Interview: Former Huobi US Compliance Chief Talks NY Cryptocurrency Exchange Report

Harry Zhou, former general counsel and compliance officer for Huobi US, spoke with CCN about the latest report from New York’s attorney general on cryptocurrency exchanges. Zhou helped set up the legal framework in New York for cryptocurrency exchanges, namely the application and regulations for the BitLicense. He represented Huobi for comments on the BitLicense proposal and is a leading expert on blockchain law and regulation. Speaking with CCN, he discussed the overall impact the report could have on exchanges across the U.S., including efforts some exchanges are making to gain federal approval.

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Fintech Startup Cleo Raises $10M in Series A Funding

Cleo, a London, UK-based fintech startup that allows people to track spending, raised $10M in Series A funding. The round was led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Niklas Zennström, founder of Skype, Taavet Hinrikus, founder of TransferWise, and seed fund LocalGlobe. The company is using the funds to hire new people, continue to develop its platform and expand its business reach globally.

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Africa’s fintech startups are innovating out of need and global investors are backing them

A primary reason fintech startups remain prominent on investors’ radar is the sheer necessity of the work they do in plugging gaps in financial services in Africa. While in more developed economies, fintech startups focus on disrupting the already existing banking industry, in Africa, they are typically building technical infrastructure and systems from scratch. The fundamental importance of the services these startups provide—from powering payments, facilitating savings, ensuring financial inclusion for the unbanked to tackling access to credit for small businesses and individuals among others—underlines why the sector holds long-term appeal for investors. Another reason for continued investor interest in fintech startups is because it is an easier space for foreigners to understand and get their heads around.

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Chinese fintech company X Financial makes NYSE debut

X Financial, a Chinese tech-driven personal finance company, rang the NYSE opening bell on Wednesday in celebration of its IPO. The company, trading under the ticker symbol of “XYF”, announced its IPO of 11,000,000 American depositary shares (ADSs), each representing two Class A ordinary shares, at a price to the public of $9.5 per ADS for a total offering size of approximately 104.5 million dollars, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs.

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Circle wants more women to invest in cryptocurrency

A study, commissioned by crypto finance company Circle, showed a serious lack of diversity among crypto investors. The study surveyed 3,000 Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the U.S. and found that Millennial men are more than twice as likely to invest in crypto in the next year. This poses a problem for the companies betting on the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. How do they reach more women? Or Gen Xers? Or Baby Boomers? Circle thinks accessible, educational resources are the answer. The company has added a new feature to their crypto investing app, Circle Invest. Their hope is that simple, jargon-free explainers — sort of a ‘Cryptocurrencies for Dummies’ built into the app — will make it easier for new demographics to get their foot in the door of the crypto universe and learn a thing or two along the way.

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Japanese bitcoin exchange is robbed of $60 million worth of cryptocurrency

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has been robbed of $60 million worth of digital coins. Zaif was hacked on September 14th during a two-hour time frame. Three days later, it uncovered server problems and began to investigate. By September 18th, it confirmed it was hacked and notified authorities. Of the $59.67 million stolen, almost $20 million belonged to parent company Tech Bureau, while $40 million belonged to clients of the exchange.

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Pay for Play: Why Exchange’s Token Listing Fees are Bad for the Industry

Centralized exchanges have the power to make or break a coin–and more often than not, the coins who “become big” are the ones that can pay to play. Coin listing fees could be anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million, the higher end of which is “higher than the cost to list on most stock exchanges.” The high listing fees represent an imbalance of power between cryptocurrency firms and cryptocurrency exchanges. Coins need exchange listings in order to survive. An ICO token that isn’t listed on any exchange is essentially dead in the water–investors who bought the tokens to hold on to for a longer period of time may be okay with waiting months for a listing to happen, but others may find themselves “holding the bag.” Exchanges that charge high listing fees without practicing any other form of vetting may also be contributing to the prevalence of so-called “shitcoins.”

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Fintech Firm To Teach Blockchain Courses Via Live Stream And On-Site

Financial technology firm Future Fintech (FTFT) announced its partnership with Nova Realm City to provide its Blockchain Education Courses to the NRC Institution. The said courses are prepared by FTFT’s subsidiary Chain Future, and which will be rolled out on NRC’s live streaming platform Yizhibo.com. FTFT’s Blockchain Education Courses will be taught in two media: live streaming and on-site. The on-site courses are expected to be launched by the end of October, and will have a maximum capacity of 30 students per class. As to the online classes, the partnership is confident of the success, as FTFT has already done the same since May. So far, its 21 courses totaled 1.5 Million viewers, with one course receiving over 310,000 viewership.

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Plug and Play Singapore Announces First Batch of Startups Selected For Its Fintech and Insurtech Program

After screening over 200 applicants, the final selection of 24 startups has been accepted into Fintech and Insurtech Singapore, which aims to facilitate pilots, POCs, and business development opportunities between the financial and insurance institutions and startups participating. Throughout the duration of the 12-week program, startups will be introduced to Plug and Play’s corporate partners and have the chance to work with their different business units to evaluate pilot projects and investment opportunities with these companies. The EXPO or Demo Day for these startups will be in mid-November, coinciding with the Singapore Fintech Festival. There is no cost for the startups to be in the program and they will remain part of the ecosystem even after graduation. The 24 selected startups cover a diverse cross-section of insurance and financial technologies.

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Sydney fintech Frollo scores $65,000 grant to take “Fitbit for finance” app to the next level, and reduce stress for Australians

Fintech startup Frollo has taken home a $65,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation, having been named best financial solution for low- to moderate-income Australians at MetLife’s Inclusion Plus competition for its gamified personal finance solution. Frollo is a personal finance app that uses gamified features to help users identify and change bad spending habits. The startup also licences its software to financial institutions and challenger banks. Frollo is designed to give users more insight into their finances, allowing them to set themselves goals and see the differences small changes in spending habits can make.

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