PayActiv Receives $100 Million in Funding for Earned Wage Access Tech

https://finovate.com/payactiv-receives-100-million-in-funding-for-earned-wage-access-tech/
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Earned wage access startup PayActiv closed $100 million today for its technology that helps companies offer their employees their pay on a daily basis rather than wait for their bi-weekly paycheck.

The Series C round was led by Eldridge and includes existing investors Generation Partners and the Ziegler Link•Age Fund II. The investment brings PayActiv’s total funding to $134 million.

The company will use the funds to expand its client base, which currently consists of 1,400+ businesses and organizations representing more than four million employees. Walmart, Wayfair, and Ibex Global are some of the major employers in PayActiv’s portfolio.

“American families are facing more financial stress than they have in generations,” said PayActiv CEO and Co-Founder Safwan Shah. “The timing gap between work and wages is the main reason workers get hit with punitive late fees, overdraft fees and other penalties. Cumulatively, these fees reduce wages by seven percent every month. The PayActiv platform is the only system where everyone wins: employers lift worker morale with little to no cost and huge dividends; employees get wages when they actually need them most; and cash re-enters the economy faster, making communities financially healthier.”

PayActiv was founded in 2011 and has emerged as a major financial wellness tool for employers. In addition to offering flexibility around how frequently employees receive payment, PayActiv also gives employees multiple options of how they receive payment. Workers can opt for direct cash pickup, a PayActiv prepaid card, an instant Visa or Mastercard debit card load, an ACH payment, or use their wages to pay bills, make purchases on Amazon, or purchase rides on Uber.

The company also offers financial wellness and planning tools that help employees to save, budget, and manage their money. Additionally, PayActiv announced today that it will offer employers a retirement benefit in partnership with Security Benefit, a retirement services provider based in Kansas.

Demand for earned wage access tools are on the rise, especially in today’s post-COVID economy. Sending employees their paychecks on a daily basis can help them avoid overdraft fees and high interest financing options such as payday loans and credit card debt.

“The future of pay is not a two-week cycle,” said Eldridge Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO Todd Boehly. “By simply giving people access to their wages as they earn them, PayActiv increases the velocity of money, stimulating the economy and serving employers and employees by driving costs down and efficiencies up.”


Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

https://finovate.com/payactiv-receives-100-million-in-funding-for-earned-wage-access-tech/

Hackathon Initiative Hopes to Boost Fintech in the Middle East

https://thefintechtimes.com/hackathon-initiative-hopes-to-boost-fintech-in-the-middle-east/
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Innovation and collaboration are key themes that have helped encompassed a knowledge-intensive industry such as tech as a whole. This includes the fintech sector, which in itself has not only been a sector in its own right but fostered its own global ecosystem and collaboration. For instance, not exclusive to fintech, has been hackathons. What exactly is a hackathon? It, in essence, is a tool that helps boost sustainable innovation in an accelerated manner in a narrowed timeline.

Those that take part with various backgrounds and specialties get to network, innovate and collaborate to solve a particular problem of concern, according to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Fintech Galaxy. Founded in the United Arab Emirates in 2018 by Mirna Sleiman, Fintech Galaxy is a regional platform that fuels innovation in the financial services sector, drives ecosystem collaboration and facilitates integration between financial institutions and fintech companies. From scouting to deployment, they aim to build the future of financial services across the 22 Arab Countries. They have FinX22, which is an open API platform that enables development, testing and deployment of fintech solutions, all according to its website.

Like the rest of the world, the wider Middle East region has had to mitigate the current travel and social distancing measures of the novel coronavirus Co-VID 19. With regards to events such as hackathons, which in its short yet impactful infancy, many of them have become virtual. Organised by Fintech Galaxy, they have begun accepting applications for four hackathons starting last month (all began accepting applications 16th June until the 20th August this month), each with a virtual base with their various partners.

There are four upcoming hackathons happening virtually across the Middle East hosted by Fintech Galaxy by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times

There are four upcoming hackathons happening virtually across the Middle East hosted by Fintech Galaxy by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times

Computer programmer working late on his high tech computer systems IMAGE SOURCE GETTY

First, Lebanon has the Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) Fintech Hackathon with a theme around digitising and sharing KYC in Arab markets. Its ecosystem partners are the American University of Beirut (AUB), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Flat6Lab Beirut, Hatch Quarter, and Oracle. The prize includes one year free Stars membership on FinX22 and access to Oracle’s Unique Accelerator Program “Oracle for Startups.” The solution needed would be a digital KYC, document sharing and trading history sharing via artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

Second, Saudi Arabia has the Banque Saudi Fransi Virtual Hackathon with a theme around personal finance management. The prize is just like the AFE Fintech Hackathon. Commenting on the partnership with the Fintech Galaxy, Michael Cunningham, Chief Strategy & Digital Officer at Banque Saudi Fransi, said, “At Banque Saudi Fransi we are huge proponents of creating a sustainable financial ecosystem.  Our digital ambition and supporting strategy is all reaching and one of inclusion.  This means that we want to both enable and support Fintech, but we can only do this through proper open banking regulation and open platforms.  FinX22 is the first link in us delivering this ambition.  We’re very excited to see what will undoubtedly be a set of successful outcomes delivered.” The ecosystem partners are both Oracle and The Space.

Third, Egypt has the MINT Fintech Hackathon with a theme around digital lending and credit scoring for non-clients; the solution needed is a working prototype that can be developed into a financial solution. The hackathon’s ecosystem partners are Wamda, The GrEEK Campus, AWS, and Oracle. The prize includes, from EGBank, a $5,000 USD award to the 1st winner and the winning teams receiving a fast-track to the pitch day of the incubation screening. Fintech Galaxy will also provide as part of the prize a one-year free Stars membership on FinX22.

Finally, there is the BENEFIT Virtual Hackathon that is hosted in Bahrain. The BENEFIT Company was created to enable the financial services sector in Bahrain to forge strong and lasting connections with customers globally. According to Nezar Maroof, AGM Marketing & Innovation at BENEFIT, said, “BENEFIT is pleased to participate in such important regional initiative as it aligns with goals of embracing collaboration with Fintechs as well as identifying Fintechs which can help in providing innovative solutions to solve business problems leveraging better use of technology. We are confident that this initiative will pave the path for many more collaborations between associated stakeholders, helping tackle challenges while delivering smarter and more secure banking solutions for the future.”

The 1st winner of each theme receives BHD 1,000 ($2,650 USD) from BENEFIT while Fintech Galaxy will give one-year free STARS Membership for winners. This hackathon is seeking two key solutions: First, it needs innovative and feasible payment solutions for micro businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Second, it is looking for an SME credit scoring model solution or application; its ecosystem partner is AWS.

Hackathons, like other events across the world, have been able to continue. Despite the current pandemic situation, hackathons such as those in the Middle East region are still generating buzz and attention. A pandemic can restrict travel and movements but definitely not innovation.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/hackathon-initiative-hopes-to-boost-fintech-in-the-middle-east/

Dosh Bets on Personalized, Automatic, Instant and Frictionless Cashback to Reach NextGen Consumers

https://thefintechtimes.com/dosh-partners-with-venmo-to-enhance-cash-back-to-offering/
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Earlier this week, Dosh, a US-based rewards platform, announced the launch of “Powered by Dosh,” a white-label solution that enables financial service companies to offer personalized automatic, instant, and frictionless card-linked cashback to their users. On the surface, what seems like a simple rewards tool, could have the potential to change the way brands advertise to consumers.

Is it a rewards platform or an advertising platform, the answer, according to Ryan Wuerch, CEO and founder of Dosh, is both. As he looks towards the next 10 years, all he sees is potential. The company is focused on Reimagining how we connect with Millennial and Gen Z audiences has never been more relevant than it is today, especially during this time of shifting consumer behavior.

Ryan Wuerch

Ryan Wuerch

Ryan Wuerch Dosh Founder & CEO

Across a long list of digital banks, many lack strong differentiation. ‘Powered by Dosh’ provides a new platform with the potential to make them stand out. Venmo will be the first payment platform to roll out Powered by Dosh to its customers. The addition expands the platform’s existing cash back program and connects users to the largest network of brands and retailers. Jelli will be the first digital bank, followed by “several” other financial services companies to follow in the fall.

“Traditional banks, digital banks, and payments platforms are in a heated competition to stay top of wallet for consumers,” says Wuerch “We designed Powered by Dosh to be automatic, seamless and frictionless for consumers…the idea is to let them do nothing and still earn rewards.”

Venmo Cash Back Powered by Dosh

Venmo Cash Back Powered by Dosh

Venmo Cash Back Powered by Dosh

The new solution is delivered through a software development kit and includes a web application and personalization tool. Integration is designed to be simple, so financial institutions can easily offer, card-linked cash back experiences to their customers and compete for a larger share of the individual’s spending.

Powered by Dosh enables brands to shift advertising dollars away from ineffective forms of traditional and digital media, to cashback rewards, a transactional-based channel that’s proven to attract new customers both in-store and online. It also increases purchase frequency and average order value. Cashback also helps brands gain a deeper understanding of their most loyal customers and make decisions based on data at the individual level.

“This is the advertising platform that the industry has been waiting for,” says Wuerch. “As more and more CMOs are being charged with showing attribution, we believe the next phase in advertising will be transaction-based. Simply browsing products online does not indicate that a consumer is going to make a purchase.”

A recent study conducted by Dosh and The Center for Generational Kinetics found that consumers are increasingly looking for ways to save money and get rewarded for their spending. Additional findings include:

  • Rewards incentivize shopping: 80% of people report they’d visit a store they hadn’t tried before if alerted about direct cashback offers.
  • Instant gratification triggers greater spend: 74% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennials will spend more money if they know they will instantly receive 5% cashback at checkout.
  • Rewards trigger an emotional response: 85% of Americans report feeling “Awesome” or “Good” about themselves after being notified they’ve earned cashback.

“Since launch, the demand for the Powered by Dosh technology from financial services companies, both big and small, has been incredible. We will announce new partners over the coming months, which will significantly expand our user base,” says Wuerch.

While other rewards platforms like Bumped and Bits of Stock are offering rewards in the form of fractional shares of stock or Pei and Lolli in bitcoin, Dosh is betting on cash as the reward that will enable the platform to excel against the competition.

“I don’t believe in points, because no one knows what they mean in simple dollars and cents. Through our research, we confirmed that cash is the greatest treat known to man,” said Wuerch. “The reward comes with what you do with that cash, invest, save or spend it, cash is pure because people know what it means,”  says Wuerch.

  • Managing Editor, North America at The Fintech Times

https://thefintechtimes.com/dosh-partners-with-venmo-to-enhance-cash-back-to-offering/

Making It Easier for Nigerians to Buy Bitcoin with BitMinutes

https://thefintechtimes.com/making-it-easier-for-nigerians-to-buy-bitcoin-with-bitminutes/
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BitMinutes Inc. is a startup fintech company founded in the U.S. in 2012 by a team comprised of Harvard and Stanford graduates and is a financial services technology company leveraging blockchain and pre-paid minutes tokenisation to provide financial inclusion to the global consumer. BitMinutes’ tokens also allow peer-to-peer value transfer to millions of bank and mobile accounts across 70 contracted countries and prepaid airtime top-ups to over 4 billion mobile accounts in over 120 countries.

They recently announced that they added a feature to its application that will make it easy for Nigerians to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) as well as US Dollars. This functionality is currently only available only in Nigeria but later planned for Kenya as well.

In a little over two years in Nigeria, BitMinutes created a Trusted Agent Network (TAN) of merchants that accept the Nigerian BitMinutes for goods and services as well as exchange Nigerian BitMinutes for local currency. That network spans more than 1,300 TAN agents, serving more than 7,000 citizens.

The latest feature will allow account holders to easily purchase BTC of US Dollars, using Nigerian BitMinutes, from their phone or computer.

Tom Meredith is the CEO of BitMinutes

Tom Meredith is the CEO of BitMinutes

Tom Meredith, the CEO of BitMinutes

Speaking about the new feature, Tom Meredith, the CEO of BitMinutes, said, “The Nigerian BitMinute is a stable coin that can be used as a currency in Nigeria. We believe adding this feature will further solidify our foothold in Nigeria, and further position to expanding our existing operations in other countries on the continent, such as Kenya.”

The recent announcement comes on the heels of another one that Prime Trust, LLC, a highly respected U.S.-based Trust and Custody firm, has partnered with the parent company of BitMinutes to expand the TAN concept in the United States.

BitMinutes plans to facilitate the expansion of micro-credit lending in communities where lending is rare and too expensive for most individual borrowers. BitMinutes’ ownership and transactional records will establish a new type of consumer credit score for emerging market consumers who currently struggle with limited access to capital and a lack of traditional banking services.

In addition, BitMinutes will create payments platforms in countries where it launches to facilitate mobile payments similar to the M-Pesa platform which has achieved success in Kenya, but which has not yet been widely adopted in other countries, according to the company.

Finally, the reach of BitMinutes has been impressive overall. According to their website, “Many early stage startup endeavors can be risky since they typically raise capital for incomplete projects that do not address a proven consumer market. BitMinutes are in continuous production, targeting the combined global remittance and mobile prepaid industries market valued at $1.2 trillion.” BitMinutes’s global distribution in place can reach over 4 billion mobile phones as well as over 1.2 billion bank and mobile wallet accounts.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/making-it-easier-for-nigerians-to-buy-bitcoin-with-bitminutes/

Celeb Twitter Bitcoin Scam Highlights the Need for Civil Investigations to Trace Crypto Fraud

https://thefintechtimes.com/cryptofraud/
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Recently, the Twitter accounts of high-profile figures such as former President Barack Obama and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were used in carrying out a significant Bitcoin scam, highlighting that even the most powerful aren’t protected from sophisticated cryptocurrency fraud. While $280,000 was lost, prosecutors have warned that these types of crimes are hard to prosecute due to their quick and hidden nature. As cryptocurrency and foreign exchange scams have more than tripled in the last year alone, some criminal investigators are struggling to keep pace. 

Jason Woodland

Jason Woodland is Partner at Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP, together with Amalia Neenan, Legal Researcher, he believes that we must move away from criminal prosecutions when tackling crypto fraud, harnessing the speed of civil investigations to trace lost crypto assets.

Throughout the confusion of the pandemic, one thing has become abundantly clear: our society’s reliance on technology. When we decamped into our kitchens and home offices, we moved ever more online. Whether it be hosting business meetings or enjoying a virtual Sunday lunch, technology made it possible. 

But, with all of the opportunities for development that emerging technologies provide, there has always been a shady underbelly that nefarious users have sought to exploit. More disheartening still is the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has become the latest playground for fraudsters. Since the UK entered lockdown, fraud has increased by 33%. Online frauds reported to Action Fraud alone amount to £16.6 million, with much more going un-recorded. Mass panic and technological innovation have provided perfect conditions for a host of COVID-related scams – the latest being a spate of fraudulent attacks centred on cryptocurrencies. But, as crypto-fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated, how can civil law tools provide a vital lifeline to victims seeking to reclaim their assets?

Amalia Neenan

Old tools, new situations

In July, readers will likely have read about the latest crypto-attack, where Twitter accounts of several high-profile individuals were infiltrated by hackers in a spear-phishing attack on Twitter employees. Once in, hackers unleashed a ‘double-your-bitcoin’ scam, claiming that these individuals were ‘giving back to the community’ in aid of the COVID-19 crisis and that all bitcoins sent in would be doubled and returned by the individual. 

In light of scandals like this, cryptocurrencies have been marred by their perceived use as the currency of criminals. Fraudsters prey on victims’ lack of understanding of the product and scams tend to be shrouded in a level of technological mysticism, where bad actors try to dupe individuals through the use of jargon or specialised technological knowledge. Compound this with the lack of a unified regulatory or legislative framework, the unique characteristics inherent to their design – chiefly anonymity and decentralisation, and the conservative approach of the law – and you have the perfect conditions for fraudsters. 

A civil arsenal 

With the world of crypto offering fertile ground for fraud, what can victims do? Ultimately, when crypto-assets are stolen, the victim will be presented with a choice: whether to make a complaint to the authorities (pursing a criminal route) and/or seeking a civil claim. The best option will depend on a myriad of factors; but, as fraudsters’ sophistication continues to overtake authorities, it is likely that civil remedies will increasingly become a focus. 

A civil route offers the victim complete control of the investigation, utilising as much or as little resources as desired and eradicating the budgetary restrictions that a police investigation may entail. Additionally, should the victim be more interested in the recovery of assets than the perpetrator’s jail time, a civil claim is preferable. Pursuing a criminal prosecution is often a slow process, offering speedy crypto-criminals and stolen funds time to get away. It is a very different timeline to that of civil proceedings, where courts have extensive powers to grant interim relief, including orders to locate and freeze assets, as well as obtain disclosure from either the fraudster or third parties. Indeed, it has become customary to freeze assets of perpetrators prior to issuing a civil claim for fraud, with the English courts readily available to hear applications at a moment’s notice. 

Getting to the finish line also tends to be easier in civil claims, as the standard of proof is the “balance of probabilities”, whilst for most criminal offences it is “beyond reasonable doubt”. This difference can be particularly important in crypto-fraud, where pieces of the puzzle are invariably hard to acquire. 

Steps forward

Unfortunately, the recovery of stolen assets is exponentially more complicated in the crypto-sphere, as all transactions are anonymised through cryptographic code and there is no centralised third-party intermediary used to control or legitimise transactions, making them virtually untraceable. 

But there are signs that English law is starting to catch-up with technology. The Law Tech Delivery Panel’s ‘Legal Statement on Cryptoassets and Smart Contracts’ has defined cryptocurrencies as “property” under English law, with this definition backed by a number of English and foreign Court decisions. What’s more, crypto-exchanges are in fact classed as Obliged Entities, requiring them to carry out Know Your Customer checks under the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. This means that there should be relevant information held by third parties who will comply with Court orders to reveal information essential to tracing assets. 

These are important developments, as they enable the English courts to deploy their full range of powers in relation to stolen cryptocurrency. For example, freezing orders can be sought against either the wallet or the public key linked to any suspicious transaction prohibiting the movement of the funds. Potentially, orders requiring the disclosure or changing of private keys or passwords could be obtained, thus preventing the movement of crypto-currencies pending the resolution of any dispute about ownership. It may then be possible to obtain relevant details (such as names, addresses and fiat-bank account information) from crypto-exchanges, which act as quasi-intermediaries. 

Can we keep up? 

The technological complexity of these crimes demands an equally technologically sophisticated legal response. Until now, the march of technology has vastly outpaced the law. However, these developments, alongside the arsenal of civil tools available to victims, prove that the English law can be expertly employed to meet this new challenge head-on. 

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/cryptofraud/

This Week in Fintech ending 14 August 2020

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/14/this-week-in-fintech-ending-14-august-2020/
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this week in Fintech Temp 2 Aamber no Jess.001

This weekly summary from our 8 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy and occasional opinion columnist.

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote The best way to hide something, is in plain sight. Crypto laundering.

During the last week of July, an interesting story surfaced in the news. CWT, a travel management company, paid $4.5 million to hackers who stole reams of sensitive corporate data. CWT that makes $1.5 billion in annual revenues, agreed to pay 414 BTC in ransom to the hackers on July 28 to regain access to two terabytes of files and to stop them from exposing the information. The files included employee data, financial documents, and other information. One of the interesting things of the story was that the ransom negotiations took place in an online chat group. The second was that the hackers used an exchange to launder the money. The hackers, who are still at large, tried to launder their money through some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, including Binance, Coinbase and Huobi. 

Editor note: Read this to understand the nexus of cyber-hacking and money laundering. The arms race between criminals and governments just got more intense.

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Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Fintech catching up on the recent SPAC IPO boom

July was the month with the Mega-SPAC filing of $4billion. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management filed an amended IPO prospectus for its coming monster-size SPAC focused on the tech sector. Let’s see if some Fintech ends up in this SPAC.

It Has Been a Huge Week for SPAC IPOs. Here’s What You Missed. (Barrons)

In July, there was also a Fintech focused SPAC IPO on NYSE worth $350million.

Let’s welcome and keep an eye on Fusion Acquisition Corp‘s (NYSE:FUSE.U). A blank-check company that will focus on businesses in the Fintech or asset and wealth management sectors, with an enterprise value between $750 million to $3 billion.

Editor note: The explosion of SPAC IPOs (basically a “trust me I will deploy the capital well” pitch) feels reminiscent of the 2017 ICO boom.

Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 11th August

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market.

Wednesday  Guest author Amber Sutherland wrote A bankers guide to AI Part 3. Does the AI have more than one purpose? What is the roadmap?

Editor note: In every industry, banking included, much money will be made from AI automation (and sadly, many jobs lost). This 5 parter gives you some of the nuances and complexity of making that happen in banking.

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Thursday Patrick Kelahan @insuranceeleph1, our US based Insurtech expert (a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners who also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’) wrote Interesting view – watching the river of insurance news and much floats by…

News comes in torrents in the digital environment, even the traditional masthead periodicals are issuing multiple digital headline bulletins each day.  Same goes for insurance periodicals, blogs, and newsletters.  So, I sit by the digital rapids, trying to catch a few drops from the current.  This week’s article is a sample of the tastes I was able to scoop from the stream…

Editor note: Pat’s experienced eye gives us the weekly news that mattered in Insurtech.

Thursday Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL News: IFRS webcast, Muscat and nowcasting

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.

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Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London, wrote: Alt Lending -week ending 14th August

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Alt Lending market.

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To continue receiving ‘This Week in Fintech’, the weekly recap of our articles, you will need to fill this form to give us consent to send this to you. Please note that Daily Fintech requires your organizational email address (e.g. corporate, educational or government) and your LinkedIn URL. This information is required for subscribers who want ‘This Week in Fintech’ for free. If you prefer to not provide this information, you can still receive all our content by becoming a paying member.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/14/this-week-in-fintech-ending-14-august-2020/

UK Law Firms Can Now Benefit From new Cheque-Writing Platform

https://thefintechtimes.com/uk-law-firms-can-now-benefit-from-new-cheque-writing-platform/
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“Solicitors and other professionals involved with transfers of customers’ money must ensure their own systems are not vulnerable to being hacked and warn customers that last-minute changes to payment accounts are likely to mean fraud is being attempted.”

Katy Worobec, Managing Director: Economic Crime, UK Finance made the statement in her introduction to ‘Fraud – The Facts 2020’ report published by UK Finance in June this year. The report went on to highlight the fact that “cheque fraud losses increased to £53.6m in 2019…. Intelligence suggests the increase was largely a result of fraudsters targeting high-value corporate accounts, where losses per case are typically far higher than on individual customer accounts. Personal customers only accounted for a small fraction of the total losses. This raises the question of whether large firms need to enhance the security features on cheques to deter fraudsters.”

Banks are fighting back with the introduction of Image Survivable Features (ISFs) on both personal and corporate cheques. These features, typically a Unique Coded Number (UCN) or QR code (UCN Plus®) are printed on the face of the document and encrypt details from the cheque to help prevent fraudulent transactions. Introduced since the UK’s cheque clearing process switched to the use of cheque images rather than the transfer of the paper document in clearing, ISFs flag potential fraud in clearing where the cheque details do not match the encrypted information held in the printed ISF.

Leading security print specialists, the TALL Group, who hold the UK patent for the UCN Plus®, working in conjunction with DIA Kappa, the power behind the cheque clearing fraud prevention systems, have worked with the UK’s clearing banks to encourage particularly corporate customers to adopt ISFs on their special cheques. TALL will work with bank customers to advise how the introduction of an ISF can be achieved either on a pre-printed cheque or using in-house cheque infilling systems.

Early adopters, Bott and Co, a multiple award-winning No Win No Fee solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire have installed a complete UCN Plus® solution to enable them to apply the UCN Plus® ISF on their corporate cheques infilled in-house. Gary Froggatt, Finance Director at Bott & Co said that working together with their bank and TALL, they had been able to produce a corporate cheque design that included the UCN Plus®. “We see this as a major deterrent against fraudulent cheque transactions moving forward”, he added.

Whilst larger organisations have been able to deal recent events, for those law firms that are struggling to make regular cheque payments during the current COVID-19 crisis as a result of their accounts staff working from home, or being furloughed, they can now access a new secure cheque-writing service offered by the TALL Group. The Send-A-Cheque™ service enables partnerships and businesses to simply supply the payment details, via a secure link, and within 48 hours a fully and securely infilled cheque, fully inclusive of ISFs, will be posted back to them for distribution to their clients or suppliers.

The initiative, by the TALL Group, C&CCCo (Cheque & Credit Clearing Company, Part of Pay.UK) accredited cheque printers, also includes an option for law firms to authorise a securely pre-signed cheque meaning it can be sent directly to the recipient. Indeed, it can also be used by law firms that are looking to further reduce overheads within their business moving forward and those with remote locations where a cheque book is not always accessible.

Martin Ruda, Managing Director of the TALL Group, said: “From just one to hundreds or even thousands of cheques, this service acts as an extra pair of hands for law firms, securely creating and distributing cheques on a company’s behalf with a very simple, easy-to-set-up service. It is time-saving, and once the company is set up on our systems, we can offer a rapid service with a same day despatch of cheques.

The inclusion of an ISF, a UCN or our patented UCN Plus®, on the face of cheque will also help prevent cheque fraud. A move that will benefit the industry as a whole.

As a further commitment to make our Send-A-Cheque™ service as accessible as possible to all law firms, we will waive its set-up charges for new users, for at least the next two months.”

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/uk-law-firms-can-now-benefit-from-new-cheque-writing-platform/

Serrala Confirms Appointment Of Constantin Huebner As New Chief Technology Officer

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Serrala, a global provider of secure software solutions to automate financial processes for all inbound and outbound payments, announced the appointment of Constantin Huebner as Chief Technology Officer, effective from the beginning of August.

Constantin Huebner serves on the Management Board of Serrala and will take over global responsibilities for the technology and innovation roadmap of the fast-growing company. He joins Serrala from Sage, a global market leader for cloud technology, where his responsibilities covered the product development of the Business Cloud Payroll portfolio on a global level. Moreover, he brings with him an extensive background in corporate technology trends and processes.

Constantin Huebner said: “I’m excited to join the Management Board of Serrala and step into the CTO role at this pivotal time as the need for digital automation, standardized processes, and fast technological advancement in finance and treasury continues growing faster than ever. It is a great opportunity to work with a strong and dedicated team, build on the company’s momentum and drive its technology agenda to accelerate growth and deliver added value to our customers.”

Commenting on the appointment of Huebner, Sven Lindemann, Chairman of the Management Board, says: “I’m very glad to welcome Constantin to Serrala. He brings significant, relevant expertise to the company, having previously served in international management functions at one of the leading ERP providers with a focus on agile environments and cloud solutions.”

Serrala is a global B2B financial automation software company that helps its customers build the most secure global payment systems. It supports more than 2,500 customers, including 16 DAX and a quarter of the Fortune 100 companies, with innovative technologies, intelligent automation and personalized consulting services.

The unique end-to-end portfolio of Serrala allows the complete automation of inbound and outbound payment processes as well as the management of data and documents.

Serrala has offices in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East and over 700 employees.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/serrala-confirms-appointment-of-constantin-huebner-as-new-chief-technology-officer/

Alt Lending – week ending 14th August

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/14/alt-lending-week-ending-14th-august/
http://dailyfintech.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Alt-Lending-Image.001.jpeg?#

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Alt Lending news
stories during the week: Robinhood traders are going to get their
fingers burnt Why this matters: While this is primarily all about
equities and the meteoric rise of the Robinhood trading platform it
does touch on the rather avant garde financial activities […]

The post
Alt Lending – week ending 14th August
appeared first on
Daily Fintech.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/14/alt-lending-week-ending-14th-august/

TrueMoney Partners With Thunes To Expand Its Global Remittance Services

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//?#

The partnership will transform the way people pay, send, and receive money in SEA, enabling TrueMoney’s 58 million users to receive remittances across 100 countries.

TrueMoney, a leading Southeast Asian fintech company, has partnered with global cross-border payment company Thunes to expand its remittance services globally. This partnership enables TrueMoney users to receive remittances from anywhere in the world via Thunes’ global partner network, which operates in more than 100 countries and in 60 currencies.

Dale Kim, Managing Director of International Business at Ascend Money Co., Ltd., the operator of TrueMoney said, “Our partnership with Thunes allows us to expand our global reach and connect our users to customers of Thunes’ partners globally. This reinforces our mission to provide innovative financial services to all, leading them to better lives. Together, we will focus on innovation, customer experience and instant remittances.”

Peter De Caluwe, CEO, Thunes, said, “We are delighted to be a partner of TrueMoney and to work with them to expand their ability to receive remittances from all over the world. This is aligned with our objective of providing new payment options for our global partners and widen and deepen financial inclusion in Southeast Asia. Our advanced technological capabilities streamline the process of cross-border money transfer, thus resulting in greater speed and operational efficiencies for our partners.”

Myanmar will be the first country to benefit from this partnership, and it will shortly enable all sending partners of Thunes to have access to TrueMoney’s agent network across Southeast Asia. Today, a Burmese living in the U.S. or anywhere in the world will now be able to remit money reliably, conveniently and quickly to any TrueMoney cash pick-up location in Myanmar that is convenient for the recipient. The funds will be instantly converted from US dollars to Myanmar Kyats.

Prior to this partnership with Thunes, TrueMoney’s cross-border remittance service was only available in selected markets via its TrueMoney mobile wallet, or through TrueMoney cash pick- up agents. This partnership now enables all sending partners of Thunes to have access to Truemoney’s agent network.

Thunes has over 400 partnerships globally and has the largest partner network in emerging markets. The company’s partners include Western Union, Ria Money Transfer, Remitly and other leading financial institutions.

  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

https://thefintechtimes.com/truemoney-partners-with-thunes-to-expand-its-global-remittance-services/

Data aggregators push to meet banks’ PFM needs 

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/wealth/data-aggregators-push-to-meet-banks-pfm-needs/
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As banks race to launch sophisticated personal finance management
tools, data aggregators are developing solutions to help their bank
clients paint accurate, insightful pictures of consumers’
financial lives. “We finally have the data consistency and data
quality that we want to provide these insights at a very accurate
level, but also a very hyper-personalized level,” […]

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/wealth/data-aggregators-push-to-meet-banks-pfm-needs/

WaFd CEO on the bank’s 5-year vision

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/retail/wafd-ceo-on-the-banks-5-year-vision/
http://bankinnovation.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ideas-548x309.png?#

WaFd President and CEO Brent Beardall has a 5-year plan to become a
digital-first bank. “Not a digital-only bank and not a
brick-and-mortar only bank, but a digital-first bank where we
provide the channels that are supported by relationships,”
Beardall said. “Too often when you have a digital relationship
it’s all just generic, there’s nothing […]

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/retail/wafd-ceo-on-the-banks-5-year-vision/

Innovating in a World of Exponential Change

https://finovate.com/innovating-in-a-world-of-exponential-change/
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Describing the opportunity to use AI to create tools and solutions that make society better off, Pablos Holman (pictured right) said, “we get the chance to work for the humans yet to come.”

I like the way of looking at a controversial technology in such a positive light. Instead of focusing on the potential of AI to displace us at our jobs or make our lives unfair in some ways, maybe it is better to examine how we can use AI to craft products, technologies, and services that make our world better to live in.

To do this we need to ask ourselves and the community we work in, “All of this technology is in our hands, what do we want to accomplish with it?” It’s important to ask questions like these in the fintech sector, so that the industry can control how we use new technologies such as AI. As Holman puts it, “Speculate about the possibilities, focus on the positives.”

Holman is a hacker, inventor, entrepreneur, and technology futurist who is on a quest to solve the world’s problems through the innovation of technology. He will be the keynote speaker kicking off FinovateFall on September 14, offering his thoughts on innovating in the post-COVID landscape.

He is certainly a speaker you won’t want to miss. Holman has helped build spaceships; the world’s smallest PC; artificial intelligence agent systems; and the Hackerbot, a robot that can steal passwords on a Wi-Fi network. He is a world-renowned expert in the fast moving 3D printing space, and is currently working on printing the food of the future among other things.

Holman will discuss some of the invention projects under way at the Intellectual Ventures Lab, and their efforts to create an Invention Capital market. He will also be showing off some of the super powers that hackers possess.

FinovateFall Digital will run September 14 through 18 and will be broadcast live in Eastern Standard time. There’s still time to register (at a discount!) so take advantage and book your ticket today.


Photo by Sinjin Thomas on Unsplash

https://finovate.com/innovating-in-a-world-of-exponential-change/

Facebook Launches New Payments Group: Facebook Financial

https://finovate.com/facebook-launches-new-payments-group-facebook-financial/
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Led by David Marcus, co-creator of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, Facebook Financial is the social media giant’s latest effort to enhance the company’s payments initiatives.

Facebook has not made an official announcement about Facebook Financial – referred to internally as F2. Reporting at both MarketWatch and Bloomberg suggests that the new unit will also feature Stephane Kasriel as payments vice president. Kasriel comes to the project from Upwork, where he was CEO. Marcus currently runs Novi, a division of Facebook that is developing a digital wallet for Libra, and will continue in that capacity as Novi moves under the F2 umbrella.

“We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook,” Marcus told Bloomberg earlier this week. “It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments.” Notably, Marcus has significant payments experience, having been PayPal president from 2012-2014.

Facebook Financial will also handle WhatsApp Pay, recently launched in Brazil, and Facebook Pay, the social media platform’s e-commerce payment system. Engadget’s reporting on the conversation surrounding the new division noted that Facebook sees unifying payments on its different platforms as key to boosting value for advertisers and increasing in-app transactions.

The discussion over Facebook Financial comes just a week after the firm announced another e-commerce-friendly initiative: a Commerce Accelerator that will partner with 60 startups from countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to help build out Facebook’s online marketplace.

“In this critical time, Facebook is doubling down on commerce and accelerating its work to enable every business to sell online and help people gain inspiration and discover and buy the products they love. We can’t achieve this alone,” the company announced in a blog post, “so we are looking for startups to build technology with us.”

Zuckerberg himself has praised the role of payments in Facebook’s future. In a recent earnings call, the Facebook CEO noted that “as payments grow across Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we’re able to roll that out in more places, I think that that will only grow as a trend.”


Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

https://finovate.com/facebook-launches-new-payments-group-facebook-financial/

In Conversation: Currency.com

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Jonathan Squires heads Currency.com, a top platform for digital asset trading that features a broad spectrum of fiat and digital currencies with a focus on crypto and tokenised assets. Squires was previously CEO of iBus Media, part of the Stars Group. With his traditional MBA background, he is one of the new bunch of leaders in crypto who are driving the expansion in decentralized finance and tokenised asset markets.

As part of The Fintech Times focus on digital currency this month, Squires talks about how digital currencies have revolutionised the trading industry, and how ‘open’ fintech will continue to transform access to both fiat money and tokenised assets in the near future. 

How quickly has the world of digital currencies changed on your platform?

All of this has moved very quickly by almost any standard. Just last year, we were launching the first tokenised exchange of its kind. Now, we have over 1,700 tokens reflecting major financial instruments from stocks, indices to commodities like oil and coffee.

Fintech itself is on a rapid trajectory, but the tokenisation of assets is going to happen even more quickly, and it already is taking place. It addresses a lot of core problems about traditional banking that are due to become obsolete!

We’ve heard of open banking and open data, how have digital currency exchanges like Currency.com opened a channel for both fiat and crypto transactions?

The word “open” is the right word. Currency.com always had a goal to offer access to major financial instruments to crypto holders, and we believe that we’ve done exactly that. Of course, you can trade crypto to fiat like any other exchange, but we also add that ability to invest directly into tokens which perfectly mirror the most popular assets on the NYSE or FTSE100. The value we add is being able to do that without losing the value of your crypto by bouncing it through fiat and paying a traditional broker to buy the asset.

Where do you see tokenised assets going in the future? Do you envision a peak at any point?

No, not at all. It’s a different medium for the same centuries-old pain point between value holders and investors. The trading sector we’re in is massive and complex, and there are other companies such as Liquefy, Polymath and Red Swan doing great things in the real estate market.

Here’s the thing with tokenised and digitized assets: there are so many different applications that it’s going to take a while to reach any kind of saturation. We’ll see a large number of industries disrupted, and we’ll see many micro-innovations happening over the next few years. We’re just now getting started – the global community is dipping its toe in the water of decentralized finance and tokenised assets.

Why do you think mobile phones have become the most popular vehicle to use or trade digital currencies?

There’s an easy answer for this one, and it’s the same answer as to why we use mobile phones at all.

A lot of this is ergonomic – it’s about access and convenience. Basically, people want to be trading from wherever they are because they get news and inspiration in real-time, and they’re probably not sitting at the desk staring at a desktop screen. That’s the answer. Responsive design means an interface that you can use any time of the day or night, and desktop is abundantly not that.

In terms of regulation, where do you think are the geographical hotspots either getting it right or going in a good direction?

There are any number of places where countries and communities are moving toward enabling all kinds of innovative digital asset participation. 

It tends to come from those regions which are younger, agile and dominated by entrepreneurs – Israel, Gibraltar, Lithuania, Belarus and Singapore. Japan is the only “traditional” market to take a leadership position on crypto.

The larger countries are always going to be slower, because either they have a weak state fiat currency to protect or there is an entrenched financial centre with powerful stakeholders at policy level.

Have you had to implement any changes since COVID-19? 

Saying that COVID-19 changed everything is not an understatement! 

Currency.com has international offices so the team is used to working remotely from each other, and our audience spans all time zones. Internally, we’ve had to look at the same virtual systems and contactless options that anybody else in other markets needs. We’re taken the changes in our stride, as has everyone else in our sector.

How easy is it to predict customer behaviour? Can you figure out what drives people to trade digital currencies through socio-economic patterns for instance?

That’s an interesting one. Yes, we can anticipate popular instruments – if Elon Musk is smiling about something, we’re likely to see people come to find Tesla. But this is more news-driven than socio-economic. We’re very careful about remaining neutral on our platform because it’s not our job to offer investment advice.

Having analysed our data, however, I was surprised when I joined the company at the scope of our audience base. Yes, there’s a skew towards the more digitally native clients, but many of them are older, sophisticated and financially independent. The spectrum of our traders is quite broad, probably because the common appeal is our regulation rather than other more casino-like unregulated crypto exchanges.

Geographically, where do you think we will see a growth of users trading digital currencies in the future?

We can broadly identify those geos where people are more willing to trade in crypto as a base currency however. They tend to be where the investors don’t have access to major financial instruments such as Tesla or crude oil, or it’s cost-prohibitive for them to trade using traditional methods. Also, many investors come from regions where they don’t have faith in the stability of their local national currency and they’re looking to get value out of their crypto holdings.

On a larger scale, we need to differentiate between crypto versions of state currencies (e.g. the Chinese or EU proposals) and those which are truly decentralised. The Baltics and CIS have always had a lot of momentum in this market, and I’d expect to see their entrepreneurs continue to disrupt traditional financial markets.

We hear words like ‘education’ a lot when it comes to tokens and crypto assets, do you think the general public is still relatively uninformed?

Yes, I do.

One of the biggest gaps, exemplified with Bitcoin and other crypto projects, is the difference between how useful these assets are to the average individual, versus how seldom they are being used. The indecision at national policy level feeds into the fear that anything crypto is scary.

So, we’re working with those regulators who are recognised and are able to understand what we’re doing. At a state level, the US is improving bit-by-bit, but at a federal level I think they’ll be stuck for a while. After Zuckerberg’s Senate grilling in 2018, I don’t hold out hope for deep digital or crypto expertise at policy level for a while.

People just haven’t caught on yet to how you can hedge against inflation with Bitcoin, how you can protect yourself from markets (unlike your 401(k),) and how you can diversify, which even the lowliest financial advisor will confirm is absolutely important. All of it just seems too obscure for the man on the street, but we’re trying to change that by bringing public awareness to the table.

In your view, what will bring digital currencies to the forefront of mass public interaction? 

People are becoming more familiar with cryptocurrencies over time, and then they’ll make their way into tokenised assets. I’m sure they’ll be driven by individual finance professionals, the same people that we now trust to handle our stock portfolios and or 401(k)s and retirement accounts. But there are those early adopters who build fortunes as the rest slowly join the party.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/currency-com/

Yapily Ever After: American Express Facilitates Bank Transfers in European Markets

https://finovate.com/yapily-ever-after-american-express-facilitates-bank-transfers-in-european-markets/
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Have you ever heard of open-banking-infrastructure-as-a-service? American Express has, and it has tapped U.K.-based Yapily as the provider.

The open banking infrastructure company has signed an agreement with American Express to take the financial service giant’s open banking payment initiation product, Pay with Bank Transfer, to select European markets. Yapily’s API will enable Amex’s end users to complete a payment without being redirected to a different channel or website.

Pay with Bank Transfer is self-explanatory– it leverages open banking to enable users to transact via bank transfer. The payment method uses biometric authentication and instant payment APIs for faster, more simple, and secure payments.

“The partnership is the first real step to bringing open banking payments to everyone across Europe and the U.K.,” said Yapily CEO and founder Stefano Vaccino. “Now, a significant number of international merchants will finally be able to access, and benefit from, an open banking API.”

Yapily was founded in 2017 to help financial service providers leverage the open banking opportunity by connecting them with banks. The company enables its clients to access data in 15 countries across Europe, and at more than 180 financial institutions. Yapily has raised $18.4 million.


Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

https://finovate.com/yapily-ever-after-american-express-facilitates-bank-transfers-in-european-markets/

Boston and Tel Aviv’s Silverfort Secures $30 Million

https://thefintechtimes.com/boston-and-tel-avivs-silverfort-secures-30-million/
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Silverfort delivers secure authentication and Zero Trust policies across corporate networks and cloud environments, without deploying any software agents or inline proxies. It recently announced that it has raised $30 million USD in a series B investment round, and will allow for Silverfort to further accelerate its growth to meet the increasing customer demand for secure authentication and access solution. Something which has been boosted by the current pandemic and overall global shift to remote work.

The financing was led by Aspect Ventures, with the participation of Citi Ventures, Maor Investments, and the company’s early investors TLV Partners, StageOne Ventures and Singtel Innov8. Mark Kraynak from Aspect Ventures will be joining Silverfort’s board of directors. This funding round follows a milestone year of growth for Silverfort and brings the total investments in the company to $41.5 million.

Mark Kraynak, Venture Partner at Aspect Ventures said, “The shift to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, combined with the dramatic acceleration of remote work is driving the need for secure authentication and access of corporate users beyond the perimeter. Implementing these security controls system-by-system is no longer realistic. Silverfort brings a disruptive technology that is uniquely designed for the perimeter-less era. We are very impressed by the company’s customer traction, leadership and product vision, and excited to help it accelerate its growth.”

Ornit Shinar, Head of Ventures Investments at Citi Israel said, “We are proud to support Silverfort as investors, and to see a market leader come out of Citi’s Accelerator program. Silverfort’s solution has proven not only to be valuable, but in many cases, a necessity. Especially these days, when millions of people around the world have to work and access corporate resources remotely.”

Silverfort developed an innovative platform that seamlessly enforces secure authentication and access policies (including Multi-Factor Authentication, Risk-Based Authentication, Zero Trust and more) for any user, device and system, both on-premises and in the cloud, without the need to deploy any agents, SDKs or proxies. Its unique architecture allows Silverfort to protect large and complex networks and cloud environments in a unified manner, with an AI-driven risk engine that automatically adjusts policies based on the user’s behavior, and prevents threats such as account takeover, ransomware and lateral movement.

“With the shift to remote working, secure employee authentication and access to company networks and systems have grown increasingly important for enterprises,” said William Woo, Group CIO at Singtel. “However, many large enterprises find it difficult to implement such controls across all their different environments quickly. Silverfort’s innovative solution simplifies this process without requiring system modifications, enabling them to save time and costs.”

Silverfort enables its customers to protect many sensitive systems that other vendors can’t integrate with, such as homegrown/legacy systems, critical infrastructure, file systems, IoT, command-line interfaces, machine-to-machine access and more. Silverfort also allows customers to migrate their existing servers and applications to the cloud in a secure manner without having to modify them.

“We are thrilled to have the support of such great investors who share our vision,” said Hed Kovetz, CEO and Co-Founder of Silverfort. “The increased enterprise adoption of cloud, IoT, BYOD and remote work is creating major challenges for implementing secure authentication and access, and calls for a more unified approach. We are excited to continue on our mission to help more companies leverage identity as their new perimeter, and effectively prevent emerging cyber threats.”

Silverfort was founded by Hed Kovetz, Yaron Kassner and Matan Fattal, cybersecurity and cryptography experts who previously served in the Israeli 8200 elite cyber unit. It has large enterprise customers around the world, and partnerships with top security vendors and channel partners. This additional funding will allow Silverfort to expand its sales, marketing, engineering and customer success teams around the world.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/boston-and-tel-avivs-silverfort-secures-30-million/

ICX Association Elevate Awards winners to be announced during livestream event

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/icx-association-elevate-awards-winners-to-be-announced-during-livestream-event/
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news

Winners of the ICXA Elevate Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in interactive customer experience, are typically recognized during the annual ICX Summit. But due to the pandemic, this year’s awards ceremony will be held virtually on September 22.

ICX Association Elevate Awards winners to be announced during livestream eventWinners of the 2019 Best Omnichannel ICX category.


| by David Drain

The ICX Association Elevate Awards honor the individuals and organizations that are pacesetters in using technology to elevate the customer experience.

Typically, winners are recognized during the annual ICX Summit. But due to the pandemic, ICXA has decided to conduct this year’s awards ceremony virtually on September 22 at 12 pm ET.

The awards honor the individuals and organizations that are pacesetters in using technology to elevate the customer experience.

Awards will be announced for:

  • Best Digital Signage ICX
  • Best Kiosk ICX
  • Best Mobile ICX
  • Best Entertainment ICX
  • Best Restaurant ICX
  • Best Retail ICX
  • Best Omnichannel ICX
  • Best Emerging Technology in ICX
  • Lyle Bunn Industry Influencer of the Year

“There were so many good entries this year,” said David Drain, ICXA’s managing director. “We’re excited to not only announce and recognize the winners but to share videos from the winning entries. The livestream event should be both entertaining and educational.”

Registration is free. Sign up here



David Drain

David Drain is the managing director of the ICX Association and leads the events team for Networld Media Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in association management, event planning, writing and speaking. Previously, he served as executive director of the Digital Screenmedia Association.


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Interactive Customer Experience (ICX) Summit

November 4-6, 2020 | Columbus, OH

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/icx-association-elevate-awards-winners-to-be-announced-during-livestream-event/

Behind the Idea: Tradewind Markets

https://thefintechtimes.com/behind-the-idea-3/
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Counterfeit gold, smuggling, and irresponsible mining practices are
all issues in the precious metals industry. Something tying those
problems together is that those on the receiving end of
gold rarely question or inspect its origins from
the very beginning of its production cycle. In many cases the gold
tends to be professionally branded and inspected by several
certified entities, making detection nearly impossible.

Tradewind’s latest
technology, ORIGINS, enables producers to tag
metals with certain criteria without requiring market participants
to introduce expensive changes to operational and manufacturing
processes. ORIGINS uses blockchain technology to synthesize large
amounts of data, providing market participants with tools to make
better-informed business decisions. This was demonstrated in
ORIGINS’ first trade between Agnico Eagle Mines and the Bank of
Montreal, which was confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Michael Albanese is the CEO
of Tradewind Markets

Michael Albanese is the CEO of
Tradewind Markets. With more than 20 years in the
industry, Michael is experienced in global market infrastructure
across securities markets, online brokerage, and leadership of
complex businesses.

What has been the traditional company response to
financial technology innovations nationally?

In the precious metals industry, records of title are less
standard and rarely centralized. There are many ways to buy metals,
but far fewer standardized means to effectively prove ownership.
And unlike more traditional markets, transactions involving
precious metals require literal physical transportation.

We believe there’s a better way to manage the ownership of
precious metals by using blockchain, distributed
ledger technology and cloud-based technology solutions to simplify
processes, increase transparency and open up new opportunities.
We’re using cutting-edge technology to revolutionize an industry
that’s been doing the same thing for generations.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Tradewind was created to reflect the growing necessity of
pushing the precious metals industry into the digital future.
Markets should be more convenient for participants. Our mission is
to make physical assets more acceptable to buyers, sellers,
borrowers, and lenders through digitization.

We’ve noticed industry-wide interest in our technology and
have established relationships with top institutions and
wholesalers. Our technology is being used to trade precious metals
that are held securely in physical form at the Royal
Canadian Mint
—a sovereign depository. Custody and
settlement are recorded digitally on a blockchain. We have almost
every client vertical represented in our client base: the miner,
the bank, the purchaser, and several steps in between.

This marks a major shift in industry attitudes over the past few
years.

Is there anything that has created a culture of
change inside the company?

We built Tradewind to reflect the changing nature of the
precious metals industry, so naturally we’re constantly evolving.
Our team members have vast experience in finance, trading and
startup technology. We’re all excited about what lies ahead in
the future of the precious metals industry. Responsible sourcing is
very important to us, which was the impetus for creating
ORIGINS.

What Fintech ideas have been implemented?

It’s cumbersome to invest in precious metals today, so we
launched VaultChain™ to make it easier for investors to buy and sell
gold and silver. Retail investors are faced with wide spreads, high
storage costs, difficult form of ownership (bars, coins) and opaque
title records. Institutions looking to utilize precious metals in
financing trades face costly options and are dependent on a narrow
subset of lenders willing to lend against these metals.

The industry also faces questions about responsible sourcing and
transparency, so we introduced ORIGINS, which tags vital
information on precious metals throughout the supply chain,
including the name and geography of the mine where the metal was
produced.

For a legacy industry, these are new and welcomed fintech
ideas.

What benefits have these brought?

Dealers use our digital products to enable their clients to
trade precious metals that are held securely at the Royal Canadian
Mint. Custody and settlement is recorded digitally on a blockchain
and the experience is much closer to investing in equities online.
Storage costs are lower; assets are held with a sovereign
depository, which reduces risk; and investors have clear title of
ownership.

Once physical assets are recorded on digital ledgers, a variety
of transactions become more secure and cost-efficient. As
institutions seek to deploy metal as collateral, and as
corporations seek to buy metal produced responsibly and ethically,
our digital market is a natural opportunity for counterparties to
locate each other, harvest the value of their assets, and deploy
their assets as collateral.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the
horizon?

Compared to equities and bonds, precious metals and alternative
assets are difficult to settle. Further, records of title are less
standard and underlying details lack transparency. Deployment as
collateral is much harder, as assets weighing up to several tons
must be transported and institutions are less willing to buy and
sell without custodian involvement. There are several ways fintech
can fix this.

Can these challenges be aided by Fintech?

Blockchain removes friction by issuing a standard ledger as an
official record of title. We’re already seeing large dealers and
wholesalers in North America adopt this. Mines can tag metals based
on where they were produced and prove compliance with responsible
production standards and other ESG criteria. The digital nature of
the ledger allows for the separation of the physical location of an
asset from its value. This technology was recently embraced by a
large bank-related trust company for their collateral lending
program and we’re in discussion with custodians and trust
companies to facilitate institutional adoption.

Final thoughts…

It’s an exciting time for the precious metals industry just
because it’s so ready for innovation. We’re creating technology
that streamlines legacy processes by helping settle trades faster,
allowing investors to invest in fractions of metals, and presenting
the ability to leverage digital ownership in a variety of ways. We
want to help investors rethink the possibilities of what can be
done in the precious metals industry.

The post Behind the Idea:
Tradewind Markets
appeared first on The Fintech Times.

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Insuretech Company By Miles Announces 5-Year Agreement With Zurich UK

https://thefintechtimes.com/insuretech-company-by-miles-announces-5-year-agreement-with-zurich-uk/
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A recent announcement highlights a new partnership between Zurich UK and By Miles, a leading insurtech in usage-based insurance (UBI). Beginning in August 2020, Zurich will underwrite its motor policies in a 5-year agreement.

By Miles is the first company in the UK to offer real-time pay-as-you-drive insurance, with its policies aimed at those who drive under 7,000 miles a year. Instead of paying a traditional annual premium, customers still get comprehensive cover, but pay a low fixed amount upfront to protect the car whilst parked (protecting cars against theft, accidental damage and vandalism), and pay monthly based purely on how many miles they drive, to cover them whilst on the move. All policies also include No Claims Bonus protection at no extra cost.

A smartphone app measures journeys using a self-fit matchbox-sized telematics device called a Miles Tracker, enabling drivers to instantly see the cost of each trip. In addition to accessing their own trip cost data, the app also offers customers live chat support, self-service policy changes (with no admin fees) as well as an expanding range of additional services including a find my car tool, diagnostics scanner and reminders if you’ve crossed into ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zones) or Congestion Charge areas during a trip.

The partnership is part of Zurich’s wider strategy of working with distributors who offer innovative but scalable propositions and also reinforces the insurer’s commitment to sustainability in targeting a lower mileage customer segment, particularly relevant with the inevitable change in consumers’ driving habits post-Covid-19.

Phil Ost, Head of Personal Lines at Zurich, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with By Miles today. As well as being impressed with their innovative proposition and high level of customer experience for what is an under-served segment, it’s their ability to deliver on their plans since launching in 2018 that really stands out. An alternative, usage-based solution is more important now than ever, as we see a clear shift in how consumers will use their cars post lockdown. And in incentivising those who drive fewer miles, the partnership with By Miles is a firm reinforcement of our commitment to sustainability.”

James Blackham, CEO and co-founder of By Miles, said of the partnership: “Zurich are a highly experienced insurer with an outstanding record for claims expertise, boasting a 99% payout rate on claims in 2019. Partnering with Zurich will give our members the peace of mind that they’ll be protected by the best if the worst happens.

“We’ve seen demand for our pay-by-mile policies continue to increase as UK drivers, understandably, look for more flexible insurance cover that better fits their needs post-lockdown. Having had our strongest ever sales month in July, this partnership will support our continued growth.”

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/insuretech-company-by-miles-announces-5-year-agreement-with-zurich-uk/