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The World Economic Forum debuts the Universal Digital Payments Network – Industry roundup: 23 January

The World Economic Forum debuts the Universal Digital Payments Network

At the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN) for stablecoins and CBDCs was unveiled, aiming to offer interoperability between these digital currencies.

Companies including GFT, Red Date Technology, TOKO and DLA Piper have all reportedly contributed to the development of UDPN over the last two years, establishing a sandbox where numerous banks assessed the stablecoin transfer and FX transactions.

The network was reportedly introduced at Davos 2023 with a panel discussion on the rapidly developing digital currency, interoperability and infrastructure, with Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, The Bank of East Asia and Akbank as panel participants.

Several Tier 1 banks, according to the UDPN, will reportedly take part in a number of proof-of-concept use cases during this month to show how UDPN could be used to address present and foreseeable problems with integrating digital currency into everyday business, banking and payment cases. Additionally, the first two of these proof-of-concept tests aim to involve two international banks looking at how easily the crucial "Travel Rule" can be implemented on the UDPN between two financial institutions for anonymous stablecoin transfers.

Furthermore, the test will reportedly include the cross-border transfer and swap transaction capabilities of UDPN's digital currency. Marika Lulay, CEO, GFT, commented that UDPN aims to enable interoperability between stablecoins with fiat backing and regulated protocols in order to look into potential alternatives to current payment systems. In addition, Lulay added that this network plans to utilize its decentralized strategy, the participating companies' global diversity, as well as cutting-edge technological solutions for the experiments.

The UK and Thailand partner to modernize and accelerate trading system

The United Kingdom's Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI) and the Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA), a Bangkok-based digital transformation provider, have reportedly collaborated with the goal of enhancing trade between the UK and Thailand.

The new partnership project between the C4DTI and ETDA, which is reportedly funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, intends to establish a more affordable, swift and financially viable trading system between the UK and Thailand. Currently, Thailand receives technical support from C4DTI.

The UK centre aims to remove the legal obstacles as well as introduce national laws in compliance with the UN Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records. Additionally, the new collaboration also intends to help eliminate paper from the trading platform by enabling the handling of commercial trade documents digitally. SMEs will reportedly be able to conduct business more affordably and effectively if the project is successful.

Studies from the ICC and Commonwealth indicate that legislative change could reportedly boost global trade throughout the G7 by up to US $9 trillion, with costs associated with trade transactions decreasing by 80%, as well as a 75% reduction in processing time and a 50% reduction in the trade finance gap.

In total, 27 paper documents may be used in a transaction under the current system. The system can take up to three months to process all documents, but if they are digitalized, they should be processed in a matter of hours.

Old National Bank introduces a new division aimed at high-net-worth clients

Old National Bank, a US-based bank with US $23 billion in assets, which recently merged with First Midwest Bank, has reportedly launched a new retail-style banking business unit with integrated, personalized wealth advisory and investment management services.

The new division is dubbed “1834” for the year the bank was established. The division's primary areas of focus will be wealth management, tax and legal services, estate planning and administration, private banking, specialized business services, and institutional services for corporations and nonprofit organizations. Along with recently opened offices in Arizona and Tennessee, 1834 reportedly also has offices all over the Midwest, with a workforce of approximately 100 individuals.

With 1834, clients can expect to have a centralized point of contact with a seasoned wealth advisor who will also be available for direct consultation. 1834 expects to have an expansive team of in-house wealth professionals, including trust officers, financial planners, private bankers and portfolio managers.

Grant Thornton dGTL and actyv.ai reveal their new alliance to expedite worldwide growth

Grant Thornton dGTL, a digital transformation venture by Grant Thornton Bharat, and actyv.ai, a Singapore-based category creator in the enterprise SaaS with embedded B2B BNPL and insurance sector, have reportedly partnered to build an infrastructure to better manage and streamline their distribution networks. The alliance seeks to reimagine how businesses manage their distributor networks from start to finish, resulting in numerous benefits.

Grant Thornton dGTL will reportedly help actyv.ai ramp up its platform as well as expand globally as part of the business partnership by providing consultation, deployment, set-up and support. The partnership will reportedly also act as a means for making distributor onboarding simpler and more efficient for businesses. Once they have been added to the platform, distributors can expect to utilize credit facilities from banks that have already been integrated with it. The platform plans to enable businesses with a better understanding of their financial health by identifying risk scores linked to distributors.

Raghunath Subramanian, Founder and Global CEO, actyv.ai, commented that the collaboration will help businesses to optimize their supply chains and increase operational efficiencies due to Grant Thornton dGTL's expertise in delivering sustainable business transformation, data-driven approach and reliable technology. The company plans to work with large businesses all over the world by equipping them with their technology platform and embedded solutions.

Alipay collaborates with Splitit to offer "pay after delivery"

Alipay, a Chinese-based third-party mobile and online payment platform that serves as a partner for AliExpress’ global payment solution owned by the Alibaba Group, has reportedly partnered with Splitit Payments, a US-based white-label BNPL service that enables merchant clients to pay in instalments. The partnership is aimed at offering a "pay after delivery" option for AliExpress buyers. With plans to grow into other international markets, the service will initially debut in Germany, France and Spain.

Reports indicate that shoppers on AliExpress can expect to use their current credit cards to pay for their purchases after delivery through Splitit's platform and Checkout.com's payment acquisition capabilities. Additionally, the collaboration will reportedly make use of Splitit's instalments-as-a-service platform in order to build a distinctive user experience that is integrated into the AliExpress checkout process.

Topp Gary Paul, European Commercial Director, AliExpress, commented that Splitit’s white-label strategy will reportedly help them simplify their processes as well as integrate the service easily in their platform, delivering a contemporary pay-after-delivery option for its AliExpress customers.

Playter, a global B2B BNPL platform for SMEs, unveils new lending solution dubbed “Paid”

Playter, a Dutch-based global payment tech provider of B2B BNPL for SMEs in the UK, has developed an alternative lending solution with its newest credit product, "Paid," aiming to assist SMEs in freeing up cash flow for investment and growth opportunities.

With the new platform, Playter’s clients will reportedly be able to provide extended BNPL payment terms of up to twelve months to their own customers. By enabling customers to pay invoices in monthly instalments and receiving full payment on time, customers can reportedly manage their cash flow effectively while growing their business.

The introduction of Paid is expected to further help Playter's comprehensive credit platform that currently enables SMEs to access funding of up to £1,000,000 to promote expansion and advancements. Additionally, Paid will reportedly enable its users to combine Playter Pay and Playter Paid as a 360-degree financing framework, disseminating outgoing expenses while receiving immediate payment for their receivables.

The launch of Playter Paid reportedly offers SMEs with the option to split any bill owed as well as receive flexible payment terms with any invoice issued. Jamie Beaumont, CEO, Playter, commented that the integration of Paid with the Pay solution will enable SMEs to use credit efficiently, either increasing revenues through customer acquisition or decreasing cash outflow, eliminating the need to pay full invoices in advance. This can alleviate cashflow concerns for business owners in a challenging economic environment, said Beaumont. Furthermore, the Playter Paid service enables suppliers to have more control, empowering them to offer BNPL terms while also offering SMEs accessible and low-cost funding options.

US fintech, Mayfair, raises US $14 million and introduces Cash Account with 4.02% APY via automated treasury system

Mayfair, a new US-based fintech start-up company supported by Tiger Global and Amity Ventures, aims to assist businesses in strengthening their unused funds or cash reserves and in remaining financially viable during market fluctuations, while avoiding the price and liquidity risks associated with financial products. Reports indicate that customers can potentially earn high yields, such as 4.02% APY, through an automated cash management system.

Businesses can expect to instantly access the balances of their cash accounts, pending and historical transfers, and earned yields via Mayfair's desktop dashboard. Entrepreneurs, Kent Mori, Daniel Chan, Kevin Chan and Munish Chopra reportedly founded Mayfair in 2021 to create a fintech platform that would enable businesses to automatically and instantly earn higher returns than the typical business savings account.

Mayfair, together with Stripe, a payment processing firm, and its affiliate bank, Evolve Bank & Trust, developed the product. Additionally, through the partnerships, Mayfair is reportedly able to gain access to higher deposit yields, pass-through FDIC insurance for customers, and the financial foundation required to build interbank automations, enabling customers to earn additional yields while maintaining the security of an FDIC-insured bank.

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