By Christopher Robbins
This week in digital wealth a lot happened—not only did wealthtech news spill over from Advisor Tech Talk into this column because there was so much to report, but it was as always a very busy week in payments, crypto and fintech.
In crypto, EDX Markets appears to be launching the kind of custody solution traditional investors and financial advisors have been waiting for for digital assets, while in wealthtech Onramp Invest and Bosonic Network appear focused on solving the same problems from a bit of a different direction.
In banking and payments, Personetics is offering to banks the kind of engagement and advice platform proliferating across the wealthtech space right now, while in fintech Transamerica, Smart and Finhabits are teaming up to create a retirement plan service for the underserved.
Let’s get to it:
Blockchain, Crypto and Digital Assets
Binoc—Crypto tax reporting platform Binoc announced a $4M fundraise. With this new funding round, they plan to cater to institutional crypto investors and enter geographies like the US, UK, Australia etc. The seed funding round was led by BEENEXT and Arkam with participation from Accel, Saison Capital, Premji Invest, Blume and Better Capital.
Founded in May 2022 by Tonmoy Shingal and Pankaj Garg, Binocs help retail crypto investors there to adapt and evolve to the ever-changing dynamics of the crypto market by simplifying their accounting, taxation, compliances and helping them stay on top of their portfolios. The app is able to compute crypto taxes in less than 30 minutes and already has over 1,000 active users. Binocs also offers the portfolio tracking features wherein users can get an overview for their entire distributed crypto portfolio which offers a consolidated report on ROI, P&L, capital gains across all exchanges. This includes a wide range of cryptocurrencies, tokens, protocols, and smart contracts.
EDX Markets-A consortium of leading broker-dealers, global market makers and venture capital firms announced the launch of EDX Markets (EDXM), a first-of-its-kind exchange that will address latent demand for digital asset trading by enabling safe and compliant trading of digital assets through trusted intermediaries. The new exchange will combine proven technology provided by MEMX with best practices from traditional financial markets and tighter spreads enabled by greater liquidity, to support secure, fast and efficient cryptocurrency trading for U.S. retail and institutional investors.
EDXM will enable a highly liquid cryptocurrency ecosystem that aggregates liquidity from multiple market makers to reduce spreads and improve transparency. This commitment to price discovery and efficiency is expected to result in better prices for investors than those offered by existing cryptocurrency exchanges. EDXM operates as a fully independent entity backed by financial industry leaders including Charles Schwab, Citadel Securities, Fidelity Digital Assets℠, Paradigm, Sequoia Capital and Virtu Financial. Additional market participants are expected to partner with EDXM over time.
Fintech, Personal Finance and Apps
Stash-Stash, an investing and banking app with more than 2M customers and nearly $3B in assets under management, announced that it successfully built and launched Stash Core, its new, proprietary infrastructure platform that underpins the service for Americans who bank like investors. Stash Core is a world-class system that unlocks new innovation in banking, and, in the future, new capabilities in credit, savings, lending, and more. It will also allow the company to more easily welcome new subscribers and meet demand.
Stash’s new banking account experience, built on Stash Core, includes access to an upgraded Stock-Back Debit Mastercard, enhanced customer support, and refreshed benefits including increased rewards. The patented Stock-Back Debit Mastercard is the first and only of its kind, allowing customers to earn stock and invest when they shop. To date, Stash has given away more than 59M stock rewards1; going forward, Stashers will be able to earn up to 4x more with the relaunched card.
Transamerica-Transamerica announced that the company has been selected by Smart, a leading global retirement technology provider, to be the recordkeeper for the new 401(k) solution offered through Finhabits, a market-leading U.S. fintech provider by Latinos for Latinos. The new retirement program is designed to offer small businesses and their workers a simple, bilingual, and affordable alternative to state-mandated retirement plans in California and other states.
Banking, Payments and Infrastructure
Personetics—Personetics announced the launch of Personetics Express. The new offering is aimed at midsize financial institutions (those with $5B-$50B in assets), providing an out-of-the box, global winning solution that is powerful enough to compete with enterprise banks and delivers a quick business impact, while fitting smaller institutions’ budgets and timelines. Personetics’ Express solution provides enterprise-level sophistication which can be up and running in as little as 12 weeks, and includes:
A set of 60 out-of-the-box financial data-driven personalized insights and advice that are tested and proven by billions of customer interactions. These insights are embedded seamlessly within the existing digital channel
Access to the Engagement Builder codeless creation and management console includes a quick SaaS implementation approach that enables rapid deployment – with turnkey widget, KPIs and dashboards.
Refinitiv—Refinitiv commenced publication of forward-looking term rate versions of its ARRC recommended fallback rates – USD IBOR Cash Fallbacks. This follows the Alternative Reference Rates Committee’s (ARRC) March 2021 announcement that it had selected Refinitiv to publish its recommended fallback rates for cash products, and Refinitiv’s July 2022 announcement that it intends to launch the new USD IBOR Cash Fallbacks settings in September 2022.
There are trillions of dollars of cash products such as loans, bonds and securitized products that reference LIBOR and mature after June 30, 2023, which will use the ARRC’s recommended fallback rates. USD IBOR Cash Fallbacks help these legacy contracts to smoothly transition away from USD LIBOR and provide market participants, including lenders and borrowers, with an industry standard agreed rate, which can clearly and easily be referenced in contracts.
WealthTech and Investments
GeoWealth—GeoWealth announced several upgrades focused on providing RIAs with more personalization and choice in their investment management programs – including investment guidance, due diligence, service and support. To best serve their clients, contemporary advisors demand greater control, flexibility and customization when managing client portfolios. GeoWealth has responded by expanding its model marketplace, increasing its vetted manager menu by over 200 percent.
Advisors leveraging GeoWealth’s proprietary platform have always had the flexibility to build their own models, select third-party model portfolios, or combine the two via custom Unified Managed Accounts (UMAs). GeoWealth has also further enhanced advisors’ ability to customize on the platform by onboarding Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) and single asset class or “sleeve-level” strategies to be used as building blocks in UMA allocations.
Onramp Invest-Onramp Invest will join the Bosonic Network. The Bosonic Network connects institutional clients to leading institutional-grade Digital Asset Custodians and Liquidity Partners, enabling secure access to the digital assets markets and delivering a market leading layer-2 blockchain for payment versus payment settlement which eliminates counterparty credit and settlement risk.
Onramp Invest provides a comprehensive easy-to-use platform for financial advisors to help their clients safely, confidently, and intelligently invest in digital assets. By joining the Bosonic Network’s ecosystem of Custodians and Liquidity Providers, Onramp can now provide its advisors and their end clients with access to the best prices, as well as institutional-grade security facilities where they can safe-keep their assets with assurance.