本周，TechCrunch网站创始人Michael Arrington在一篇博文中宣布，将成立一支名为Arrington XRP Capital的对冲基金，主要用于购买加密货币资产、投资ICO及加密货币相关创企。值得注意的是，这只总额1亿美元的对冲基金并不是由美元或者比特币构成的，其主要资金来源是一种由Ripple开发的加密货币XRP。据CoinMarketCap.com统计，目前XRP已成为全球市值第四的加密货币，总额已达到115亿美元。Ripple方面表示，公司并不隶属于该对冲基金。截至目前，Arrington表示该基金已经得到了5000多万美元的资金保障，并计划于未来几周正式开始交易。
本周，瑞士信贷集团宣布购入在线借贷平台TradePlus24主要股权，并希望借此将该平台的信贷服务提供给瑞士信贷集团的中小企业客户。本轮注资由瑞士信贷旗下风投资本机构SVC Ltd,领投。就在本月初，瑞士信贷集团还曾为美国小企业在线借贷平台Kabbage提供了总额2亿美元的周转信贷额度。可以说最近欧洲替代借贷市场热潮正在逐渐兴起，比如法国在线借贷平台Lendix和Younited Credit就曾在过去两个月先后推出了新产品，并成功实现了4000万欧元的融资目标。
本周，澳大利亚消费借贷平台MoneyMe宣布收到1.2亿澳元的资产证券化信贷投资。这其中，1亿澳元来自Fortress Investment Group的全球投资经理人，另外2000万澳元则来自Evans & Partners的债券投资。据了解，MoneyMe计划利用这些资金进一步拓展业务范围、贷款产品种类以及分销渠道。MoneyMe由Clayton Howes创立，通过其在线平台提供包括个人贷款、现金贷款、在线现金预支、快速现金预支、短期贷款、即时贷款等多种信贷服务，贷款年限从1个月到3年，贷款金额从2000澳元到15,000澳元。
在本周四召开的2017年金融稳定及金融科技会议上，美联储委员会副主席Randal Quarles对加密货币的崛起发出了警告。他认为如果私人去中心化货币成长得过大，它们可对更广泛的金融系统产生"溢出效应"。 他表示，所有央行在发行其本土加密货币之前应当进行大量的审查，尤其是那些现金使用率突出的国家。此外他还指出，过快地推出央行数字货币可能会给民众带来恐慌，甚至导致经济下行。不过，Quarles还是支持数字货币成为结算过程的"安全有限目的"工具并鼓励对加密货币应用进行进一步研究。
Michael Arrington launches $100 million cryptocurrency hedge fund
Arrington, who also founded TechCrunch, announced in a blog post the formation of Arrington XRP Capital, which will buy various crypto assets, invest in initial coin offerings and, to a smaller degree, invest in crypto-related startups. In what is believed to be a first, the $100 million hedge will be denominated not by dollars or even bitcoin, but by XRP, a cryptocurrency developed by Ripple. XRP is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, according to CoinMarketCap.com, at $11.5 billion. Ripple is not affiliated with the hedge fund. Arrington said the fund has commitments for over $50 million so far, and plans to start trading in the coming weeks. (Source: Market Watch)
Credit Suisse gains majority stake in online European lender
Credit Suisse has acquired a majority stake in automated lending start up TradePlus24, with a view to offer the platform's services to its own SME customers. The Series A-1 financing round was led by SVC Ltd, a venture capital vehicle owned by Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse is also expanding its effort westward, after providing a $200m asset-backed revolving credit facility to American small business lender Kabbage earlier this month. The news comes as alternative lending in Europe appears to be hotting up, with French online lenders Lendix and Younited Credit making big moves in the last two months with the release of new products and a landmark €40m fundraise. (Source: AltFi)
MoneyMe Secures A$120M in Financing
MoneyMe, an Australian consumer lending fintech company, received an AU$120m asset-backed wholesale securitization facility. This includes $100m from global investment manager Fortress Investment Group joined with $20m of bonds issued by Evans & Partners. The company intends to use the funds to continue to expand its business reach, its loan product range, and distribution channels. Led by Clayton Howes, CEO and Co-Founder, MoneyMe provides a lending platform offering Personal, Cash, Quick Cash, Online Cash, Cash Advance, Fast Cash Advance, Short Term, Quick, Instant, Small, and Quick Personal loans. The loan period can be from 1 month for up to $2,000 or 3 years for larger amounts, up to $15,000. (Source: FINSMES)
Fed Vice Chair: Cryptocurrencies Threaten Financial Stability
Speaking at the 2017 Financial Stability and Fintech Conference on Thursday, Quarles warned against the rise of cryptocurrencies, saying private decentralized currencies could have "spillover effects" on the broader financial system if they grow too big. He also suggested "extensive reviews and consultations" before any central bank issues its own homegrown cryptocurrency, especially in nations where cash is prominently used. Rolling out such currencies too quickly could also spook residents and lead to a drop in economic activity, Quarles warned. Yet, he does support the idea of using digital currencies as "secure limited-purpose" tools for settlement processes and recommended further research into cryptocurrencies to establish use cases. (Source: CoinDesk)
Berlin-based Moeco raises $5 million from Bitfury to bring Blockchain security to IoT connected devices
Moeco, an IoT platform and hardware development startup from Berlin, today announced it received $5 million in a funding round led by the Bitfury Group - the world's largest full-service Blockchain technology company. Founded earlier this year, Moeco is working to build a global network of cells that enable users to integrate existing IoT networks, or deploy new ones, becoming their own in-house service provider. To achieve its business goals, Moeco plans to use Bitfury's Exonum, a new protocol that helps businesses move, manage and secure data and assets. Moeco enables device manufacturers to become global service providers, meaning that IoT devices will work anywhere, without limitations and the need to forge a patchwork of complicated contracts with carriers. (Source: EU-Startups)
Facebook To Eliminate Transaction Fees On Donations
Facebook announced that it has eliminated transaction fees on donations made to non-profit organizations through its platform. Facebook had been charging a 5 percent transaction fee on donations made to non-profits via its website or app. In February, a petition signed by 42,000 people demanded that the site waive the fees it charges a charity for raising $1.5 million on its website. The site will continue to charge fees on fundraisers set up by individuals, including a payment processing fee of 6.9 percent, plus 30 cents per donation. Other online fundraising sites charge transaction fees on donations of about 6 to 8 percent. Besides, the company plans to launch a software program, called Fundraisers API, that will allow users to sync their Facebook fundraisers with other fundraising pages. (Source: PYMNTS)
Brussels promises "soft touch" blockchain regulation
The European Commission is reported to approach blockchain with "acceptance and support but a healthy degree of caution". Apart from the warnings towards ICO issued last month, an EU Observatory will launch early next year to monitor the opportunities and risks of the technology, as well as identify areas where it could be put into use, such as procurement or VAT reporting. What's more, the commission will also launch a pilot project next year, focused on using blockchain for financial reporting as well as a white paper discussing the technology. (Source: CITY A.M.)
UK Government Measures For Fintech - Autumn 2017 Budget
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, included three measures in his 2017 Autumn Budget on 22 November of interest to the FinTech industry:
- Regulators' Pioneer Fund- The new ￡10 million fund is designed to help regulators to develop innovative approaches aimed at getting new products and services to market.
- Tech Nation- The Government will invest ￡21 million over the next 4 years to expand Tech City UK's reach - to become 'Tech Nation' - and support regional tech companies and start-ups. Tech Nation will roll out a dedicated sector programme for leading UK tech specialisms, including FinTech and Artificial Intelligence. Regional hubs will be located in: Cambridge, Bristol, Bath and etc.
- AI- The government plans to create a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. This advisory body is designed to work with the Government, regulators, and industry to help lay the foundations for AI adoption. The Government will also invest over ￡75 million to progress key recommendations of the independent review on AI, create new AI fellowships, and provide initial funding for 450 PhD researchers.