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As of 6:30pm on deadline day, Friday, September 24, 33 crypto exchanges and service providers had applied for a license with the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) & Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). While the regulators called it a day, the official submission window only closed at midnight.

The breakdown of applicants is as follows:

  • 4 crypto exchanges with real-name accounts, and therefore able to trade against KRW
  • 20 crypto exchanges without real-name accounts, and therefore only able to trade cryptocurrency pairs (with another five exchanges under consultation)
  • 9 service providers such as virtual asset wallet operators and virtual asset storage…

Further to our article on the possible implications for a US Intermediate Holding Company (IHC) at MUFG following the sale of the Union Bank retail business to U.S. Bancorp, it has been brought to our attention that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a cease & desist order to Union Bank on September 21,2021.

As we have recently explained in our piece about Coinbase (“Old man yells at Coinbase”), cease & desist orders are typically the very last resort, when the regulator has run out of patience, and has lost faith that the issues identified can…


Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) reached a definitive agreement with U.S. Bancorp (USB) to sell all shares in MUFG Union Bank (MUB), held through MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, to USB as the most appropriate decision to:

  • unlock MUB’s potential franchise value and contribute to customers and communities in the U.S. as well as — because MUFG plans to retain the resulting 2.9% ownership in USB, betting on USB as one of the digitalization leaders to be better able to transform the business
  • improve MUFG’s capital efficiency and to maximize shareholders’ value of MUFG, because directly, there is an estimated 60bps…


Marc Andreessen, co-founder and General Partner of Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), published his essay “Software is eating the world” in The Wall Street Journal in 2011. Happy ten year anniversary!

This slogan, however, struck me in an unexpected way when we went shopping for a new electric/electronic (and from here on: digital) piano today. My better half confided in me that the one we purchased almost twenty years started to lose sound, and given how important music is to her, I feared we would be entering an existential crisis.

Being entirely a-musical, despite my parent’s best efforts, did…


Singapore announced a package of initiatives to support high-growth enterprises to raise capital in Singapore’s public equity market and broaden Singapore’s proposition as a financing hub.

The package comprises four initiatives:

  • Establishment of a co-investment fund named Anchor Fund @ 65 that will help promising high-growth enterprises raise capital through public listings in Singapore
  • Establishment of the Growth IPO Fund that will help late-stage private enterprises at about two or more funding rounds away from a public listing to grow and prepare for an eventual public listing in Singapore
  • Enhancements to the Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS) scheme to…


The Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) announced on September 7 that FinTech & BigTech companies’ recommendations of financial products, such as insurance or investment products, through their platforms would be regarded as brokerage rather than advertising. As brokerage by unregistered business entities is prohibited, big-tech and fintech companies need to modify or halt such services until they resolve the regulatory requirements.

The market reaction was swift, with both Naver and Kakao experiencing 15–20% drawdowns in the Seoul market, and Coupang, which went public on the NYSE earlier this year and had just about started to recover…


IKEA has taken data collection to a whole new level. By making parking more convenient, they are also able to connect my vehicle to my home address (via loyalty card) and payment method. But let us start at the beginning…

I freely admit that using my bank as a benchmark sets a pretty low bar. Any retailer worth its salt knows a whole lot more about you than your financial institution. That is, unless you pay in cash and do not use loyalty cards. Generally, my bank only sees two transactions per month from me — my salary coming in…


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Just a brief post to provide additional distribution for the list of Japan-based venture capital firms put together by Kei Furukawa from XTech Ventures and Sophie Meralli from Eight Roads. The list is available on Google Drive.


At the beginning of the US trading day on Tuesday, right after everybody returned to work following the long Memorial Day weekend, we experienced just another crypto mini-crash. Within minutes, both Bitcoin and Ethereum retreated around 20%. Like clockwork, Coinbase was down. Reports of cancelled orders, inaccessibility of the platform, and inability to execute withdrawals prevailed.


In late 2019, Goldman Sachs contributed PURE, its logical modelling language, as well as Alloy, a platform and visual modelling tool that generates PURE-based models, to the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS). These have since been combined and open-sourced as “Legend” under the Apache 2.0 license. Available for almost a year, the platform has gained good traction in the industry.

Norbert Gehrke

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