TFU |Mar. 18-24

Leading Off

The New York Fed launched a new fintech advisory group dedicated to providing Bank leaders with industry insights; Bank of America announced that its Erica virtual assistant now has six million users; IBM rolled out its World Wire real-time global payments network; Amazon partnered with Worldpay to allow the latter’s merchants to pay with Amazon Pay during checkout; Australia outlined a national strategy for blockchain development and implementation; and FIS will purchase Worldpay for $35B.


In the News

NY Fed launches Fintech Advisory Group.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York launched the new group to “provide Bank leaders with . . . clear points of contact with senior representatives and thought leaders from the financial technology industry and consumer organizations.” Group members were chosen “based on their expertise across the breadth of issues relevant to financial technologies.”

BoA’s Erica now has six million users.  Bank of America (BoA) reported that six million people now use the AI-driven virtual assistant embedded in its mobile app. According to the bank, Erica’s most popular feature is transaction search, with other features including personal financial management, requests for account and routing numbers, and bill reminders.

IBM rolls out blockchain-based payments network.  Several global banks committed to issue stablecoins on IBM’s real-time global payments network, IBM Blockchain World Wire. IBM claims that the network is the first of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing, and settlement on a single unified network, while allowing participants to choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement.

UPS announces blockchain integration.  UPS announced an integration with e-commerce company Inxeption to develop a blockchain-based platform to facilitate business-to-business (B2B) sales. Blockchain will play a role in the offering of services for scheduling and monitoring shipments, as well as in transactions, purchase orders and financing record tracking on the platform.

Worldpay partnering with Amazon Pay. Amazon struck a deal with Worldpay to make them the first acquirer to enable Amazon Pay for its merchants as an option during checkout. The partnership “helps to take Amazon Pay outside of the ecommerce giant’s own ecosystem and into the wider world, tapping into a Worldpay network that processes over 40 billion transactions a year.”

Australia establishes national blockchain strategy.  The Australian government announced a policy program aimed at making Australia a world leader in blockchain research and implementation, backed by A$100,000 in state funding. The strategy includes a roadmap for a developments in “regulation, skills, innovation, investment, collaboration and international competitiveness.”

FIS will buy Worldpay for $35B. In a massive deal between two companies in the payments processing industry, FIS is to buy Worldpay for $35 billion. Gary Norcross, FIS’s President and CEO, said of the deal “our two powerhouse organisations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions.”

Marqeta closes in on $250M funding round. Marqeta, an open platform for API card issuing and processing, is close to securing a $250 million Series E round at a $1.875 billion valuation. Marqeta’s platform and “Just-In-Time” Feature allows “companies of all sizes to authorise their own card transactions, fundamentally changing how they engage with issuing and processing.”

Study: most bitcoin trading is faked by unregulated exchanges.  Analysis by Bitwise Asset Management found that 95% of reported bitcoin trading is artificially created by unregulated exchanges. The crypto marketplace has long faced challenges of fraud and market manipulation, but the extent of malfeasance has been difficult to determine.

Survey: 41% of European banks missed PSD2 deadline. A recent survey of 442 European banks found that 41% of banks failed to meet a recent deadline for the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) to provide a testing environment or ‘sandbox’ for any third party service providers (TPPs). EU companies are required to implement PSD2 by September 14, 2019.

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