Friday April 9, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
China Creates Its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy
China is rapidly moving forward with a digital yuan which will be issued by the central bank and in essence replace paper money; the digital yaun will provide the Chinese government the ability to track spending, exert more control over the economy, and perhaps most importantly build out a new international payments system that is not reliant on the US dollar.
Auto Loans Get Their SoFi Moment
SoFi is pushing into the auto refinancing market through a partnership with MotoRefi; SoFi will connect with MotoRefi’s lending platform to allow borrowers interested in refinancing their auto loan to begin the process on the SoFi.com homepage or through Lantern, SoFi’s product comparison site.
Stripe expands to Middle East with Dubai office
Stripe has embarked on a Middle East expansion plan and opened an office in Dubai, UAE to support payments digitization across the region; Stripe is entering the market in partnership with Network International, a Dubai-based payments processor with a regional presence.
dLocal bags $150 million in funding and recruits JPMorgan executive as COO
dLocal the Uruguay-based cross-border payments company has raised a $150 million in new funding at a $5 billion valuation; along with the new fund raise, dLocal has recruited a senior Chase executive as its COO.
Fintech Plaid Is Valued at $13.4 Billion Three Months After Scrapped Merger With Visa
Plaid has raised $425 million in a Series D funding round led by Altimeter Capital at a valuation of $13.4 billion; according to a blog post by Zach Perret, Plaid co-founder and CEO, Plaid will continue investing in API’s and also build out tools and services to support enhanced privacy, personalization, decisioning, and automation.
Singapore’s Grab set to list in New York in biggest Spac merger
Singapore-based super app Grab is preparing to go public working with one of Altimeter Capital’s SPAC’s at a valuation of $35 billion; Grab is one of southeast Asia’s major startup success stories with a broad set of offerings including ride hailing, food delivery, financial services, and payments.
U.S. consumer credit picks up in February
Total consumer credit increased by an annualized rate of 7.9% to $4.2 trillion in February after remaining flat in January; revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 10.1% to $974 billion, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7.3% to $3.2 trillion.
Walmart Files for Trademark for Fintech Unit: ‘Hazel by Walmart’
According to a trademark name filing, Walmart’s new financial services venture will be called ‘Hazel by Walmart’ – the filing also displays a logo for “Hazel by Walmart,” a black, stylized one where the “a” in Hazel is a greater-than sign rotated counterclockwise, with “by Walmart” in small type underneath the name.
State Street to provide tech for cryptocurrency trading platform
State Street is partnering with Pure Digital, a start-up that aims to be the main institutional platform for bitcoin with the new trading venue offering cash cryptocurrency trading for investors through their existing bank relationships; State Street’s Currenex platform will provide the underlying technology.
Kid Debit Card Startup Greenlight Valued at $2 Billion in Andreessen-Led Round
According to two people familiar with the deal, Andreessen Horowitz is leading a new round of funding in Greenlight Financial Technology at a $2 billion valuation; Greenlight had last raised $215 million in September 2020 at a $1.2 billion valuation.