An Analysis of Leading Banks’ Venture Capital Arms

We cover more than 60+ sub-segments in FinTech – but we do not stop there; we also cover topics beyond FinTech, such as InsurTech, RegTech, PropTech, WealthTech, BankTech, AgriTech, and the enabling technologies enabling innovation such as AI, Blockchain, etc.

Lightspeed Integrates Google To Help Retailers Increase Local Shopping Revenue

Lightspeed, a provider of cloud-based, omnichannel commerce platforms, announced it will integrate Google tools directly into its platform, to help independent businesses globally as they safely re-open and expand their in-store capacity. As consumer preference towards shopping locally increases, the direct integration between Lightspeed and Google will allow independent retailers to manage a number of Google tools directly in their Lightspeed commerce platform at no additional cost.

This announcement comes as new data from Google suggests consumers are interested in shopping local, but many are starting their journey online. Searches for “local” + “business(es)” have grown by more than 80% year over year, including searches like “local businesses near me” and “support local businesses.” Searches for “who has” + “in stock” have grown by more than 8,000% year over year, including searches like “who has gym equipment in stock.”

The global collaboration between Lightspeed and Google integrates three crucial tools directly into the Lightspeed platform: Google Local Inventory Ads, Google Smart Shopping Campaigns, and Google My Business. This complete integration is vital for omnichannel retailers, who use a multichannel approach to provide a seamless customer experience online or in a physical store. The new Google integration includes:

  • Google Local Inventory Ads: Retailers can reach local customers with local inventory ads, from directly within the Lightspeed platform. These ads help nearby shoppers know what they have in stock, driving more visits to their physical shop.
  • Google Smart Shopping Campaigns: Today’s consumers are shopping across platforms and devices, online and offline, seamlessly. With Smart Shopping campaigns, products are eligible to show up across all of Google’s properties and reach users wherever, and whenever, they’re searching or consuming content.
  • Google My Business: Lightspeed customers can get and manage a professional Google My Business listing straight from Lightspeed’s commerce platform. Retailers can keep customers up to date with their latest information, whether it’s store hours or COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Enabling access to these digital tools directly within the Lightspeed platform is strategically aligned with Lightspeed’s mission to simplify entrepreneurship and level the playing field for independent merchants. The integration, when combined with the Lightspeed Supplier Network, creates a seamless path for local retailers to scale their omnichannel businesses.

“We know that so much of business today starts with a Google search,” said Lightspeed CEO Dax Dasilva, “By combining forces, Lightspeed and Google are eliminating the pain points that prevent SMBs from effectively promoting their products online to the communities who prefer to shop local, providing them a springboard to simplify and scale their businesses as they prepare for the welcomed return of in-store shopping.”

“Small and medium-sized businesses have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, but globally we’ve seen a rallying cry to support them,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP & Country Director, Google Canada. “Customers are shopping both online and in-store and expect a seamless shopping experience between both. As we look towards recovery, this integration with Lightspeed will provide a scalable solution for Lightspeed merchants of all sizes looking to reach customers in this new omnichannel reality”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

RoboAds Launches World’s First Mobile Advertising Robot for Live NFT ART and Crypto Pricing

RoboAds has developed a new generation of advertising robots by combining digital signage, robotics and AI under one platform.

RoboSignage is RoboAds’ first commercial robot specifically designed for indoor advertising and virtual telepresence. The robot can be deployed in public places like airports, malls, tradeshows, metro stations and other high traffic areas. While roaming around, it displays advertising and allows potential consumers to connect via remote virtual video calls with customer service agents.

RoboSignage is RoboAds' first commercial robotRoboSignage is RoboAds' first commercial robot
RoboSignage is RoboAds’ first commercial advertising robot

RoboSignage is equipped with four, 55-inch digital signage screens in 4K resolution. The robot can navigate autonomously or be teleoperated by means of a PTZ camera that transmits video in real-time. The mobile platform has skid-steering and omnidirectional kinematics based on 4 high power motor wheels. Each wheel integrates a brushless motor with a high precision odometer sensor. The robot uses the ROS open architecture and is equipped with 2 lidar scanners that enable it to avoid obstacles around it when operating in mobility mode.

Through this innovative technology, customers have the opportunity to inform themselves or invest in NFT art, also known as non-fungible tokens. These exquisite and exclusive digital collectables have taken the world by storm and have completely changed the game for investors and collectors alike. The value of these pieces varies based on demand. Though prints of these masterpieces are available online, rights to a single NFT are given to the buyers of each piece.

With RoboAds, customers are presented with what’s available on the market and its current price. As prices do fluctuate, it will be cutting-edge to have recent updates and changes available as soon as they happen along with real-time video analytics.

As for businesses, this sleek new way of advertising and marketing provides retailers to showcase their products in a digitally evolved setting, attracting potential new customers. In terms of safety concerns, it also reduces the need for unnecessary physical interaction, especially during COVID-19, without limiting human interference.

RA-Signage is the one of the most advanced advertising and telepresence mobile platforms in the world today. It utilises the latest trends in AI and machine learning to provide an exceptional solution and a memorable experience when promoting products and services.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

DIFC President Officially Inagurates Innovation Hub

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has officially inaugurated the DIFC Innovation Hub, which is located in the city’s Gate Avenue.

The facility is part of the new Dubai Future District announced in January 2020 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“The establishment of the DIFC Innovation Hub is an integral part of the strategic roadmap for realising HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for innovation-driven growth in Dubai,” comments Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed. “The new facility is a key initiative aimed at generating new economic value by fostering the development of innovation, enterprise and talent across sectors, especially in future-oriented industries. This initiative supports Dubai’s aspiration to become a leading global player in shaping the future of vital sectors and creating a thriving international innovation hub in Dubai.”

“The DIFC Innovation Hub is also a testament to Dubai’s emphasis on creating strong partnerships with players across the financial services value chain, ranging from large global corporations to promising small and medium enterprises and start-ups. Dubai seeks to constantly enhance its hard and soft infrastructure for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs from across industries to transform ideas into ventures that create enduring value. Amidst the unprecedented changes that the world is currently seeing, Dubai’s leadership continues to place a high priority on creating new models for growth and development, discovering solutions for turning crises into opportunities and advancing the horizons of technology to help usher in a bright new post-pandemic world,” he added.

His Highness commended DIFC’s management for contributing to Dubai’s sustainable development and economic diversification and establishing the Centre as the region’s foremost source of financial innovation. DIFC is recognised internationally as a leading global centre for fintech, and the Innovation Hub is set to play a key role in driving collaboration between early-stage and growth start-ups, tech unicorns and big tech firms to accelerate success. Members of the Hub will benefit significantly from being part of DIFC, the region’s largest ecosystem of financial services related companies that are collectively shaping the future of the industry.

His Highness approved the expansion of the DIFC Innovation Hub, which will increase its size four-fold to over 315,000 sq. ft. In just two months, the current 80,000 sq. ft. space is being fully utilised. Over the next two years, the expansion will include the development of an additional tower linked to the existing DIFC Innovation Hub. Accommodating up to 1,000 businesses, the building will have fitted offices, co-working spaces and light F&B outlets in the concourse and fine dining outlets at the rooftop level.

His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, briefed His Highness on DIFC’s comprehensive innovation proposition before touring the Innovation Hub to meet talented entrepreneurs, unicorns, visionaries, fintech pioneers and creators within the Innovation Hub.

His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFCHis Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC
His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC

“Technology and innovation are strong drivers of Dubai’s transformational growth, cementing its reputation as a global centre that attracts capital and talent,” comments Essa Kazim. “With a strong focus on promoting promising start-ups and innovative ventures, DIFC is accelerating the strategic and sustainable development of the economy to be future-ready. The DIFC Innovation Hub is the region’s dedicated zone for innovators and investors to leverage the extraordinary potential of new generation technology.”

Arif Amiri added “Dubai has created a global model for accelerating technology innovation and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship that fosters the development of a new ecosystem of opportunities for tech innovators and investors. As the nation prepares for the Next 50, it is strategically imperative that we create robust platforms that support digital-first, innovative ventures that contribute value to the future economy. DIFC Innovation Hub serves as the definitive destination for nurturing the next unicorns from our region while helping build a strong fintech sector and creating new jobs for talented professionals.”

Harnessing Innovation Opportunities
The region’s leading fintech-focused ecosystem, the DIFC Innovation Hub is a major part of the Dubai Future District in 2020 with over 350 fintech and innovation firms. The Innovation Hub will strengthen and enrich the DIFC ecosystem significantly by providing fintechs at all stages of their evolution with unparalleled access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts.

Tenants range from early to growth-stage start-ups such as YAP, Beehive, Tabby, Xpence, Stake, Rain and Bayzat as well as Thunderbird School of Global Management, part of Arizona State University. Other established tech companies include Ebury, Huawei and Amazon.

Fintech and innovation businesses in the Hub can connect and collaborate with many of the world’s top financial institutions based in DIFC. Following 2020’s record performance, more than 2,919 businesses, of which 915 are financial and innovation firms, are active in the Centre.

Supporting Innovation Through Education
DIFC Academy continues to accelerate the country’s economic growth by developing much-needed local talent. As part of the Centre’s vision to develop human capital and the skills needed for the future, DIFC Academy has launched the Future Campus, a knowledge platform that offers over 400 online degree programmes, practical skills-based training courses and education opportunities to UAE nationals and residents from leading global academic institutions. The Future Campus, which can serve up to 25,000 students a year, offers programmes that focus on skills and knowledge for the future.

Nurturing Innovation Within The DIFC Fintech Hive
In addition to the broader ecosystem for innovation, DIFC has developed several key initiatives to realise its goal of nurturing innovation and driving the future of finance. Led by the DIFC Fintech Hive, this programme includes its Fintech Accelerator, which recently closed submissions for the first of its two 2021 ‘sprints’. The Accelerator provides its participants, of which there have been nearly 130 to date, a programme that includes access to potential partners and investors, as well as workshops, events and co-working spaces within the new Innovation Hub.

DIFC also recently initiated the third edition of its AccelerateHer mentoring programme, which supports gender diversity within the financial community. This career mentoring programme ensures DIFC is actively encouraging the next generation of female business leaders by providing hands-on mentoring and career development support for up to 15 candidates selected every year.

Innovative Licenses and Regulations
DIFC recognises the importance of enabling start-ups and entrepreneurs to establish, test and scale their innovative businesses within its world-class regulatory and legal framework. To facilitate this, DIFC offers a selection of cost-effective operating and regulatory licenses suitable for businesses of all sizes. For example, the DIFC Innovation License offers a subsidised commercial license for up to four years, enabling a quick and fully digital business setup for non-regulated fintech and Innovation companies, while the DFSA Innovation Testing License offers a Launchpad for cutting-edge technologies to prove themselves within a regulatory sandbox.

Funding Tomorrow’s Innovations
Access to funding remains a key challenge for many start-ups. Not only does the DIFC Innovation Hub connect with a wealth of commercial partners, but it also actively delivers financial initiatives to provide funding. DIFC’s own $100 million Fintech Fund was established to bridge the funding gap for growth stage start-ups in the region and has successfully financed seven companies to date, including Sarwa, Beehive, NOW Money, FlexxPay, Rise, Rain, and Clara.

Meanwhile, given DIFC’s track record in successfully fostering new fintechs and innovations, the new Hub’s residents benefit from increased profile amongst Venture Capital (VC) firms looking to identify the next generation of tech unicorns. DIFC also provides greater access to funding from VC firms which are encouraged to join the Centre through its tailored framework for streamlined setup. Fintech firms based in DIFC have now raised more than AED 1.1 billion ($298.8 million). The Innovation Hub will continue to provide financial as well as practical support in delivering the future of finance.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Amsterdam Fintech Week to Explore How to Make Financial Services More Accessible

Amsterdam Fintech Week, in short XFW, running from 4th to 11th of June, gathers all stakeholders and players active in the ecosystem of digital finance. The goal is to connect players within the European Fintech space and to involve key stakeholders to participate.

While enabling the market to do it’s work, it also aims to explore how we can make financial services more accessible, understandable and impactful. You can expect a week full of events, with several highly anticipated keynotes, expert panels, workshops and startup pitches. And it’s a great way to meet the key players in the field, learn from each other and do business.

This year, the XFW21 agenda will be focused on key themes for the fintech industry, with an extraordinary focus on the perspective of customers and society. The theme per day covers  Global Citizens (consumers), Born Multinationals (SME), Fintech Union (Europe), Behind the Scenes (all things tech), Society’s Perspective (with a.o. financial crime and ESG)  – sparking and shaping discussions between all stakeholders.

Each day will begin with an introduction, a keynote speaker and an industry expert panel diving deeper into the day’s theme. Some of the companies you can expect to hear from are Mambu, Accenture, Plaid, PayPal, Fortech, Buckaroo, Dusk Network, The Software House, NCC Group, Owlin, Onfido, SAS, Allen & Overy, DirectID, and special guests Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands –, Jan Ceyssens – Head Of Unit at European Commission, and Steven Maijoor – Executive Director at De Nederlandsche Bank. After the daystart, organisers from around the ecosystem are putting their best effort

After the day starts, attendees will have access to the online networking area within the event platform, a place for automated one-on-one meetings to facilitate connections.

We are proud to be working with our sponsors and leaders in the landscape: UiPath, Yolt Technology Services, Mambu, FintechOS, Web-IQ Business, Stater NV, Invers, tink, fincog, b.fine and zaion. Our mission is to put forward the Amsterdam ecosystem, well connected to the rest of the Netherlands, Europe and the world, under the spotlight. Time to invite all stakeholders from around the world to meet each other!

“This week is really coming together as one unique event. We are really excited about the response we got from the fintech ecosystem in the Netherlands and across Europe to help shape and participate in the theme-driven program. As you can see, the focus on the customer and what society is expecting from financial services is top of mind, and broadly felt as a story worth sharing. We really believe that our discussions, from financial well-being to the latest insights in how to keep financial services safe, social and contributing to a sustainable environment, are essential today. We are certain that many new ideas and collaborations will be born this week, even though it’s happening online,” said Don Ginsel, founder of Holland FinTech.

The whole program can be seen and joined via

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Have the Steamships of Insurance Hit an Iceberg? Why Insurance Companies Lag Behind in Digitisation

With most sectors, even insurance, younger customers want digital solutions nowadays – the answer: insurance by smartphone. Insurtechs have recognised this customer need and established insurance companies are following suit. The industry is on the verge of upheaval. The technological potential is massive – and so are the challenges.

Christian Wiens wants to challenge one of the largest industries in the world by building one of the world’s up and rising digital insurance companies – as the founder and CEO of Getsafe. Holding a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, he is an already experienced digital entrepreneur with a strong background in tech, entrepreneurship and product development. At Getsafe, Christian is responsible for the company’s strategy and product, investor relations and communications. 

Here, Christian shares his thoughts on how insurance companies are lagging behind in digitisation

   Christian Wiens, Founder and CEO Getsafe   Christian Wiens, Founder and CEO Getsafe
Christian Wiens, Founder and CEO Getsafe

Digitisation has reached the insurance industry later than other sectors. The pressure is particularly coming from the customers themselves. They expect a consistently digital insurance experience – starting with entering the contract, through consulting, to the reporting and settlement of claims.

The established insurance companies are aware of these customer expectations but are still lacking consistent implementation. Most processes are still paper-based; contractual changes must be made in writing; many employees spend most of their working time on trivial copy-paste tasks. This is time-consuming and ties up resources. Repetitive work processes are also more prone to errors, as employees become tired and less able to concentrate over time.

At the same time, the potential for the use of new technologies is enormous. Many customer enquiries, damage reports, or data analyses could theoretically be standardised and automated – ideal prerequisites for using intelligent machines.

Technology has the potential to equal savings

According to several studies by strategic consultancies, the consistent automation of manual processes and the use of new technologies could increase premium income by almost 25 per cent and simultaneously reduce costs by almost 30 per cent. As stated by experts, the greatest savings are possible in claims settlement and acquisition costs.

However, meeting changing customer expectations and fully exploiting the potential of digitisation is a mammoth task for most established insurers.

For starters, life, health, and property & casualty insurance sectors are often separated into independent legal entities, which often work with different IT systems. In addition, cost and competitive pressures in recent years have led to smaller insurance companies being bought up by the “big ones” without integrating the IT infrastructure. The result is a patchwork of incompatible hardware and software in which customer data cannot be exchanged within a group or across multiple departments or divisions. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to realise a digital customer experience.

Moreover, most insurers work with brokers who, in turn, know their customers’ lives much better than the insurers themselves. The motor insurer knows what kind of car the customer owns, the liability insurer knows the family circumstances at the very least, the household contents insurer can draw conclusions about the income and assets of the customer. But even full insurers do not have an infrastructure that allows them to bundle customer data over the entire contract term and all interfaces. Specifically the question of where customers come from remains unanswered despite cooperation with brokers.

Insurtech advantage

In contrast, insurtechs have two crucial advantages here. They build their insurance solutions without any inherited burdens, so to speak “on a greenfield site”. Obsolete IT infrastructure, sceptical employees who act according to the motto “We’ve always done it this way” – startups don’t have that. Agility is the order of the day, and while established insurers need months (if not years) to introduce new software, insurtechs spur reflection in favour of implementation.

Companies such as Lemonade in the USA, Bought By Many in Great Britain and Getsafe in Germany are working intensively on platforms with which they can record and analyse customer data in a structured manner. Not only do they lay the foundation to feed self-learning algorithms with classified training data, they also manage to make the insurance experience simple, transparent, and digital.

Figuratively speaking, a manoeuvrable and partly D.I.Y. sailing boat is competing against a giant steamship. The steamship has an experienced crew, well-rehearsed processes, and a venerable captain who has proven his skills over many years – but the sailboat sets the pace and the course. The steamer can better withstand a storm on the high seas, but as long as the sea remains calm, it will reach its destination much later than the manoeuvrable sailboat, despite its much greater power. And: Due to its more precise data, the sailboat may not even run into the danger of a storm to begin with.

It will remain exciting to see who wins the race in the future, the steamship or the sailboat. The way data and technology is handled will be decisive. Only those who make their internal processes more efficient and at the same time meet the needs of their customers will be able to assert themselves in the markets of the future.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

New Rise Insights Report Released on Climate Fintech and the Growing Green Tech Market

Rise, created by Barclays has published its latest edition of Rise Insights, focusing on the trending topic of climate fintech and how technology can shape a more sustainable world through financial products and services.

The report covers the growing ‘green’ tech market by discussing the key enablers that are driving change – data, policy and technology – and showcasing how game-changing fintechs are both improving sustainability and adding value.

Tackling climate change is an essential component of the global sustainability agenda. The fintech sector has an important contribution to make in reducing emissions, achieving net-zero agendas and enabling climate action.

In this report, read how fintech founders and experts in the Rise ecosystem are innovating, with articles and case studies from across the retail and institutional client spaces. The report also covers:

  • Contributions from the London Stock Exchange Group, Plaid and Illuminate Finance on how data, regulatory policy and technology enable change in climate fintech and support opportunities to develop new products and services
  • A landscape analysis covering many of the notable companies across carbon offsetting and sustainable challenger banks, risk management, ESG data reporting, energy trading and marketplaces, and impact investing
  • Case studies and articles from startups building consumer-facing digital banking applications, new capital market assets, blockchain-enabled marketplaces and API platforms that embed decarbonisation across crypto and insurance
  • Sustainability initiatives from Barclays teams collaborating with fintechs and founders

Rise produces a quarterly Insights report that provides readers with a snapshot of the global Rise FinTech ecosystem and highlights the latest developments in the constantly evolving world of new technology for financial services.

Reports feature a range of contributors across the Rise and fintech ecosystems, including startups, Venture Capitalists, corporates, and Barclays contributors. The goal is to position Rise as a thought leader within fintech and promote the Rise ecosystem.

To read the report in full, click here.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

The time is now… buy

Bitcoin has been trying to rebound and then it drops again. As I write this, it’s well off its April 13 high of nearly $65,000, hovering at $35.9k. Bitcoin’s price has plunged nearly 40 percent since early May, its worst month, since September 2011. This free fall comes after Elon Mush announced that Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin for purchases and after regulators in China banned Chinese banks and other financial institutions from supporting bitcoin, including processing payments, allowing customers to hold bitcoin in their accounts and converting bitcoin into yuan or other currencies. The roller-coaster in bitcoin is raising questions about its risks as an investment and viability as a financial asset. Major financial industry players, including Fidelity Investments and SkyBridge Capital are pressing the SEC to approve plans to launch funds on public stock markets that would let small retail investors tap into the rise of bitcoin prices. The SEC always been skeptical of bitcoin funds, going as far as rejecting earlier proposals by the Winklevoss twins, because of worries that the agency could not guarantee safeguards against fraud and manipulation. Given the growth of the market and increased interest, the dynamics are quite different than in the past, but the recent wild swings of crypto prices are a concern for regulators making them hesitant to agree on any regulations being put in.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the founder and CEO at Kryptonio wallet.
Kryptonio is the safest crypto wallet. Read why you want this wallet.

As critics and defenders of bitcoin continue to argue over its future, what’s clear is that crypto investments are not for the faint hearted. In the last five months, bitcoin has had some dramatic ups and downs. Let’s start by looking at a timeline of events since December:

  • 16 December 2020 – Price hits $20,000 per coin for the first time
  • 3 January 2021 – In the first few days of the year the price rises above $34,000
  • 9 February – New high of $48,000, after Tesla buys $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin
  • 21 February – Bitcoins hits $58,354
  • 23 February – Price falls to $44,845.72, losing 18.4% in a day
  • 13 March – New high of $61,701
  • 17 March – Morgan Stanley becomes the first big US bank to offer wealthier clients access to bitcoin funds – restricted to no more than 2.5% of an investor’s total net worth
  • 24 March – Elon Musk tweets that Tesla cars can be purchased using bitcoin
  • 13 April – New high of $63,375
  • 19 April – Biggest drop in a single day in two months, falling 25% to $55,000
  • 23 April – Down to $49,730
  • 10 May – Reaches more than $59,300
  • 12 May – Elon Musk tweets about environmental impact of bitcoin, causing it to drop to $49,000
  • 19 May – China bans financial, payment institutions from cryptocurrency business and bitcoin fell below $34,000 for the first time in three months

As Bitcoin has grown more into maturity, it has survived several attacks, and its price has increased over the years. It has broken 1 trillion in market cap, outperformed all other major asset classes and Wall Street is buying into its narrative. But now it needs to deal with the witch hunt from traditional media, about energy FUD.

Bitcoin’s price has dropped, but elements that influence Bitcoin’s price indicate that soon enough we will be seeing a reversal.

1) Institutional money flowing into the market
The Covid pandemic in 2020 triggered a couple of things. On one end it forced governments to print money to ease the pain to the economies. On the other, big institutional players, hedge fund managers, listed corporations started moving huge amounts from weak assets to strong assets, from dollars to bitcoins. Record amounts of institutional money flood into the crypto market, one of the main reasons for bitcoin’s price to skyrocket. For the first time in crypto’s history, bitcoin gets wide recognition from the Wall Street establishment. The S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world’s most important trading bodies, announced it was creating a suite of indexes that would track cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s adoption by Wall Street is an exciting development for the industry.

2) Stock to flow ratio
A guy named Plan-B came up with the Bitcoin Stock to Flow Ratio. The Bitcoin Stock to Flow ratio is bitcoins scarcity expressed in numbers. Stock to flow is the relationship between total stock against yearly production of miners. The total bitcoin stock is 21 million, and its yearly production can be calculated. The result gives traders a good feeling since the ratio will go up, as the asset is scarce. Plan B made a chart back in 2019 that has proven very accurate. On March 1, 2021, Plan B revealed that the S2F model was still working and the price of BTC was actually 26% above the model’s predicted trajectory. In fact, PlanB predicts the price of bitcoin somewhere between $100K and $288K for 2021.

3) 46 million Americans now own bitcoin
A new study estimates that about 46 million Americans now own at least a share of Bitcoin or about 17% of the adult population. This survey is an eye-opener, it shows how many Americans have embraced cryptocurrency.

4) The hashrate
Hashrate is suffering from severe floods in China. Bitcoin’s hash rate refers to the amount of computing power miners are using to validate the bitcoin blockchain. The larger the hashrate, the more attractive mining is, and the better the outlook for bitcoin’s price. When hash rate tumbles, like now, price drops. The first 2021 serious Bitcoin crash that happened on April 19th and was mostly due to Chinese miners not getting enough cheap energy in the Sichuan region of China, as a result of accidents and explosions in coal mines, severe floods and following inspections. We might see a weak hash rate for the weeks or even months to come.

For the next few months, bitcoin may enter a period of consolidation. Big investors may be hesitant to get involved with the recent regulatory push by the world’s two largest economic powers. There is also now the  headwind of green energy that challenges bitcoin. But the real issue may be the inflation. Cryptocurrencies may be facing some problems now, but as we head into the latter part of 2021, inflation may increase and drive up the price of crypto, as more money pours into the market.

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HBL Invests in Pakistan’s Top Digital Sme Lender Finja

Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Pakistan’s largest commercial bank, has become the first bank in Pakistan to invest in a digital fintech startup with its significant participation in the last tranche of Finja’s Series A1 round. HBL joins leading global fintech funds invested in Finja including BeeNext, Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital, and ICU Ventures.

All investors from previous rounds topped up their investment in this round of financing.

HBL’s investment in Finja serves two of the bank’s strategic priorities: investing in digital financial inclusion and development finance companies, especially ones making an impact in agriculture and SMEs – as these are the backbone of the economy – and reinventing HBL to become a ‘technology company with a banking license’.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in April last year, Finja has built its digital lending portfolio by 550%, disbursing over 50,000 digital loans to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Despite their economic importance, small businesses in Pakistan have traditionally struggled to obtain the credit they require in to grow.

Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder, FinjaQasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder, Finja
Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder, Finja

“We are pleased to have HBL participate in this funding round. Our know-how in digitally scoring undocumented small businesses has resulted in 64% month-on-month portfolio growth since the outbreak of the pandemic,” comments Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder of Finja. “HBL’s financial clout, extensive network, and progressive leadership will help us support and nurture Pakistan’s most important business segment, the SMEs.”

“These loans are critical for Pakistan’s economic growth. Our productive loans result in a 40% increase in SME revenue with less than a 1% default rate,” adds Monis Rahman, Chairman and Co-Founder of Finja.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO of HBL, closes with “We are pleased to be investing in FINJA. Pakistan’s fintech landscape has immense opportunities. At HBL we believe that by making this investment we are not only developing the startup ecosystem, but it will also pave the way for Pakistan to play a bigger role in the fintech space globally. SME lending is the future and therefore we are investing in Finja which enjoys a first mover advantage over the market in digitally lending to SMEs in this country.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Fintech News Issue #315 – Banking = Stress?

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Amazon Web Services to Open Data Centres in UAE

Amazon Web Services (AWS), an company, announced that it plans to open an infrastructure region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first half of 2022. The new AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will consist of three Availability Zones and become AWS’s second region in the Middle East with the existing AWS Region in Bahrain, giving customers more choice and flexibility to leverage advanced technologies from the world’s leading cloud. Globally, AWS has 80 Availability Zones across 25 geographic regions, with plans to launch 18 more Availability Zones and six more AWS Regions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are excited to build on the great momentum of cloud adoption in the Middle East by providing more choice for customers in the UAE to run applications and store data locally,” said Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure, AWS. “The new AWS Region supports the UAE’s focus on promoting technology innovation that has made it a thriving global hub for entrepreneurs, e-governments, and multi-national businesses. With the new region, organisations of all sizes will be able to innovate faster and serve end-users with even lower latency across the region.”

His Excellency Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said, “AWS’s expansion into the UAE is a testament to our rapidly growing innovation ecosystem that will benefit from access to the world’s leading cloud platform and its advanced technologies and solutions. Building on Abu Dhabi’s smart infrastructure and digital transformation, AWS’s investment will further enable innovators and companies with globally-relevant solutions to realise new opportunities in the UAE and beyond.”

AWS Regions are comprised of Availability Zones, which place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting customers’ business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications that leverage multiple Availability Zones. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected through redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones and across multiple regions to achieve even greater fault tolerance. The addition of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will enable local customers with data residency requirements to store their data in the UAE while also providing even lower latency across the country.

Supporting startups, skills, and students

The new AWS Middle East Region (UAE) Region will build upon AWS’s existing investment in the country, which includes two AWS Direct Connect locations and two Amazon CloudFront edge locations launched in 2018. AWS also continues to build teams of account managers, technical account managers, partner managers, systems engineers, solutions architects, professional services, and more roles to help customers of all sizes move to AWS.

In addition to infrastructure, AWS continues to make investments in education initiatives, training, and start-up enablement programs to support the UAE’s digital transformation and economic development plans. To foster entrepreneurship and the growth of new businesses in the UAE, AWS will be further expanding the AWS Activate program to support the UAE’s startups and SMBs. Through the AWS Training and Certification programs, AWS will also work with government entities to support the up-skilling and re-training of the workforce with the latest cloud computing training curriculum. For students and educators, AWS will provide higher education institutions and their educators with cloud computing courses to prepare students to pursue industry-recognised certifications and careers in cloud computing.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Zeta Raises $250M From SoftBank; Becoming Fintech’s Latest Unicorn

Zeta, a Dubai-based banking tech startup, has announced that it has secured $250 million in investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2. This Series C investment values Zeta at $1.45 billion. This is one of the largest single investments in a banking tech startup globally.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia – a Dubai resident since 2012 – along with Ramki Gaddipati, Zeta also has a presence in North America, LATAM, UK, Europe, and Asia.

Banks work with dozens of tech vendors – most offering discrete pieces of functionality and archaic stacks that are older than the internet. Zeta’s Omni Stack provides all the functionality that banks need to launch new products relevant to consumers today.

Bhavin Turakhia, CEO & Co-founder, ZetaBhavin Turakhia, CEO & Co-founder, Zeta
Bhavin Turakhia, CEO & Co-founder, Zeta

“Most banks are using decades-old software built when Mainframes and Cobol were in vogue. They have been slow to innovate and provide poor user experiences. With Zeta, FIs can leverage a modern, cloud-native platform and improve speed to market, agility, cost to income ratio, and user experience” comments Bhavin Turakhia, CEO & Co-founder, Zeta. “We are privileged to have SoftBank join us in this exciting journey as we together disrupt the stagnant landscape of banking tech” Bhavin added.

Zeta’s Omni Stack comprises:

  • Zeta Tachyon Credit, Debit, and Prepaid processing with card controls and personal finance management capabilities
  • Zeta Tachyon Loans – a modern Buy-Now-Pay-Later and personal loan management platform.
  • Zeta Tachyon Deposits – a modern core for DDA, checking accounts, savings accounts, and deposits.
  • and Zeta Tachyon Mobile – a ready-made, white-labeled, customizable mobile app for credit cards, checking accounts, prepaid, loans, Buy-Now-Pay-Later, personal finance management, and more.

Zeta counts amongst its customers, over 10 Banks and 25 Fintechs, across 8 countries, including Sodexo – a leading Issuer of Employee Benefits & Rewards with over 30 million global users and HDFC Bank – the 14th largest bank by market cap in the world and others.

Munish Varma, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers added “Banking software is a $300 billion industry globally. Most banks still employ technology which is significantly older than their customers, impacting user experience and engagement. Zeta’s modern Omni Stack will drive banking software upgrades catering to the digital consumer, and innovations in financial services globally.”

A recent Aite Group study found that 61% of financial institution executives believe investment in newer technologies is the most important measure they must take to improve their customer experience. Zeta provides the only fully modern platform for banks that can be deployed in parallel for new programmes and new customers without uprooting legacy technology. Banks across the globe have increased income, improved customer engagement, and reduced fraud by leveraging Zeta’s Omni Stack.

“As the world moves to real-time payments and digital financial services, the number of transactions per day between banks and customers are expected to grow exponentially,” comments Ramki Gaddipati, CTO & Co-founder, Zeta. “The increasingly digital world represents evolving security, privacy, and data protection challenges to banks. The industry needs systems reinvented with security, privacy, scalability, and reliability as the core foundations. Zeta’s Omni Stack answers that need.”

Zeta is one of several Dubai-based tech startups of Bhavin Turakhia, who is also the Founder and owner of 2 other Dubai-based startups, including Radix – a leading new gTLD registry operator, and Flock – a workspace messaging platform.

Sodexo participated as an additional minority investor in the round. The proceeds of this funding round will be used to accelerate Zeta’s growth in the Middle East, the United States, and Europe including scaling its operations, team, and platform to meet the demands of its expanding customer base.

Avendus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor on this transaction.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

FCA Starts Criminal Proceedings against NatWest over Money Laundering Breaches

In March 2021, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that it was launching criminal proceedings against NatWest, one of the largest banking groups in the UK, for allegedly failing to prevent money laundering in line with Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

The FCA alleges that the bank failed to adhere to the requirements of the regulations between 11 November 2011 and 19 October 2016, requiring organisations to monitor its customers on a risk-sensitive basis for the purposes of preventing money laundering. The case against NatWest is in relation to the handling of funds from a corporate customer account that was collecting large cash deposits in that time frame. The FCA has alleged that around £365 million was paid into the customers’ accounts, of which approximately £265 million was cash – believing that NatWest failed to adequately monitor and scrutinise this activity.

NatWest was due to appear in Court on May 26th 2021 in the first criminal prosecution under the MLR 2007 by the FCA and the first prosecution under the MLR against a bank.

In response to the proceedings, John Dobson, CEO at anti-money laundering experts, SmartSearch, said: “To have a bank the size of NatWest facing criminal proceedings in a British court is unprecedented and suggests a much more aggressive approach by the FCA in dealing with those who fail to properly prevent fraud.

“At the moment 99 per cent of all ill-gotten gains are successfully laundered by criminals, and banks need to do much more to prevent this. Whether through naivety or lack of attention to detail, there have been too many gaps in security allowing activity to go undetected.

“Change has to come from the top down and I’m sure whatever happens as a result of this case will instigate significant change within NatWest’s processes. Banks need to be much more proactive in doing away with outdated systems and methods of ID verification, and invest in technology that is fit for purpose.

“The tech has long been available to quickly and efficiently verify customers and prevent this type of activity, banks just need to adopt it. Without disrupting the customers’ experience, this software will flag the cases that need further attention and save the banks time and effort.

“Banks can get set-up quickly and easily, so there is no excuse for them not to shore-up their anti-money laundering defences.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

News and Views Podcast: Episode 34: Customer Behaviour & Customer Loyalty

On this week’s episode of The Fintech Times News & Views, the Fintech Times Podcast team speaks on customer behavior and customer loyalty.

25% of Gen-Z Invests in Meme Crypto like Dogecoin

23% of Generation Z are actively investing in meme coins such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. A similar picture emerges at the social trading broker eToro: although the platform only launched Dogecoin trading in May 2021, 24.95% of users are already invested in this trendy coin. This is revealed in a new infographic from

The price of Dogecoin has risen by 13,494% in the last 12 months. And there is still a long way to go, at least If US investors have their way. 23% believe that the cryptocurrency will surpass the 1-dollar mark before the end of the year. The digital currency is currently trading at just under $0.50.

Meanwhile, the infographic illustrates the close link between the hype and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Almost one in five people first became aware of Dogecoin through Musk. He recently asked his followers on Twitter whether Tesla should accept Dogecoin as a means of payment. The result was unambiguous: 78.2% voted in favour.

Meanwhile, its clear that not everyone approves of the meme cryptocurrency. Some criticise the unequal distribution of assets: the 100 largest Dogecoin addresses hold 66.33% of the cryptocurrency’s total supply. But Elon Musk is not upset by this fact. He explains that the largest addresses are linked to crypto exchanges, which hold the assets of numerous investors.

The Google search volume for the search term pair “buy dogecoin” currently stands at the highest possible value of one hundred. This value is an indicator of the relative search volume. While investors should be aware of the high risk, more and more market experts and investment firms are nevertheless coming to the conclusion that “Dogecoin should not be ignored” – including, for example, Galaxy Digital.

To see the infographic in full, click here. 

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

External Auditing of Sharia Compliance to Likely Strengthen Governance in Islamic Finance

S&P Global Ratings said that the publication of a new auditing standard for Sharia compliance is a step forward for the Islamic finance industry.

“We consider that the recent publication of auditing standard No. 6 by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will reinforce governance and enhance market discipline,” said S&P Global Ratings’ Head of Islamic Finance, Mohamed Damak.

“The key aspects of market discipline, in this context, are greater consistency in adhering to Sharia principles and a culture of rapid remedial action by non-compliant institutions.”

The standard specifies AAOIFI’s criteria for external audit of Sharia compliance at Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). Given the lack of standardisation that the Islamic finance industry has been facing, the first problem AAOIFI faced was, which standards should an audit exercise be performed against? In its No. 6 standard, AAOIFI addresses this by creating a hierarchy of the existing standards and regulations.

If opinions from these sources are ambiguous, the standard prioritises the approvals and clarifications of the entity’s specific Sharia board. This is the obvious choice, given that these approvals and clarifications underpin an IFI management team’s decisions and the institution’s functioning.

In our view, internal Sharia audits have not meaningfully supported enhanced transparency. Enforcing external, independent audits, however, could change the game, especially if the detailed results were published, or at least shared with the IFI’s key stakeholders.

To see the research in full click here. 

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Record $200 Million Daily Trading Volume on Equos; Diginex Announces

Diginex Limited (Nasdaq: EQOS), a digital assets financial services company, has recently announced that combined 24-hour spot and derivative volumes on its EQUOS cryptocurrency exchange reached a record-high, exceeding $200 million as of May 20th, 2021.

Trading volume for the past 30 days has increased more than 40% to $2.9 billion, only three weeks since the company announced a record $2 billion in 30-day volumes on May 4, 2021.

“The volume growth on EQUOS has been very impressive. As the major liquidity provider on the EQUOS exchange we can see that trading activity is genuine and volumes are real,” comments Jakob Palmstierna, Partner at GSR, a global leader in digital asset market-making. “EQUOS has scaled at speed and this is testament to the strong financial engineering capabilities of the management team and the successful design of their EQO utility token. We are looking forward to working closely with Diginex as a valued partner over the long term.”

As an institutional-grade, regulatory-focused exchange, EQUOS is committed to delivering transparency to the crypto industry. Diginex’s financial reports are audited as part of its obligations as a Nasdaq-listed company in the United States. EQUOS does not allow internal market-making and has rigorous checks and balances in place to identify and remove self-matching trades and wash trading. These are key points of differentiation from a significant number of exchanges currently in operation.

Diginex operates in multiple jurisdictions, with oversight from several regulators in globally recognised financial centres, including Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Digivault, Diginex’s global custodian, was also the first standalone digital asset custodian to receive approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom to register as a custodian wallet provider under Money Laundering regulations.

Diginex’s senior leadership brings decades of experience working as regulated individuals under the oversight of global regulatory bodies. CEO Richard Byworth was previously Managing Director at Nomura (2000-2018) and Chairman Chi-Won Yoon was President and CEO, Asia-Pacific and Vice-Chairman, Wealth Management at UBS (1997-2019).

Richard Byworth, CEO, DiginexRichard Byworth, CEO, Diginex
Richard Byworth, CEO, Diginex

“EQUOS is one of the fastest, institutional-grade exchanges to reach these levels of volumes. This is even more impressive given we do not have an internal market maker on the exchange and have robust procedures in place to ensure all volumes are composed of valid trades,” comments Richard Byworth, CEO of Diginex. “Our commitment to offering a fair and transparent trading experience, together with our institutional-grade product and solutions, will continue to drive volumes higher over the long term.”

Richard continues “Our exchange utility token EQO is significantly contributing to increases in both volumes and customer acquisition. The token’s price as traded on EQUOS has proved resilient during recent periods of weak cryptocurrency prices: At present, Bitcoin is trading at approximately $35,200, down 46% from April 2021. Over a similar period, EQO has remained stable and resilient, climbing from US$0.50 to approximately US$0.75, a 50% increase since launch in early April 2021. This validates the unique structure of EQO, which was specifically designed to promote volumes on the exchange and reward customers for trading on the exchange and holding their tokens.”

Chi-Won Yoon, Chairman of Diginex, concluded “Today’s business update highlights the outcome of the work the team has been putting in since our listing in October 2020 with robust levels of oversight and control to support the business strategy. We are executing our roadmap in alignment with the interests of shareholders, customers, employees, and regulators. Our Board, the majority of whom are independent directors, is committed to adhering to the highest standards of transparency and oversight.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Are Turkish Super Apps a Threat or an Opportunity?

Smartphones are indispensable in our daily life.  In a stay-at-home year for billions of people, the app habit grew stronger in all markets analysed. According to App Annie’s Q1 2021 Market Index: The global average time spent was 4.2 hours a day, up 30% compared to two years prior. This unprecedented growth means that millions of new users will access transactions ranging from government services to banking transactions using digital tools. Companies are revising their business models, increasing their investments, and pursuing innovations regarding what can be done regarding this predictable development.

Dr. Soner Canko graduated from Istanbul University, Faculty of Political Sciences, Department of Public Administration in 1990. He received his master’s and PhD degrees from the Faculty of Economics of the same university.

In the early years of his career, he held managerial positions in leading international companies such as Procter & Gamble, Citibank, Hewlett-Packard and First Data. After working as Assistant General Manager at Ziraat Bank, he became the general manager of the Interbank Card Center (BKM) in 2011.

Here he shares his thoughts on super apps.

Every day, we browse through dozens of different applications. Sometimes we scroll through the pages for minutes on social media, sometimes we send money from the bank, sometimes we correspond with friends. These services, which we use on our smartphones for very different needs and interactions that may take instant or minutes, have now begun to be offered in a single application. These kinds of applications, which have many functions under their roof, are called SuperApp. The logic of super apps is based on delivering interconnected and sometimes disconnected products and services to end-users through a single app. We observe that mobile application inflation in mobile phones has recently begun to consolidate and the number and use of super apps serving multiple purposes are gradually increasing.

One App Fulfilling All the Needs

We use various applications on our mobile phones, such as those for mobile banking, digital wallets, e-commerce, and public transportation. Super Apps provide integration of several transactions, including payment and ID management, using a single application.  More importantly, Super Apps can customise these services based on our needs.

The advantages offered to users to be preferred more than such applications.

These advantages are:

  • Ability to consume daily used services (public transportation, money transfer, payments, messaging, etc.) through a single interface
  • Instead of the user experience in different applications, over the same interface and in a unique user experience and usage
  • Instant access to all applications on the platform after being onboard only once in a single application, instead of the registration/onboarding process required to access different applications.
  • Single payment experience with super application-defined payment method instead of an application in financial transaction broadcast flow
  • Some tasks such as travel organisation that can be completed with the use of more than one application can be carried out in a single step.

The existence of Super Apps and their increasing popularity emphasises the inevitability of user experience orientation. In this transformation, the value of an organisation will be measured by the value of its ecosystem as well as its financial assets. Organisations that manage to position their ecosystem around user experience will be the shining stars of the future.

Most successful Super Apps

The most well-known application in this area is WeChat, which is installed on all smartphones in China. First introduced to consumers as a messaging application in 2011, WeChat stands out as a comprehensive social sharing, communication, gaming application and payment tool, as well as messaging with more than 1 billion users. In addition to these wide-ranging features, it also offers other social media content such as Facebook, it is literally a super application.

Taking the success story of WeChat as an example, entrepreneurs offer super apps that offer similar experiences one after another. Alipay, Grab, and Gojek are other well-known apps in this category. Today, while the West discusses super apps, East organises its mobile life with a super app. Although Asia is still the most used geography for these apps, it is an undeniable fact that they are the rising trend around the world.

Turkish Players bet for SuperApp

Historically, Turkey very well-known with strong acceptance and adoption for new technologies and payment methods. Finance, telecom and retail industries are in competition to use state of the art technologies when a new technology introduced on the world. Smartphones, mobile internet connectivity, payments with chip-and-pin, contactless payments cards and mobile wallets are major examples introduced early and used heavily in the Turkish Market.

It is possible to say that there is a remarkable dynamism in the Turkish market compering with other benchmarking markets.

It is understood that with the sudden digitalisation experienced in the Covid_19 period, it has found more place in the agenda of all industries. This global change also stands out in Turkey and pioneering players of the major industries have kick-off projects one by one.

SuperApps is a rapidly growing business model that attracts companies and investors in the Turkish market.

Major e-commerce players, banks, food delivery service providers, telecom operator’s agenda to create and present their own SuperApp, based on expectations of their client segments.

Eyes are open to see and learn from every phase of these changes, to see the return of this new trend in the Turkish Market.

Google Cloud Launches Datashare To Secure the Sharing of Market Data

Google Cloud has recently announced the launch of Datashare, a new analytics solution for financial services designed to empower the entire capital markets ecosystem; allowing for market data to be shared more securely and seamlessly. Datashare is built on Google Cloud analytics services like BigQuery and was introduced at the Google Cloud Financial Services Summit.

The proliferation of traditional and alternative data sources in financial services has created a need for a more streamlined solution for sharing information quickly and securely. Investment banks, asset managers, and other data consumers are demanding more choice in how they receive their licensed data, and they also need tools that allow them to be nimble with that data – without having to invest in costly, on-premises computing infrastructure. At the same time, data publishers, like exchanges and aggregators, are struggling to meet growing customer demand, and need to deliver their data with more ease and flexibility.

“Data publishers and data consumers are in need of processing large volumes of data from disparate sources quickly, and need access to it all in one place at the touch of their fingertips,” said David Easthope, Senior Analyst at Coalition Greenwich. “According to our research, over two-thirds of end-users of market data across the globe believe it is critical for market data providers to have improved accessibility via the cloud.”

Datashare for financial services – built on Google Cloud – addresses both market data publisher and data consumer needs by organising third-party data and making it more accessible and useful. With Datashare, data publishers can onboard their licensed datasets to Google Cloud securely, quickly, and easily, while data consumers can access that data in tools like BigQuery.

Features of Datashare include:

  • Batch data delivery: This mechanism helps publishers deliver their reference data, historical tick data, alternative market data sources, and more through the use of BigQuery, ultimately reducing the administrative burden on data consumers to extract insights.
  • Real-time data streaming: By using this event-based data delivery channel for rapidly changing instrument prices, tick data, orders, news, and others via Pub/Sub, data consumers can reliably process individual messages or rewind to a point in time to replay a prior market scenario and test model changes.
  • Data monetisation: Market data publishers can onboard their licensed datasets to Google Cloud, and make them available via the Google Cloud Marketplace, providing new sales channels and expanding their customer reach.

Datashare Publisher Partners

To bring Datashare to life for the industry and connect more sources to potential customers, Google Cloud is working with multiple data publishers. Datashare publishers currently signed onto the solution include OneTick and Accern.

“By making our data available via Datashare, we can empower firms to easily access, share and distribute the critical time series market data needed to drive trading operations, run sophisticated analytics and meet demanding compliance requirements,” said Ross Dubin, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sales at OneTick.

“Delivering data in a way that is clean, seamless, and inexpensive has become a challenge, as data complexity and volume increases,” added Riyaz Nakhooda, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Accern. “With Datashare, Accern is able to supply our clients with quality AI-generated insights on ESG, news, credit, and more at a fraction of the cost of legacy data centers.”

Industry Momentum

This launch also builds on Google Cloud’s recent momentum in working with exchanges and market data aggregators to make it easier to access and share their data with investment banks, asset managers, hedge funds, and other data consumers. These recent partnerships include CME Group, which offers its real-time market data via Google Cloud, and Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) business that offers its tick history data on Google Cloud.

Trey Berre, Global Head of Data Services, CME GroupTrey Berre, Global Head of Data Services, CME Group
Trey Berre, Global Head of Data Services, CME Group

“Over the last year, market participants have realised the power of having reliable market data instantly available at their fingertips,” said Trey Berre, Global Head of Data Services at CME Group. “We are excited to see this development from Google Cloud, which will provide our customers with new capabilities to analyse and engage with our industry-leading data.”

“Our partnership with Google Cloud helps financial institutions get to the answers they need faster and more efficiently by combining Google Cloud’s machine learning tools with Refinitiv’s Tick History data in BigQuery,” said Catalina Vazquez, Proposition Director at Tick History and Refinitiv. “This model changes the paradigm for the financial community, helping them spend less time and money managing data and more time innovating and driving business performance with a competitive edge.”

“As the global data landscape continues to evolve, market data publishers need to consider cloud-based models to keep up with the demands of their customers who expect easy, flexible and cost-efficient ways to consume market data,” added Christin Brown, Global Financial Services Industry Technical Solutions Leader at Google Cloud. “Stakeholders in the ecosystem, including consumers, corporate and investment banks, asset managers, and hedge funds, are increasingly asking data publishers for data delivery via the cloud. Datashare solves this problem by making market data accessible and beneficial to both publishers and consumers.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Saxo Bank to Enable MENA Crypto Investors to Trade in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin

Saxo Bank, an online trading and investment specialist, is launching a new cryptocurrency offering enabling clients from the MENA region to trade Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin against EUR, USD, and JPY from a single margin account.

The new Crypto FX offering complements Saxo Bank’s existing range of over 40 different cryptocurrency trackers and ETNs, which so far this year have seen trading volumes exceed the entire turnover for the whole of 2020 – a year in which volumes surged 130%.

Clients in selected markets can trade Crypto FX pairs during the usual FX trading hours from Sunday evening to Friday evening. Clients can trade and hedge both long and short exposure in the three major cryptocurrencies, which will be in the form of derivatives and not physical coins. Due to the volatile nature of the instruments, retail clients can trade with 2:1 leverage and professional clients with 3:1 leverage.

Kay Van-Petersen, Global Macro Strategist at Saxo Bank, said: “Saxo Bank has developed a unique proposition which gives our clients access to the growing crypto space in a flexible, secure and hassle-free manner from a single fully-licensed account without the need to use wallets or cold storage solutions. The offering sits at the intersection of traditional finance and crypto, which is where we see the market evolving as it draws the attention of retail traders and financial institutions.

“We set out to deliver a product which offers the security and ease of use associated with more mature asset classes, coupled with the volatility and dynamics of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin – giving clients the opportunity to trade both long and short in the thriving crypto market. Crypto FX achieves this by building on 30 years’ experience as a leading firm in trading and investing combining the traditional qualities of a currency pair alongside the exciting possibilities of a cryptocurrency.”

Governments in the MENA region, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have introduced strategies, developed regulatory frameworks and invested in crypto-related startups in a bid to drive and regulate blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

The UAE government has been working towards its own UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021, to better enable the adoption of the technology within the country, and in 2019, the UAE and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to test out cryptocurrency and blockchain for transactions which could revolutionise cross-border payments between the two countries.

Saxo Bank’s new crypto offering will be available soon for customers in the MENA region.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.