Every fortnight we compile a list of news and updates in the banking, fintech and payments industry.

N26, the online bank backed by Peter Thiel, is now worth $3.5 billion

German digital bank N26 announced it raised a huge $170 million in additional funding, increasing its Series D funding to $470 million. This now values the six-year-old fintech start-up at $3.5 billion.

Taiwan joins Asia digital banking push with three new online licenses

Taiwan issued its first digital banking licenses to LINE Financial Taiwan, led by Japanese app operator LINE Group and including Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank and Standard Chartered, and to Next Commercial Bank, led by Taiwan telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom.

Rakuten applies for US Banking charter

Rakuten, the largest e-commerce company in Japan, has filed an application for an industrial loan company charter in the state of Utah, US. The company—known as the “Amazon of Japan”—operates several consumer-facing retail and fintech businesses, including the US rewards brand Ebates.

Nubank’s $400M Round Underscores Global Investor Interest in Latin America

Silicon Valley venture firm TCV has confirmed it led a $400 million round for Brazilian fintech startup Nubank, marking the firm’s first “significant” investment in Latin America. Nu Pagamentos SA, known as Nubank, raised the money at a valuation of $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WhatsApp confirms to roll out its payment services soon in India to counter Google Pay, Paytm

WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart announced that the company would roll out its payments service to users across India later this year. The messaging app, which has about 400 million users in India, has been testing its payments in the country since last year with about a million users.

Bank-backed cross-border wallet Payconiq raises EUR 20 million

Payconiq, the mobile payments app supported by a host of Belgian and Dutch banks, has raised EUR 20 million in funding to support its push to create an EU-wide cross-border rival to Mastercard and Visa. Created from a merger of ING’s Payconiq with loyalty platforms Qustomer and KBC’s CityLife, the all-in-one Payconiq app has drawn the added support of Belfius, AXA Bank and BNP Paribas Fortis in Belgium and four other Dutch banks – ASN Bank, Rabobank, Regiobank and SNS.

PayMate raises Series D to accelerate growth, Visa makes strategic investment

PayMate has announced that it has successfully raised a new round of growth capital to accelerate expansion within India and internationally to Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA). Investors in this Series D round include Recruit Strategic Partners, the venture capital Arm of Recruit Co. Ltd. Japan, Brand Capital, existing investor Mayfair 101, and Visa.

Atom Bank raises £50 million

Mobile-only Atom Bank has raised £50 million in a fundraising round with participation from BBVA, Toscafund, Woodford Patient Capital Trust and funds advised by Perscitus LLP. The cash injection will be used to continue the bank’s investment in technology as it prepares to adopt a cloud-based IT model and to launch new products using smart contract core banking technology from Thought Machine.

MasterCard Inks Bahrain Blockchain Partnership

Mastercard is collaborating with Bahrain’s Electronic Network for Financial Transactions (BENEFIT) to develop a blockchain-powered B2B payments solution. Together, the firms are developing a platform to enable faster, more secure cross-border corporate payments that would allow companies to seamlessly move funds to beneficiaries and banks to directly share payment data with each other without the need for intermediaries.

Read more about blockchain in banking here and check out some examples of blockchain in payments & fintech here.

Thailand grants Huobi digital asset trading licence

Global blockchain company, Huobi, has received the fifth digital asset trading licence to be granted by Thailand’s Ministry of Finance. Huobi can now begin local fiat trading and token trading services.