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QuantumFy Launches in the Middle East and joins Mena Fintech Association


QuantumFy, a global technology hub, today announced its expansion into the Middle East and its membership in the MENA FinTech Association (MFTA), aimed at driving business growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Founded in 2018, the MENA Fintech Association has earned recognition as one of the top 4 fintech groups globally. With a strong presence in the Middle East and Africa, the association has been at the forefront of driving innovation and fostering collaboration in the fintech industry. The MENA FINTECH ASSOCIATION (MFTA) is an inclusive, not-for-profit association that fosters an open dialogue for the MENA Fintech community, shaping the future of financial services in the region.

Aligning with its strategy to extend its reach into new emerging markets, QuantumFy’s collaboration with the MENA Fintech Association is a step towards leveraging its expertise in the region. QuantumFy specializes in tailored banking, payment, and investment technology solutions, and plans to adapt these to meet the specific needs of the Middle East market.

Margit Gulyas, CEO of QuantumFy, shared her thoughts on the expansion: “Entering the Middle East with our partnership with the MENA FinTech Association is a key step in our strategy. We’re looking to bring our technology solutions to a market that’s showing rapid growth in fintech. Our goal is to be more than just a participant; we want to contribute to the region’s fintech development.” As a member of the MFTA, QuantumFy is committed to contributing to the regional fintech ecosystem by offering unique software engineering insights. Our focus is to support digital transformation in sectors such as finance and payments, providing innovative artificial intelligence, system integration platforms, and transaction monitoring for fintechs. This partnership is expected to bolster the development of the entire fintech community, fostering more innovative solutions and projects in the MENA region. Additionally, QuantumFy will take a leading role in the SHIFT Payments and Digital Assets working groups, collaborating with industry peers. We plan to host panel discussions, workshops, and produce reports, all aimed at advancing the industry.

Nameer Khan, Chairman MENA Fintech Association and Founder of FILS stated the following in regards to this partnership,” We are honoured to welcome to Quantum Fy to the MENA fintech community. We believe that our association will provide an invaluable platform for the expansion and growth of their business endeavours in the region. In the current landscape, where digital banking activities and financial services innovation are reaching new heights across the Middle East and Africa, Quantum Fy’s strategic entrance aligns perfectly with the industry’s soaring standards. We are confident that Quantum Fy has chosen the opportune moment to establish its presence in the region, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the remarkable success that is sure to unfold as a result.”

The move into the Middle East aligns with QuantumFy’s aim to broaden its market presence and respond to the diverse needs of different regions. The MENA Fintech Association, established in 2018, plays an integral role in the fintech industry, connecting various industry players and promoting an environment of growth and innovation.

This partnership marks a significant step for QuantumFy in its efforts to expand its operations and impact in the financial technology sector.

ADGM Launches World’s First Legal Framework for Blockchain Foundations and DAOs


Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has announced the launch of the world’s first-ever legal framework specifically designed for Blockchain Foundations and Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). This pioneering framework is poised to establish a new global standard in the regulatory landscape of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and blockchain sectors.

Developed in active collaboration with key players in the industry, this framework uniquely caters to the regulatory and operational peculiarities of the blockchain ecosystem. It represents a major step forward in providing a solid legal structure for both Blockchain Foundations and DAOs, addressing a long-standing gap in the digital assets world.

One of the critical features of the ADGM’s framework is its full recognition of Virtual Assets. This includes provisions for the issuance and governance of tokens, significantly enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of blockchain operations. The framework’s innovative approach allows entities to be established without the conventional bylaws, thereby accommodating diverse governance models such as token voting and smart contract usage.

Furthermore, the framework simplifies the incorporation and migration process for these organizations. With options for migration from other jurisdictions and legal protections to safeguard entity assets against foreign claims, ADGM offers a highly attractive proposition for both new and existing Blockchain Foundations and DAOs. The absence of a mandatory physical presence requirement further underscores the ADGM’s commitment to fostering a flexible and inclusive digital asset environment.

Underpinning this framework is the application of English Common Law, ensuring a familiar, stable, and trusted legal foundation. This integration is crucial in enhancing the international appeal and effectiveness of the ADGM’s framework, potentially driving more blockchain and DLT entities to consider setting up or migrating to this jurisdiction.

By instituting this forward-thinking framework, ADGM not only positions itself at the forefront of digital asset regulation but also significantly contributes to the broader evolution and maturity of the global blockchain industry. This development is expected to catalyze growth and innovation within the sector, establishing a more prosperous and regulated digital asset ecosystem worldwide.

MAS Halts DBS Bank’s Non-Essential Activities for Six Months Amid Efforts to Enhance System Resilience


In a decisive move to ensure the stability and reliability of digital banking services, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has enforced a six-month moratorium on non-essential IT modifications for DBS Bank Ltd. Furthermore, the bank is prohibited from pursuing new business expansions and downsizing its existing branch and ATM operations in Singapore during this period. This decision was made in the wake of persistent service disruptions experienced by DBS Bank this year.

Earlier in April, MAS instructed DBS Bank to commission an impartial third-party assessment of its digital banking support structures. The evaluation highlighted several areas of concern, including System durability, Incident resolution, Change administration and Tech risk governance and supervision.

In response, DBS Bank has devised a phased technology resilience strategy to rectify these issues, enhance its digital service robustness, and ensure preparedness for future digital banking demands. Notably, modifications to its system design will require an extended execution period.

Upon scrutinizing DBS Bank’s corrective action plan, MAS expressed contentment regarding its comprehensiveness and the proactive steps slated to enhance system robustness. The bank’s senior management will be held accountable for any past shortcomings, and the board will amplify its governance model to monitor the roadmap’s execution.

For the next six months, MAS mandates that DBS Bank halts all IT system alterations, barring those related to security, regulatory adherence, and risk management. This step is pivotal to ensure the bank dedicates substantial resources to fortifying its tech risk management frameworks. During this interval, MAS will also withhold approval for any of DBS Bank’s new business proposals.

To safeguard customers and provide alternative transaction methods in case of future digital service hiccups, MAS has also directed the bank to maintain its current branch and ATM dimensions until DBS’s recovery plan shows satisfactory advancement.

MAS plans to evaluate DBS Bank’s remediation endeavors after six months. Depending on the progress, MAS may consider extending or adjusting the imposed measures. Presently, MAS has retained a 1.8x multiplier on DBS Bank’s risk-weighted assets for operational risk, instated post the incidents of March and May 2023.

It is projected to take DBS Bank approximately two years to implement all the structural modifications for bolstering its digital banking service resilience. Despite these efforts, the possibility of sporadic disruptions remains. During such occurrences, MAS anticipates swift service recovery from DBS Bank, accompanied by clear and prompt customer communication.

Ms Ho Hern Shin, MAS’s Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), remarked, “DBS needs to promptly implement measures to assure consistent service while concurrently fortifying its operational fortitude. This six-month hiatus provides the bank with the requisite window to uphold and reinforce customer confidence.”

EDX Markets Partners with Solidus Labs to Support Best-in-Class Comprehensive Transaction Monitoring


EDX Markets (EDX) announced that it has partnered with Solidus Labs to provide transaction monitoring across EDX’s platform. Through this partnership, EDX plans to provide customers with seamless end-to-end transactional risk management capabilities in order to maintain the highest compliance standards across the cryptocurrency industry and reflect key institutional best practices.

Solidus Labs’ HALO, an automated, comprehensive and testable trade surveillance and market integrity hub tailored for digital assets, is currently used to monitor over 250 million events and $16 trillion in on- and off-chain trading volume per day across more than 150 markets, protecting more than 25 million individual and institutional investors. EDX will leverage Solidus Labs’ machine learning-powered detection models and Universal Client Risk Profile capability to identify unusual or suspicious activity on its platform, and review and coordinate the appropriate risk response.

“Solidus’ transaction monitoring solution is a powerful addition to EDX’s suite of compliance measures,” said Chris Tyrrell, Chief Compliance Officer of EDX. “We are focused on bringing the best of traditional finance to cryptocurrency markets and are committed to ensuring safe and compliant trading. As an industry-leading provider of AML solutions for detection of money laundering and financial crime activities in crypto markets, Solidus will help us protect the integrity of our platform while meeting regulatory expectations and Wall Street-grade best practices.”

“We are proud to support EDX’s vision and meet the demand for a safe and compliant cryptocurrency market,” added Asaf Meir, Solidus Labs’ Founder and Chief Executive. “Bridging traditional and digital finance through crypto-native risk mitigation tools is core to our mission, and we look forward to working together with EDX to continually increase the standards for safe and integrity-driven crypto trading.”

Backed by a consortium of major financial institutions, EDX has opened trading as the crypto marketplace of choice for industry leaders and builds on best practices from traditional finance to provide customers with distinctive benefits including liquidity, competitive quotes and a unique, non-custodial model designed to mitigate conflicts of interest. EDX also introduced a retail-only quote to the crypto markets, allowing participants the benefit of better pricing for retail-originated orders. Products listed for trading on EDX include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

PayPal Introduces US Dollar-Based Stablecoin on Ethereum Platform


PayPal has unveiled a new stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, marking a significant step in the digital asset domain by a major US financial firm. This revelation comes after the company began offering crypto services in 2021, facilitating the buying, selling, and holding of prominent cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.

This novel stablecoin, christened PayPal USD, is being issued in collaboration with Paxos Trust Co. Starting Monday, users will have the option to buy, send, convert, and utilize the stablecoin for transactions in the forthcoming weeks. Further enhancing its usability, customers can transfer PayPal USD between PayPal and other compatible external wallets, and even use it for making purchases via PayPal.

A unique aspect of this development is the monthly Reserve Report on the stablecoin that will be released by Paxos, in addition to an attestation detailing the value of the reserves backing PayPal USD. The stablecoin pledges full backing through U.S. dollar deposits, US Treasuries, and similar liquid assets.

Charles Cascarilla, CEO of Paxos, expressed immense pride in their association with this groundbreaking product. He stated, “PayPal USD signifies a monumental advancement in digital assets and the broader financial domain.”

PayPal’s foray into the digital currency realm with PayPal USD, minted as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, is rooted in its commitment to “responsible innovation and compliance,” as emphasized by Dan Schulman, PayPal’s CEO. Schulman added that the digital era demands stable instruments that seamlessly integrate with traditional fiat currencies.

Highlighting the significance of clear legal frameworks, Patrick McHenry, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, underscored the necessity for Congress to legislate comprehensive digital asset regulations, especially for stablecoins.

This move closely follows PayPal’s decision to activate crypto transactions for Venmo users a few months prior.

Sam Altman’s Worldcoin project launches


Worldcoin, Sam Altman’s project to build an identity and financial network by giving away free crypto tokens to people who agree to get their irises scanned, has launched in several cities around the world.

OpenAI’s Altman and Worldcoin co-founders Alex Blania and Max Novendstern, say that 4.4 billion people lack a legal, digitally-verifiable identity, hindering their ability to access the global economy and things like government aid, financial services and healthcare.

Worldcoin has set itself the ambitious target of creating “universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background” and enabling “global democratic processes” in the age of AI.

To do this, it developed the Worldcoin token that is freely distributed to people “just for being a unique individual”. The token, along with other digital assets and traditional currencies can be used for payments and transfers globally via a World App.

To prove their uniqueness and get the token, people have their eyeballs scanned by a piece of hardware called “The Orb”.

The founders claim that the project could not only increase economic opportunity but also scale a reliable approach for distinguishing humans from AI online while preserving privacy, and eventually provide a potential foundation for AI-funded universal basic income.

After securing $115 million in funding in May, the project has now migrated to the OP Mainnet, unveiled plans to scale Orb sign ups to more than 35 cities across 20 countries and released the World ID SDK.

In tandem, a subsidiary has minted and released the Worldcoin token to millions of eligible people who participated in the beta – meaning that it is now transactable on the blockchain.

US instant payment network FedNow goes live


The Federal Reserve has switched on its new instant payment system, FedNow, with 35 banks and credit unions onboard.

The 35 early-adopting banks and credit unions are joined by the US Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service and 16 payment processing service providers.

“The Federal Reserve built the FedNow Service to help make everyday payments over the coming years faster and more convenient,” says Federal Reserve chair Jerome H. Powell. “Over time, as more banks choose to use this new tool, the benefits to individuals and businesses will include enabling a person to immediately receive a paycheck, or a company to instantly access funds when an invoice is paid.”

He says the Fed is committed to working with the more than 9,000 banks and credit unions across the country to support the widespread availability of instant payments for their customers over time.

As an interbank payment system, the FedNow Service operates alongside other longstanding Federal Reserve payment services such as Fedwire and FedACH.

The launch is coming at a cost. In June last year, the Fed decided to delay the implementation of the ISO 20022 payment messaging format by two years to 2025 in response to bank concerns that this process was hampering FedNow’s rollout.

Bunq has secured €44.5 million in funding


Dutch neobank bunq has raised €44.5 million in growth capital at a €1.65 billion valuation, bringing its total funding for the year to €100 million.

Current investors founder Ali Niknam, Pollen Street Capital and Raymond Kasiman joined the round for Europe’s second largest neobank.

The valuation is the same as when the company closed a €193 million Series A in 2021 – despite the recent market downturn.

New of the funding comes day after bunq revealed that it grew its user base from 5.4 million to nine million in just over a year. In the last four months, the neobank doubled its user deposits to €4.5 billion.

Ali Niknam, CEO, bunq, says: “With more and more people entrusting their money to us, we’re convinced that we should double down on our momentum and cement the way forward for future growth.”

Argentem Creek Partners Leads USD 20 Million Venture Loan Round for Salmon


Consumer fintech Salmon today announces it has secured a USD20MM venture loan from U.S. emerging-markets specialist investment firm Argentem Creek Partners, enabling Salmon to further scale its lending operations across the Philippines. Building on significant investor interest in the transaction, Salmon will expand its loan book, leveraging its existing point-of-sale and cash loan lending, and will launch new disruptive products in the second half of 2023.  

The transaction, which was completed despite the volatile market environment, sets a new benchmark as the largest ever venture-loan for a Series A tech company in the Philippines. The deal positions Salmon, which was founded less than a year ago in July 2022, as one of the fastest growing fintechs in Southeast Asia. Salmon was set up by a group of fintech and financial services industry veterans led by Pavel Fedorov, George Chesakov and Raffy Montemayor, who brought together a team with a track record of delivering fast and profitable growth. In year one, the fintech has expanded rapidly, launching its first credit product only four months after inception and delivering new product launches every three months since then. 

Argentem Creek Partners President and Co-CIO Maarten Terlouw commented: “Argentem Creek Partners is delighted to deliver an important component of Salmon’s capital structure. We are a long-term value-oriented investor and are excited to support Salmon in its ambitious drive to expand financial inclusion across the region, as well as to provide best-in-class customer service and make lending more accessible to consumers in the region.

“We look forward to working together with Salmon’s world class investors including Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ, one of Europe’s top venture investors and a group of prominent local investors, as well as Salmon’s top notch management team, to deliver long-term value in the Philippines.”

Argentem Creek Partners’ CEO and Founder Daniel Chapman commented: “Consumer lending is one of the fastest growing segments in Southeast Asia. We are convinced that the new generation of credit-focused fintechs like Salmon have a tremendous opportunity and that Argentem Creek could play an important role in driving forward financial inclusion in these exciting markets”.

Salmon Co-founder Raffy Montemayor commented: “We are tremendously humbled by the strong investor interest, as well as Argentem Creek’s support for Salmon’s vision to create the best credit-led fintech in Southeast Asia and for making financial services more accessible to all. We especially want to highlight Argentem Creek’s focus on building a win-win partnership with Salmon and believe that there will be many options for extending our work together, as Salmon maintains its rapid pace of development in Southeast Asia. We see this milestone as a testament to Salmon’s potential, as well as the market’s trust in our vision and business model. This transaction also conveys a message of hope to many young and aspiring Filipinos, highlighting to them the incredible opportunities that the global investment community sees in the Philippines today. Financial inclusion will be an important driver of sustainable economic growth in the Philippines, and Salmon is committed to continuing to play a key role in this transformation.”

Argentem Creek Partners obtains In-Principle Approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market


Argentem Creek Partners (‘Argentem’), an emerging markets specialist investment firm, announces that it has been granted an In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a Financial Services Permission (FSP) on 20th June 2023 from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the leading international financial centre in the region. Once Argentem has satisfied all IPA conditions and receives its final FSP, the firm is set to expand operations in the region. Argentem seeks to deliver uncorrelated emerging market alpha by investing in special situations, private credit, high yield, and bespoke capital solutions. Argentem’s overall focus is on delivering value for investors, partners, and local communities.

This milestone follows a strategic agreement in July 2022 between the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Argentem Creek Partners to establish a new regional headquarter within ADGM. This partnership was formed under ADIO’s Innovation Programme, an initiative aimed at providing growth-enabling support to innovative companies within high-growth sectors, including financial services.

With this new strategic expansion, Argentem Creek intends to expand their scope of investment opportunities across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as Asia.

Daniel Chapman, Founder, CEO & CIO of Argentem Creek Partners:“I am grateful for the continued guidance and support of both the ADIO and ADGM teams. Their active involvement and introductions to influential local networks have greatly facilitated our integration and enhanced our understanding of regional best practices. The Middle East is set to play a vital role in the implementation of our growth strategy. We are incredibly enthusiastic about harnessing the distinctive opportunities presented by emerging markets in the upcoming years. Collaborating with our friends and partners in the Middle East, we aim to develop and capitalise on these opportunities.”

Commenting on Argentem receiving its IPA, Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM said, “ADGM is pleased for Argentem Creek Partners to receive the IPA from ADGM’s FSRA. We are confident that their capabilities and vision for the region will unlock boundless opportunities for them as well as companies based within the financial centre. Our dynamic ecosystem and progressive regulations help innovation and collaboration thrive for companies like Argentem Creek as they explore restructuring and turnaround prospects in ADGM and beyond. We anticipate remarkable contributions from them and value addition that will strategically position Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s vibrant financial landscape.”

Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Director General of ADIO, said: “ADIO congratulates Argentem Creek Partners on finalising this crucial step to establish operations at ADGM. The company’s arrival adds to Abu Dhabi’s status as a global financial centre with deep expertise in accessing emerging market opportunities across and beyond the wider region. Due to its strategic location, exceptional infrastructure, deep talent pool and enabling regulations, Abu Dhabi offers limitless growth potential for the financial services industry.”  

Argentem Creek Partners plans to foster local and regional partnerships to enhance the region’s access to investment opportunities across various industry sectors, leveraging its expertise in emerging markets, restructuring, and governance best practices. Beyond its flagship emerging markets special situations strategy, the office will concentrate on areas such as Asia-focused assets, trade finance in energy transition materials, and the firm’s other strategies throughout the MENA region.

Abu Dhabi grants Argentem Creek Partners access to global markets, talent, a beneficial time zone overlapping with key international markets, and proximity to some of the world’s most significant sovereign wealth funds. Furthermore, ADGM’s robust framework for asset management companies and funds creates a conducive environment for industry practitioners, ensuring optimal levels of investor protection.

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