Check out the biggest breaking crypto market updates for today:
Ripple Broadens Remittances Between Africa, Gulf States, UK, & Australia
Crypto payments giant Ripple has reportedly partnered with the African payments fintech firm ‘Onafriq’ to power new payment corridors between 27 African countries and Australia, the United Kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Monica Long, President at Ripple, stated,
“Onafriq is a major payment player in Africa that serves 400 million mobile wallets. We are excited about this because it also contributes to Ripple payments being able to cover 90% of FX markets […] Our set of licenses means we can serve a bigger market. Previously, we only served licensed financial institutions and now we’re able to serve enterprises and SMEs. So for example, importer/exporters and paying suppliers overseas, or paying employees in a company that has freelance developers in different parts of the world.”
Ripple has become a mascot of resistance within the crypto industry for standing up to, and partially prevailing against, what is largely regarded as a heavy-handed and reactionary U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Meanwhile, the price of XRP spiked this week, fueled by the approval of the token by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, as well as Ripple’s involvement in a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project with National Bank of Georgia (NBG).
XRP, an open source project used by Ripple, acts as a bridge between two fiat currencies to facilitate faster and more efficient cross-border payments.
In addition, Ripple announced various product enhancements and license updates, including a focus on payments between enterprises and smaller businesses. Ripple has been steadily building up its collection of licenses, including money transmitter licenses in the U.S. and an institutional payments license in Singapore, with recent filings in the U.K. and EU.
Stablecoin Issuer Circle Internet Considering 2024 IPO
According to a Bloomberg report, USDC issuer Circle Internet Financial Ltd is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in early 2024. Circle is reportedly talking to advisers about the matter and there’s no certainty that it will decide to proceed with a listing. Notably, Circle had first agreed to go public in a $4.5-billion merger with Concord Acquisition in July 2021.
However, that deal fell through and Circle was valued at $9 billion when it tried to go public in a blank-check deal in 2022. It remains to be seen how much Circle would seek to be valued if there is a potential IPO next year.
“Becoming a U.S.-listed public company has long been part of Circle’s strategic aspirations. We don’t comment on rumors,” a representative for Circle said in a statement.
Last year, Circle ended a deal to go public via a merger with Concord Acquisition Corp., a blank-check firm led by ex-Barclays Plc chief executive officer Bob Diamond.
Circle has raised money from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., General Catalyst Partners, BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Management and Research LLC and Marshal Wace LLP. It was worth $7.7 billion in a 2022 funding round, Axios reported at the time.
Circle issues one of the world’s largest stablecoins, which are crypto tokens pegged to an asset – like the dollar – that are mostly used by traders to move digital assets between exchanges. Earlier this year, Circle revealed it had $3.3 billion of exposure to the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank, triggering a brief depeg of USD Coin.
It plans to share financial reports on an ongoing basis and has hired Deloitte as an auditor, Bloomberg News reported in August.
U.S. Consumer Finance Watchdog Wants To Oversee Major Tech, Some Crypto Payments
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has reportedly proposed a new rule that will allow the regulator to supervise large nonbank payment providers including some subsectors of crypto transactions.
The rule is part of a larger move by the agency to extend its supervision to consumer reporting, consumer debt collection, student loan servicing, international money transfers and automobile financing.
“Big Tech and other companies operating in consumer finance markets blur the traditional lines that have separated banking and payments from commercial activities. The CFPB has found that this blurring can put consumers at risk.”
The proposal document went on to list different components for how it defines consumer payment applications, including where the consumer is located (in the U.S.), that there is indeed a payment happening, that it’s to someone who is not the first consumer and that the transactions “must be primarily for personal, family or household purposes.”
The bulk of the rule seems focused on large technology companies that provide financial services. While the proposal doesn’t explicitly name these companies, footnotes reference Venmo (owned by PayPal) and Cash App (owned by Block) as examples of person-to-person payment apps that a majority of Americans have used.
Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrencies qualify as digital assets for the purposes of the CFPB, the document said, but the proposed rule would not cover people buying or selling cryptocurrencies, or converting them into other cryptocurrencies.
The CFPB is publishing a request for feedback on various parts of the proposal, asking the general public to email the regulator or go to regulations.gov.