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Fintech

ClearBank raises £175 million led by Apax Digital to accelerate global expansion

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ClearBank, the largest next generation clearing and embedded banking platform in the UK, today announced a £175 million equity investment. The round was led by funds advised by Apax Digital, the growth equity arm of Apax, a leading global private equity advisory firm. Existing investors, CFFI UK Ventures (Barbados) Ltd and PPF Financial Holdings BV, also participated.

The new investment will accelerate ClearBank’s global expansion of its clearing and embedded banking offering, initially in Europe before moving into North America and Asia Pacific.

The first new clearing bank in the UK in over 250 years at launch in 2017, ClearBank is the only next generation payments provider with direct access to all banking payment schemes in the UK (e.g. Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS). As a regulated bank, ClearBank manages transactions end-to-end from order transmission to settlement, liquidity management and clearing.

As a leading supplier of embedded banking services in the UK, ClearBank provides over 13 million accounts to the customers of leading financial brands. ClearBank is the only platform providing bank accounts, with FSCS deposit protection, at scale, bringing embedded banking services to the mass market. This product offering is complimented by a range of related value-added services, including FX and multi-currency accounts

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Unlike other providers with legacy systems, ClearBank’s end-to-end offering of regulated financial services is accessed via a single API to a powerful cloud-native software platform, which delivers greater speed, efficiency, and ease-of-use. It also enables innovation, including settling payments between customers on the ClearBank platform instantaneously, removing friction and lowering cost.

As a truly cloud native bank, the platform offers a new paradigm in resilience, with industry-leading uptime with no downtime for maintenance, unlimited scalability and elasticity, and triple real-time redundancy. Operationally, ClearBank has built a financially sustainable and highly scalable, low risk, business model, with all its £3bn of deposits held securely at the Bank of England, providing complete peace of mind.

ClearBank has seen tremendous growth and has been recognised as the #1 fastest growing tech company in Deloitte’s 2021 UK Technology Fast 50 awards together with the 2021 Card & Payments Award for Best Service.

This impressive combination has led to a customer base of over 200 financial institutions and fintechs, including Tide, Coinbase, Chip and Oaknorth Bank. ClearBank is also the only financial services provider to be awarded two grants, totalling £85 million, from the Banking and Competition Remedies (BCR) fund in delivering competition and innovation to UK SMEs.

ClearBank also plans to expand its range of products and services to include direct API-based access to interbank payment schemes such as SEPA, enhanced multi-currency accounts, and additional FX services. These capabilities will allow ClearBank to support existing customers in scaling internationally and welcome new customers in multiple markets.

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Charles McManus, CEO at ClearBank, said: “ClearBank is the first proven and fully regulated cloud-native clearing bank in the UK for over 250 years. Over the last five years we have demonstrated the success of our business model and through our work with leading financial service providers, helped to both unlock their potential and bring about positive and meaningful change for UK businesses and consumers.”

“Our revenue growth is the proof of the momentum we have been gathering since 2017. It is this proof point and our transformative effect on access to banking services, traditionally a space characterised by high barriers to entry, which has given us the credibility to partner with and deliver seamless and secure embedded banking for award winning financial institutions, powerful fintech disrupters and government bodies alike.”

“The next challenge is delivering this innovation globally. To achieve this, we needed a strategic partner with the right cultural fit, sector expertise and geographic experience, something we found in Apax Digital.”

Mark Beith, Partner at Apax Digital, said: “All companies are becoming fintech companies, and ClearBank is providing the clearing and embedded banking infrastructure for them – starting with fintechs themselves. We’ve seen the power of its platform first-hand, and we are excited to partner with Charles and the existing shareholders to take ClearBank global.”

Niccolo Ferragamo, Principal at Apax Digital, added: “Combining a banking license with a modern, agile and scalable embedded banking infrastructure is hard. Doing it at scale, and while delivering exceptional customer satisfaction, is truly special. ClearBank has been quietly building the clear next generation leader in the UK on all key metrics, and we are thrilled to continue innovating the category together.”

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ClearBank was advised by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. The investment remains subject to PRA and FCA approval.

Fintech

How to identify authenticity in crypto influencer channels

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Modern brands stake on influencer marketing, with 76% of users making a purchase after seeing a product on social media.The cryptocurrency industry is no exception to this trend. However, promoting crypto products through influencer marketing can be particularly challenging. Crypto influencers pose a significant risk to a brand’s reputation and ROI due to rampant scams. Approximately 80% of channels provide fake statistics, including followers counts and engagement metrics. Additionally, this niche is characterized by high CPMs, which can increase the risk of financial loss for brands.

In this article Nadia Bubennnikova, Head of agency Famesters, will explore the most important things to look for in crypto channels to find the perfect match for influencer marketing collaborations.

 

  1. Comments 

There are several levels related to this point.

 

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LEVEL 1

Analyze approximately 10 of the channel’s latest videos, looking through the comments to ensure they are not purchased from dubious sources. For example, such comments as “Yes sir, great video!”; “Thanks!”; “Love you man!”; “Quality content”, and others most certainly are bot-generated and should be avoided.

Just to compare: 

LEVEL 2

Don’t rush to conclude that you’ve discovered the perfect crypto channel just because you’ve come across some logical comments that align with the video’s topic. This may seem controversial, but it’s important to dive deeper. When you encounter a channel with logical comments, ensure that they are unique and not duplicated under the description box. Some creators are smarter than just buying comments from the first link that Google shows you when you search “buy YouTube comments”. They generate topics, provide multiple examples, or upload lists of examples, all produced by AI. You can either manually review the comments or use a script to parse all the YouTube comments into an Excel file. Then, add a formula to highlight any duplicates.

LEVEL 3

It is also a must to check the names of the profiles that leave the comments: most of the bot-generated comments are easy to track: they will all have the usernames made of random symbols and numbers, random first and last name combinations, “Habibi”, etc. No profile pictures on all comments is also a red flag.

 

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LEVEL 4

Another important factor to consider when assessing comment authenticity is the posting date. If all the comments were posted on the same day, it’s likely that the traffic was purchased.

 

2. Average views number per video

This is indeed one of the key metrics to consider when selecting an influencer for collaboration, regardless of the product type. What specific factors should we focus on?

First & foremost: the views dynamics on the channel. The most desirable type of YouTube channel in terms of views is one that maintains stable viewership across all of its videos. This stability serves as proof of an active and loyal audience genuinely interested in the creator’s content, unlike channels where views vary significantly from one video to another.

Many unauthentic crypto channels not only buy YouTube comments but also invest in increasing video views to create the impression of stability. So, what exactly should we look at in terms of views? Firstly, calculate the average number of views based on the ten latest videos. Then, compare this figure to the views of the most recent videos posted within the past week. If you notice that these new videos have nearly the same number of views as those posted a month or two ago, it’s a clear red flag. Typically, a YouTube channel experiences lower views on new videos, with the number increasing organically each day as the audience engages with the content. If you see a video posted just three days ago already garnering 30k views, matching the total views of older videos, it’s a sign of fraudulent traffic purchased to create the illusion of view stability.

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3. Influencer’s channel statistics

The primary statistics of interest are region and demographic split, and sometimes the device types of the viewers.

LEVEL 1

When reviewing the shared statistics, the first step is to request a video screencast instead of a simple screenshot. This is because it takes more time to organically edit a video than a screenshot, making it harder to manipulate the statistics. If the creator refuses, step two (if only screenshots are provided) is to download them and check the file’s properties on your computer. Look for details such as whether it was created with Adobe Photoshop or the color profile, typically Adobe RGB, to determine if the screenshot has been edited.

LEVEL 2

After confirming the authenticity of the stats screenshot, it’s crucial to analyze the data. For instance, if you’re examining a channel conducted in Spanish with all videos filmed in the same language, it would raise concerns to find a significant audience from countries like India or Turkey. This discrepancy, where the audience doesn’t align with regions known for speaking the language, is a red flag.

If we’re considering an English-language crypto channel, it typically suggests an international audience, as English’s global use for quality educational content on niche topics like crypto. However, certain considerations apply. For instance, if an English-speaking channel shows a significant percentage of Polish viewers (15% to 30%) without any mention of the Polish language, it could indicate fake followers and views. However, if the channel’s creator is Polish, occasionally posts videos in Polish alongside English, and receives Polish comments, it’s important not to rush to conclusions.

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Example of statistics

 

Wrapping up

These are the main factors to consider when selecting an influencer to promote your crypto product. Once you’ve launched the campaign, there are also some markers to show which creators did bring the authentic traffic and which used some tools to create the illusion of an active and engaged audience. While this may seem obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. After the video is posted, allow 5-7 days for it to accumulate a basic number of views, then check performance metrics such as views, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), signups, and conversion rate (CR) from clicks to signups.

If you overlooked some red flags when selecting crypto channels for your launch, you might find the following outcomes: channels with high views numbers and high CTRs, demonstrating the real interest of the audience, yet with remarkably low conversion rates. In the worst-case scenario, you might witness thousands of clicks resulting in zero to just a few signups. While this might suggest technical issues in other industries, in crypto campaigns it indicates that the creator engaged in the campaign not only bought fake views and comments but also link clicks. And this happens more often than you may realize.

Summing up, choosing the right crypto creator to promote your product is indeed a tricky job that requires a lot of resources to be put into the search process. 

Author Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency  at Famesters

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Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency at Famesters

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Fintech

Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space

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The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

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At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

The post Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Fintech

TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud

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TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.

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TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.

Source: fintechfutures.com

The post TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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