The SEC is seeking support from private firms on understanding blockchain; a group of global regulators has launched a global regulator sandbox for cross-border fintech products and services; money transfer service WorldFirst is spinning off its U.S. operations ahead of its acquisition by Ant Financial; IBM completed a pilot test of its blockchain-based trade shipment platform; Stripe raised an additional $100M, reaching a $22.5B valuation; and Lithuania made strides in 2018 as a destination for fintech firms seeking a variety of EU operating licenses.
Kik is expected to challenge the SEC over an ICO enforcement action; Coinbase rolled out crypto institutional services in Asia; Alipay was granted an EU e-money license; Bitcoin ATM startups reported growth; the EU and Japan finalized a data flow agreement; and IBM landed a $260m IT infrastructure deal with the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
The DOJ filed charges for an alleged SEC hack which generated $4.1M in profits; HSBC has used distributed ledger technology to settle over $250B in FX transactions; Square has launched a debit card for businesses; SWIFT has published ‘Pay Later’ API standards for instant loans at point of sale; VC funding for cybersecurity firms topped $5B in 2018; the Canadian government has opened a consultation on open banking; and Fiserv is to acquire First Data for $22B.
Bitwise filed with the SEC to create a bitcoin ETF; the EBA called on the EU to review its current regulatory stance on crypto assets and consider promulgating new rules; Google was granted an EU payments license; N26 raised $300M, giving it a $2.7B valuation; two prominent UK fintechs are setting up new EU offices ahead of Brexit; China established new anti-anonymity regulations for blockchain firms; and MUFG launched a $185M VC fund focused on fintech.
Square re-filed its ILC charter application; New York established a digital currency task force; Ant is considering acquiring WorldFirst; Google gained an EU e-money license; Robinhood is apparently preparing to expand to the U.K.; and the WSJ profiles the SEC’s Hester Peirce.
The CFPB proposed a “product sandbox” and certain safe harbors for fintechs; Revolut received an EU banking license; Robinhood faced scrutiny over its plan to offer SIPC-insured checking and savings accounts; Bitwala established Germany’s first “crypto bank”; Facebook could be facing over $1B in fines for recent data breaches; and Plaid raised $250M in new funding.