Fintech: Progress or Peril? - Issue #459 March 14th, 2024

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In this edition of FinTech Weekly, we explore the paradoxes shaping our financial landscapes, where digitalization is both a promise and a puzzle. This transformative era in fintech is marked by the contrast between rapid technological advances and the enduring need for cautious navigation through the emerging digital economy.

Technological innovations offer groundbreaking opportunities, yet they come with their challenges, echoing the cautious reflections of AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, who, while pushing the boundaries of possibility, also warns of the potential threats that such advancements entail. His insights serve as a valuable framework for understanding the dual impacts of fintech innovation—its capacity to revolutionize and its risks to be mitigated.

This and much more in this number of FinTech Weekly: discover top fintech news and events and stay ahead of the competition!

Top Stories

    A former Google engineer, Linwei Ding, has been arrested and charged with the theft of trade secrets from the company, specifically related to its AI technology. Accused of transferring over 500 files of confidential information to his personal account, Ding faces allegations of collaborating with two Chinese firms, including taking a role as a chief technology officer and founding a startup focused on AI model training using supercomputing chips. He could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Top Events

    Join us for RE•WORK's highly anticipated AI in Finance Summit New York 2024, happening on April 18-19, 2024, at etc.venues 360 Madison, in New York, NY. Get the latest cutting-edge use cases from people leading AI initiatives from the most innovative companies in BFSI. Learn how companies from other sectors are: - Using the most effective ML Models to combat fraud - Advancing conversational AI for chatbots with NLP - Embracing ethical and transparent AI practices to protect the privacy of their customers - ... And much more!

    To register, visit: Use discount code: FINTECHWEEKLY for 30% discount

    FinTech World Forum 2024 is based in London UK Europe as one of leading fintech events 2023 for global financial services, finance and banking technology industry. Its focuses on Mobile Payments, Lending, Insurance, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Investment, Money, Crypto, Cryptocurrency, Digital, Innovation, Wallet, Pensions, Funds, Payment, Tech, Financial Services, Technology, Bank, Wealth Management, Insurtech, Regtech and Wealthtech. For more info visit:

    Impact Investing Conference 2024 in London is the Impact Investing World Forum (IIWF) 2024 as one of leading social impact investment events for ESG Funds, UN SDGs, Investor and sustainable investing in UK Europe Oxford University. The event brings together hedge funds, wealth management, private equity, venture capital, foundations, endowments, bonds and ESG investing professionals. More info: https://impactinvestingconferences.

Podcasts and Videos


    The Director of Engineering will oversee a dynamic team of 10 to 20 software engineers spread across the United States and offshore partners. In this pivotal role, the Director will be responsible for mentoring and coaching the assigned teams, ensuring their readiness for the upcoming phases of growth.

    We are seeking an experienced Senior Java Software Engineer to join our dynamic and innovative software development team. In this role, you will play a crucial part in designing, implementing, and maintaining high-performance, scalable, and reliable Java-based applications, building next-gen FinTech applications to help 30 million small businesses in the USA.

    Under minimal supervision, this position contributes to consultative and strategic objectives by providing critical business planning, marketing program development, and business product management to drive card portfolio optimization.



    In a tech-advanced yet paradoxical world, the slow adoption of innovative payment technologies stands out. The gradual success of systems like Express Elixir and FedNow underscores a significant challenge: banks are lagging behind, stuck with outdated technologies while fintechs drive innovation. This stagnation risks customer loss and financial waste on obsolete systems. Banks must pivot, embracing partnerships with fintechs and adopting modern payment solutions to stay competitive and meet evolving consumer expectations.


    Mastercard and Johannesburg's fintech firm SAVA have teamed up to empower small to medium-sized businesses across South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt with advanced payment technologies. Their joint platform, featuring SAVA's Payment Transaction System, offers digital banking and accounting tools to help businesses streamline finances. Given SMEs' significant role in Africa's employment and GDP, yet hindered by a substantial financing gap, this partnership aligns with Mastercard’s commitment to integrate 50 million small enterprises globally into the digital economy by 2025.


    In February, ten newly minted global unicorns added over $18 billion in value to The Crunchbase Unicorn Board, showcasing the dynamic nature of their long-term status as one company dropped off after a significant devaluation. Among the newcomers, two Chinese firms stood out, having secured about a billion dollars each—a nascent foundation model enterprise and a mature satellite network company. The U.S. saw a notable entry with a two-year-old robotics firm securing substantial funding. The influence of artificial intelligence was prominent, with two AI-focused firms joining the board and others integrating AI into their offerings. The geographical spread of these unicorns included four from the U.S., three from China, and one each from France, the Netherlands, and Italy.

    Over the last decade, fintech—the array of online financial products and services—has become integral to the economic and societal fabric of many African nations. It's widely praised for driving financial inclusion, aiding in managing inflation, and improving lives, becoming too significant to overlook. The narrative often suggests that without adopting fintech, nations risk economic stagnation. This sentiment is mirrored in policy frameworks, such as Uganda's National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2028, which positions fintech as a crucial element in addressing the continent's economic challenges.

    Saloni Thakkar stands out as an influential figure in the dynamic realm of Fintech AI, leveraging her extensive expertise as a Data Scientist to enhance AI-driven financial technologies. With a strong foundation in machine learning, data analytics, and financial regulations, she is adept at pushing the boundaries of what AI can achieve in finance. Saloni envisions Fintech AI significantly transforming the operational landscape of financial institutions and personal finance management, positioning herself at the forefront of this technological evolution to craft sophisticated, impactful solutions.