Weekly News Highlights – 24 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!

$115 million stolen from two crypto firms linked to Justin Sun after hack (CNBC)

Two crypto platforms associated with entrepreneur Justin Sun suffered hacks, resulting in an estimated $115 million theft. HTX (formerly Huobi) lost around $30 million, while Heco Chain saw $85.4 million in cryptocurrency stolen, prompting temporary suspension of services and compensation measures. Read more

Mashreq taps Visa and Ecolytiq to launch climate banking platform (Fintech Futures)

FinTech Futures, part of Informa Connect, reports that UAE-based Mashreq, in collaboration with Visa and Ecolytiq, is launching a climate banking platform. The initiative utilizes transaction data for personalized carbon footprint analytics, aiming to inspire climate-positive behaviors and educate customers on their environmental impact, implementing Visa’s Eco Benefits Solution. Read more

After Binance and Coinbase, the US SEC sues crypto exchange Kraken (Fintech Futures)

The SEC has filed charges against crypto exchange Kraken, accusing it of operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, dealer, and clearing agency. The regulator alleges that Kraken unlawfully facilitated the buying and selling of crypto asset securities, intertwining traditional exchange services without proper registration. Kraken refutes the allegations, asserting that the complaint lacks evidence of fraud, market manipulation, or customer losses, and it plans to vigorously defend itself in court. The SEC’s action follows previous complaints against Binance and Coinbase in its ongoing scrutiny of crypto exchanges. Read more

Fils launches as digital ESG infrastructure for payments sector (Fintech Futures)

Fils, a startup founded by Nameer Khan, chairman of the MENA Fintech Association, has launched ahead of COP28. The platform, based in Dubai and London, serves as an infrastructure layer for payment companies to track and offset their environmental impact through carbon credits. Fils, with API connectivity, aims to connect buyers and suppliers of high-integrity carbon credits across sectors, addressing the lack of climate action integration in core business operations. Khan, CEO of Fils, positions the venture as a catalyst for ESG enforcement, emphasizing transparency and accountability. The launch aligns with the UN climate change conference COP28 in Dubai. Read more

Lack of funding forces US credit card fintech Ness to close down (Fintech Futures)

Ness, a US-based fintech focusing on credit cards for wellcare, has announced its closure due to insufficient funding. Despite a $15.5 million seed funding round in May 2022, led by Will Ventures, and anticipation of another round, CEO Derek Flanzraich stated the startup ran out of time. The company, founded in May 2021, aimed to provide credit cards linked to rewards, medical benefits, and health insurance. Flanzraich mentioned efforts to secure an additional $40 million but acknowledged market changes and unsuccessful fundraising. He plans to sell remaining assets and potentially join an existing firm. Read more

Revolut to offer bond trading for EU clients (Finextra)

Revolut, the UK fintech, is expanding its investment offerings by venturing into Europe’s fixed income market. European clients are expected to gain access to Europe and the US government and corporate debt markets by Q1 2024. The move aims to make the fixed income market, valued at over €120 trillion, more accessible for retail investors. Revolut plans to lower the minimum investment level for clients to €100. This initiative follows Revolut’s recent expansion into trading selected European equities and the introduction of a Trading Pro subscription plan. Read more

EC makes supercomputers widely accessible to foster AI development (Finextra)

The European Commission (EC) is facilitating AI development by granting access to EU supercomputers through the EU AI Start-Up Initiative. Start-ups, SMEs, and the AI community will have access to the EU’s world-class supercomputers, including LEONARDO, LUMI, and MareNostrum5, as well as consortium exascale supercomputers JUPITER and JULES VERNE. The initiative aims to accelerate AI development in the EU, positioning Europe as a leader in the global AI ecosystem. The move follows the EU’s commitment to enhancing the competitiveness of the European AI market. Additionally, the EC has launched the Large AI Grand Challenge, a competition to boost AI with the participation of European fintechs. Read more

India seeks to regulate deepfakes amid ethical concerns (Tech Crunch)

India is addressing concerns about deepfake content and harmful AI media by drafting regulations to detect and limit their spread. Ashwini Vaishnaw, India’s IT Minister, announced that a consensus has been reached with large social media companies, industry bodies, and academics on the need for regulations. The move follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concerns about deepfake videos. The regulations will focus on strengthening reporting mechanisms, proactive actions by social media companies, and may include monetary fines for non-compliance and accountability for individuals creating such content. The ministry aims to present clear actionable items within 10 days. Read more

Funding Circle and Atom Bank join forces (Fintech Global)

Funding Circle and Atom bank have joined forces in a groundbreaking partnership to deploy up to £150 million, supporting UK small businesses, with a particular focus on the Recovery Loan Scheme. This marks the third collaboration between the two companies, elevating Atom bank’s cumulative lending through Funding Circle to approximately £800 million. Read more

Irish paytech NomuPay acquires UK-based PSP Total Processing (Fintech Futures)

NomuPay, the Irish unified payments platform, has acquired UK-based payment services provider Total Processing. The Dublin-based NomuPay now holds more than 75% of Total Processing’s shares, enabling it to tap into Total Processing’s North American and MENA audiences, aligning with its intention to further scale the business announced in May. Read more

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