Every fortnight, we bring you a compilation of newsworthy events from the fintech, banking and payments sector.

Facebook confirms it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020

Backed by a slew of investors including MasterCard, Visa, Spotify, Uber among others, Facebook released the white paper for ‘Libra’, a global stablecoin that will launch in the first half of 2020.

If you’d like to know more about Facebook Libra, you can read our detailed article exploring the major aspects of their white paper here.

Monzo valued at £2bn after fresh funding round from US

Digital challenger bank Monzo doubled its valuation to £2 billion ahead of its US expansion after confirming it had raised £113 million in a funding round led by Y Combinator. This makes Monzo the second most valuable fintech startup in the UK behind small business lender OakNorth.

Transferwise to open Borderless account in the US

TransferWise’s borderless debit card first launched to customers in the UK and Europe in April 2018. Since then, cardholders have made more than 15 million transactions and deposited more than $10 billion. The company’s decision to expand across the pond comes on the tail of digital challenger banks Monzo and N26’s announcements to enter the US market.

Singapore to issue digital bank licenses

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will provide up to five new digital bank licences, two of which will go to providers targeting retail customers, and the other three will be awarded to outfits aimed at SMEs and other non-retail segments.

Wirecard launches pilot of integrated payment, banking app called boon Planet

German payments firm Wirecard AG announced that it will launch an integrated mobile app called boon Planet, which combines digital payments and banking, with plans to add additional features such as loyalty programs and insurance. The app is set for a full launch in October, after beta testing.

Apple expands Goldman credit card test to thousands of retail workers

Apple is ramping up a test of a digital-first credit card with Goldman Sachs by expanding its use to tens of thousands of the iPhone maker’s U.S. retail employees

Visa announces Verifi acquisition

Visa has announced it has signed a definitive acquisition agreement with Verifi. The payment tech firm offers a suite of data-enriched solutions to help merchants avoid chargebacks on card payments.

HSBC launches digital mortgage platform with help from Roostify

Using the platform, customers are able to submit a loan request online, share documents digitally and securely with the bank, and track the status of their loan from application through closing.

Read more about HSBC’s digital banking initiatives in the US and HK in our article here.

Mastercard and P27 to launch Nordic real-time payments system

The partners claim this is a world-first in terms of a real-time and batch multi-currency platform, which will offer immediate payments with lower costs, higher security and increased competitiveness.

BBVA sets up ‘AI factory’

BBVA has set up an ‘AI Factory’ on the northern fringes of Madrid, housing over 150 data scientists, engineering and departmental heads to create a global hothouse for smart, data driven technology development.