No Such Thing As Free Money


Aug 21, 2023


Cindy Grazer


Aug 21, 2023


Cindy Grazer


Money doesn’t usually grow on trees, but this Tuesday was an exception in Ireland, as an IT glitch at the Bank of Ireland allowed customers to withdraw as much as €1,000 over their existing balances.

This windfall may be coming at an opportune time, as according to the 2023 Global Wealth Report released by Credit Suisse and UBS, global wealth declined for the first time since the GFC - by $11.3t! Diverging from the typical storyline of the rich getting richer, wealthier regions were actually the hardest hit, with North America and Europe accounting for $10.9t of the total loss.

Wealth inequalities were reduced by both country and demographic, as global median wealth increased by 3%. In the US Caucasians were hardest hit, while African Americans were nearly unphased and Hispanics experienced close to 10% growth. Meanwhile, the share of wealth controlled by the top 1% globally fell to 44.5% and 3.5m individuals were knocked off the global list of millionaires.

As demonstrated by the Bank of Ireland – every little bit counts, no matter where you sit on the wealth spectrum. In Ireland the police (Gardai) were deployed to guard ATMs to physically stop people from withdrawing cash. Nonetheless, plenty of customers slipped through the cracks with reports of people going straight to the store to buy new TVs – or a bit less conspicuous – straight to the pub.

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Portfolio News

Singapore’s Antler launches $60m MENAP Fund - Antler announces the expansion of its presence to MENAP with Dr Jonathan Doerr and Romain Assunção as Partners. The firm aims to strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by backing exceptional founders at the earliest stage with co-founder matching, personalized coaching, access to a local and global network of founders and advisors, MENAP ecosystem expertise, day zero investment, and support with follow-on funding. Read more

CoinLedger announces integration with Base, becoming the first crypto tax software to enable automatic tax reporting for new blockchain - The announcement of the integration with Coinbase's Base blockchain comes just one week after the mainnet launch. Geared towards reducing the complexity associated with on-chain tax reporting, CoinLedger's Base integration equips users of the new blockchain to seamlessly calculate gains, losses, and income associated with transactions happening on Base. Read more

Vestwell launches first multi-state retirement program - Vestwell announced this week that it will power the Maine Retirement Investment Trust (MERIT), the newest state-facilitated retirement program in the country. MERIT has selected to partner with an existing Vestwell auto-IRA program, Colorado SecureSavings, to launch the pilot program in late 2023. Read more

Plaid teams With Pinwheel for direct deposit services - The partnership, announced this week, will see Pinwheel provide complementary payroll data services for Plaid’s Income offering, while providing Plaid users with direct deposit switching (DDS) services. Read more

No Such Thing As Free Money

Global wealth rises, inequality falls - According to UBS' 14th annual global wealth report just released, the amount of wealth in the world is set to rise substantially even as inequality declines. The story of the 19th and 20th centuries was broadly one in which new wealth went mostly to the rich — both in terms of individuals and in terms of countries. That is now changing, fast as total global wealth is expected to rise by 38% in the next five years — with middle-income countries, rather than the ultra-rich, reaping the majority of the benefits. Read more

Bank of Ireland fixes 'free money' glitch after ATM rush - The glitch apparently affected ATMs (and led to long lines across the country), the bank's online portal and its digital app. Even customers with no money and a low account balance were able to transfer up to €1,000 into a linked account on banking apps such as Revolut, and then use their Revolut cards to withdraw the money. Read more

Industry News

Mastercard to buy stake in MTN’s $5.2b fintech unit - As part of the agreement, MTN’s business will use Mastercard’s technology infrastructure to expand its payments and remittance services in Africa. The announcement comes as Africa’s young, tech-savvy population are increasingly using their mobile phones to bridge gaps in services including banking. That’s opened a lucrative and fast-growing space in the fintech sector for wireless carriers. Read more

Visa faces DOJ scrutiny for how it prices ‘token’ technology - As part of a long-running DOJ investigation, enforcement officials have begun probing the payment giant’s policies for charging retailers more if they don’t use Visa’s proprietary “tokenization” technology. The service, which swaps sensitive card numbers with tokens that can only be used on a specific device or with a particular merchant, is designed to improve the security of any given payment. Read more

Latin American payments provider DLocal explores potential sale - The Montevideo, Uruguay-based company, which is working with a financial adviser, has been talking with potential buyers. The news comes amid ongoing consolidation in the payments industry, as consumers increasingly move away from using cash. Read more

Wall Street turns to AI to solve WhatsApp compliance nightmare - The SEC’s latest crackdown on Wall Street bankers and traders’ use of encrypted apps is sparking interest in whether large-language models and other artificial intelligence tools can catch Wall Street workers talking in code about something they shouldn’t be—or switching to an encrypted app to continue a conversation. Read more

U.S. judge sends FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried to jail over witness tampering - In the motion requesting Bankman-Fried’s detention, the government said that, over the last several months, the defendant had sent over 100 emails to the media and had made over 1,000 phone calls to members of the press. The final straw, according to prosecutors, was Bankman-Fried leaking private diary entries of his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times. Read more

CFPB to crack down on data brokers, Chopra says at White House event - The event featured the leaders of the nation’s top consumer watchdog agencies, timed to corresponded with the CFPB’s announcement of proposed rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to address the business practices of brokers that collect and monetize customer data. Data privacy is a growing concern as the use of artificial intelligence becomes more common. Read more

Using a credit card? At these restaurants it’ll cost you - As inflation and high credit card fees continue to affect a restaurant’s bottom line, more owners are tacking on a new charge for using a credit card. Read more

Bluevine CEO: IPO filing in 18 to 24 months - In an exclusive with Axios, small-business-banking startup Bluevine discusses its potential IPO plans. This is notable as the IPO market has started to reopen, and some fintech companies — which have been hit particularly hard in public markets — are working up the courage to cautiously peer back in. Stock-trading startup DriveWealth is also weighing an IPO listing in the same time frame. Read more

Coinbase finally wins approval to list crypto futures in U.S. - The approval makes Coinbase the first crypto-first platform to offer regulated and leveraged crypto futures alongside alongside traditional spot trading. Read more

Select Financings

BitGo - California based crypto custody company raised $100m in Series C funding led by undisclosed investors. Read more

Caden - New York based data control and monetization app raised $15m in Series A funding led by Nava Ventures. Read more

CityPay.io - Georgia based B2B cryptocurrency payments firm raised €2m in Seed funding led by Tether. Read more

ClassWallet - Miami based digital wallet reimbursement platform for public funds raised $95m in growth funding led by Guidepost Growth Equity. Read more

Dinari - San Francisco based real-world asset tokenization platform raised $7.5m in Seed funding from SPEILLLP. Read more

DynamoFL - San Francisco based privacy and compliance-focused generative AI business raised $15m in Series A funding led by Canapi Ventures. Read more

Helio Protocol - Decentralized DeFi lending and stablecoin project raised $10m in new funding led by Binance Labs. Read more

Persefoni - Arizona based climate management and accounting platform raised $50m in Series C funding led by TPG Rise. Read more

SureIn - Germany based insurtech startup for SMEs raised €4m in Seed funding led by xDeck. Read more

Vegapay - India based digital lending and card management platform raised $1m in pre-Seed funding led by Eximius Ventures. Read more

Xverse - Hong Kong based blockchain wallet raised $5m in Seed funding led by Jump Crypto. Read more

ZetaChain - California based Layer 1 blockchain operator raised $27m in new funding led by Blockchain.com. Read more


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