A group of U.S. Representatives requested greater clarity from the SEC on ICOs; Facebook discovered that hackers gained access to up to 50 million user accounts; Goldman Sachs launched its Marcus platform in the UK; Bitmain filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; Stripe raised $245M, at a $20B valuation; and Circle unveiled USDC, a new stablecoin to facilitate trading on crypto exchanges.
In the News
Congressmen request clarity from the SEC on ICO regulations. In a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton [full text], fifteen members of the House of Representatives requested greater clarity on when initial coin offerings (ICOs) are considered securities sales. According to the letter, “uncertainty . . . is hindering innovation . . . and will ultimately drive business elsewhere.”
Tech companies support federal privacy law at Senate hearing. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology held a hearing on consumer data privacy, featuring tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google. The discussion focused on the potential for federal privacy regulations and how such rules might affect state laws and the enforcement role of the Federal Trade Commission.
Facebook data breach affect 50 million. The social network announced it discovered a security flaw that allowed hackers to access information on up to 50 million accounts and potentially pose as users to further access their Facebook-connected services. Facebook said it has fixed the flaw and notified affected customers, law enforcement personnel, and the Irish data protection regulator.
WSJ investigates how dirty money disappears with cryptocurrency. A Wall Street Journal investigation found that intermediaries like ShapeShift AG, an online exchange that allows bitcoins to be traded anonymously for untraceable cryptocurrencies, has effectively helped users launder nearly $90 million in suspected criminal proceeds over the past two years.
Marcus arrives in the UK. After months of planning, Goldman Sachs officially launched its consumer savings account platform in the UK. The service is entirely online, and customers “can deposit from £1 to £250,000 – and withdraw their money as many times as they like, with no fees or charges.” Marcus offers a market-best 1.5% interest rate.
Australian agency claims blockchain breakthrough. The Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization completed testing on a global blockchain network, deployed on Amazon Web Services, capable of processing 30,000 cross-border transactions per second. The developers claim the network can overcome scalability issues that have prevented blockchain from achieving mainstream adoption.
Canada to explore Open Banking. The Canadian Government set up an advisory committee to explore the potential benefits and risks of introducing rules for the sharing of financial data. While the government believes Open Banking may benefit consumers, the Canadian Banking Association warns it could “give rise to contagion, reputational and other types of risks with broad-ranging consequences.”
Bitmain plans IPO. The world’s largest cryptocurrency mining company is planning an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange, one of the first examples of a major crypto company engaging in traditional capital markets financing at a time when digital currencies have lost roughly two-thirds of their global market value this year.
Veem lands $25M in new funding. The payments startup, which offers a multi-rail payments platform that includes both SWIFT- and blockchain-based networks, closed a $25 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs. Veem founder and CEO Marwan Forzley said the firm will use the new capital to expand its footprint, increase distribution, and form new strategic partnerships.
Stripe raises $245M, achieves $20B valuation. The San Francisco-based payments company closed a $245 million funding round led by Tiger Global Management, valuing the firm at $20 billion. Stripe reportedly plans to use the new capital to expand its US- and Ireland-based engineering teams.
Funding Circle raises £300M in London IPO. The public offering, which valued the eight-year-old British peer-to-peer lender at nearly £1.5B, is expected to help to set the tone for a number of potential large fintech IPOs in Europe, including U.K. money transfer firm Transferwise.
Circle unveils stablecoin. The money transmission and crypto exchange firm launched USDC, a new “stablecoin” pegged to the U.S. Dollar that will “make it easy to convert US dollars into tokens that can then be moved over public blockchains.” USDC is already “available on Circle’s Poloniex exchange, with more than 20 other cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets also supporting the stablecoin.”