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Singapore Fintech Industry News - Dec 2017

EZPOS launches cryptocurrency to improve customer loyalty programs

EZPOS Holdings Singapore, a cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) systems provider that serves businesses across Southeast Asia, is releasing its own digital currency called the EZToken to improve customer loyalty programs while making digital money viable on a global scale. Founded in 2011, EZ Solution, a subsidiary of EZPOS Holding Singapore provides more than S$1.3 billion worth of annual transaction over POS software for more than 10,000 businesses. Clients in its POS network will be able to accept EZTokens for payments.

Blockchain Startup drives ICO to provide financial services for the unbanked

Blockchain startup LaLa World commenced the LaLa Token sale on January 5, to run through till February 5, 2018. A total of 150 million LaLa Tokens will be released in the initial coin sale (ICO). LaLa World is a financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. "The majority of the underbanked face severe challenges as they lack basic banking access," says Sankalp Shangari, founder and CEO of LaLa World. LaLa’s offerings include products for money payments, bill transfers, loans, crypto and fiat cards as well as kits with pre-loaded wallets and phones. On Jan 5 Lala World launched a S$10 mil token sale.

Third-gen digital platform BitMart announces ICO launch

Bitmart is a system which can help the massive computation requirements of trading platforms. BitMart issued 100,000,000 BMX (tokens) in the BitMart initial coin offering (ICO) campaign which ended on January 14. The total funding requirement is 10,000 ETH. Meanwhile, project introduction events were conducted in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, and Shenzhen. A BitMart closed beta test showed that the system can support massive concurrent computation and make order processing speeds reach one million transactions per second. In addition, BitMart also brings up the idea of whole-network trading.

Vemanti Group Acquires Blockchain R&D Company SmartChain

Vemanti Group, Inc., a technology-driven holding company, announced that it has acquired the intellectual property (IP) assets of SmartChain Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, a blockchain R&D company. SmartChain offers consulting, development, security assessment, and training services in blockchain and smart contract projects. Its list of clients includes the Ethereum Foundation and Melonport AG. SmartChain's core team will stay on as part of the acquisition. The company will inherit a proven token-generation code that was used successfully in the ICO launch of the Kyber Network Coin.

MATRIX ICO raises 13,227.5 ETHs for 50 million tokens

Blockchain startup MATRIX announced that it has raised 13,227.5 ethereums (ETHs) in its initial coin offering (ICO) and is looking at a market value of S$ 470.74 million. Steve Deng, Chief Artificial Intelligence Scientist of MATRIX and his team focus on deep learning based Bayesian algorithm. Now Deng is in charge of designing a machine learning algorithm for MATRIX. With a fusion of blockchain and AI Technology, MATRIX has built a blockchain 3.0 cryptocurrency solution that brings a significantly boosted transaction speed, enables general users with natural language processing (NLP) technology, enhances security under intelligent contract, and utilizes mining activity with universal value. "Infrastructure and private chain will be ready by September 2018 and the mining facility and big data applications will be ready in March 2020", he said.

Huobi Global launches Huobi Token (HT)

Blockchain asset service provider Huobi Global has launched Huobi Token (HT), limited to a fixed total of 500 million tokens. 300 million tokens, 60% of the total, will be distributed over 15 days. HT is a point system running natively on the ethereum blockchain. The most basic use of HT is for the discount on trading fees, of up to 50 percent. HT is not an initial coin offering (ICO). Users can get HT only by purchasing a 'Point Card' on Huobi Pro. Each quarter, Huobi Pro will use 20% of its profits to buyback the Huobi Tokens in the open market. All the HT that were bought back will be allocated to Huobi Investor Protection Fund (HIPF) in a certain proportion.

Ink releases blockchain-based IP solutions for creative industry

Ink, created by the Ink Labs Foundation, is set to become a blockchain-supported platform for content creators and the first comprehensive ecosystem that links the global creative marketplace. It features the world's first intellectual property (IP) blockchain. Qtum-based Intellectual Property Asset Exchange is a key application of the blockchain, which includes a talent scout system, a commercialization system and a smart contracts payment system.

A Sovereign Consortium Blockchain integrates with the Exchange and uses a digital certificate mechanism to release identification and permission control. Ink had received a million-dollar angel investment in Spring 2017.

UOBAM launches country's first digital advisory service for corporate investors

UOB Asset Management Ltd (UOBAM) has launched UOBAM Invest, Singapore's first digital advisory service for United Overseas Bank's (UOB) Commercial Banking clients. It will be offered to the Bank's other corporate clients, as well as to retail investors and across UOBAM's network in Asia, in subsequent phases. Clients can now submit their financial information, obtain their risk profile and receive an investment portfolio proposal in minutes. Thereafter, the clients can choose to invest in the proposed portfolio or to adjust the portfolio according to their desired returns, investment horizon and risk appetite.

XinFin launches blockchain-powered platform with India's Assocham

Singapore-based hybrid blockchain firm XinFin will extend its TradeFinex platform to Assocham's Indian network of 300+ trade associations and 450,000 members. This was unveiled at the second Global Summit on P2P Digital Asset System Summit held in Delhi, India. All users of TradeFinex can drive bottom line benefits by using the blockchain-based platform to escrow based smart contracts between beneficiaries, financiers and suppliers. The payment terms can be linked to customized smart contract milestones, triggered upon delivery of goods/services. XinFin focuses towards enterprise use cases of blockchain technology using native token called XDC.

FX payments firm sets up Southeast Asia base in Singapore

An international payments firm that started in the United States by helping international students to pay their school fees easily has opened its regional headquarters in Singapore. In the next 12 to 18 months, Flywire hopes to double its current staff count and to expand its reach into the Asia-Pacific market. Flywire's strategy is to earn a forex spread off transactions. This spread is between 1 and 2 per cent, and both payers and payees are able to see the fees upfront. Its three largest markets for international transactions are China, India and South Korea, The company is expanding into international payments in the healthcare sector, working with Boston Children's Hospital and KPJ Healthcare, a Malaysian company. Flywire works with businesses, while several of its fintech peers are mostly focused on peer-to-peer fund transfers. Its average transaction is valued at about S$ 13,000.

Ayondo may become Singapore's first fintech listing: Sources

Ayondo, a European group that specializes in financial trading technologies, is expected to seek a listing on the Catalist board in the first quarter of 2018. If the initial public offering (IPO) materializes, this would make it the first fintech firm to list in Singapore. Ayondo had sought a listing via a reverse takeover (RTO) last year. But the fintech firm announced in October last year that the RTO had fallen through after certain conditions in the sales purchase agreement could not be fulfilled. Plans were in place for Ayondo to be acquired by Catalist-listed developer Starland Holdings for S$ 157.5 million. The company had announced that it would pursue an IPO after the failed RTO.

Innovative biz award for Singapore fintech at India-ASEAN Summit

Singapore fintech startup DC Frontiers has bagged the Most Innovative Business Idea award for its app at the India-ASEAN Youth Awards. Using artificial intelligence, the Handshakes app trawls through publicly available information to map out relationships and events between companies and people. The startup was founded in 2011 by two former Singapore Exchange (SGX) regulators. The app currently covers Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, but is planning to include China this year. In 2015, DC Frontiers received a S$2 million cash injection from Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which owns The Business Times, in return for a 20 per cent stake.

Three Singapore startups raise millions in funding

Peer-to-peer lending site Capital Match scored Series B funding led by Eduardo Saverin's B Capital Group, while fintech group tryb raised S$ 39.2 million from Makara Innovation Fund. Retail tech firm StoreHub snagged S$ 6.7million in Series A funding led by Temasek's Vertex Ventures. Capital Match said that its Series B funding round - the sum of which was undisclosed - was oversubscribed. Dymon Asia Venture Capital Fund (Singapore), an existing investor in Capital Match, also participated in this funding round. Chua Joo Hock, managing partner at Vertex Ventures (Southeast Asia and India), said that it is now timely to invest in technologies that help SMEs ride the digital wave.

Youtap relocates headquarters to Singapore

Youtap, a mobile financial services company for contactless mobile money payments and financial services in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, has moved its corporate headquarters from Auckland to Singapore. "As an international business hub, we are confident in Singapore's ability to serve as a solid base as we continue to expand our presence globally," said Chris Jones, Youtap Chief Executive Officer and Founder. Jones said the island’s position as an Asian financial technology centre with an exciting innovation eco-system, a great talent pool and fantastic infrastructure contributed to the decision.

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