Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (03/03/2021)*

According to Messari’s Ryan Watkins, last week the total market capitalization of stablecoins surpassed $50 billion as users continue to demand stable means of storing and transferring value on public blockchains. 

Aon to to run crypto-insurance pilot

Aon, via insurtech platform Nayms that supports cryptocurrency investors in insuring crypto-risk, is conducting a pilot with Teller Finance, a decentralized lending protocol, to highlight the ability to scale cover efficiently by matching assets to liabilities when underwriting crypto-specific risk. The underwriter for the contract will be Relm Insurance Ltd, a Bermudian specialist insurer. The pilot will mark the first tokenised, or blockchain-enabled, placement of insurance ever conducted with regulated, professional insurance entities. 

PayPal Bids $500 Million to Acquire Crypto Startup Curv: Report

PayPal is considering acquiring startup Curv, which offers secure storage for crypto-assets. The two-year-old startup promotes its multi-party computation (MPC) security technology, which includes hot and cold wallet deployment, and keyless security infrastructure backed by a team of cryptographers and cybersecurity experts. 

Canadian firm planning to convert its Bitcoin trust to an ETF

Less than two months after launching trading for shares of its Bitcoin trust, Canada-based investment manager Ninepoint Partners is planning to change its offering to an exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 

New UK £100 contactless spending limit more than doubled

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that he would be more than doubling the current contactless spending limit from £45 per transaction to £100. 

Card firms trampling all over US interchange reforms

Regulators around the world have saved merchants an estimated $82 billion a year by putting limits on interchange, the main fee charged when a card is used. But the estimated $9.4 billion a year saved when the Federal Reserve capped U.S. debit card fees in 2011 represents only 11.5 percent of the total even though the United States accounts for a quarter of global card transactions. Interchange for debit cards from the nation’s largest banks was cut roughly in half by the cap and is now limited to 21 cents per transaction plus 0.05 percent. But debit cards from banks with under $10 billion in assets were exempted, and interchange for those cards still averages around 50 cents per transaction. Credit card interchange was also exempted and currently averages 2.25 percent with no cap, making up 80 percent of total U.S. card processing fees. 

* The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to the International Monetary Fund, its Executive Board or its management.