Mastercard and Microsoft empower FinTech innovation
The partnership will see Mastercard Lab’s cloud R&D activities powered by Azure and cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI). It forms part of Mastercard’s ongoing mission to mitigate the risk and increase the commercial viability of emerging tech for use in digital commerce.
“Mastercard’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion has accelerated digital commerce for individuals and businesses around the world,” stated Judson Althoff, Executive VP of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business.
“We look forward to building on our strong relationship and accelerating co-innovation to help connect and power a digital economy for everyone, everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Ken Moore, Executive VP and Head of Mastercard Labs, added that the company was excited to deepen its working relationship with Microsoft, exploring new technologies and advancing the industry:
“This strategic collaboration will strengthen and extend our cloud services and capabilities for clients and fintech partners, sparking innovation and creativity for the ecosystem. It will enable us to explore opportunities focused on new client segments, technologies and trends as we continue to drive financial inclusion and build the future of commerce.”
Enabling next-gen digital commerce
The combined outreach potential of Mastercard driven by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform holds strong potential, particularly as the former can support technologies such as AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) and IoT (internet of things), giving startups and FinTechs the opportunity to transform the customer experience.
The issued press release makes it clear that the democratisation of the industry is a shared goal between the two partners:
“The collaboration will advance Mastercard’s vision to improve the lives of people by building pathways to financial security and access to critical services.
“Microsoft Azure provides Mastercard — and the ecosystems they jointly serve — with a scalable and flexible platform imperative for establishing secure connections and protecting data, co-innovating with partners and delivering access to financial services.”
Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round
Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.
The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.
Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”
“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”
Who is Amber Group?
Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year.
Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”
Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.