Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (11/03/2020)

Ant Group’s record-breaking IPO has been suspended

Ant Group has called a halt on its huge initial public offering (IPO), delaying the November 5 debut on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges, less than 48 hours before the highly anticipated start of trading. A meeting earlier this week between Ant Group’s senior executives and China’s top financial regulators led to “significant change” to Ant’s business environment, which may result in the fintech company not fulfilling the listing requirements or disclosure rules of the exchange, according to Ant Group’s statement to the Shanghai bourse operator. 

PayPal crypto services to go global early 2021, support for CBDCs coming

Senior Paypal executives revealed further details about its plans to aggressively push into the crypto sector next year during the firm’s Q3 2020 earnings call, including plans to support central bank digital currency (CBDC). PayPal’s chief executive said that through its scale and prominence, the company will “help shape the utility of CBDCs” including facilitating interoperability with existing payment rails and fostering acceptance among merchants. Shulman also described the legacy financial system as “not working” for many ordinary people. 

Mastercard President Says Crypto Patents Will Pay Off When Central Bank Digital Currencies Arrive

Mastercard President Michael Miebach said the payments processor’s massive trove of cryptocurrency patents will give it an edge once central bank digital currency (CBDC) debuts, during the firm’s Q3 2020 earnings call. “The link into an acceptance network is critical” for a CBDC, he said. “So we hold some patents in [the crypto] space that link these transactions right back into our network where it can be used. And this is how we can bring value, and it brings value to us.” 

Regulators speed up fintech plans as Covid spreads

Regulators across 114 jurisdictions have reacted to the spread of coronavirus by speeding up the pace of fintech rulemaking, according to new research from the World Bank and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. 72% said they had accelerated or introduced new initiatives on digital infrastructure, while 58% said they had accelerated or introduced new measures to support Regech and SupTech. While only 17% of officials surveyed in advanced economies said that fintech was now a higher priority due to coronavirus, in emerging markets and developing economies, that proportion rose to 64%. 

Hong Kong to reconfigure licencing regime for crypto assets

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) will propose a new regime on licensing for virtual assets by end-2020. It will require all platforms that trade any types of crypto assets, including both operating in Hong Kong and targeting Hong Kong investors, to apply an SFC license. Under the current legislative framework if a platform operator wants to operate completely off the regulatory radar it can do so simply by ensuring that its traded crypto-assets are not within the legal definition of a security.  Also crypto-asset platform operators would only be allowed to serve professional investors. 

CBUAE issues new regulation to support development of digital payment services

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) issued a new regulation on Stored Value Facilities (SVFs). The CBUAE aims to facilitate Fintech firms and other non-bank payment service providers easier access to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market while continuing to safeguard the customers’ funds, ensure proper business conduct and support the development of payment products and services. The scope of this regulation includes licencing, supervision and enforcement provisions applicable to the companies, which are licenced to provide SVF.