The World Bank, IMF and BIS push for central bank cryptocurrencies to improve cross-border payments

G20
G20

  • The BIS, IMF and World Bank released a report on central bank digital tokens for the G20.
  • The report suggests CBDCs could make cross-border payments faster, cheaper, and more transparent.
  • However, countries must collaborate with one another as the implications “will go beyond borders,” the report said.
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Central bank digital currencies could vastly improve today’s international payments systems, according to a report by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements late last week.

The report, which the group sent to the G20, outlined that so-called CBDCs had the power to offer faster, cheaper, transparent and more inclusive cross-border payments than the traditional financial system. But, the group said, collaboration will be essential.

“Implications of CBDCs, even if only intended for domestic use, will go beyond borders, making it crucial to coordinate work and find common ground. If coordinated successfully, the clean slate presented by CBDCs might – in time and in combination with other improvements – be leveraged to enhance cross border payments,” the report said.

A CBDC is a digital currency issued by a central bank. CBDCs have already been issued by the Bahamas which launched the Sand Dollar and the Eastern Caribbean’s DCash.

The current system suffers from long transaction delays and can be costly because of all the systems in place across the world, according to the report. There is also a lack of transparency and traceability.

Central banks like the Federal Reserve, which is looking into a digital dollar, have said the tokens would not be completely anonymous to prevent fraud and money laundering. Account users would need identification to access a wallet for both retail and wholesale use.

There is the option of countries restricting the CBDC to residents only, such as is the case with China’s digital yuan.

With a number of countries considering their own CBDCs, there are still many unanswered questions around how new and existing infrastructures will co-exist, the impact on monetary policy and what role the private sector might play among others.

“In order to achieve the potential benefits for public welfare while preserving financial stability, further exploration on CBDC design choices and their macro-financial implications is essential,” the report said.

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Stripe hit a $95 billion valuation, leapfrogging SpaceX, Instacart, and Didi Chuxing on the leaderboard of tech giants

Stripe Co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison
Stripe Co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison.

  • Stripe has raised a new $600 million funding round at a valuation of $95 billion, it said Sunday.
  • The payments firm is now more valuable than SpaceX, Instacart, and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.
  • Worldwide, Stripe trails TikTok parent ByteDance and Jack Ma’s fintech Ant Group.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Payments company Stripe on Sunday said a new funding round had valued it at $95 billion, leapfrogging it above Elon Musk’s SpaceX and delivery app Instacart in valuation terms.

Stripe raised $600 million in its latest round of funding from investors including Allianz X, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), the company said in a statement.

The online payments processor was previously valued at $36 million, and has now tripled its worth in less than a year.

The new fundraising makes Stripe the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley, overtaking SpaceX’s last valuation of $74 billion, from February, and Instacart’s $39 billion valuation, from March.

On a global scale, Stripe trails ByteDance, the Chinese parent of TikTok, which was last valued at $180 billion in December.

It is also behind Ant Group, Jack Ma’s fintech company, which was about to go public in December with an anticipated valuation of around $300 billion, but was stopped by Chinese officials.

The latest fundraise saw Stripe’s valuation pass that of Didi Chuxing, the private Chinese ride-hailing giant, which is valued at $62 billion.

Stripe, founded by brothers Patrick and John Collison, has also surpassed the $80 billion that Facebook was valued at before it went public in 2012, as well as Uber’s valuation of $72 billion in 2018, before its 2019 IPO.

Stripe’s customers include Zoom, Salesforce, Lyft, Deliveroo, and Amazon.

The latest funding would not only allow the company to expand in Europe, but also hire 1,000 more people in its Dublin office over the next five years, and support launches in Brazil, Indonesia, and India later this year, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

Read more: Leaked email: Shannon Brayton is joining Stripe as global head of communications

Dhivya Suryadevara, Stripe’s chief financial officer, told Insider’s Matt Weinburger on Sunday that she’d been “struck by how capital efficient the business is” since joining the company, adding that the new funds will go into growth and expansion in Europe.

Stripe has been boosted by the rise of online shopping during the pandemic, such as for delivery services like Deliveroo, but Suryadevara said the shift had already begun before the pandemic hit.

“It’s a long-term trend that’s been accelerated in the last year, but it’s early days for e-commerce,” she said.

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‘Buy now, pay later’ giant Klarna has tripled its valuation to $31 billion, making it Europe’s most valuable private startup

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski in London
Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski

  • Payments firm Klarna has raised $1 billion in new funding, tripling its valuation to $31 billion.
  • This makes “buy now, pay later” giant Klarna the most valuable private startup in Europe.
  • The new round of funding included a mix of new and existing investors.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Swedish “buy now, pay later” payments company Klarna has nearly tripled its valuation to $31 billion in less than six months, after it announced on Monday a new $1 billion fundraising round.

The new round, which makes Klarna the most valuable European startup, was oversubscribed four times and included a combination of new and existing investors.

The firm completed a $650 million funding round in September from a group of investors led by Silver Lake that valued it at $11 billion.

Klarna also said it would pledge 1% of the capital raised to a newly created initiative that focuses on key sustainability challenges around the world and would launch on April 22 on World Earth Day.

Reuters had reported last week that the company, which competes with PayPal and Australia’s AfterPay, was finalizing another private funding round.

Klarna, which was founded in 2015, has 90 million active consumers and 250,000 merchants on its payments service, according to its website

Payment services such as Klarna that let customers delay payment for online purchases have raised concerns among authorities that young people are falling into debt.

The UK government said February 8 it plans to regulate these kind of services, after a report produced by the financial regulator’s former chief, Christopher Woolard argued that “buy now, pay later” schemes could be “harmful” if left unregulated.

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