The U.S. House Financial Services Committee formally requested that Facebook halt its planned Libra rollout; the U.K. FCA proposed a ban on derivatives tied to crypto assets; IBM’s TradeLens consortium added new members; the forthcoming Libra currency is already attracting digital scammers and domain squatters hoping to make a quick profit; and the Financial Times published an opinion piece on why central banks should issue digital currencies.
We look at the recent news and reactions to the Libra cryptocurrency in our “Big Idea”; the CFTC established its LabCFTC Accelerator to further support its fintech R&D efforts; Congress investigated the use of algorithms in lending decisions; TransferWise announced it will launch in the U.S. market; Monzo raised £113M to support its U.S. expansion; and JPMorgan is rumored to be launching a digital banking operation.
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 Senate Banking Committee is seeking details from Facebook about its reported stablecoin project; the Binance crypto exchange was hacked, causing a loss of about $40M; Nordea launched its IBM-built we.trade blockchain platform; Facebook is ramping up its Whatsapp-based mobile payments plans, centering its efforts in London; the HKMA approved four new virtual banking licenses; and SoFi launched two new ETFs.
Twenty-two state AGs challenged the CFPB’s proposed fintech sandbox; the Senate Banking Committee is set to examine financial data collection; JPMorgan Chase introduced its own dollar-backed cryptocurrency; President Trump signed an EO setting aside federal funds for AI projects; IBM won a $700M five-year technology deal with Banco Santander; Ant confirmed its acquisition of WorldFirst; and U.K. challenger bank Starling raised £75M in Series C funding.
The House passed a bill establishing a fintech task force; the SEC rejected the Winklevoss application to list a crypto ETF on the BATS BZX exchange; Google banned cryptocurrency mining apps from its app store; the U.K. FCA tightened crowdfunding rules; the NYT looked at Figure and what it says about #MeToo in Silicon Valley; and Flywire raised $100M.