September 14, 2022
Photo: Owen Thomas/Protocol
Good morning, and welcome to Protocol Fintech. This Wednesday: SALT and Finovate compared, Celsius’ comeback plan, and BitGo versus Galaxy Digital.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in New York City — so long that the 7 subway line extension to Hudson Yards hadn’t opened yet. If it weren’t for that tongue of the MTA sticking itself out in the general direction of New Jersey, I don’t think I’d have managed to shuttle back and forth so seamlessly between SALT New York and FinovateFall. The two conferences, which both opened Monday and wrap up today, embodied different axes of the modern fintech industry.
SALT went full Web3. Founded by Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital in 2009, the conference series returned to New York this year with a huge crypto presence.
Finovate was more practical. The views were mostly of the Marriott Marquis’ soaring atrium and dizzyingly fast elevators.
Both events had a whiff of frenzy to the deal-making. “It’s three years of FOMO packed into three months,” a colleague commented on the busy conference season. Zoom has its charms, not least of which is avoiding germs. But SALT and Finovate both made clear there’s a hunger to get out there and press the flesh. No risk, no reward.— Owen Thomas (email | twitter)
Software is changing payments and banks should care: At Modern Treasury, we built a platform to complement banks’ existing products to help them prepare for a future led by software. We’re here to help them future-proof their business so that they can participate in and lead in the next phase of financial services.
Citadel, Fidelity and Charles Schwab are planning a new crypto exchange. The envisioned entity, to be called EDX Markets, is a sign that Wall Street continues to see opportunity in digital assets despite this year’s slump.
Celsius is betting on crypto custody for a comeback. The bankrupt crypto lender outlined a plan — code-named Kelvin (get it?) — to employees last week.
Traders' reaction to the federal inflation report caused FTX to wobble. The cryptocurrency exchange was unusable for some customers Tuesday around the time of the closely watched economic report. The company acknowledged services were slower for some users but did not crash.
Fintech firms slid on Wall Street after the inflation report. Shares of AI lender Upstart, “buy now, pay later” provider Affirm and Block fell quickly on Tuesday after federal data showed a surprise monthly increase in inflation.
BitGo has made good on a promise to sue Galaxy Digital for abandoning its plan to buy the crypto asset custody and management company for $1.2 billion.
BitGo said Tuesday it had filed a lawsuit against Galaxy Digital. It accused the crypto financial services company of “improper repudiation and intentional breach of its merger agreement,” the company said in a tweet. BitGo said it is seeking more than $100 million in damages.
Galaxy Digital hit back, saying in a statement that BitGo’s claims are “without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.” Galaxy reaffirmed that the company abandoned its acquisition bid because BitGo “did not provide certain BitGo financial statements needed by Galaxy for its SEC filing,” a spokesperson said in an email.
Read the full story on Protocol.com.— Benjamin Pimentel (email | twitter)
Software is changing payments and banks should care: Activities that once took place in person or over the phone—getting a loan, making a payment, investing in a security—now occur entirely within software. Covid has only accelerated this trend. To remain a part of clients' financial lives, banks need to play well with software.
Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!