Lights, Camera…Solana


Oct 02, 2023


Cindy Grazer


Oct 02, 2023


Cindy Grazer


If you are one of our readers, odds are you have a credit or debit card. For our U.S. readers, there’s a roughly one-in-two chance that the card is issued by Visa, the world’s largest major payment network. Visa is a financial behemoth working behind the scenes of trillions of dollars in annual transaction spend by connecting customers, issuers, acquirers, and merchants – and their network just announced a watershed moment for stablecoins and blockchain technology. Visa recently announced it would facilitate transactions involving acquirer’s Worldpay and Nuvei via Circle’s USDC stablecoin on Solana blockchain.

Yes, there might be more buzzwords in that headline than striking writers in Hollywood, but let’s explain the strategic importance to Visa. Worldpay and Nuvei are global acquirers that processed ~$650b in transaction volume last quarter across every geography. However, settlements for cross border transactions have traditionally included a days-long currency conversion process and expensive wire transfers. To address this, Visa began a USDC settlement pilot with Crypto.com in 2021 on the Ethereum blockchain which offered sizable improvements in timing and cost compared to traditional settlement methods.

Yet with heightened demand for faster and cheaper settlement mechanics compared to other options like Ethereum, Solana became a strong fit for Visa. Solana far surpasses the capabilities of Ethereum with an average block time of 400 milliseconds, 400 transactions per second, and significantly lower prices at $0.00025 cost per transaction (compared to at least ~$2.50 for Ethereum). Put more simply, Visa chose to drive a Ferrari at a fraction of the cost that it would take to use an Oldsmobile.

While Visa the payment director picks up their need for speed, we can’t help but wish their counterparts in the film industry would reconcile their differences and do the same. Who doesn’t want to be stuck watching reruns?

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Portfolio News

Ocrolus launches enhanced mortgage dashboard - Ocrolus, a leader in AI-driven financial document automation, today announced the launch of an enhanced dashboard for mortgage lenders featuring the ability to automate income calculations for both traditional and self-employed borrowers. The solution combines three trusted Ocrolus capabilities – Classify, Capture and Analyze – into one user-friendly product, specifically for the mortgage industry. Read more

New Jersey chooses Vestwell to administer retirement savings program - New Jersey announced this week that it selected Vestwell to run its Secure Choice Savings Program, a plan designed to help private-sector employees save for retirement. The partnership, which is Vestwell’s seventh state-facilitated retirement program, will provide access to more than 800,000 New Jersey resident who currently don’t have a retirement plan. Read more

Flutterwave partners with Capgemini, launches engineering mobility program in India - Flutterwave’s Nigeria and UK-based engineering team will work with Capgemini’s extensive technology talent in Bangalore to share industry best practices and nurture the next-generation workforce. Capgemini will help lay the foundation for Flutterwave’s agile transformation journey and the adoption of cloud-native solutions, enabling a vision to facilitate payments in emerging markets. Read more

Flutterwave CEO: African consumers need faster and secure payments to thrive in the digital economy - Olugbenga said that all of Flutterwave's different product launches speak to the company's mission to streamline domestic and international payment transactions for today’s convenience-driven African consumer. “Our goal is that everywhere the consumer has got money, be it on a business card or in a bank account, as long as you’re using Flutterwave, we’ll give you access to the easiest way for you to pay,” he said. Read more

Coincover elevates growth trajectory with strategic hire of Chief Commercial Officer - Ridhima Durham joins Coincover from Salary Finance, where she spent four years as Chief Commercial Officer. At Coincover, she will apply her extensive leadership skills, commercial and strategic acumen and her knowledge of start-up innovation to oversee the company’s growth. She will head up several teams, including sales, partnerships, marketing, communications, and lobbying. Read more

Lights, Camera…Solana

Visa expands stablecoin settlement capabilities to merchant acquirers - Following a Crypto.com issuer pilot, Visa expands stablecoin settlement capabilities with Circle’s USDC, adding pilot programs with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei, and utilizing the Solana blockchain. Read more

Solana offers solutions to banking’s ‘bizarre inefficiencies' - Mert Mumtaz, co-founder of RCP company Helius, insists Visa’s recent expansion of stablecoin settlements to Solana is good for all of crypto. Read more

Industry News

Mastercard and Mercedes launch in-car payments - The collaboration will let customers use a fingerprint sensor in their car to make digital payments at more than 3,600 service stations in Germany, the companies announced this week. Read more

Apple Wallet is making it easier to see your current account balances - In a rare UK-first release, Apple is soft-launching an iPhone Wallet app, harnessing open banking. Users will now be able to see their current account balance, as well as a history of deposits and payments, directly through their Apple Wallet. Banks including Starling, Monzo, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC are supported in this first rollout. Read more

PayPal's stablecoin, PYUSD, is now available on Venmo - PayPal USD (PYUSD), PayPal’s on-chain, regulated, dollar-denominated stablecoin 100% backed by U.S. dollar deposits, short-term U.S Treasuries, and similar cash equivalents, is available on Venmo starting today. Read more

Landmark cannabis banking bill scores a win - A federal bill that would protect banks that work with cannabis companies appears headed to the Senate floor after passing out of committee this week. Since marijuana is legal in some states, but illegal at the federal level, the industry has long struggled to gain access to financial services — instead many business owners are forced to deal with the inconveniences and dangers of transacting in all-cash. Read more

There’s a new way to prove a $38,200 watch is the real thing - Luxury houses are now tracking the authenticity and origin of their most-coveted products using blockchain, crypto’s underlying technology. The hope is that tracking handbags, coats, watches and diamond rings this way could be a game changer in the industry’s fight against the ballooning counterfeits market. Read more

Swedish gang members reportedly using Spotify to launder money - The publication, Svenska Dagbladet, reported that gang members convert money received from drug deals, robberies, fraud, and assassination missions into Bitcoin, which they then use to acquire fake streams for artists with gang associations. They then collect the money paid out to those streams at a later date. Read more

Coinbase gets green light from Bank of Spain - Coinbase received registration from the Bank of Spain, allowing it to operate as both a crypto exchange and wallet provider in Spain. The registration will allow Coinbase to offer its full suite of services, and marks yet another international move for the US-based company. Read more

Select Financings

Albo - Mexico based neobank raised $40m in Series C funding led by Morpheus Ventures. Read more

Apron - London based invoice processing platform for small businesses raised $15m in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. Read more

AnchorWatch - Nashville based crypto insurance provider raised $3m in Seed funding led by Ten31. Read more

Avantis Labs - New York based DeFi derivatives company raised $4m in Seed funding led by Pantera Capital. Read more

Bright Money - San Francisco based financial wellness startup raised $12m in new funding led by Alpha Wave, Hummingbird and PeakXV. Read more

Collective Liquidity - California based firm offering financial tools to unicorn shareholders raised $12m in Series A funding led by Aliya Capital Partners. Read more

Cygnetise - London based blockchain-authorized signatory management company raised £2.5m in Seed funding led by Adjuvo. Read more

Farther - New York based wealthtech startup raised $31m in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more

Gringo - Brazil based payments and insurance app for drivers raised $30m in Series C funding led by Valor Capital. Read more

Grow Credit - California based platform designed to help users build credit by giving them a credit card to use for subscription payments only raised $10m in Series A funding led by USAA. Read more

Mintago - London based financial wellbeing company raised $4.75m in Series A funding led by BlackLion Ventures. Read more

Ondorse - Paris based KYC solution raised €3.8m in Seed funding led by Eurazeo and ISAI. Read more

Openly - Boston based homeowners insurance company raised $100m in Series D funding led by Eden Global Partners. Read more

Perenna - London based mortgage lender raised $52m in Series B funding led by Silverstripe. Read more

Pontoro - California based infrastructure financing platform raised $4.6m in Seed funding led by Ulu Ventures. Read more

PortX - Seattle based startup creating financial services infrastructure for banks raised $16.5m in Series B funding led by Fuse. Read more

Rated Labs - London based blockchain API company raised $12.9m in Series A funding led by Archetype. Read more

Revio - South Africa based payments orchestration startup raised $5.2m in Seed funding led by QED. Read more

Series - San Francisco based enterprise OS for automating business and finance stacks raised $25m in Series A funding led by 776. Read more

Slope - San Francisco based B2B payments platform raised $30m in new funding led by Union Square Ventures. Read more

Timeline - UK based financial planning platform raised £10m in Series B funding led by Blackfin Capital Partners. Read more

Traydstream - London based trade document automation company raised $21m in Series B funding led by Pivot Investment Partners and e& capital. Read more

Vega - UK based investment platform for high net worth individuals raised $8m in new funding led by Motive Ventures, Picus Capital, Citi Ventures and No Label Ventures. Read more


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