Europe’s Biggest Fraud, Next Gen Banking, Metaverse Networking & Cross-chain Protocols | Fintech & Web3 Founders Monthly

In this hottest month of the year, we are bringing to you the most burning and exciting topics in Fintech and Web3 from a billion-dollar fraud, challenging banks’ legacy systems, doing business on the Metaverse to creating interoperable blockchain systems. 

We heated up July with the most terrific Fintech scandal that shook Germany’s financial world back in 2020, Wirecard. Dan McCrum came on our show to unveil the crazy story of how he won a 6-year long battle against Germany’s once most valued Fintech company. Following suit was the ex-Barclay CEO and Founder of 10x Banking with a mission to build the next-generation of banks with its Supercore cloud native technology. The tech provider is one of the top UK Fintech companies to look out for with an estimated valuation of over $700M on the path to unicorn status. We continued to explore one of the most exciting Metaverse projects in place, Metabloqs, that is launching a Meta-city Paris in August 2022 with already over 300,000 registered users. To wrap up the month, we invited the CEO of Router Protocol to explain about cross chain protocols and how it could transform the future of Blockchain. 

Buckled up for a ride through our latest episodes of the Fintech and Founder series and funding-related news to discover the most talked about stories in the Fintech world. Let’s get started!

Wirecard: A Hot Startup, A Billion Dollar Fraud

“Everybody involved has an incentive to get that valuation number as high as possible.

Dan McCrum, Financial Times Investigative Journalist 

Dan McCrum, the journalist that brought down Germany’s former tech darling, Wirecard, has made a comeback with his new book ‘Money Men’. Inside the book reveals thrilling accounts of the investigation of the decade which he also shared on our first episode of July. Wirecard flourished during a period where Europe was desperate for a tech champion which helped it hide in plain sight from the financial regulators and watchdogs for over a decade. At one point, the upstart firm even overtook Deutsche Bank to become Germany’s most valuable financial services company at €24 billions in 2018. While the financial world was too optimistic about Wirecard’s future, Dan McCrum thought Wirecard’s profits were too hard to be true, and with the help of whistleblowers had exposed the company for using forged and backdated contracts and faking sales transactions. 

However, it is bewildered to see how much the financial and political elites were ignoring the fraud. Dan McCrum and other short sellers were met with accusations from auditors and German authorities of market manipulation. Dan was faced with threats of violence, aggressive lawsuits, phishing emails and even private surveillance. Listen to this episode to hear the behind stories of Dan’s battle against Wirecard that much resembles a crime tale, unveiling the insides of Europe’s likely most elaborate and sophisticated financial fraud. 

How Fintech is Shaping the Future of Banking

“Any financial product is manifested by data. If you want to do banking 10x better, you need to be 10 times better at handling data.

Antony Jenkins, Founder of 10x Banking

The exponential rise of Fintech is so powerful that it is pulling the transformation of traditional financial institutions to follow its suit. Within large banks, consumer banking is one of the most likely areas to be disrupted by Fintech. Antony Jenkins, an ex-Barclay CEO and Founder of 10x Banking, highlighted the important need for banks to switch from just selling products to caring about solving customer problems; the incumbents must become more customer-centric in order to catch up with their Fintech competitors. This in turn means the speed at which banks must learn how to utilise technology to handle customer data must be accelerated. 

And this is what 10X Technologies is targeting to solve in the legacy systems to make banking 10 times better! Check out the full episode to learn how 10X Banking is helping financial institutions to achieve non-linear transformations from handling data more efficiently, launching impactful solutions in a matter of days, removing complex IT processes, and integrating cutting edge technology systems. 

Metabloqs: A New Reality?

“When consumers were asked what they would like to do in the Metaverse – less portion of people said gaming. They wanted to be in a more familiar environment to do serious activities such as transactions and networking.

Megha Shrestha, Co-founder & CEO of Metabloqs

Since the beginning, hype around the Metaverse has always been centred around the entertainment side of it – think a fantasy world of digital art, music, gaming and NFTs. But that is not all of Metaverse’s enormous potential to transform our way of living. Megha Shrestha, Co-founder and CEO of Metabloqs, believes it is time for a more functional and sustainable metaverse in which real transactional, business affairs could be facilitated and authentic relationships are fostered. That way, the metaverse is not only an entertainment platform but also a powerful tool for more practical enterprise uses. Business applications could range from event hostings, virtual offices, work collaboration, education to customer communications. 

The real deal of the Metaverse lies in its promises to change our future of work and help us achieve our purposes. Hear from the Chairman and CEO of Metabloqs in this episode to explore:

  • What is Metabloqs?
  • Business applications on the metaverse
  • The technology and blockchain behind the Metaverse
  • The corporate world on Metabloqs
  • How do you access it?

Cross-chain Protocol: The Future of Blockchain

“In a growing team, you want folks that are much smarter than you.

Ramani Ramachandran, Co-founder and CEO at Router Protocol

Cross-chain is the missing piece we need to an interoperable, scalable and functional Web3 Universe. The lack of interoperability across the 1000s disparate blockchains existing today is hindering liquidity and transfer of data across the whole ecosystem. Fortunately, the surge of cross chain protocols is creating new bridging solutions to connect the Blockchain ecosystem. Cross chain bridges are helping different blockchain networks to maximise their potential by enabling them to communicate and exchange assets and data with one another.   

Discover the incentives of joining Web3 and the potential of cross chain technology to transform the future of Blockchain in this episode, where we discussed:

  • What are blockchains and their ecosystem 
  • What is Router Protocol and the importance of blockchain interoperability
  • Web3 use cases of blockchain and cross-chain technology
  • Growing your development team 

What happened in Fintech last month in the MEASA region

In case you missed it, here are some of the must-read news pieces in the FinTech MEASA World. Egypt, UAE, Nigeria and Israel have witnessed various funding rounds and regulatory acts which highlight the promising growth plans for the region and Fintech hubs. 

QNB launches WeChat Pay and AliPay+ in Qatar in 2022

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest financial institution in the MEA region has launched WeChat Pay and AliPay+ as additions to its extensive range of payment methods accepted by its trader network, which help retailers to attract more Chinese customers. Consumers using WeChat Pay and AliPay+ can now complete transactions using QR codes on their smart devices with QNB’s massive merchant network. Being the first bank to introduce this service to consumers, this partnership further bolstered QNB’s reputation as a leader in digital banking and payment in the MEA region.

The crown prince of Dubai says he has a ‘metaverse strategy’ that will add 40,000 jobs and $4 billion to the economy in 5 years

Dubai unveiled a new “metaverse strategy” that is set to create 40,000 virtual jobs and contribute $4 billions to the city’s GDP in 5 years. Another objective of the strategy is to increase the number of blockchain and metaverse companies by 5 times the present number. The focus will be on supporting metaverse education towards cultivating talent, fostering innovation and developing metaverse use cases within Dubai’s government. 

Egypt’s fintech firm MNT-Halan closes $150m securitized bond issuance

MNT-Halan, Egypt’s largest microfinance and digital lender had closed its first securitized bond issuance of $150M in a four-tranches, $600M programme with Egypt’s Commercial International Bank (CIB). The proceeds will be used to accelerate the company’s growth across its multiple lending businesses and expansion into new markets. Founded in 2018, MNT-Halan was created to digitally bank the unbanked and is now serving over 4 millions customers in Egypt. 

Mambu and Purpl partnered up to enhance money transfers in Lebanon

Purpl, a local Lebanese remittance aggregator, is partnering with Mambu, a German unicorn Saas cloud banking platform, as part of its strategy to scale operations in the region. A combination of Mambu’s cloud technology and Purpl’s remittance partnering network will enable Purple users to easily send and receive money in Lebanon. The second phase of the partnership will see the two companies launching a stored value wallet product together. 

Blockchain RippleNet to power remittance service between Qatar and Philippines

Qatar National Bank (QNB) has connected with China Bank, one of Philippine’s leading private banks to launch a direct remittance service that aids fund transfers between Qatar and Philippines. The financial technology behind the remittance service is RippleNet, which is powered by the leading enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions provider Ripple. The service aims to help Philippines nationals in Qatar to transmit payments up to PHP50,000 to any bank in the Philippines. 

MoneyGram Launches Global Crypto-To-Cash Service in Kenya

MoneyGram, a P2P payment and money transfer giant partnered with Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) to launch a global crypto-to-cash service in key remittance markets including Kenya.  People who use Stellar-connected digital wallets will be able to convert cash into cryptos and to cash again without needing a bank account or credit card. Consumers could now also load their digital wallets or cash out their digital currencies at any MoneyGram agent location. 

Balance raises $56M to tip the one-click checkout scales in favor of B2B merchants

Balance, a one-click checkout platform for B2C and B2B payments has raised $56 millions in Series B funding, amounting the total fundings raised to $87 millions for the two-year old start-up. The money will be invested into making one-click checkout a reality for B2B ecommerce merchants to easily process payments online. While B2B payments are five times the amount of B2C retail payments, only 7% of the $120 trillion B2B payment volume is conducted digitally. 

Nigerian mobility fintech startup Moove raises $20m from British International Investment

The UK government’s development finance institution – British International Investment (BII) has given $20 millions in fundings to Moove, a Nigerian mobility fintech startup that is democratising vehicle ownership in Africa. The money will be used to purchase and import brand new fuel-efficient cars into Lagos to be leased to drivers that previously struggled to obtain vehicle financing from existing financial services. The UK funding brought the total amount raised by the start-up to just short of US$200 million.

DIFC launches MEASA’s first Open Finance Lab

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) launched the first Open Finance Lab in the MEASA region after signing an MoU with the Central Bank of the UAE. DIFC’s vision is to promote the development and growth of the UAE Fintech sector to become the global capital for financial services. The six-month programme commenced on 28th June and is running business and technical deep-dive workshops, along with facilitating industry and regulatory forums on important issues.

Careem acquires Dubai-based fintech startup ‘Denarii’

Careem announced it had acquired Dubai-based money transfer platform Denarii for an undisclosed amount. Careem superapp is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber that operates in over 100 cities and 12 countries across MEASA. Denarii money transfer technology will help Careem users access quicker and more affordable international remittance services and enhance existing services offered on Careem Pay. 

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