Facebook announced its new cryptocurrency, Libra, which brought immediate scrutiny from global lawmakers, including the U.S. Senate Banking Committee; Alipay partnered with six European mobile wallets to implement QR codes in their services; Ripple invested $50M in MoneyGram, which will use Ripple technology to conduct money transfer and settlement; two Nordic banks are trimming compliance staff in favor of AI tools; and Grab is considering applying for a Singaporean banking license.
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.
A U.S. House bill proposed establishing a working group to define blockchain and recommend possible governmental use cases; TD Ameritrade and Virtu are backing regulated digital currency exchange ErisX; Circle is buying SeedInvest in a move that could bring crypto assets to equity crowdfunding; Coinbase is reportedly approaching new funding and an $8B valuation; and German challenger bank N26 launched in the U.K.
What’s The Big Idea with Circle, Coinbase, and Revolut all making moves to expand their capabilities? Also: The CFTC subpoenaed several crypto exchanges; Ant raised $14B in the largest fundraising round in history; Google published its AI “code of ethics”; Facebook took another privacy hit; and the CFSI unveiled its 2018 FinLab cohort.
The DOJ is investigating crypto price manipulation; U.S. and Canadian regulators are investigating nearly 70 ICOs; BOX and T0 are working on an SEC-compliant, blockchain-based securities exchange; SoFi plans to expand into crypto investing by 2019; and 2018 VC funding for blockchain firms has already surpassed 2017 totals.