1.UK – FinTech
“Fast-growing fintech Plum has announced a major expansion into retirement savings with the launch of its first-ever pension product. The subscription-free Plum SIPP, or self-invested personal pension, is designed to get a new generation engaged with their lifetime finances.
The SIPP can be found alongside customers’ day-to-day spending, saving and other investments in the Plum app, so they can have complete visibility over their finances in one smart system. Onboarding is designed to be as easy as possible with six steps, so customers can be using the pension platform in minutes, consolidate their old pensions in one place and start making automatic payments straightaway.
Customers benefit from Plum’s smart saving algorithm, which tucks away as much as they can afford and splits it between interest-bearing savings, investments and pensions according to the customer’s chosen saving strategy. Customers can also choose from funds that are risk-managed according to their current age and the remaining years to retirement. Plum offers a range of well-diversified retirement funds, including a green fund that gives greater weight to companies that meet positive carbon and environmental criteria.
Self-invested personal pensions offer the extra benefit of tax relief, as once money is in the SIPP, it can grow free from UK capital gains tax and UK income tax. All contributions to the SIPP are treated as having been paid at a basic rate tax (20% for 2020/2021 tax year). For example, if a customer pays a net contribution of £80 then Plum is able to reclaim £20 from HMRC and credit this amount to their SIPP once it has been received. This ensures that money is being saved in the most efficient way possible until customers are eligible to withdraw.”
2. US – FinTech
“The American Bankers Association has adopted a defensive stance over the possible future issuance of a central bank backed digital currency (CBDC), warning lawmakers about real-world trade-offs that could significantly reshape the banking system.
While recognizing that CBDC proposals are often driven by laudable goals, the American Bankers Association has cautioned that the introduction of a CBDC could “fundamentally change the role of the central bank in the United States and reshape the banking system.”
In a statement for the record of a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing, ABA notes that choosing between the various CBDC designs requires “serious and complex policy tradeoffs” and that too often CBDC proponents take a “highlight reel” approach to describing CBDC, “cherry picking all the perceived benefits, while downplaying the serious risks to consumers and our financial system.”
3. US - FinTech
“Digital wealth manager Scalable Capital has raised a huge series E funding round of $180m (€150m) led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. Existing shareholders also participated in the Series E.
Tencent’s fintech credentials are strong in its native market, it owns Wechat Pay for example, but also has some other notable fintech investments in global companies such as Nubank and N26.
The new cash, a record for funding to a European wealth-focused fintech business, brings the total capital raised by the Anglo-German firm to over $320m (€260m) and has pushed its valuation to $1.4bn.”
4. International – FinTech
“Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has acquired Shard X, a developer of secure multi-party computation (MPC) cryptographic technology.
Gemini will integrate Shard X’s MPC technology into its distributed, multi-site key management and signing infrastructure.
This, says the firm, will increase the speed with which Gemini can transfer customer assets and provide support for new asset listings and usage on its platform.”
5. International – FinTech
“Nate Maddrey and the Coin Metrics research team noted that during the past month, Ethereum (ETH) trading volumes have been catching up with Bitcoin (BTC) volume on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.
Although Bitcoin led by a significantly large margin at the start of 2021, Ethereum volume took a giant leap forward last month, the Coin Metrics team confirmed in their latest State of the Network report.
The past month was an “outlier” in many ways with “meme coins” such as DogeCoin (DOGE) dominating headlines and a major crash that “took down the market,” the report added while pointing out that it still might be “too early to tell whether these trends will last or if they were just a flash in the pan.”
Coin Metrics also mentioned that crypto trading volume data provides key insights into what actually happened in the digital asset markets during the past few months.
As noted in the report from Coin Metrics, smaller-cap coins have surged “across the board” this year, with altcoin trading volume (“altcoin” meaning any non-BTC or non-ETH crypto) on Binance surging in January and peaking on May 10, 2021 – which was right before the major market crash.
Binance supports numerous altcoin pairs, so it’s “not surprising” to see Binance altcoin volume “overtake BTC and ETH,” the report noted while adding that the ratio of altcoin volume to BTC has “taken a noticeable leap upwards considering it was almost even to start the year.”
The report further revealed that a big part of the Binance altcoin surge was due to Dogecoin. DOGE trading volume on Binance briefly surpassed BTC and ETH volume in May, “although it has since declined.” However, there’s been an increase in other altcoins such as Binance Coin (BNB), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), and Polygon (MATIC).”