June 7, 2022
Photo: Valerie Pleasch/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Good morning, and welcome to Protocol Fintech. This Tuesday: the big Lummis-Gillibrand crypto bill, Apple’s pay-later move and another Bored Ape hack.
Apple Pay Later is just the beginning. Since the early days of the iTunes Music Store, Apple has depended on outside financial firms for its transactions. Project Breakout promises to change that: the long-term initiative, revealed by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman earlier this year, would take much more of Apple’s payments infrastructure in-house. The most intriguing aspect for me isn’t breaking up payments into four installments: It’s substantially reducing the cost of smaller transactions, which might give Apple an excuse to cut the App Store rake that developers love to complain about.— Owen Thomas (email | twitter)
“Most digital assets are much more similar to commodities than securities” won’t be music to Gary Gensler’s ears, but the crypto industry will likely welcome a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Tuesday that puts a friendlier regulator largely in charge.
The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, lays out how cryptocurrencies should be defined and regulated.
If it becomes law, it would be a victory for the crypto industry. The crypto world has long complained about insufficient or vague regulations and the SEC’s aggressive enforcement-first posture.
Crypto, regulate thyself. The bill would also kick off the study of a “self-regulatory organization” that would work much like FINRA does for stockbrokers.
The bill also resolves some regulatory gaps. It touches on everything from taxes to the environment.
The bill has a long road ahead through the Senate, the House and the president’s desk. (This might be a good time for younger crypto-market participants to watch some “Schoolhouse Rock” on YouTube.) But it promises “a thoughtful approach” to crypto regulation, Crane said — a step toward the comprehensive architecture that market participants and regulators alike have been asking lawmakers to provide.
— Benjamin Pimentel (email | twitter)A version of this story first appeared on Protocol.com. Read it here.
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On Protocol: The SEC is reportedly opening an investigation into Binance’s 2017 initial coin offering of BNB. The agency is said to be examining whether Binance broke any securities rules in selling the tokens without registering them as securities.
The SEC is preparing to unveil sweeping changes to the stock markets. Under one proposal, payment for order flow would largely be replaced by a system where trading firms bid in auctions to handle trades.
Binance is also a money laundering hub, according to a Reuters report. A Reuters investigation found that the crypto exchange reportedly served as a channel for at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds, with hackers using the exchange to move stolen crypto.
IRA Financial Trust filed a lawsuit against Gemini. The retirement account management company alleges that the crypto exchange did not have proper safeguards against fraud, resulting in a theft of $36 million in crypto assets from retirement accounts in February.
The BAYC Discord server was hacked … again. Over the weekend, the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Discord server was hacked after a community manager’s account was compromised and used to post phishing links. The attacker made off with 200 ether, about $360,000.
Apple is joining the BNPL craze.
The tech giant announced Monday a new Apple Pay feature that would let users make purchases with its digital wallet and pay for them in four installments over six weeks. Apple Pay users won’t have to pay any fees.
The company said Apple Pay Later, which was introduced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, will work “using standard Apple Pay implementation” and will also allow users to monitor and manage upcoming payments through the digital wallet.
— Benjamin Pimentel
Haun Ventures led a $32 million investment in Euler XYZ. The DeFi lending protocol will use the proceeds to diversify the treasury holdings of a forthcoming DAO.
Ohio-based real estate insurance fintech Foxen raised a $44 million in a series A round led by Summit Partners. Level Equity also participated in the round.
Sanlo, a nondilutive capital provider for gaming and app creators, raised $10 million in a series A round led by Konvoy Ventures. Portage Ventures, XYZ Venture Capital and Initial Capital also participated in the round.
German “buy now, pay later” company Mondu raised $43 million in a series A round led by Valar Ventures. Mondu will be using the funding to expand more into European markets, according to TechCrunch. Cherry Ventures and FinTech Collective also participated in the round.
Merge raised $9.5 million in seed funding in a round led by Octopus Ventures. The London-based startup develops payments infrastructure for Web3 and was founded by ex-PayPal and Barclays executive Kebbie Sebastian.Indian UPI payment provider Slice raised $50 million in a series C financing round. Tiger Global led the round, with participation from GMO Venture Partners, Insight Partners and Moore Strategic Partners. The company is now valued at more than $1.5 billion.
It’s hard to find an executive who’d say customer experience isn’t a priority for them. Yet, only 44% of them see better communication with customers as a benefit of digitizing AR. This presents a massive opportunity, and collaborative AR is the key to seizing it.
Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!