News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

horse in a party hat, pretending to be a unicorn

1.UK – FinTech

 Altfi reports: 


“The demise of the bricks and mortar bank branch looks closer than ever, as Revolut reports a 215 per cent uptick in over 55-year-olds users, signalling a new age of ‘silver swipers’.    

Revolut’s data show that the number of transactions by UK users aged 55-74 has quadrupled, while the amount spent has increased by 470 per cent since 2020. 

With 85 per cent of the UK population now owning a smartphone, according to Ofcom, older customers are enjoying the accessibility of financial apps and opting to use fintech services to purchase items and services online and in store. 

As travel gradually returns too, retirees are opting to use Revolut to avoid hidden fees abroad. Revolut reports that the 55-64 UK age group has seen a tenfold increase in the amount spent in foreign countries over the past two years, and the 64-75 age group isn’t far behind, registering an 840 per cent increase. Revolut says volumes are just increasing as countries reopen borders. 

After decades of relying on traditional banks, married retirees Paul (56) and Lynn (61), opted to use Revolut's services on a road trip around Europe.” 

2. International – FinTech 

Altfi reports: 

“It may be the start of the Crypto Winter, but innovators in the space have plenty in their coffers. 

Funding for blockchain startups hit a record of $9.2bn in the first three months of 2022, according to data from CB Insights. 

Compared with the same period in 2021 when $3.6bn was raised by blockchain-focused startups, the figure represents a growth rate of more than 250 per cent in 12 months. 

Venture funding for blockchain startups, which incorporates companies using blockchains across NFTs, DeFi and Web3 and other uses, has now grown every quarter for the past two years.   

NFTs were the most popular category for blockchain startups for the first time ever with $2.4bn raised in the three month period, representing more than a quarter (26 per cent) of total blockchain funding. 

The two most valuable new unicorns also came from the NFT category: Yuga Labs and Immutable. 

Yuga Labs, which owns the three largest brands in the NFT market: Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks and Meebits, raised $450m in funding at a $4bn valuation in March of 2022. 

Australia based Immutable meanwhile raised $200m at a $2.5bn valuation in March round led by Temasek. 

The blockchain unicorn count, the number of companies with a private valuation of at least $1bn, has reached 62. Nearly thirds (63 per cent) of the funding went to US-based startups. 

Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands was the most active investor in the first quarter of 2022 overall as it was in the last three months of 2021. Its focus has mainly been on gaming, NFTs, and the metaverse. Coinbase Ventures was the 2nd most active investor, followed by Pantera Capital.” 


3. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Barclays and Goldman Sachs have joined in a $70 million funding round in Elwood Technologies, the intsitutional-grade digital asset platform founded by British hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard. 

The round was co-led by Europe's largest B2B investor Dawn Capital and Goldman Sachs, with participation from Barclays, BlockFi Ventures, Chimera Ventures, CommerzVentures, Digital Currency Group, Flow Traders and Galaxy Digital Ventures.

Elwood's end-to-end OMS/EMS/PMS platform provides low-latency connectivity to global crypto exchanges and deep liquidity via one single API. Full reporting and analytics and dedicated customer support round out the package.

James Stickland, CEO of Elwood Technologies, comments: "The rich mix of investors participating in this raise reaffirms the movement of financial institutions working closely with their native digital asset technology providers. Together, we aim to provide broader mass market involvement in digital assets and cryptocurrency. We look forward to working with our investors to further enhance our offerings and broaden their market adoption."

Forecasts by Goldman Sachs' analysts in January that a single bitcoin could hit a $100,000 valuation now look overcooked in the current crypto market rout. Despite the market setbacks, the bank remains confident that insitutional demand for digital asset investments will continue to grow.” 


4. International – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports: 


“The European Banking Authority (EBA) has posted the “final technical standards” pertaining to European crowdfunding platforms. 

The release of the standards has long been anticipated and is affiliated with the European Union enacting pan-European securities crowdfunding rules. New regulatory standards were revealed in November of 2021, following years of negotiation with industry leaders, that allow for issuers to raise capital online across all European member states. The EBA’s “final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS)” addresses some of the questions that arose during the implementation of the new European Crowdfunding Service Providers Regulation (ECSPR).” 


5. International – FinTech 

Altfi reports: 

“Continuing the trend of European fintechs looking towards crowdfunding when it comes to investment, “Europe’s easiest bitcoin app” has reached almost €1m on Crowdcube in the site’s first raise for a regulated bitcoin startup. 

After a private raise of €1.2m, with backers including returning N26 investor Redalpine for a second time, the co-founders of the Swiss fintech, Julian Liniger and Adem Bilican, turned to the crowdfunding platform. 

Relai’s 29-year-old CEO Liniger spoke to AltFi about the company’s vision to get a bit of bitcoin into everybody’s pocket, its community-centric nature and the vision to set up a card that allows users to earn interest and cashback in bitcoin. 

“Bitcoin itself is very decentralised and community-centric. So are we as a startup,” he said. 

“So it's always a dream of ours to enable as many people as possible to invest and become shareholders in our startup.” 

Though there are tens of thousands of cryptocurrencies available, Relai only uses bitcoin.”