Tweet of the week 🦉🏆
A short but sweet newsletter this week as there was a public holiday in both the US and UK yesterday. Whilst in the UK the spring bank holiday is simply a day off work/school, in the US it is Memorial Day, a federal holiday to honour and mourn the military personnel who have died performing their duties.
Thank you all for your service.
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” - Winston Churchill
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There were 67 deals in the fintech space across the US and Europe since my last newsletter with total investment of $1.35bn. Some highlights are below.
🇪🇺 Fraudio raised a $3.3m seed round from BiG Start Ventures and BYND Venture Capital.
🇬🇧 Paysend raised a $125m Series B led by One Peak Partners and included Plug & Play, Infravia Capital and Hermes GPE.
🇬🇧 Curve set the largest ever equity fundraise on Crowdcube, raising £9.9m from nearly 12,000 investors.
🇺🇸 Resolve, a B2B BNPL company spun out of Affirm, raised $60m in a round led by Initialized Capital and included Clocktower, Commerce Ventures and Affirm.
🇺🇸 Stavvy raised $40m Series A led by Morningside Technology Ventures and included Alumni Ventures Group.
🇺🇸 RevenueCat raised $40m Series B led by Y Combinator and included Index Ventures.
🇺🇸 Acorns is to go public via a SPAC at a $2.2bn valuation.
🇺🇸 Circle, the company behind USDC stablecoin, raised $440m from Digital Currency Group, Fidelity, FTX, Pillar VC, Valor Capital and others.
Challenger Banking 🚀
🇬🇧 Revolut continue their product rollout, adding invoice creation to its Business accounts.
🇬🇧 Chip launched its investment platform with funds from BlackRock’s Consensus range
🇺🇸 Square is rumoured to be launching checking and savings accounts for SMBs.
🙌🏻 FATP Take - This is a logical next step for the company and its “Seller” ecosystem as it seeks to sink its hooks deeper into SMBs. It already provides payment solutions, lending and payroll solutions and with its recent approval to start a bank this is an unsurprising move.
Digital Assets ₿
🇺🇸 Coinbase is launching Fact Check, their efforts to combat misinformation about the crypto space and Coinbase itself.
🇺🇸 UC Berkeley is auctioning off two NFTs of Nobel Prize-winning inventions to fund research. Congrats to everyone involved!
🌍. In a positive sign during a tough market for crypto, Glassnode reported long-term holder Bitcoin addresses have been buying the dip. Chainalysis also reported big bitcoin whales did the same.
🌍. China is clamping down on cryptocurrency mining with new proposals for punishments for miners and those providing resources to miners such as revoking business licenses, bans from power trading schemes or shutting businesses. Minutes from China’s Financial Stability Development Committee also mentioned a crackdown.
🌍. Uniswap is set to deploy its exchange on Arbitrum, a second layer scaling solution built on top of Ethereum that uses a sidechain to process transactions and batch settles them onto the main blockchain. Cheaper fees should please customers!
Fintech Infrastructure 🚧
🇬🇧 TrueLayer signed up HeyTrade for its Payment Initiation product, allowing HeyTrade’s customers to instantly and easily fund their accounts in-app. Wealthify has partnered with Tink for the same.
🇺🇸 BNY Mellon is to use The Clearing House’s RTP network for a new real-time bill and payment service.
🇺🇸 Google Cloud has launched Datashare, a data sharing service to allow financial institutions to share information quickly and securely.
🇪🇺 Busy week for Klarna which announced its opening a tech hub in Madrid whilst it also had to shut down the app due to a technical error causing customers to log into the wrong accounts. It is also rumoured to be raising a new round at a $40bn valuation with investment from SoftBank.
🇪🇺 Payment solutions provider Viva Wallet has launched Tap on Phone, turning any NFC enabled Android phone into a card terminal with no installation, contract, monthly charges or physical card terminal required.
🇺🇸 Visa expanded its Fintech Partner Connect platform to US and other markets. The program helps its issuing partners provide digital-first experiences by linking them with “vetted and curated” tech providers.
🇺🇸 Apple is looking to enter the alternative payments space and is hiring for someone to lead Alternative Payments Partnerships which experience in “BNPL, Fast Payments, cryptocurrency etc”
🇺🇸 PayPal is working with Arkose to combat loyalty fraud on its new shopping and rewards platform Honey.
🇺🇸 Stripe has launched Payment Links, a solution to sell online without a website. It creates a payment page in a few clicks that can be shared with customers.
Crypto 101 🏫
Last week I went through some basic terms blockchain, blocks, hashes and miners. This week I’m covering more basic terminology before digging into more complicated issues in later posts.
Cryptocurrency - aka digital assets or digital tokens, are digital representations of value designed to be used as a medium of exchange. Common examples include bitcoin and ethereum. Whilst these two are digital assets, they are also examples of blockchain. Bitcoin is the native asset or token which is used on the bitcoin blockchain, and the same goes for ethereum.
Altcoins - aka alternative coins, whilst no explicit definition, they are generally other less well known or used cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Bitcoin cash.
Wallet - in the crypto space this refers to a program or service which stores public and or private keys for cryptocurrency transactions. Think of it as a digital vault for storing crypto assets. A safe in the cloud.
Public and Private Key’s- A public key is one part of a cryptographic system which is a core part of the security component of cryptography. In the crypto space, every user has both a public key and a private key. The public key can be used by anyone who wants to send information or value (i.e. crypto assets) to a recipient to encrypt the message which can then only be decrypted by the receiver's private key. The public key is available to anyone wanting to send a message to someone, but the private key must be kept secret to the individual so they are the only one that can decrypt messages. Messages cannot be decrypted without the matching private key to the public key. This system of one public key and a private key underpins the crypto ecosystem and its security.
You may have read in the news about people losing access to their crypto assets because they lost their private key. Without the private key, you cannot access your assets and they are gone forever. This is the reason as to why some exchanges will own/hold your private key for you so you don’t lose it. Exchanges such as Coinbase are examples and are referred to as centralised exchanges (CEX). Exchanges that require you to hold your own private key are decentralised exchanges (or DEX) and an example is Uniswap.
There is a common saying in crypto that “if you don’t own the private keys to your coins, you don’t own them”, advocating for people to use a DEX rather than a CEX. There are pro’s and con’s to each which I will get into another next week.
Longer reads 📜
Building parallel financial systems -Byrne Hobart, The Diff
Surveying the May 2021 Sell-off - Glassnode
Revolut’s Puzzle - Aika Ussenova
Visa takes a swipe in fintech, builds new online marketplace - Mary Ann Azevedo
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