Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (08/06/2020)

The Central Bank of the Bahamas Sand Dollar is reportedly expected to be available nationwide in October. Governor Rolle reportedly said that the central bank is “currently working behind the scenes to complete the integration of the infrastructure with the rest of the banking system, in terms of connectivity with deposit accounts, and there is also focus on addressing the assessment of the security of the infrastructure in terms of the resilience of the infrastructure against cyber attacks and other mishaps.” Between money transmission businesses and entities licensed under the Payment System Act there are nine entities that can provide digital payment services. 
Fintech funding rebounded in Q2 2020 but deal activity continues to fall. Funding increased 17% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to $9.3B in Q2. However, monthly deal activity hit a fresh low of 127 deals in April before picking up the pace in June, which saw 141 deals. Quarterly deal activity continued its steady decline that began pre-pandemic in Q4 2019, potentially indicating the presence of other headwinds in addition to Covid-19. Fintech mega-rounds ($100M+) hit a new quarterly high of 28 as the largest companies in the space raised additional funding. M&A activity is concentrated within payments/banking infrastructure and wealthtech. Sofi’s acquisition of Galileo and Mastercard’s acquisition of Finicitydemonstrate the rush to own banking and payments infrastructure software. Wealthtechhad an especially active quarter with the acquisitions of Personal Capital by Empower Retirement, Folio by Goldman Sachs, and Advisor Engine by Franklin Templeton. 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced measures targeted to boost digital payments, enhance the scope of priority sector lending, and drive innovation in the broader financial ecosystem. The central bank will soon roll out several of these projects targeted primarily to overcome the impediments faced by a large part of the country in accessing financial services due to digital and technology disparity seen across districts. For example, In order to further promote and facilitate an environment that can accelerate innovation across the financial sector, Reserve Bank will set up an Innovation Hub in India. A scheme of retail payments in offline mode using cards and mobile devices, and a system of on online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanism for digital payments will also be introduced.  
This Bank of Canada study examines how the pandemic has influenced the demand for and use of cash using data from its Bank Note Distribution System. These data show that the value of notes in circulation grew sharply in March and April. Part of the increase reflects precautionary steps taken by financial institutions to increase their cash inventories during the pandemic, given concerns about possible disruptions to cash transportation services, and to reduce the risk of cash stockouts from potential customer demand. The flow of cash deposits from retailers to financial institutions, which would typically help replenish institutions’ note inventories, was disrupted during the pandemic. As a result, financial institutions compensated for this shortfall by drawing cash from the Bank of Canada.