Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

Apple’s all-in approach to buy now, pay later (BNPL) is viewed as an indicator of the company’s increased emphasis on financial services. Apple Pay has been around since 2014, and three years ago the tech giant issued a credit card with the help of Goldman Sachs. Now, Apple Pay users will be able to avail themselves of the new Apple Pay Later. A subsidiary of the Cupertino-based iPhone firm has received the necessary licenses to launch the new financial offering in most U.S. states. Apple’s initial plans are to underwrite and fund loans capped at $1,000. Continue reading Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Wall Street is warming up to cryptocurrencies. Large banks and other financial institutions have been staffing departments ready to serve clients’ blockchain needs. Hedge funds and professional investment outfits led the way, with many mutual funds and pension managers now following along, lest they be perceived as out of touch. Some say the involvement of traditional investment sectors could add some stability to the often-volatile crypto markets, whose ongoing viability is hardly assured. Although Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks it is, predicting that at least one billion people will have tried crypto within a decade. Continue reading Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Washington policymakers have identified stablecoins as the initial target for stricter cryptocurrency regulation. Stablecoins — which are backed by a reserve asset — are booming due to investors using them to trade among other cryptocurrencies. The stablecoin sector grew by about 500 percent in the 12-month period ending October 31, according to a report issued by the Biden administration. While there are four basic types of stablecoin, the ones collateralized by fiat currency — and specifically the U.S. dollar — is by far the most popular. A bipartisan effort exists to create safeguards ensuring one stablecoin is expeditiously redeemable for one dollar. Continue reading U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Apple Explores Greater Role in Consumer Financial Services

Apple is exploring various financial technologies for future products that would reduce the company’s reliance on third-party products over time, reports say. Payment processing, lender risk assessment, consumer credit reports, dispute mediation and fraud analysis are among the areas Apple is looking into, according to those who claim knowledge of the situation. The move would build Apple’s profile in a category that currently includes Apple Wallet, branded credit cards, peer-to-peer payments and a merchant app involving iPhones. As previously reported, Apple is also working a subscription hardware model and further enhancements to Apple Pay. Continue reading Apple Explores Greater Role in Consumer Financial Services

JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Investment banking firm JPMorgan Chase is betting on the metaverse, which it predicts “will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues.” The company has opened a virtual branch in Decentraland, a browser-based 3D world to coincide with publication of the 18-page “Opportunities in the Metaverse” report by Onyx, the blockchain division the bank launched in 2020. Although it’s the first bank known to open a branch in the metaverse, JPMorgan is just the latest of numerous businesses to plant its flag. Continue reading JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

As cryptocurrencies undergo explosive growth with little federal oversight, the Treasury Department is asking Congress for more power to regulate stablecoins due to their perceived danger of triggering a run on funds, according to a report by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. Treasury is asking that those issuing stablecoins be subject to the same requirements under which banks and other traditional financial institutions operate, which would require the crypto’s brokers to maintain sufficient reserves to compensate customers who want to cash out quickly. Continue reading Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

PayPal Launches Super App for Consumer Financial Services

PayPal has begun rolling out its new app, designed as a one-stop financial services tool capable of handling everything from direct deposit and automatic payments to peer-to-peer transactions, shopping and crypto capabilities. In addition, the company has announced PayPal Savings, offering high-yield accounts in partnership with Synchrony Bank. Shifting paychecks to PayPal is seen as a big step that can centralize consumer financial chores through the service, making it competitive with neobanks like Chime and Varo. PayPal now links to 17,000 billers including utilities and credit card firms. Continue reading PayPal Launches Super App for Consumer Financial Services

Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Global firms such as Amazon, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and Walmart are cutting out traditional financial institutions in favor of financial technology, or “fintech” — startups offering everything from banking and credit to insurance. Embedded finance, a term for companies integrating software to offer services like “buy now pay later” at check out, are poised to disrupt the status quo, according to Reuters, which reports that while “banks are still behind most of the transactions,” analysts are warning that as they “get pushed further away from the front end of the finance chain” they’ll be frozen out of lucrative consumer data mining. Continue reading Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Amidst political turmoil and economic struggle, El Salvador has announced it is adopting Bitcoin as its national currency, becoming the first country in the world to do so. But things got off to a rough start this week as the Bitcoin e-wallet went offline for several hours as consumer download demand overwhelmed government servers. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the country will spend more than $225 million to launch Bitcoin. Global Bitcoin enthusiasts supported the initiative by buying $30 of Bitcoin, but that didn’t prevent the currency from declining 9.9 percent Tuesday evening. Continue reading El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, announced a proposal yesterday to create a European Digital Identity system that would “be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU.” The goal is to enable citizens who are interested “to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone.” In addition, these citizens would “be able to access online services with their national digital identification,” that would be recognized throughout European Union’s Member States. Continue reading European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

CES: Industry Experts Discuss the Cryptocurrency Landscape

Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs convened in early December to record The Cryptocurrency Landscape session that CES 2021 released today. Panelists discussed how Wyoming has established legal and regulatory protocols for Bitcoin to make cryptocurrency activities compatible with existing banking regulations. They also discussed how institutions and businesses are getting more comfortable with cryptocurrency investments, how online payment services such as PayPal and Venmo have added Bitcoin to their transaction options, and how cryptocurrency’s provable scarcity makes it more attractive to investors and the general public as countries issue more currency to prop up their economies during the COVID shutdown. Continue reading CES: Industry Experts Discuss the Cryptocurrency Landscape

Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Google is relaunching its Google Pay digital wallet and online payment system for Android and iOS with a raft of new features including the ability to connect to the user’s bank account for a searchable overview of finances. The company also plans to partner with banks in 2021 to offer its Plex, an online checking and savings account within the app. This more fully-featured Google Pay can now serve as a direct competitor to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo and other apps and services, as well as an online bank such as Ally. Continue reading Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

TikTok Popularity Surge Continues as U.S. Ultimatum Looms

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for more time to work out the preliminary deal to sell its U.S. operations to Oracle and Walmart. November 12 is the deadline for the deal to be completed. The company also stated it had been in discussions with the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), but “feedback had stopped” in recent weeks despite the approaching deadline. App Annie reports that TikTok’s substantial growth is expected to continue throughout 2021. Continue reading TikTok Popularity Surge Continues as U.S. Ultimatum Looms

Chinese Regulators Suspend Ant IPO, Legislate New Hurdles

China put a halt to Ant Group’s two initial public offerings, leaving investors, employees and shareholders in a state of shock. The IPOs, described as “heavily oversubscribed,” was expected to raise at least $334.4 billion. The first inkling that things were going off the rails came Wednesday when some investors were informed their orders were canceled and monies would be refunded. The Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended the scheduled November 5 IPO, saying Ant might not be in compliance with new fintech regulations. Continue reading Chinese Regulators Suspend Ant IPO, Legislate New Hurdles

Alibaba Spinoff Ant Group Preps for a Record $34 Billion IPO

With the goal of disrupting the banking business in China and making it easier for small businesses to get loans, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma created Ant Group. Now, the Alibaba spinoff is set to raise $34 billion by selling shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai in what is expected to be the largest initial public offering (IPO) on record. After the IPO, the company will be worth around $310 billion. At its size, Ant is a target for Chinese regulators at the same time that some government funds are Ant shareholders. Continue reading Alibaba Spinoff Ant Group Preps for a Record $34 Billion IPO