1. Freecharge to expand horizons

What’s the news?

Freecharge is planning to broaden its services from payments to the complete financial services stack across lending, savings and insurance. The company will utilise the banking offerings of Axis Bank which owns Freecharge for these services and they plan to open it up within the next four months.

Since the acquisition over the last two quarters when it has been run by Sangram Singh who took charge from Axis Bank, the company has added 2.5 million new users and is reporting a 40% jump in monthly active users.

What does this mean for the payments space?

This is important for the payments space, because as of now it is primarily dominated by Paytm which is growing at a rapid pace. Also Freecharge with its superb user interface was a big hit among urban young consumers in the early days of mobile wallets, whether the company can be turned around by Axis Bank is the question that the industry is asking.

2. SoftBank in talks to invest in Zomato, Swiggy

What’s the news?

The Japanese investment firm has held early discussions with both companies and may finalise a deal by year-end. The talks come within 3 months of both firms raising $250 million cumulatively.

Why is it important?

For SoftBank, food delivery remains the single most hyper competitive space that it is yet to tap into in India. An investment by SoftBank into either Swiggy or Zomato will tilt the balance in favour of the chosen one especially since the business model requires copious amounts of capital.

3. IAMAI takes up the cryptocurrency cause

What’s the news?

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court to put a stay on the regulator’s order that disallows banks from providing services to cryptocurrency trading platforms.

Why is this important?

This is the fifth such petition to be filed against the RBI on its order dated April 6, when it disallowed regulated entities from dealing in virtual currencies or offering services to entities dealing with them.

While cryptocurrency exchanges were already feeling the heat over the last several months following RBI’s circular cautioning the public against dealing with virtual currencies and the government reiterating during the Budget that cryotocurrencies were not legal tender, the new RBI rule has had further impact.

4. Infosys creates blockchain based system for trade finance

What’s the news?

Infosys has created a blockchain-based document-tracking system for trade finance and is implementing the solution with seven private banks in the country —Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, RBL Bank, South Indian Bank and Yes Bank.

What’s the plan with this?

Two of the banks have moved to a production-phase of the platform, while the others are still in the testing phase. The platform could be expanded to include international trade transactions.

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