In today’s top stories from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the European Supervisory Authorities said cryptocurrency exchanges that break money laundering rules should have to forfeit their licenses. Plus, the British government said the Bank of England should take over the management of collapsing stablecoins, and HyperPay raised $36 million to expand payment services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Cryptocurrency exchanges that breach anti-money laundering (AML) rules should lose their licenses, a group of European Union financial officials said. This recommendation — coming from European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – ESAs) — arrives on the advent of the proposed Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), which is under negotiations. Authorities that have the power to register and authorize crypto exchanges and wallet providers must “be empowered to withdraw the authorization/registration for serious breaches of AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and terrorist finance] rules,” the officials said.
The U.K. Treasury has launched a consultation proposing an insolvency regime for digital assets, systemic stablecoins in particular. The government said the recent TerraUSD crash has underlined the need for regulation to mitigate consumer and financial stability risk. Under the new system, the Bank of England would replace the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead institution handling the stablecoin collapse, while the FCA would still have the power to regulate and supervise firms engaged in electronic money and payment activities.
Payments FinTech HyperPay has raised $36.7 million to expand its payment services to merchants in the MENA region. HyperPay offers payment processing services, invoicing, risk and fraud management, and other services to support small businesses. The company will use the funding to continue expanding across Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation region, grow its infrastructure and build out its suite of products.
Data network Plaid is joining forces with Dutch FinTech Mollie to help merchants across Europe and the U.K. open online stores and receive payments. The collaboration will link Plaid’s open banking data network directly to Mollie’s platform, letting Mollie validate bank account ownership in real time. Mollie’s onboarding process previously involved numerous identity and bank account ownership verification checks. For now, support is being extended to Mollie’s merchants in the U.K., with assistance with the onboarding process in France and Germany due to follow in the coming months.
Israeli digital freight booking and payment platform Freightos is set to go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) Gesher Acquisition in a deal worth $435 million. The founders of Freightos were inspired by the effects of digital technologies on passenger travel, retail and lodging.