Top 10 Fintech News Stories for the Week Ending Feb. 19, 2022

This busy week in fintech news was led by BlockFi with the announcement of a settlement with the SEC and states. We also had crypto firms at the Superbowl, bank-fintech partnership news, JPMorgan entering the metaverse and Circle renegotiating their SPAC to more favorable terms. Here are what I consider to be the top ten fintech news stories of the past week.

BlockFi to Pay Record Penalty to Settle SEC Probe of Crypto Lending Business from The Wall Street Journal – After months of posturing by regulators, BlockFi now has clarity on a path forward. They have to pay $50 million to the SEC as well as $50 million to state regulators and they will have to register their interest accounts with the SEC.

Cryptocurrency’s big Super Bowl ads sold FOMO, not the future from The Verge – Last weekend’s Superbowl saw a flurry of crypto ads, the most memorable being Coinbase’s plain QR code ad. In the 60 seconds the QR code was bouncing around TV screens Coinbase saw 20 million people scan the code, crashing their website in the process.

Bank-fintech partnerships win key battle, but war is far from over from American Banker – There was a ruling in California recently that was a win for fintech lenders using partner banks. But clouds are looming on the horizon as advocacy groups want to see all high-interest loans eliminated (I think that would be a terrible thing for consumers).

JPMorgan Opens A Bank Branch In The Metaverse (But It’s Not What You Think It’s For) from Forbes – JPMorgan became the first big bank to have a presence in the metaverse when they opened a branch in Decentraland this week. There is not much to do there and it was pretty empty but the country’s largest bank has put a virtual stake in the ground.

Cryptocurrency firm Circle doubles valuation to $9 bln in tweaked SPAC deal from Reuters – Circle announced a SPAC deal last year that valued the company at $4.5 billion. That deal, with the same sponsor, has now been reworked to reflect double the valuation, as money keeps flowing into the USDC stablecoin.

Marqeta and Plaid are teaming up. It’s a sign that fintech is maturing. from protocol – The two fintech pioneers are partnering to make ACH payments quicker and easier. This will mean that Marqeta cardholders will now be able to connect their bank account to fund their new debit cards instantly.

NYSE Wants to Be Marketplace for NFTs Just Like With Stocks from Bloomberg – The New York Stock Exchange has filed an application with the Patent and Trademark Office for a financial exchange for cryptocurrencies and NFTs, although the NYSE said there are no immediate plans to launch anything.

With Fintech Stocks Down 40%, Chime Delays Its IPO from Forbes – Chime had been targeting a March IPO at a valuation of between $35 and $45 billion but given the current market conditions has decided to delay until the second half of the year.

Crypto-curious consumers would prefer to hold with banks: Survey from LendIt Fintech News – A recent survey conducted by EY showed that 80% of consumers would prefer to hold their crypto with a bank given that option.

Buyout firm Madison Dearborn to take MoneyGram private in $1.8 billion deal from Reuters – A private equity firm is looking to take MoneyGram private picking up the struggling money transfer platform for $1.8 billion. MoneyGram has 150 million customers but nearly $800 million in debt.

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