TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, Brexit, fintech, and cryptocurrency news

Financial Well-being

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Applications are officially open for TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at this year’s Disrupt SF 2019. There’s no fee for applying or for participating (TechCrunch doesn’t take any fees or equity), and entries are open to early-stage startups from any country or vertical. The winning startup wins the coveted Disrupt Cup and an equity-free $100k prize. TechCrunch reports:

Source: TechCrunch

With more than 10,000 attendees, hundreds of press outlets and top investors from around the world, your company will launch to the most influential players in tech.

After applications are received, TechCrunch editors carefully select the most promising startups to move forward and pitch to world-renown VC’s on the main stage October 2–4 at Disrupt SF 2019. The Startup Battlefield contestants will get to work with the Startup Battlefield team over the course of a few weeks to “hone pitches, sharpen business models and perfect demos.” Past notable winners include DropBox,, and Vurb.

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In the event of a no-deal Brexit, British regulators will give finance firms a 15-month regulatory grace period. Reuters reports:

The Bank of England and Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Thursday published a “near final” version of the rulebook that would come into effect if Britain leaves the EU without a transition deal…
…FCA executive director international, Nausicaa Delfas, said Thursday’s announcement was a significant milestone in the financial sector’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
“They ensure that there is a functioning regulatory regime from day one, and that firms are clear as to the requirements they need to meet by end March 2019 and beyond, so they can continue to meet the needs of their customers,” Delfas said.

Although financial firms have been planning for “all forms of Brexit” since the June 2016 vote for the U.K. to leave the EU, there is no assurance that the financial sector won’t be disrupted in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

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According to a recent study by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, the Swiss fintech market has a 62 percent increase in 2018. Cointelegraph reports:

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences undertook an in-depth review of Switzerland’s fintech market for the fourth time. The report dubbed “IFZ FinTech Study 2019” reveals that on a global scale the cities of Zurich and Geneva remain in second and third place for the best cities for fintech, respectively. The fintech sector inside the country grew 62 percent over the previous year.

In 2017, Switzerland had 220 fintech companies—that number grew to 356 in 2018. Fintech distributed ledger technology (DLT) companies were the primary shove, as they tripled in number. Out of the 356 fintech companies, 122 are in DLT, 66 are in investment management, 56 are in banking infrastructure, 42 are in deposit and lending, 36 are in payments, and 34 are in analytics.

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The U.K.’s Innovate Finance just published it Women Fintech Powerlist for 2018. They have received an abundance of applications and nominations from around the world, and choose 150 women across 7 categories to honor. Crowdfund Insider reports:

Women highlighted in the 2018 Women in FinTech Powerlist include representatives from various FinTech firms and major banking/professional services firms such as Allen & Overy, Accenture, BBVA, Barclays, Schroders, Transferwise, Monzo, Moola, OakNorth and Ovamba. Innovate Fintech is looking for more women FinTech leaders on the stage during its Innovate Finance Global Summit, which brings together over 2000 of the world’s most influential innovators and leaders.

Innovate Finance’s CEO Charlotte Crosswell stressed that statistics for women in fintech remain abysmal, and we can’t just talk about inclusion and diversity—we have to make moves toward action in order to see a change.

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U.S. MoffettNathanson research firm’s analyst Lisa Ellis said that while cryptocurrency isn’t yet disrupting payment, it’s worth watching. Ellis noted that it’s unlikely to occur soon, but the possibility of cryptocurrency—as a global payment system—upending the big guys like Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., and PayPal Holdings Inc., is worth watching. Bloomberg reports:

For Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, the more possible scenario is emerging that cryptocurrency systems commoditize them instead of disintermediating them entirely, said Ellis, who rates each of the three as a buy. Plus, “unless networks fully embrace these technologies themselves,” another more imminent concern is the risk of ceding the cross-border person-to-person and business-to-business payments markets to players such as Ripple and Veem that are leveraging crypto, which is particularly well-suited for these kinds of payments, she said.

Ellis noted that if banks embrace the technology (cryptocurrency and blockchain), they could see new opportunities and new revenue streams open up.

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Malta is leading the pack of EU states moving forward with their own cryptoassets regulation as the European Commission decides whether the EU needs to take action to address risks. The European Commission has yet to move toward cryptoassets and virtual trading regulation, as they fear hindering innovation. Reuter’s reports:

Individual EU states are moving into the vacuum, despite risks that uncoordinated action could weaken the EU market. The French parliament is passing cryptoassets legislation, and Germany’s finance ministry has begun a consultation on a blockchain strategy that will be published before summer.

Smaller states are ahead of them. Luxembourg passed its rules this year, and the Baltic countries have long been active in the sector, industry consultant Peter Moricz said.

The boldest is Malta, which has set up a broad regulatory framework and aims to become Europe’s cryptohub.

Due to learning from past failures, Malta—a major hub for online gambling and having a large financial services sector—has learned how to take a stronger supervisory approach.

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