FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 7 October 2022
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
$4.7bn Prosus acquisition of India’s BillDesk falls through
Dutch e-commerce company Prosus has nixed a deal to acquire Indian digital payments provider BillDesk.
Prosus subsidiary PayU was set to acquire BillDesk for $4.7 billion, but the firm says certain conditions were not met by the 30 September 2022 long stop date and the agreement was automatically terminated.
The news comes after the deal was given the go-ahead by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), with PayU securing CCI approval on 5 September.
The acquisition would have seen Prosus’ fintech business expand its reach in India and become one of the largest online payment providers globally by total payment volume.
UK challenger Bank North collapses
Manchester-based neobank Bank North is winding down its operations with immediate effect after failing to raise the funds needed for a full banking licence from the Bank of England.
In a letter to the bank’s shareholders, board chair Ron Emerson stated the firm had failed to secure funding within the required timeframe as it looked to become a fully regulated bank.
Bank North received a restricted banking licence from the UK Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) in August last year.
The company was founded in 2018 and initially operated as a lender for small businesses in the UK. It went crowdfunding in November 2021 following a £24 million Series A earlier that year.
Kim Kardashian hit with $1.26m SEC fine for crypto promotion violations
Celebrity influencer Kim Kardashian has been fined $1.26 million by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating the anti-touting provision of the US federal securities laws.
The SEC says Kardashian was paid $250,000 to publish a post on her Instagram account about EMAX tokens, a crypto asset being offered by EthereumMax, but failed to disclose the payment she received for the promotion. The post contained a link to the firm’s website, where potential investors could purchase EMAX tokens.
Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, says: “The federal securities laws are clear that any celebrity or other individual who promotes a crypto asset security must disclose the nature, source and amount of compensation they received in exchange for the promotion.”
Railsr secures $46m in Series C funding
Embedded finance platform Railsr has landed $46 million in a Series C funding round, consisting of $26 million in equity and $20 million in debt.
The equity part of the fundraise was led by Anthos Capital and featured participation from existing investors Ventura, Outrun Ventures, CreditEase and Moneta. The debt facility has been provided by Mars Capital, a new investor in Railsr.
Railsr CEO and co-founder Nigel Verdon says the funding is a “significant step on our route to profitability”.
Blockchain firm SETL partners Swift for common tokenisation framework pilot
Enterprise distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain firm SETL has successfully piloted a common framework for Swift that links tokenisation systems between central securities depositories (CSDs) and global custodians.
Swift, SETL, Deutsche Börse-owned Clearstream, Northern Trust and other parties from the tokenised and traditional asset ecosystem explored the issuance, delivery versus payment (DVP) and redemption processes needed to support a frictionless tokenised asset market.
The results of the pilot are set to be published ahead of Swift’s annual Sibos conference.
Anthony Culligan, chief engineer at SETL, says these experiments have the potential to create broader accessibility and interoperability between emerging securities tokenisation networks.
To avoid a patchwork of technologies and platforms that would eventually require stitching together, Swift is focusing on interoperability, linking up market participants and simplifying operations by taking on activities centrally that would otherwise have to be carried out between institutions bilaterally.