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

Lots of crypto-related news this week with a huge round from ConsenSys, the EU taking legislative action and everyone wondering what Apple has planned when it comes to crypto. There was also news from the CFPB on BNPL, a new AML passport for DeFi and more. Here are what I consider to be the top ten fintech news stories of the past week.

Microsoft dives into Web3 with investment in Ethereum co-founder’s start-up ConsenSys from CNBC – Blockchain leader ConsenSys has raised $450 million from the likes of Microsoft, SoftBank and Temasek that values the company at $7 billion.

The EU voted not to ban bitcoin from Protocol – The European Parliament this week voted to advance what is known as the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation, omitting the ban on proof of work that would have effectively banned bitcoin from the region.

Apple Is Crypto’s Biggest Wild Card from Bloomberg – It is interesting to me that the world’s largest tech company has all but ignored crypto to date. But as the author acknowledges, with more than one billion iPhone users Apple could easily provide a user-friendly way to onboard users to the crypto economy. Which could bring more new customers to the iPhone.

CFPB urged to act quickly on buy now/pay later loans from American Banker – The CFPB began an inquiry into the BNPL industry in December. With public comments set to close next week, the CFPB could quickly provide a report on what they want to do here.

Quadrata launches data passport for AML in DeFi from LendIt Fintech News – One of the knocks on DeFi is that is completely anonymous and there is no easy way to do KYC or AML checks. Startup Quadrata is looking to change that, working with Spring Labs and TransUnion to create a non-tradeable NFT that will represent KYC information.

Andreessen, Eldridge Value Cross River Bank at Over $3 Billion from Bloomberg – Cross River Bank continues to lead all fintech-centric banks and this week it was reported that the company is close to a deal to raise more than $600 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Eldridge Industries and T. Rowe Price at greater than a $3 billion valuation.

OppFi Asks for Injunction on Loan Interest Rates Caps from PYMNTS.com – Last year both the FDIC and OCC reaffirmed the “valid when made” doctrine for loans originated by banks and sold to fintechs. Recently California lost its lawsuit against the FDIC challenging this, so now OppFi is going after California on their state interest rate caps.

ClearBank, a UK banking rails provider, raises $230M from Apax to expand into Europe and the US from TechCrunch – ClearBank made a name for themselves in 2016 when they became the first new clearing bank in the UK in 250 years and now they are setting their sights on international expansion. The company has raised £175 million from PE firm Apax Partners to enable this expansion.

Green Dot, Plaid will provide financial services to underbanked from American Banker – Green Dot serves many underbanked consumers through 90,000 retail locations including Walmart stores. Now, they are partnering with Plaid to make it easier for their customers to access fintech services.

American Express has Reportedly Filed Trademark Applications to Register Services in the Metaverse from Crowdfund Insider – This week it was revealed that American Express has filed seven trademark applications for banking services in the metaverse including NFT authentication, virtual payments and other crypto services.

Every Thursday, the LendIt Fintech News team and a special guest discuss the news of the week live on LendIt TV, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We have now made the show available in podcast format – click on the audio player below.

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