2023 Fintech and Financing Conference & Expo

Category Archives: Enterprise

Solana DeFi Is Starting Over — OpenBook

Decrypt | Stacy Elliott | Dec 7, 2022

Solana forks Serum launches OpenBook - Solana DeFi Is Starting Over — OpenBookSolana devs look to rebuild as they unwind DeFi on the network from Sam Bankman-Fried’s Serum, replace it with OpenBook, and plot a course for the future.

  • Serum, founded in August 2020 by a consortium that included the Solana Foundation and Bankman-Fried’s FTX and trading desk Alameda Research, was a core decentralized exchange platform and liquidity provider for the burgeoning Solana DeFi ecosystem. Its order book was crucial for DeFi on Solana, integrated into virtually all of the biggest DeFi projects on the network, like Jupiter and Raydium. But its private keys were housed within FTX—which is exactly as bad as that sounds.

See:  Crypto.com Halts Solana USDC and USDT Withdrawls and Deposits | $800 Million SOL Tokens Set to be Unstaked

  • Following an apparent hack on FTX on November 11, the same day that the company filed for bankruptcy, DeFi projects on Solana rushed to cut ties with Serum out of fear that the private key that could be used to update the program had likewise been compromised. This effectively flipped the “off” switch on Solana DeFi.
  • OpenBook: Since then, Solana developers, investors, and other stakeholders have been scrambling to turn it back on, pushing ahead with a fork of Serum—essentially a copy of the code, free of any ties to Bankman-Fried or FTX.
    • Now, the community behind OpenBook, the successor to Serum, has to wrestle with some thorny tokenomics questions after reaching $2.7 million total value locked since it was added to DeFi Llama last week.
  • Grants being offered to qualifying projects to rebuild:  “The foundation is very keen on funding grants, at least for the foreseeable future, for OpenBook development so that we can maintain this core piece of liquidity infrastructure for DeFi, however that well is not infinite,” Ben Sparango, head of business development at Solana Labs, said during the call.
    • “Each one of these grants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. So it’s not going to be free money forever.”

See:  Grayscale Won’t Share Proof of Reserves | Bitvo Escapes FTX | (Some) DeFi Platforms Benefit from CEX Exodus

Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko:

The community's evolution of Serum to OpenBook has been great to watch.  The community mobilized quickly and in the open to redeploy Serum so it continues on a new, secure path, with decisions made by and for the community members,” he said. “Open Book is a great demonstration of decentralization in action.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Solana DeFi Is Starting Over — OpenBookThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Plaid Lays Off 260 Employees (20% of Staff)

TechCrunch | Mary Ann Azevedo | Dec 7, 2022

Layoffs - Plaid Lays Off 260 Employees (20% of Staff)Plaid, a Fintech decacorn, is laying off 260 employees, or about 20% of its workforce, the company announced today

  • In April of 2021, Plaid raised a $425 million Series D led by Altimeter Capital, which valued the company at around $13.4 billion. This was after its deal to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion fell through due to regulatory concerns.
  • Hired ahead of revenue growth: In a letter to employees that was posted on Plaid’s website, CEO and co-founder Zach Perret said the company saw a rapid increase in usage by its existing customers, a large number of new customers and “substantial revenue acceleration” during COVID.  As such, the company “hired aggressively” to meet customer demand and invest in new products. However, macroeconomic shifts resulted in Plaid customers experiencing “slower-than-expected growth,” causing the company to backpedal.

See:  Plaid Officially Opens it’s Canadian Office and Announces RBC Data Sharing Agreement

  • What they get:
    • Severance: All impacted employees will get 16 weeks of base pay in severance. Those who have been with Plaid for more than one year will get additional weeks.  Plaid will also be paying the cash equivalent of six months of healthcare premiums for medical, dental and vision insurance coverage for employees and their dependents.
    • The company is also accelerating equity grants for employees who worked at the company for more than one year to the February 15, 2023 vesting date. It is also waiving the one-year cliff for workers with equity who haven’t yet reached their one-year vesting cliff.
    • Additionally, it says it will provide six months of career support and coaching services as well as six months of continued mental health coverage for all departing employees.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Plaid Lays Off 260 Employees (20% of Staff)The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Final Legal Submission Concluded After 2 Years: Ripple vs SEC

CryptoPotato | Chayanika Deka  | Dec 5, 2022

XRP vs SEC - Final Legal Submission Concluded After 2 Years:  Ripple vs SEC

Image: CryptoPotato

The long-running legal spat between Ripple and the SEC and Ripple is drawing close after two years.

  • Stuart Alderoty, General Counsel of Ripple, confirmed the company’s “final submission,” urging the court to grant judgment in its favor and said that Ripple is proud of the defense it has mounted on behalf of the entire digital asset industry.
    • According to the court document, the San Francisco-based blockchain company asserted that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has failed to prove the existence of any investment contracts governing the defendants’ offers and sales of XRP between the period 2013 and 2020.
    • Ripple also said that both its founders are entitled to summary judgment on their decision to sell on foreign exchanges and added that the SEC could not provide any material fact to the contrary.

See:  Legal experts say “This Is It” moment for XRP in Ripple lawsuit,

Brad Garlinghouse CEO XRP took to Twitter to congratulate the team:

“I said it on day 1, we will aggressively fight to get clear rules for the entire industry in the U.S. Congrats to all of Team Ripple for getting us to this point. Ripple stood strong and withstood the SEC’s onslaught. I look forward to being on the right side of justice.”

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Final Legal Submission Concluded After 2 Years:  Ripple vs SECThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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US Subcommittee on Covid Releases Staff Report: How Certain Fintechs Facilitated Fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program

US House Subcommittee on Covid | Release | Dec 1, 2022

Fintechs and covid payments fraud investigation - US Subcommittee on Covid Releases Staff Report:  How Certain Fintechs Facilitated Fraud in the Paycheck Protection ProgramToday, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by Rep. James E. Clyburn, released a staff report detailing the poor performance of many financial technology companies (fintechs) in administering the nation’s largest pandemic relief program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—may have themselves committed PPP fraud

  • In May 2021, the Select Subcommittee initiated an investigation into the role of fintech companies Kabbage, Inc. and Bluevine and partner banks Cross River Bank and Celtic Bank in facilitating PPP fraud following public reports they were linked to disproportionate numbers of fraudulent loans. The investigation was expanded in November 2021 to include fintech start-ups Blueacorn PPP, LLC, and Womply, Inc., after an analysis determined significant percentages of PPP loans facilitated by the companies had indicators of fraud.
    • The investigation was expanded in November 2021 to include fintech start-ups Blueacorn PPP, LLC, and Womply, Inc., after an analysis determined significant percentages of PPP loans facilitated by the companies had indicators of fraud.

See:  Consumer Protection: Fintech Complaints Have Been Rising

Chairman Clyburn released the following statement about today’s report:

“As today’s report details, many fintechs, while promising to help disburse billions of Paycheck Protection Program dollars to struggling small businesses efficiently and expeditiously, refused to take adequate steps to detect and prevent fraud despite their clear responsibility to safeguard taxpayer funds. Even as these companies failed in their administration of the program, they nonetheless accrued massive profits from program administration fees, much of which was pocketed by the companies’ owners and executives. On top of the windfall obtained by enabling others to engage in PPP fraud, some of these individuals may have augmented their ill-gotten gains by engaging in PPP fraud themselves.

“We must learn from this inexcusable misconduct to erect guardrails that will help ensure that federal programs—including emergency assistance programs in future crises—are administered more effectively, efficiently, and equitably while keeping waste, fraud, and abuse to an absolute minimum. Based on our initial findings, I have asked the SBA and SBA OIG to conduct further investigation into these companies and pursue all appropriate remedies, and I have informed DOJ that some of our findings may warrant its attention.”

See:  UK Alternative Lenders Funding Delivery Performance to Small Businesses During COVID

  • Today’s staff report is entitled “‘We Are Not the Fraud Police’: How Fintechs Facilitated Fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program” and is available in full here.   The report reveals the following key findings: Fintechs and Lenders Observed Significant Fraud in the PPP, Which They Attributed to Program Mismanagement as They Sought to Evade Responsibility
    • Blueacorn Took Only Minimal Steps to Prevent Fraud in Its Facilitation of Billions of Dollars in PPP Loans, While Abusing the Program to Enrich Its Owners
    • Womply’s PPP Fraud Screenings Failed to Prevent “Rampant Fraud”—and Were Accompanied by Questionable Business Practices—Despite Generating Over a Billion in Profits
    • Capital Plus, Harvest, and Other Fintech-Partnered Lenders Conducted Little Oversight over Womply and Blueacorn’s Activities, Allowing Fraud to Infiltrate The PPP
    • Kabbage’s PPP Activities Illustrate that the PPP Lacked Incentives for Fintechs to Implement Strong Fraud Prevention Controls or Appropriate Borrower Servicing
    • Bluevine Initially Faced Significant Fraud Rates, but Its Longstanding Partners Intervened to Improve Fraud Prevention Over the Course of the Program
  • Based on the findings, the report includes 11 recommendations to address PPP fraud and improve future programs.
    • It urges the SBA to consider carefully whether businesses like fintechs that are not subject to traditional financial regulations should be permitted to play a part in future federal lending programs, and recommends that Congress take these factors into account in considering future legislation.

View the original release --> here

Download the 130 page PDF full Staff Report --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - US Subcommittee on Covid Releases Staff Report:  How Certain Fintechs Facilitated Fraud in the Paycheck Protection ProgramThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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CBDC Adoption in Africa and Caribbean is Slow. India Piloting CBDC Anyway

TechMonitor | Afiq Fitri and Greg Noone | Dec 5, 2022

CBDC adoption Africa and Caribbean - CBDC Adoption in Africa and Caribbean is Slow. India Piloting CBDC Anyway

Image: Google play store / TechMonitor

CBDCs are on the march

  • From China to the UAE, the Bahamas to Nigeria, countries around the world have started trialling the use of central bank digital currencies as a way to translate their national fiat currencies into a means of digital exchange.
    • One of the drivers of these state-backed digital currencies is the dramatic decline of physical cash usage which, according to McKinsey, has plunged by approximately one-third in Europe between 2014 and 2021.
    • As the popularity of physical money diminishes, central banks are eager to introduce CBDCs to reassert their roles as the anchors of capital.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to officially begin piloting its own CBDC, the e-rupee, last week. The product of two years of research by the central bank, the RBI explained in a concept note published in October that the project would ‘bolster India’s digital economy, enhance financial inclusion, and make the monetary and payment systems more efficient.’

See: 

According to CBDCTracker, these Central Banks have Launched a CBDC or Pilot Initiative as of Today

X-Border Payments: European Central Bank Report says CBDCs Could Be ‘Holy Grail’

  • Adoption with CBDCs low in Africa and Caribbean thus far:
    • an estimated 17% of Jamaicans and 18% of Bahamians remain unbanked. Even so, only 3.4% of the former's citizens have downloaded the Lynk app, while this figure is even lower for downloads of the DCash and the Sand Dollar.
    • In Jamaica, for example, on-boarding merchants has proven embarrassingly difficult, while at the start of the year, DCash went offline for two months after the certificate for the network which hosts the CBDC distributed ledger expired.
  • China's e-CNY is the only CBDC performing above expectations thus far:
    • Since launching in September 2021, transactions using the CBDC have surpassed $13.9bn, a success that some have attributed to its introduction into an economy where digital payments have almost eclipsed those using cash and where cryptocurrencies are vigorously suppressed.
    • Active promotion by the central government also hasn't hurt - a campaign outwardly premised on the role the digital yuan could play in reducing systemic risk in the national payments system
    • Some have speculated, on the fact that it provides another opportunity for the state to peer into private individual transactions.
  • Crypto is booming in India despite 30% tax on oncime
    • Indian government has attempted to use all the powers at its disposal to crush crypto, imposing a 30% tax on income derived from trading cryptocurrencies (an outright legal ban was quashed by the Supreme Court in 2018.) Despite this, India remains a global leader in cryptocurrency adoption, ranking fourth globally according to Chainalysis and trading some $172bn of BTC, ETH and other coins in the year leading up to June 2022.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - CBDC Adoption in Africa and Caribbean is Slow. India Piloting CBDC AnywayThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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NYT DealBook Summit: Sam Bankman-Fried Interviewed About the Collapse of FTX

New York Times | Dec 1, 2022

SBF interviewed at NYT DealBook Summit - NYT DealBook Summit:  Sam Bankman-Fried Interviewed About the Collapse of FTX

Image: NYT DealBook Summit

Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of the cryptocurrency firm FTX, gave his first live interview since his company filed for bankruptcy. Andrew Ross-Sorkin of The New York Times asked Bankman-Fried to address allegations of fraud and mismanagement and whether the people and organizations who are owed money will get any of it back.

 

 

Watch the full interview from the DealBook Summit event.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - NYT DealBook Summit:  Sam Bankman-Fried Interviewed About the Collapse of FTXThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Audio Interviews (post-bankruptcy) with Sam Bankman-Fried on FTX Collapse

Coindesk | Sam Kessler, Nelson Wang | Nov 29, 2022

Phone interviews with SBF post bankruptcy - Audio Interviews (post-bankruptcy) with Sam Bankman-Fried on FTX Collapse

Image: youtube

Among the more unprecedented elements of the FTX saga has been the fact that Bankman-Fried, who was raised by two lawyers, can’t seem to keep his mouth shut despite mounting legal threats.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire blew up in spectacular fashion at the beginning of this month, and questions continue to swirl around the motives and mechanics that caused crypto exchange FTX and its sister company, Alameda Research, to collapse.

See:  CB Insights: FTX ‘Bagholders’ — Investments and M&A Portfolio Map

After cryptic tweet threads and a viral DM exchange with a Vox reporter in which he said “f**k regulators” and admitted that his philanthropic identity was largely manufactured for PR reasons, Bankman-Fried’s actual voice is being heard for the first time post-FTX collapse with newly released audio from Tiffany Fong – a crypto investor-turned-whistleblower who initially gained attention for leaking audio that showed Celsius Network, the now-bankrupt crypto lending platform, planned to use a cynical “crypto-based solution” to repay users of its Earn Lending platform.

First audio interviews with SBF post-bankruptcy

First interview with Tiffany Fong

In this phone call interview, Sam Bankman-Fried or SBF, former CEO and founder of FTX, chats with me about filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the alleged backdoor, the use of FTT as collateral, ties to the Democratic Party, laundering Ukraine money, the solvency / insolvency of FTX US, lawyers, and the jurisdictional battle ahead as well as his next steps forward.

See:  CFTC Says Bitcoin is the Only Commodity | ECB Criticizes Digital Asset Sector for Facilitating Illegal Activity

Second interview with Tiffany Fong

SBF Talks FTX user funds on Alameda, $8 billion hole illiquidity, CZ, the run on the bank. Sam Bankman-Fried shows remorse

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Audio Interviews (post-bankruptcy) with Sam Bankman-Fried on FTX CollapseThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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