SWIFT Resolution


Feb 26, 2022



Feb 26, 2022



As the shockwaves of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have reverberated throughout the world, companies involved in the international flows of funds have reacted swiftly…aside from SWIFT itself.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a core component of the communications infrastructure powering connectivity among financial institutions in more than 200 countries, and is often considered one of the most extreme levers when invoking sanctions. Case in point: in 2012 Iran became only the second country behind North Korea to be cut off.

Despite the potential to generate a more powerful blow to Russia than targeted sanctions, the repercussions of cutting off SWIFT would be far-reaching, threatening to harm Western countries and companies with high exposure to Russian industries. Perhaps the most concerning ramification, however, could be an erosion of the dollar-dominated global financial system.

While the G7 weighs the pros and cons of their next move, other cross border focused fintech companies have taken an overwhelmingly cautious approach towards not only Russia, but also Ukraine. Fintech money transfer business, Wise (FKA TransferWise), capped transfers to both countries at $224, while Brex halted all cash and card transactions to or from Ukraine. These moves come on the back of an order by the National Bank of Ukraine to suspend e-money issuance, distribution, and replenishment.

With dwindling options for individuals, businesses, and (potentially) governments to move money internationally, crypto has taken center stage.

This is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis, but this dilemma also highlights the importance of access to the world’s financial rails. Here’s hoping for a swift resolution all around.

Portfolio News

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Coincover launches protection for personal cryptocurrency wallets, makes cryptocurrency safer to hold and use - Providing protection against loss of access and theft, Coincover’s preventative technology is backed by an insurance policy placed with certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London. With this new offer, Coincover is making it safer for existing and new individual crypto investors to enter the digital currency marketplace. Read more

MoneyLion CEO Dee Choubey may have it ready to roar - Boardroom Alpha sat down with Dee Choubey, CEO of MoneyLion. After a career in investment banking, Dee co-founded MoneyLion in 2013 with an ambitious goal: to combine AI, machine-learning technology and behavioral science to bring consumer finance into the future. In this podcast, Dee discusses the business, the company's ambitions and how ML is on the path to profitability. Listen here

SWIFT Resolution

What is Swift and could it be used in sanctions against Russia? - Russia’s assault on Ukraine triggered a surge of calls for Western allies to completely sever Russia from the global financial system by disconnecting it from the so-called Swift global payment system. Fear in places like the U.S. and Germany of potential collateral damage have put the idea on hold for now. Read more

Joined by allies and partners, the United States imposes devastating costs on Russia - The sanctions announced include cutting off Russia’s largest bank from the U.S. financial system – which is a significant blow to its ability to function and process global trade. It also includes full blocking sanctions on Russia’s second largest bank – freezing any of its assets touching the U.S. financial system. As a result, the U.S. expects that Russia’s ability to access global markets, attract investment, and utilize the U.S. dollar will be devastated. Read more

Ukrainian central bank suspends electronic cash transfers, bolstering the use case for crypto - Ukraine’s central bank is cracking down on digital money transfers in one of the latest measures implemented in connection with a nationwide declaration of martial law. And as Ukraine cracks down on pathways to cash and Moscow unleashes airstrikes and ground troops, some Ukrainians are instead turning to cryptocurrencies. Read more

Industry News

Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ Whole Foods store opens as frictionless checkout takes hold - Through the system, consumers scan an in-app code or their credit card at the entrance to the store, bag their items as they move through the aisles, and scan out as they leave, with their purchases automatically charged to their accounts. Read more

iCapital leads industry consortium to develop distributed ledger-based enhancements for the alternative investment ecosystem - The group will champion an industry-wide initiative to drive the next generation in operational efficiency, security, and convenience. The consortium, which includes leading asset managers, wealth managers, and service providers including Apollo, BlackRock, Blackstone, BNY Mellon, Carlyle, KKR, Morgan Stanley, State Street, UBS, and WestCap, will partner with iCapital to make it easier to acquire and service alternative assets. Read more

Crypto investors are wealthier - no one knows how much they’re spending - Vast wealth has been created in cryptocurrencies, which globally now have a value of nearly $2t, according to CoinMarketCap. However, crypto wealth might be harder to spend in some key ways than gains from rising stock or house prices, making its impact on overall economic activity more difficult to predict. But it’s time to start contemplating how that wealth filters through the rest of the economy. Read more

SoFi to buy banking-infrastructure firm Technisys for about $1.1b - The move is the latest in a string of deals designed to transform the lender into a one-stop financial shop. The all-stock deal is equivalent to roughly 10% of SoFi’s market value, and gives SoFi control of its own core-banking platform, the back-end technology that banks use to power mobile-banking apps, open accounts and keep track of customer deposits. Read more

FTX enters gaming as backlash grows against crypto’s incursion - Operating via FTX’s U.S. affiliate, FTX Gaming will debut with a “crypto-as-a-service” platform through which gaming companies can launch tokens and offer support for NFTs. Read more

Credit Suisse leak unmasks criminals, fraudsters and corrupt politicians - Details of accounts linked to 30,000 Credit Suisse clients all over the world are contained in the leak, which unmasks the beneficiaries of more than 100b Swiss francs (£80b) held in one of Switzerland’s best-known financial institutions. Read more

Pipe expands into media and entertainment financing with its acquisition of Purely Capital - Once solely focused on financing for SaaS companies, Pipe is now looking to other verticals with different financing needs and cost structures. By purchasing Purely Capital, Pipe has now created a new media and entertainment division on its platform, giving independent distributors the opportunity to trade their revenue streams in the same way a SaaS company could. Read more

Crypto enthusiasts forming DAO to buy Denver Broncos NFL team - The effort is being led by Sean O’Brien, a 10-year veteran of Cisco Systems’ legal department. ESPN estimates the team would sell for $4b, which is what the DAO is aiming to raise. Read more

Select Financings

Alloy Automation - San Francisco based e-commerce focused API company raised $20m in Series A funding led by a16z. Read more

Amber Group - Singapore based crypto trading platform raised $200m in Series B funding led by Temasek. Read more

Dowsure Technologies - Shenzhen-based cross-border payments startup raised $20m in Series B funding led by an undisclosed strategic investor. Read more

Fabric - Seattle based e-commerce tech startup raised $140m Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Read more

Foxbit - Brazil based crypto exchange raised $21m in Series A funding led by OK Group. Read more

Groundfloor - Atlanta based real estate crowdfunding platform raised $118m in new funding led by Medipower. Read more

HUBUC - Barcelona based embedded finance startup raised $10m in Seed funding led by WndrCo and Runa Capital. Read more

Jambo - Congo based web3 banking app for the African continent raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by Coinbase Ventures. Read more

MarketForce - Kenya based retail B2B marketplace raised $40m in Series A funding led by V8 Capital Partners. Read more

Monite - Berlin based embedded finance platform raised $5m in Seed funding led by Point72 Ventures. Read more

Nirvana Insurance - San Francisco based commercial fleet insurance company raised $22m in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more

Niyo - India based neobank raised $100m in Series C funding led by Accel and Lightrock India. Read more

OCR Labs - London based digital ID verification startup raised $30m in Series B funding led by Equable Capital. Read more

PayMongo - Philippines based payments company raised $31m in Series B funding led by JAM Fund. Read more

Pontera - New York based retirement account management platform for financial advisors raised $80m in growth funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more

PrimaryBid - U.K. based IPO investment startup raised $190m in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Read more

Promise - California based platform for consumers to pay government debt raised $25m in Series B funding led by The General Partnership. Read more

Propelld - India based education-focused fintech platform raised $35m in Series B funding led by WestBridge Capital. Read more

Savvy - Mumbai based wealth management software company raised $7.3m in Seed funding led by Index Ventures and Thrive Capital. Read more

Scalapay - Italy based buy-now, pay-later provider raised $213m in Series B funding led by Tencent and Willoughby Capital. Read more

Siteline - San Francisco based maker of billing tools for trade contractors raised $18.4m in Seed and Series A funding led by Menlo Ventures, and Brick & Mortar Ventures and First Round Capital, respectively. Read more

Standard Metrics - San Francisco based maker of VC portfolio monitoring tools raised $23.7m in Series A funding led by 8VC. Read more

Sweater - Boulder based startup operating a VC fund for retail investors raised $12m in Seed funding led by Motivate VC and Akuna Capital. Read more

The Luna Foundation Guard - Singapore based non-profit organization supporting the Terra ecosystem raised $1b in growth funding led by Jump Crypto and Three Arrows Capital. Read more

Weavr - London based embedded finance startup raised $40m in Series A funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

Zebec - San Francisco based Solana-based protocol raised $15m in Series A funding led by Solana Ventures and Distributed Global. Read more


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