A few months now separate us from the not-so-rosy headlines of 2022, and global attention to crypto has begun to snap back. The latest advancement comes from across the pond, with the UK Finance Ministry announcing a major shift in strategy to transform the UK into a hub for the crypto industry.
While previous statements from the Financial Conduct Authority took a harsh tone, the Treasury has introduced a much more optimistic outlook. To fully capitalize on potential benefits of the industry, the Ministry has asked for feedback from industry participants and experts to inform the new rules.
Proposals are likely to take a sweeping approach, allocating responsibility to trading venues for admission and disclosure documents, financial intermediaries for regime setup surrounding crypto asset lending, and an array of other actors for issues including consumer protection, reporting, and market integrity.
Already the new regulation has been compared to the European Union’s Markets in Crypto Asset (Mica) regulation, which has reached the final stages of the approval process and anticipated to be a landmark step forward.
Although the struggle between the UK and Europe for regulatory preeminence is yet to be determined, the UK takes the cake in another area that has been top of mind this week: football spending. The January transfer window wrapped up with Premier League clubs spending £815m, more than four times that of Spain, Italy, Germany, and France combined. If the dedication to regulatory reform is anywhere close to football, we can expect a promising road ahead.
Minu knows financial, employee wellness are connected, so it built 30 gamified benefits - Minu, a Mexico-based employee wellness company, secured $30m in new funding as it continues building out its gamified and rewards features, including saving or completing financial education courses, while improving retention for employers. The new capital is a combination of $10m in a bridge round from Coppel Capital, Besant Capital and Enea Capital, as well as existing investors FinTech Collective, QED and Salkantay, and $20m of debt from Accial Capital. In total, Minu raised $50m. Read more
Octane grew originations by 74% in 2022 with its fast, easy digital experience - In 2022, Octane saw significant business growth, increasing originations by 74% year over year through its in-house lender. The company in October 2022, one year after surpassing $1b in aggregate loans, and six years after issuing its first loan. Octane's momentous growth is particularly notable given 2022's pervasive inventory constraints which slowed category growth. Read more
Flutterwave to spotlight small businesses in Africa through reality TV show Big Brother Titans - Nigeria’s popular payments platform Flutterwave has announced its collaboration with Multichoice Africa to bring back the popular reality TV show Big Brother Titans. Flutterwave plans to leverage its reach across Africa to spotlight members of its small business community to help them grow and expand their business across the continent. Read more
On Top Of Their Game
UK unveils wide-ranging plans to regulate crypto industry - The proposals to “robustly” regulate the sector, which are subject to a consultation, are the clearest sign yet that the government is determined to transform the UK into a hub for the crypto industry, despite the past year of turmoil. Read more
UK Finance Ministry to Propose Rules for Crypto, and Invites Industry Feedback - The hotly anticipated consultation, to be published by His Majesty’s Treasury on Wednesday, asks for feedback from industry members and experts on rules that focus on protecting consumers that also align with the country’s ambition to become a hub for crypto. Read more
Premier League clubs spent £815m during the January transfer window - The UK's spend amounted to 4x the combined £198m spent in Spain, Italy, Germany and France at the close of January, with many raising the concern of other leagues becoming "feeder leagues." Read more
A tech giant closes in on a pricey funding round - Stripe plans to raise roughly $2.5b at a valuation of $55b to $60b. The investment, led by existing investor Thrive Capital, would be used not to fund operations but to pay tax liabilities associated with employee stock grants and, just as importantly, let employees sell their shares — which has grown in importance as the market for new listings remains largely inhospitable. Read more
Premier League backs Sorare’s NFT fantasy football game despite crypto crash - Paris-based Sorare — which is backed by star players including Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi — announced a four-year licensing contract with the Premier League on Monday. Users will be able to collect and trade digital cards representing players from all 20 English top-tier teams and use them in its fantasy football game. Read more
Elon Musk pushes forward with Twitter payments vision - Twitter has begun applying for regulatory licenses across the US and designing the software required to introduce payments across the social media platform, as Elon Musk searches for new revenues to turn round the business. Musk has said he wants Twitter to offer fintech services such as peer-to-peer transactions, savings accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch an “everything app” that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce. Read more
Mastercard, Binance launching prepaid card in Brazil - Brazil is one of Binance's ten-largest markets, the crypto said, adding that the prepaid card will all new and existing Binance users in the country to shop and pay bills with cryptocurrencies at Mastercard merchants. Read more
American Express launches cash flow management hub - Corporate card giant American Express is getting into cash flow management, combining assets it acquired through its purchase of Kabbage in 2020 with its own SMB offerings — and it's doing away with the lending company's brand. To do this, AmEx is launching Business Blueprint, which it is positioning as a hub for small-business customers to manage their corporate cards, track spending and cash flow, and apply for a line of credit all in one place. Read more
Marqeta announces agreement to acquire Power Finance - Publicly traded card issuing and payment processing firm Marqeta agreed to acquire Power Finance, a New York-based startup that enables brands to easily spin up customized credit cards and card-based reward programs. Marqeta will pay $223m in cash, one-third of which will be paid out over a two-year period subject to certain conditions. Read more
JPMorgan plots Germany consumer bank in international foray - JPMorgan is planning to launch a digital bank in Germany as its second international consumer outpost, a move that will create a launchpad for the biggest US bank to further expand in Europe. The launch is slated for late next year or early 2025, and the firm expects to target other EU countries after that, according to people familiar with the plans. Read more
Moody’s is working on scoring system for crypto stablecoins - The system will include an analysis of up to 20 stablecoins based on the quality of attestations on the reserves backing them. However, the project is still in early stages and won’t represent an official credit rating, someone with knowledge of the plan said. Read more
Brazil celebrates 2 years of open finance - Today marks two years since Brazil launched its Open Finance Initiative. Open banking in Brazil has blossomed thanks to the initiative, forging a new governance structure and financial system for financial institutions in the nation. Read more
Addressable - Israel based web3 marketing tech startup raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by Viola Ventures and Fabric Ventures. Read more
Archimedes - California based DeFi lending and borrowing marketplace raised $4.9m in new funding led by Hack VC. Read more
Baobab - Berlin based cyber insurance company raised €3m in new funding led by Augmentum. Read more
BlockJoy - Boston based provider of white label blockchain nodes as a service raised $12m in Series A funding led by Gradient Ventures. Read more
BridgeWise - Israel based equity research startup raised $13m in Seed funding led by Group11. Read more
Coverflex - Portugal based HR startup for managing compensation and benefits raised €15m in Series A funding led by SCOR Ventures. Read more
Finley - San Francisco based provider of software for companies to manage private credit loan raised $17m in Series A funding led by CRV. Read more
Freemodel - San Francisco based tech-enabled home renovation company raised $19.5m in Series A funding led by QED. Read more
Guardz - Dallas based cyber insurance startup focused on attack-as-a-service breaches raised $10m in Seed funding led by Hanaco Ventures. Read more
Hypernative - Israel based crypto security-focused startup raised $9m in Seed funding led by Boldstart Ventures and IBI tech fund. Read more
Lulalend - South Africa based digital lender focused on underserved SMEs raised $35m in Series B funding led by Lightrock. Read more
Method - Austin based company to power loan repayment, balance transfers and more across fintech apps raises $16m in Series A funding led by a16z. Read more
MNT-Halan - Egypt based lending and payments fintech raised $200m in growth funding led by Chimera Investments. Read more
Moov - US based embedded payments processing startup raised $45m in Series B funding led by Commerce Ventures. Read more
Passthrough - New York based investor onboarding startup raised $8.4m in Series A funding led by Positive Sum. Read more
Portside - San Francisco based SaaS platform for the business aviation industry raised $50m in Series B funding led by Insight Partners. Read more
Sovereign Labs - New York based interconnected crypto rollup ecosystem raised $7.4m in Seed funding led by Haun Ventures. Read more
Sunstone Credit - Baltimore based clean energy financing platform for businesses raised $20m in Series A funding led by Greenbacker Capital Management. Read more
Treasury Prime - San Francisco based embedded finance startup raised $40m in Series C funding led by BAM Elevate. Read more
Triple Whale - Ohio based data platform for e-commerce brands raised $25m in Series B funding led by NFX, Elephant and Shopify. Read more
Zopa - UK based neobank raised £75m in new funding led by IAG Silverstripe, Uprising and Augmentum. Read more
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