News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

glass of whiskey with gold coins

1.UK – FinTech

Altfi reports: 

 

“Concerns are growing that an Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage could one day take down more than just Netflix and Facebook. 

According to a report in the Financial Times, the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority is looking at ways of assessing the “operational resilience” of cloud computing giants that have been edging their way into the financial services sector. 

“We are looking at cloud providers from an operational resilience perspective,” a source told the FT. “Do we need to step in more, how do we get confidence in them? We are starting to consider them critical third parties that we need more oversight of.” 

Of the UK challenger banks, Monzo and Starling are both held up as case studies by AWS, while Revolut is using Google Cloud for its cloud banking services and Microsoft Azure also has a growing number of financial services customers. 

Reliance on these tech giants is even more acute further down the stack, with cloud banking providers like Thought Machine and Mambu relying on AWS for their services, which are in turn used by dozens of smaller fintechs. 

The PRA has been engaging with banks and other regulated firms on their use of cloud-based services for a number of years.” 

2. International – FinTech 

 

Finextra reports: 


“Qonto, the French scaleup offering a business account to European SMEs, has achieved a €4.4 billion valuation on a €486 million Series D funding round 

Founded in 2017 by Steve Anavi and Alexandre Prot, Qonto serves more than 220,000 clients in four countries - France, Germany, Italy and Spain - and employs more than 500 staff in Paris, Berlin, Milan and Barcelona.

The company offers a one-stop shop for SME and freelance business finance, from everyday banking and financing to bookkeeping and spend management

The latest round is jointly led by new investors Tiger Global and TCV, joining current backers Valar, Alven, DST Global and Tencent. Since its creation, Qonto has raised a total of €622 million.” 

 

 

3. International – FinTech 

 

The Fintech Times runs a piece calling for FinTechs to embrace “radical transparency”. 

 

“The Fintech torch passed in 2021 from OGs like Block and Marqeta to crypto trailblazers like OpenSea and Coinbase and BNPL leaders like Klarna and Afterpay. The transition, while smooth, came with some drawbacks. The changing of the guard brought a new level of scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where legislators struggled to understand new payment instruments and digital assets. 

The questions asked in the hearings of the House Financial Services Committee are likely just the beginning. Buy Now Pay Later is a vanguard credit product, with much more innovation on the way. The enthusiasm for BNPL in 2020 and 2021 inspired a generation of Fintech entrepreneurs who are bringing new credit and lending products to market this year, facilitated by best-in-breed BaaS infrastructure and modern configurable ledgers. 

But the evolution from inflexible, opaque, and high-risk financial instruments to highly configured, transparent, and safer products is not inevitable. It was clear from the recent hearings that the industry needs to do a better job educating consumers and lawmakers about new payment instruments and new asset types. 

The lack of clarity is not confined to BNPL and crypto. A persistent haze around traditional financial services has long acted as a moat, protecting incumbents and their ageing infrastructure from upstarts.” 

 

4. International - FinTech 

 

Finextra reports: 

 

“Payments giant PayPal is "exploring" the launch of its own dollar-backed stablecoin, according to Bloomberg. 

The firm confirmed that it is investigating a possible PayPal Coin after a developer called Steve Moser found hidden code and images in its iPhone app.

The code was left over from an internal hackathon at the PayPal blockchain, crypto and digital currencies division, a spokesperson told Bloomberg.” 

 

 

5. International – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports: 


“The team at digital asset platform CoinList is introducing their first-ever NFT collection: FiatWorks. 

As noted in an update, dated January 5, 2022,  CoinList started with “a small, dedicated base of true crypto believers that supported projects like FilecoinStacksSolanaAlgorand, and more.” 

As mentioned in a blog post, this community of early adopters has “incubated and grown these projects to where they are today.” The team further noted that they are “the entrepreneurs, investors, traders, stakers, validators, miners, developers, and evangelists who are advancing blockchain technology through their activity on CoinList.” 

To honor their “most loyal” community members, CoinList has commissioned the artist and creative technologist Case Simmons who has “created a limited edition collection of 3,000 programmatically generated NFTs titled FiatWorks.” 

CoinList added that they’re working with their friends at Project Galaxy to “deliver the exclusive collection to [their] most loyal customers of 2021.” 

This is reportedly Case’s 4th NFT series, and the team couldn’t be more pleased to work cooperatively with him. His work is “held in public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Jumex Collection, Mexico City; the Me Collectors Room, Berlin and most recently the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,” the update revealed. 

The Concept 

As noted by CoinList: 

“Inspired by Seattle’s iconic Gas Works Park, abstract expressionism, and early computer generated art, FiatWorks plays with notions of homage, ruins, currencies, time, and the natural decay and evolution of money — all while nodding to the post-fiat future.” ​​​​ 

The update also mentioned that each work is “composed of around 1,000 layers that Simmons has collected, cut, and arranged in a series of image sets that are then processed through his custom algorithm.” The algorithm creates “decentralized, painterly compositions of dense imagery, at once fun and visually explosive,” the team at CoinList explained. 

Eligibility 

The FiatWorks NFT collection will “initially be released to two groups of users” including: 

  • Karma Gurus: Karma Gurus is “a group of 3,000 CoinList users that have accumulated the highest CoinList Karma score from this year’s eligible categories.” CoinList Karma is a points system that “recognizes and rewards users for contributing to token networks on CoinList through activities like staking, lending, trading, and participating in experimental offerings like the Ethereum Gas Limit Genesis on CoinList.” Please note that Karma points “accumulated from participation in CoinList hackathons, validator offerings, and token sales prior to 2021 were not included in the calculation.” 
  • CoinList Friends: 222 FiatWorks NFTs will be “allocated for friends, partners, and CoinList supporters without whom none of what we, and the token networks on CoinList, accomplished in 2021 would be possible.” 

Eligible users can “claim their NFTs as a symbol of their place in the history of crypto, and share this artwork with those who might join our mission to advance blockchain technology,” the update noted. 

For more details on this update/offers, check here.