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Goldman Sachs intends to invest heavily in cryptocurrency-related initiatives – Industry roundup: 7 December

Eurosystem delays the unveiling of a new collateral management system to April 2024

The European Central Bank's Governing Council has reportedly postponed the release of the Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS) from 20 November 2023 to 8 April 2024 due to the rescheduled launch of T2, the Eurosystem's new real-time gross settlement system and central liquidity management model.

The ECMS is intended to become a centralized system for managing assets used as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations, replacing the current systems of nineteen eurozone national central banks. Additionally, by coordinating collateral management procedures and advancing EU financial integration, the ECMS is expected to provide the Eurosystem, its counterparties and the global market with significant advantages. Furthermore, the ECB expects the ECMS to move cash, securities and collateral throughout Europe in an effective and seamless manner.

Goldman Sachs intends to invest heavily in cryptocurrency-related initiatives

Goldman Sachs plans to move forward with its digital asset plans as well as invest millions in crypto companies amidst the major collapse of one of crypto's largest firms in the sector. Mathew McDermott, Head of Digital Assets, Goldman Sachs, commented that FTX’s demise not only impacted token prices, but also company valuations, stating that now may be the time to purchase or invest in crypto companies at a discount. McDermott further added that client enthusiasm remains high, reporting that the FTX debacle may have increased Goldman's trading volumes, while also leaving investors eager to trade with more tightly controlled and reliable financial institutions.

Reports indicate that Goldman has plans to create its own distributed ledger and has invested in eleven cryptocurrency businesses. Additionally, Goldman views the current period of crypto layoffs as a hiring opportunity to recruit talent in the sector. However, the bank is content with the size of its workforce at this time. Currently, Goldman has more than seventy employees focused on digital assets, including trading desks for crypto derivatives and options.

Marqeta integrates with Mastercard’s Track Instant Pay solution, enabling cash flow efficiencies among suppliers

Marqeta, a US-based global card issuing platform powered by open APIs, has partnered with Mastercard to integrate with its Track Instant Pay, a next-generation virtual card tool that utilizes machine learning and straight-through processing, enabling immediate payment of supplier invoices. Marqeta’s US-based clients will reportedly be able to approve payments to their suppliers instantly after receipt of invoices, providing more time to focus on their business goals. Additionally, the payment method is expected to enable customers to pay invoices quickly while realizing cost savings from high check processing fees.

Slow approval processes and slower adoption of new payment technologies have historically impeded business payments. According to Mastercard's Business Payments 2022 study, however, businesses are becoming more aware of the benefits of digitizing business payments, including increased data, control and automation. Along with streamlining business operations and lowering the risk of payment fraud, these improvements can lower the cost and risk related to traditional payment methods, such as check and ACH.

Buyers and suppliers can expect more options, efficiency and automation using Track Instant Pay’s machine learning and straight-through processing. Additionally, customer bank account information is reportedly not shared with third-party vendors during the payment process, improving transaction security. Mastercard and Marqeta plan to continue to collaborate on products and solutions, enabling mutual partners to access capabilities that provide differentiated payment experiences, said reports.

Syncfy plans to develop open finance platform across Latin America and beyond with US $10 million raised in seed funding

Syncfy, a Latin American open finance platform, has raised US $10 million in a new funding round led by Point72 Venture with other venture capital firms. In addition, two notable investors, Brock Pierce, Co-Founder, Tether, and Hartmut Neven, Artificial Intelligence Engineer, Quantum, have invested in the company.

With Syncfy's platform, users can reportedly access financial data from over 125 different banks, digital wallets, tax authorities, utility companies, cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchains located in over fifteen Latin American nations and throughout the world through a single API. Financial data consolidation and enhancement are currently available through the company's Connect, Fiscal and Invoice Stamping API integrations.

Along with large banks and enterprise software providers like BBVA and Intuit, fast-growing start-ups like Clara, a fintech unicorn, are among Syncfy's clients. Accounting and tax integrations, credit underwriting and personal financial management are some of the major customer use cases. Syncfy plans to expand its product line and invest in regional business development throughout Latin America with the round of funding. In addition to its expansion into Mexico, Syncfy aims to grow its clientele, especially in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. The enterprise also intends to roll out payment initiation solutions in major markets, facilitating seamless API-based funds transfers and interoperable access to financial data.

Asia-based trading firm, HashKey, and SEBA Bank partner to drive digital asset use globally

HashKey Digital Assets Group, a firm that operates a virtual trading platform based in Asia, has partnered with SEBA Bank, a Swiss-based firm that specializes in banking and investment services, to accelerate institutional adoption of digital assets in Hong Kong and Switzerland.

Specifically, the companies plan to expedite institutional adoption of digital assets in Hong Kong and Switzerland by effectively maximizing each other's digital asset service offerings and custody and asset management products. Furthermore, HashKey is expected to act as SEBA Bank's digital asset trading and market development partner in Hong Kong, while also becoming the preferred banking partner in Switzerland through SEBA Bank.

The arrangement aims to open opportunities for institutional investors seeking exposure to the digital asset landscape. The partnership reportedly complies with the legal requirements of each jurisdiction through compliance, know-your-customer, and anti-money laundering policies. Franz Bergmueller, Group CEO, SEBA Bank, commented that Hong Kong reportedly follows stringent regulatory guidelines and is a major player in the licensing requirement of crypto products and services around the world.

HashKey PRO, the company's virtual asset trading platform, reportedly safeguards client asset protection in compliance with Hong Kong’s Security and Futures Commission’s regulatory standards. Client assets are separated and held in custody by HashKey Custody Services Limited, said reports. Michel Lee, Executive President, HashKey, commented that both companies aim to prioritize compliance with regulations when safeguarding the funds and assets of its clients in addition to providing them with a gateway into the new digital economy.

Brankas creates a “first-of-its-kind” open finance and BaaS software for financial firms

Brankas, an open finance technology provider, has created "Brankas Open", reportedly a unique open-source license for the next generation of banking-as-a-service and open finance software. The new open license aims to promote digital banking and financial technology development by lowering the cost barriers for start-ups, neobanks and traditional financial institutions as well as providing models to launch new solutions while enabling firms to retain their own source code. With companies reportedly having open access to use, modify, redistribute and collaborate via the public Brankas Open code, customers can expect to gain greater user experience and a variety of options.

Brankas Open was reportedly prompted by a grant received from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in November 2021 in order to create Brankas APIX Open Core, a proof-of-concept open-source core banking system, modernizing an open-source framework to address the new open finance technology. The framework was reportedly essential to safeguard public contributions, secure open access, and satisfy the data protection and security requirements of financial institutions.

Finastra's global survey reveals the emergence of open banking and a rising demand for open finance

Open banking has been recognised as a critical component of a bank's landscape, according to Finastra’s recent study, with 99% of participants rating it as a critical “must have” or “important” component (compared to 94% last year), and 61% of global financial institutions also considering it a "must have", up from 51% in 2021. Financial industry professionals (758) from banks and financial institutions in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the US participated in the study between August and September of 2022. The open banking and financial landscape were reportedly examined, along with the initiatives and technologies that are expected to have an impact on financial services over the coming year, as well as the rising significance of ESG.

The Financial Services: State of the Nation Survey 2022 from Finastra states that perspectives on open finance have evolved, with 94% of financial institutions viewing it as “must have” or “important” specifically in terms of data. Almost half of respondents (48%) reportedly now consider open finance a must have, a significant increase from last year's 38%. The increase is especially significant in the UAE, rising to 71% this year compared to 50% in 2021. The UK increased to 45% from 33%, and the US rose to 56% from 45%.

Ramp debuts its real-time payments solution across 17 blockchains for US enterprises

Ramp, a fintech firm that reportedly creates payment systems that link cryptocurrencies to the global financial system, has unveiled its “off-ramp” product in the US, which it states enables users to sell any of 34 digital assets across 17 blockchains in real time. Furthermore, Ramp's off-ramp product is reportedly ready for integration by businesses looking to offer their users a high speed, secure and efficient method to exchange cryptocurrency for US dollars.

The main challenge to widespread cryptocurrency deployment is reportedly associated with transferring traditional currencies and digital assets. The on-ramps and off-ramps can play an important role in addressing this by ensuring a consistent flow of fiat and cryptocurrencies. Ramp's on-ramp product enables users to convert fiat currency such as the US dollar into cryptocurrencies, while off-ramp facilitates the conversion of digital assets into fiat currency and reportedly offers competitive transaction fees as low as 0.99%. Users can expect to process their transactions via ACH transfers initially, which are commonly used for direct deposits of paychecks, debts for regular payments, and funds transfers. Furthermore, users whose banks support RTP can expect to benefit from this faster method, which will reportedly deposit funds into their accounts in under twenty seconds.

Ramp plans to expand its off-ramp product into the United Kingdom and Europe in the near future, as well as introduce new pay out methods throughout 2023. Ramp is reportedly available in a variety of digital currencies and in 150 countries. The solution can reportedly be fully integrated with the largest global payment methods, such as debit and credit cards, bank transfers, Apple Pay and Google Pay, among others. Furthermore, the Ramp Swaps LLC, a money services business, is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of the Treasury.

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