The New York AG’s office is investigating the parent company of the Bitfinex exchange for allegedly committing fraud valued at $850M; Robinhood applied for a national bank charter from the OCC; Revolut is facing investigations into its ties to Russia, and may lose its EU banking license; T-Mobile expanded its app-based checking account nationwide; SoftBank invested $1B in EU fintech Wirecard; and the American Banker profiled Mike Cagney’s new lending firm, Figure.
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.
The SEC announced it will hold a public forum on DLT and digital assets; IBM is working with CULedger on a digital identity blockchain system and signed a deal with the French commercial court; PayPal now offers instantaneous money transfers to U.S. banks; the Basel Committee has warned banks about their exposure to crypto; the U.K. FCA is considering eliminating investment platform exit fees; and micro-investing startup Stash raised $65 million in new funding and rolled out new banking services in partnership with Green Dot Bank.
The Fed is considering adding a bitcoin crash to stress test scenarios; British banks published outage details; Facebook is testing its own cryptocurrency; the European Commission weighs a regulatory push for the TIPS payment system; and JP Morgan is testing a new ethereum-based platform that could mitigate privacy concerns.
Wells Fargo experienced widespread online and mobile banking outages; Facebook acqui-hired key members of a British blockchain firm to advance its blockchain efforts; fintech firm Pagaya announced its AI platform will actively manage $100M in asset-backed securities; controversial crypto evangelist Brock Pierce wants to reboot infamous Japanese crypto exchange Mt. Gox; and SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson said he believes a bitcoin ETF will eventually be approved.
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.