1.UK – FinTech
“Revolut is to allow customers to transfer their bitcoin holdings to wallets outside the superapp's ecosystem, adressing a long-standing gripe about the company's walled garden approach to crypto trading.
The beta rollout of BTC withdrawals addresses a number of sticking points in Revolut's embrace of cryptocurrencies, which prevented customers from transferring their holdings to other users or storing the cryptocash anywhere other than their Revolut account.
To begin with, Revolut will give exclusive access to UK Metal premium customers. They will be able to add three external addresses and withdraw up to £500 a day and £1,000 a month.
Nik Storonsky, founder and CEO at Revolut, says: “Crypto withdrawals have been a heavily requested feature within Revolut’s crypto community and we’re delighted that we can begin the gradual process of rolling it out. Customers can lock down wherever they feel safest - whether it’s Revolut, into hot or cold storage, or to another exchange.”
Last month, Revolut added 11 new cryptocurrency tokens to the app, brining the total number of coins available for customers to trade to 20.”
2. UK - FinTech
“Business banking platform Tide is today launching a new tool to help SMEs get paid on time.
The Invoice Assistant allows small businesses to chase down late invoices automatically, insure against non-payment, set up direct debits and notify them when they get paid.
As it stands, small business owners waste one and a half hours every day chasing down late invoices, but with Tide’s new tool invoices will get paid at least four days earlier thanks to the automatic chasing feature.
“The Tide Invoice Assistant tackles a number of pain points experienced by small businesses—most importantly, automating manual and time-consuming processes and giving reassurance that they will be paid promptly,” Alastair Travis, VP of business services at Tide said.
“The automatic chasing feature is a particularly important addition to the Tide platform, with small business owners often feeling uncomfortable chasing their clients for payment, an automated email allows a degree separation from the personal relationship and helps keep cash flow on track.”
Tide is planning to roll out the new tool to its customers in mid-May and it will cost roughly £10 per month and is an add-on to the free invoice raising service currently offered to all Tide customers.”
3. US – FinTech
“Fintech giant FIS has invested in cryptocurrency technology firm NYDIG as part of a wider deal that sees the pair offer banks the ability to let their customers buy, sell and hold bitcoin.
Despite the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, consumers and businesses usually still need to go outside of their traditional banking relationship if they want to buy bitcoin.
Now, banks can use FIS Digital One Mobile technology to provide bitcoin services within their apps. NYDIG will provide the secure custodial and trading platform for managing the bitcoin transactions.
Rob Lee, head, global core banking and channels, FIS, says: “As demand for bitcoin as a store of value continues to grow, FIS is focused on enabling our core banking clients to respond to growing market demand and better serve their customers.”
4. US – FinTech
Crowdfundinsider runs a feature interview on the potenetial impact of commercial tokens with Kyle Sonlin, CEO at Security Token Market (STM), which is focused on supporting the nascent blockchain-based security tokens space.
“Sonlin explained how the global financial system is evolving rapidly and how security tokens can help streamline many traditional business processes.
Sonlin noted that technology has allowed us to connect people from across the globe via user-friendly social media apps and other Internet platforms. However, we need to do the same now with financial services. Sonlin also commented on how blockchain-powered platforms including security tokens can help us implement solutions that can allow people anywhere to conduct trades seamlessly.
Crowdfund Insider: What impact do you expect security tokens to have on the capital markets this year and in the coming years?
Kyle Sonlin: Security tokens have the ability to improve our existing capital markets while also expanding our financial ecosystem past traditional jurisdictional constraints. Through smart contract integration, we can automate much of the compliance requirements required by local and foreign regulators, establishing a permanent record of asset transfer that will result in cheaper and quicker investment and trading, creating a much more efficient market. This will be undeniable for the traditional financial institutions, who embrace new technologies that can reduce operating costs at this scale.
But even bigger than that is the impact that security tokens will have on the global financial system, which has never before seen a paradigm shift at this scale. In the traditional public markets, stocks and bonds are rarely traded on an international level – instead, investors are forced to trade on fragmented markets segmented by region. With security tokens, investment vehicles are standardized to allow investors anywhere around the world to exchange with each other.
That means stocks, real estate, art, and thousands of other use cases can now be accessed by investors worldwide. On the flip side, for the first time, many investors outside of the US can now buy and trade USD-denominated assets, like cash flow positive rental properties or dividend-paying equities. For countries with less stable currencies and more volatile stock markets, this access to more reliable US assets unlocks true investment equality and more efficient economic mobility.
Crowdfund Insider: Your colleague Jonah has mentioned that security tokens have the potential to capture a larger market share than Bitcoin’s market cap. Do you think they will be a trillion-dollar market someday and what would be the main use cases?
Kyle Sonlin: I see tokenization technology as the back-end infrastructure that will transform our capital markets. In this way, I don’t believe there are any investment assets that would not benefit from smart contract automation and blockchain-based cap table management. To calculate the opportunity size using this thesis, look no further than the total market cap of equities, debt, and real estate – the three largest asset classes worldwide.
Any of these three verticals has a market cap of well over $100T+, which easily clears the mark, and then some! With multiple tech stocks over the $1T market cap in the public markets already, it seems inevitable for the next generation of innovative businesses to leverage security tokens, opening the floodgates for others to follow suit. Real estate seems to be the use case that may be adopted quickest, as the incentive for the asset owners is currently so high.
As an incredibly illiquid asset with tremendous compliance costs, this use case is primed for disruption. We just recently broke down the tokenized real estate use case on the Security Token Show Episode 91, so check it out on YouTube to learn more about that concept.
Debt is a very interesting use case as well that, like real estate, is not currently traded in an efficient manner. Much of the debt markets are still traded over-the-counter, and are not valued very efficiently due to a lack of financial transparency.
Tokenized portfolios and assets will allow for much easier auditing and valuations for these assets that will not only increase interest, but will prevent fraud like we’ve seen in past decades by creating fully transparent loan terms and bundles. Securitizations that leverage blockchain technology can unlock additional diversity in the debt markets but requires the highest standard of information fidelity to ensure the asset is properly accounting for default risk and other risk factors.
Crowdfund Insider: Tokenization of real-world assets is becoming more popular. How important of a role do you see this being in a digital economy?
Kyle Sonlin: I think it’s essential for the digital economy we’ve cultivated over the past 15 years. Most of the fintech solutions we see on the market today (Robinhood, Plaid, Square, etc) are front-end solutions. They essentially provide a great user experience but are still navigating through antiquated processes established by the banking and financial cohort decades ago. The settlement and clearing process that we still use (T+2 must go!) makes absolutely no sense in today’s climate of high-frequency trading, where thousands of trades are processed every millisecond.
We need to embrace the technology on the back-end as well, which will allow for a much more seamless process, removing the risks of trade freezes and other market quirks like we saw with dozens of stocks during the GameStop fiasco earlier this year.
On top of that, it makes no sense to me that someone living in a different country can go to the grocery store and buy Coca Cola, but they cannot buy the stock. Regional stock markets should not exist in a world where everyone logs into the same Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. With the apps and websites on our phones and computers, we have connected the world socially, but haven’t yet been able to fully connect the world financially.
Security tokens are the solution that fully connects our digital world. As long as an investor is qualified to purchase and own the asset, there should be no friction for them to do so. This creates a much fairer system that provides the same opportunity for financial independence for everyone worldwide, while also creating a much more liquid market for existing asset owners and investors. With a new influx of capital into in-demand assets, investors will see bigger gains, easier exit potential, and more opportunity for success, regardless of where you’re trading from.”
5. International – FinTech
“Toronto-based fintech-focused venture capital firm Information Venture Partners has closed its third fund at US$101 million.
Spearheaded by former Royal Bank of Canada executives, Information VP focuses on four areas: companies selling exclusively to banks, insurers, capital markets and asset managers, as well as horizontal SaaS companies selling to financial institutions, and finally cybersecurity and financial software.
The new fund has backing from a host of institutional fund of fund investors and four of Canada’s six largest banks.
Dave Unsworth, general partner, Information VP, says: “Looking to the future, we remain very optimistic about our core investment thesis areas and we’re grateful for the confidence investors and entrepreneurs have placed in us and we will continue to work diligently to scale businesses as we emerge from this once-in-a-generation pandemic.”