On Friday, we published an update to our exhaustive list of legislation directly and indirectly related to FinTech. In all, the update highlights 89 FinTech-related bills and 151 bills indirectly related to FinTech. We also include several charts that further break down the legislation. In this week's edition of FinTech in Focus, we hear from Milken Institute FinTech Advisory Committee Member Margaret Hartigan, founder and CEO of Marstone, an enterprise-ready tech platform for financial institutions. Marstone offers a flexible wealth management solution that enables financial organizations to efficiently and affordably reach, acquire, and retain more clients through its core-agnostic offering that meets client needs as their financial position matures. In the Q&A, Margaret and I discuss the rise of digital wealth management platforms, Marstone's operations, financial literacy, and market volatility. Amazon Speaks: The US-based e-commerce giant recently published "Our Positions," a piece covering Amazon's stance on several US policy issues. Among the positions raised: Governments should work quickly to put in place a regulatory framework for facial recognition technology, and consumer data privacy should be protected under federal law.
Technology is and has always been a crucial part of finance. From the first promissory notes (banknotes) in the Netherlands and China, there was a race with counterfeiters that parasitically undermined trust. As in political communication, technology is the message, rather than merely "a tool": when it comes to money, trust is not just instrumental, it is fundamental. With cashless payments being the norm and social media platforms weαving an additional layer of involvement in our social data web – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already in our wallets, business, and financial affairs. In a non-western setting, one may refer to the Chinese "social rating" system, which allows the state to value and evaluate social behaviour patterns, creating a link to individual credit rating.
I spotted an article by Linus Beliunas on LinkedIn this week, and liked it so much that wanted to share. Over a course of 12 months, Venture Capital-backed FinTech deals and funding set an annual record: in 2018, VC-backed FinTech companies raised $39.57 billion across 1,707 deals globally. The number of deals was up by 15% year-over-year while the funding surged 120% on the back of 52 mega-rounds ($100 million) worth $24.88 billion collectively. Right now, there are 39 VC-backed FinTech unicorns worth a combined $147.37 billion. It is important to note that the last quarter of 2018 saw five new unicorns births (Plaid, Brex, Monzo, Devoted Health, and Toss) and two in the first month of Q1'19 (N26and Confluent). The cohort's total valuation in 2018 was boosted by a record year for mega-rounds to existing unicorns, including Gusto and Robinhood, among others.