Ant Financial joins $120m Series D round of Chinese fintech Snowball Finance

Chinese fintech startup Snowball Finance — a social investment platform that allows Chinese investors to conduct discussions and interactions related to financial products such as stocks, bonds, funds, insurance and others across the US, Hong Kong and Chinese markets — has announced a $120 million Series D financing with Alibaba’s Ant Financial joining the round as a strategic investor. The fresh capital will be used for product development, trading system improvement, and talent expansion.

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SINA-backed Chinese fintech startup PINTEC files for $70m US IPO

Pintec Technology Holdings Ltd (PINTEC), a Chinese financial services technology platform, is looking to raise up to $70 million in anIPO on Nasdaq, according to an SEC filing. PINTEC offers solutions for point-of-sale financing, personal and business instalment loans, wealth management, and insurance.

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‘This Is Not a Passing Fad’: CFA Exam Adds Crypto, Blockchain Topics

CFA Institute, whose grueling three-level program has helped train more than 150,000 financial professionals, is adding topics on cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums for the first time next year. Material for the 2019 exams will be released in August. CFA added the topics, part of a new reading called Fintech in Investment Management, after industry participants showed surging interest in surveys and focus groups. The CFA material on crypto and blockchain will appear alongside other fintech subjects including artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and automated trading. More crypto topics, such as the intersection of virtual currencies and economics, may eventually be added to the curriculum.

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R3 Corda Enterprise blockchain platform goes live

Fintech consortium R3 has gone live with its commercial blockchain platform for business, Corda Enterprise. The software is billed as a “commercial version of Corda”, which is an open source blockchain platform, on which trade finance transactions can be completed. As opposed to the open source Corda, Corda Enterprise uses a firewall, which R3 claims improves data security. It allows companies to communicate securely with other nodes anywhere else in the world, R3 claims. The software is available on a licensed basis. Companies are able to write their own apps on the platform, or to use those already launched.

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HKMA and seven banks to jointly launch blockchain-based trade finance platform in September

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and seven local lenders will launch a trade finance platform using blockchain technology in September, reflecting efforts by the city to bolster fintech development and close the gap with regional rival Singapore. Lenders taking part in the project include HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of East Asia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Hang Seng Bank, and DBS Bank. The platform will enable banks and their corporate clients to submit and record purchase orders, invoices and applications for trade financing. The blockchain technology will boost efficiency and lower financial costs for companies by cutting down on paper, making transactions easier to process, as well as reducing the risk of fraud and identity theft.

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Oracle rolls out its own blockchain service

Oracle announced the availability of a fully-managed blockchain service over which businesses can automate processes over an immutable electronic ledger, such as tracking goods in a supply chain or handling customer financial transactions. The new offering is based on the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric platform, a collaboration tool for building blockchain distributed ledger business networks such as smart contract technology. Oracle also announced it has a handful of early BaaS adopters who’ve rolled out proof-of-concepts, including Arab Jordan Investment Bank, CargoSmart, Certified Origins, Intelipost, Nigeria Customs and Solar Site Design.

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Meet the 100 top-funded fintech companies in Asia

The entire financial system could be due for an overhaul, and Asia is right in the center of it. Which company in Asia is most likely to challenge the status quo? An imperfect way to judge would be the amount of money they have raised. Using its data, Tech in Asia has generated a constantly updated list of 100 fintech companies in Asia who have raised the most money from investors.

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Fintech Chasing Returns secures €600k

Irish fintech Chasing Returns closed a €600,000 funding round last week, securing funding from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as well as a number of Irish tech entrepreneurs. The fintech company builds risk management solutions for financial traders. The investment will be used to fund the continued expansion of the business and develop new products, and the company will take on eight new staff members at its Dublin office. It will also open a satellite office in London and expand into Asia.

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State agency now world’s second-biggest fintech investor

The number one fintech investor is California’s Y Combinator, described by The New York Times as a ‘startup machine’. Last year it invested in 29 companies. The second most active in the world was Enterprise Ireland, with 23. That puts it ahead of high-profile players, including Digital Currency Group and Accel Partners, which backed 19 companies each, and iconic Silicon Valley-based operators, such as 500 Startups (17), and venture capital titans like Sequoia (15). In 2016, Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio of more than 200 fintech firms generated more than €1bn in revenues. Ireland’s reputation for fintech excellence is growing, with Enterprise Ireland playing a central role.

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Fintech’s reach is limited to the rich 23% of Indians, says report

Fintech companies have succeeded to cater to only 23 per cent of the elite/affluent section of the Indian economy while a huge portion still remains untapped. The lower and middle income segment, which comprises 47 per cent of the population, remains a potential market, states a study supported by JP Morgan. Fintechs have the opportunity to cater to the lower middle income segment with an income ranging from $2 to $10 a day and constitute roughly 600 million people. Individuals in this segment are mostly urban, smartphone and internet savvy, financially independent, prefer convenience and willing to pay for the services. Payments and credit have attracted the most attention, while savings and insurance remain far behind. About 75 per cent of investments are made in 10 fintechs and 74 per cent of the investments are made in credit and payments fintechs.

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