use of wholesale central bank digital currencies in 2024 (CNBC)

Singapore’s central bank, MAS, will launch a pilot program for wholesale central bank digital currencies in 2024, facilitating real-time cross-border payments and domestic transactions in collaboration with local banks. Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, announced the initiative at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2023, emphasizing the move towards instantaneous support for payments across commercial banks. Read more

Amid critics from the crypto space, Argentina’s frontrunner wants to build a digital peso

Argentina’s presidential candidate and finance minister, Sergio Massa, has revealed plans for a digital peso as part of the country’s financial system modernization. However, the lack of details surrounding the project has led to skepticism among crypto enthusiasts, with concerns raised about its potential impact on user freedom and rights. Despite Massa’s lead in the recent election, critics, including local NGOs and fintech companies, argue that launching a centralized currency controlled exclusively by the government in the final stretch of an electoral campaign is complex and controversial. Read more

Indian central bank tightening consumer loans curb to impact startups (Tech Crunch)

India’s central bank has implemented measures to curb high growth in consumer credit, impacting consumer spending and startups. The Reserve Bank of India raised risk weights on unsecured personal loans, credit cards, and consumer durable loans by 25% points to 125%, excluding mortgages and specific debt categories. The move, driven by concerns about the rapid growth of unsecured loans, is expected to affect startups relying on non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) for consumer loans, potentially reducing growth and increasing the cost of capital for these startups. Read more

France’s Mistral dials up call for EU AI rules to fix rules for apps, not model makers (Fintech Nexus)

France’s Mistral AI is at the center of EU AI regulation talks as lawmakers grapple with setting rules for AI applications. The key debate revolves around how to regulate upstream AI model makers, particularly concerning foundational models used by app developers, creating a deadlock in negotiations between the European Parliament and Member States. Mistral argues against a tiered approach, advocating for hard laws focused on product safety, with CEO Arthur Mensch asserting that deployers should bear the risk and responsibility, fostering competition among foundational model makers. Read more

Commerzbank becomes first German bank to receive crypto custody licence (Finextra)

Commerzbank has secured the first crypto custody license for a full-service German bank, aiming to provide digital asset services with a focus on crypto assets. The bank plans to establish a secure and compliant platform to offer institutional clients access to custody for crypto assets based on blockchain technology. Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz, COO of Commerzbank, sees the license as an “important milestone” that forms the foundation for supporting customers in the digital assets space. The bank, which serves the German Mittelstand and millions of private customers, emphasizes its commitment to complying with regulations while venturing into the crypto space. Read more

Czech Banking Association launches Contact Payments (Payments, Cards and Mobile)

Six banks, in collaboration with the Czech Banking Association, have introduced Contact Payments (Platby na kontakt), a new initiative aiming to simplify money transfers between individuals. Instead of using account numbers in internet or mobile banking, customers will now enter the recipient’s mobile phone number for domestic transactions. To use the service, clients need to actively log in and pair their phone number with their bank account. The maximum payment amount at launch will be 5,000 Czech crowns (approximately €200). The Czech National Bank (CNB) will operate the register of numbers and the technology for the Contact Payment system. Read more

TerraPay and Maya partner to redefine money transfers for Filipinos worldwide (Fintech Global)

TerraPay and Maya have joined forces in a strategic alliance to revolutionize international remittances, specifically targeting Filipinos worldwide. The partnership, announced at the Singapore FinTech Festival, enables Maya app users to access TerraPay’s global network, facilitating seamless and secure money transfers from various regions, including Korea, the USA, Singapore, and the Middle East. This collaboration addresses the increasing demand for convenient cross-border payments in the Philippines, ranked among the top countries for remittances. Read more

SEC’s latest proposal on PDA technologies: Balancing efficiency and ethics (Fintech Global)

The SEC’s recent proposal on predictive data analytics (PDA) technologies underscores the challenge of balancing efficiency and ethics in the financial industry. Aimed at broker-dealers and investment advisors, the proposed regulations address concerns about potential conflicts of interest arising from the use of PDA, emphasizing the need for a thorough assessment of covered technology’s impact on investor interactions and the implementation of measures to eliminate or mitigate identified conflicts. The broad definitions within the rule and its application to various investor interactions raise considerations about its potential impact and compliance burden on firms leveraging technology in their investment processes. Read more

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