In First, Tezos Blockchain Activates Upgrade By Token Holder Voting

CoinDesk | May 29, 2019

The Tezos blockchain has officially been upgraded. In a first for Tezos, two separate backwards-incompatible changes have been activated on the network after three months of on-chain voting by stakeholders. The Tezos self-amendment process which began for this first time back in February came to a close late Wednesday with the successful activation of an upgrade proposal, dubbed Athens A, just after 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Proposed by a Tezos developer group called Nomadic Labs, Athens A reduces the minimum amount of tokens called rolls required for a user to become a baker on the network from 10,000 XTZ to 8,000 XTZ. Bakers are the equivalent to miners on a proof-of-work blockchain and are tasked with responsibilities such as verifying transactions and creating new blocks. “The reduction will result in a bigger amount of XTZ staked,” emphasized CMO of Everstake – a staking-as-a-service provider on Tezos – Alexandr Kerya to CoinDesk. “Now if a baker has 16k, only 10k is staking while after the upgrade the baker will have 2 rolls engaged in staking. There will be fewer ‘leftovers’ so to speak which is particularly important for small bakers.”

Spotlight

In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights podcast series, S&C partner Craig Jones joins Sam Saunders and Zyad Wright to discuss recent developments in sustainable finance, which essentially encompasses any financial transactions that aim to promote desirable environmental and social outcomes. The Project Development & Finance Group team assesses recent trends in regulations in the rapidly developing market, as well as evaluating the pros and cons of investing in sustainable finance.


Other News
CORE BANKING,PAYMENTS

PNC BANK SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDS SURCHAGE-FREE ATM ACCESS THROUGH NCR'S ALLPOINT NETWORK

PNC BANK and NCR Corporation | August 17, 2022

PNC Bank announced today a new partnership with NCR Corporation and its Allpoint ATM network, providing customers with surcharge-free access to cash through more than 41,000 machines across the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. PNC customers now have surcharge-free access to nearly 60,000 PNC Bank and PNC partner ATMs across the country. "As a Main Street Bank, PNC is committed building a platform that empowers the financial well-being of our customers. A key part of that is making our solutions available to customers no matter where they live or where they may travel, Partnering with NCR's Allpoint ATM network allows us to more than triple our already expansive network, providing our customers with significantly greater surcharge-free access to their cash from coast-to-coast." - Alex Overstrom, head of Retail Banking for PNC NCR's Allpoint network, the largest retail-based surcharge-free ATM network in the United States, provides banks like PNC with access to ATMs at top retail establishments including grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, and big-box stores. We know consumers prefer a financial services provider that delivers convenient account access and management, including surcharge-free cash access, Through NCR's robust Allpoint ATM network, PNC can help meet their customers' cash access needs in the places that work best for them – the conveniently located stores that already are part of their lives, said Don Layden, EVP, Payment & Network, NCR. PNC Bank National Association PNC BankNational Associationis a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.

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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Prime Trust Launches Future Builders Brand Campaign: The Digital Economy is Just Getting Started

Prime Trust | September 08, 2022

Prime Trust, a leading provider of financial infrastructure for fintech and digital asset innovators, today announced its new branding campaign "The Future Builders" to increase market awareness, improve brand equity and give recognition to the generation of builders and unseen developers who have pushed the crypto and decentralized finance industry forward. "The Future Builders" campaign is focused on how Prime Trust enables crypto and fintech innovators to build their creations within a stable and strong foundation. Prime Trust's products and services help B2B2C businesses lead in their categories and pave their way to success despite a bear market. Over the past couple of years, the face of finance has changed dramatically, and Prime Trust has become a trusted and integral part of the fintech ecosystem. "Prime Trust is trailblazing the future of finance with the vision to build a bridge between traditional and decentralized finance, Over the past six years, we've seen dramatic shifts in what consumers are interested in, and our products and services are helping organizations meet these demands and bridge the gaps in their offerings. While our name is known throughout the industry, Prime Trust also knows our efforts are nothing without the innovations of the community. Whether it's an open-source developer or a Web3 aficionado, we believe that the unseen builders are the most important to our industry. We at Prime Trust recognize their achievements and are truly honored to work with them." -Lizzie Bildner, CMO, Prime Trust The industry has a habit of speaking to the public about the evolution of finance as happening automatically, as though there aren't hundreds of people having to push our digital economy forward. We know this isn't the case, There are countless professionals from every background actively working to create the new generation of financial services. These innovators are the backbone of what we do today. Our Future Builders campaign is a way to recognize the incredible, often unseen, people behind the adoption of DeFi,said Tom Pageler, CEO of Prime Trust. According to a Prime Trust Market Research Survey that will be released in Q4 2022, fintech innovators are focused on three key findings: Desire to work with a trusted and reliable vendor Disruption of the the status quo and appeal that crypto is providing inclusivity in this new digital economy The need for speed and a fast time to market This campaign addresses the current market conditions in crypto and the requirements of Prime Trust's customers. It is designed to make the audience feel like they are part of the larger crypto movement, and to deliver a brand campaign that resonates. Some elements of Future Builders campaign include: An evolved brand voice New branding for creative assets Executive interviews and blog posts Updated booth designs New employee swag New slogans Prime Trust's "Future Builders" campaign launches on September 7th with: Website landing page takeover Media buys In Person Events About Prime Trust Prime Trust powers innovation in the digital economy by providing fintech and digital asset innovators with financial infrastructure. Through a full suite of APIs, we help clients build seamlessly, launch quickly, and scale securely. Regulated by the State of Nevada, Prime Trust processes hundreds of millions of API calls per month. Prime Trust's team has extensive regulatory and financial services backgrounds from the OCC, SEC, Federal Reserve, US Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security/Secret Service, JPMorgan Chase, American Express, PNC, Bank of America, and Visa. The company is recognized by Forbes as America's Best Startup Employer 2022 and is also Great Place to Work-Certified™ 2022. Prime Trust has also been named to CB Insights Blockchain 50 for 2022.

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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT,INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Miracle Mile Advisors Announces Combination with Karp Capital Management and Simultaneous Investment by Corsair Capital

Miracle Mile Advisors, Karp Capital Management and Corsair | September 17, 2022

Miracle Mile Advisors and Karp Capital Management announced today that they intend to combine, creating an award-winning, national wealth advisory firm with over $4 billion in assets under management serving clients from five main offices. In conjunction with the transaction, the combined company will receive a significant investment from Corsair Capital, a leading private equity firm in the financial and business services industries. The combination and subsequent Corsair investment is expected to be completed in November 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Karp Capital is a wealth management firm based in the San Francisco Bay area, with over $1.2 billion in client assets. Peter Karp founded Karp Capital in 2004 as an independent alternative to larger brokerage firms, providing sophisticated financial planning, investment advice, and retirement services to high-net-worth individuals and business owners with a specific expertise in the automotive sector. “Miracle Mile and Karp Capital coming together is a unique partnership. We share a strong cultural alignment and dedication to providing clients with highly customized, fiduciary advice. Our focus on providing wealth management services to the automotive, RV, and powersports spaces complement Miracle Mile’s broad foundation in advanced financial planning and wealth advisory services,” - Peter Karp Miracle Mile is a national, award-winning wealth advisor headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, Chicago and Portland. Founded in 2007, Miracle Mile provides clients with highly-customized financial advice across all aspects of their balance sheet. Miracle Mile is consistently ranked as one of the Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs nationally, one of the Best Places to Work for financial advisors, and has multiple Forbes and Barron’s top-ranked advisors. We are fortunate to have developed an amazing culture and growth track record that has attracted some of the best and brightest advisory teams in the industry, and the addition of Karp Capital is a perfect example. As we scale the combined firm and enhance the service offering to our clients, we have found an incredible partner in Corsair. Their deep industry expertise and network will be instrumental in our future success, With our combined capabilities, we believe we can offer a differentiated partnership, culture, and set of resources to other wealth management firms looking to grow and thrive,said Duncan Rolph, Managing Partner. Corsair expects to leverage its deep fintech and wealth management expertise to support Miracle Mile, as it accelerates the growth trajectory, enhances the client experience, and builds on its history of successful acquisitions and partnerships. Corsair’s investment in Miracle Mile expands on its successful track record of investing in the asset and wealth management sector. We have been looking at the wealth advisory space for several years, trying to find the right platform company we found it in Miracle Mile. Their unwavering commitment to clients, incredible management team, market-leading growth, and award-winning culture makes the newly combined firm a perfect fit, said Gunnar Overstrom, a partner at Corsair. Tony Ling, a managing director at Corsair, added Miracle Mile is uniquely positioned as an ideal partner for high-growth advisors and their clientele. The Asset & Wealth Management Investment Banking team of Raymond James served as financial advisor to Miracle Mile and Karp Capital on the combination and recapitalization, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP served as legal counsel to Miracle Mile and Venable LLP served as legal counsel to Karp Capital. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel and Ardea Partners LP and Waller Helms Advisors served as financial advisor to Corsair Capital. About Miracle Mile Advisors Miracle Mile Advisors is a registered investment advisor committed to providing dynamic financial planning and custom investment management to high-net-worth individuals, families, business owners and institutions. Miracle Mile’s advisors integrate clients’ ambitions with best-in-class guidance, advice, and technology, and have been recognized across leading industry awards such as Barron’s, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc., and InvestmentNews. About Karp Capital Management Karp Capital Management is a registered investment advisor serving as a trusted partner for highly successful individuals, businesses, and families. Karp Capital simplifies the complexity in the financial lives of their clients and integrates clients’ entire wealth picture with their long-term aspirations so that they are confident about achieving what is important to them. About Corsair Corsair is a global specialist investment firm offering opportunities for investors and solutions for companies across financial & business services and infrastructure. The firm has almost three decades of experience partnering with businesses at the crossroads of technology transformation and financial services complexity and established its complementary infrastructure investment practice in 2015. Corsair has invested $12 billion in capital across its global buyouts and infrastructure platforms since inception.

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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Highline and Argyle Partner to Increase Consumer Access to Credit, Reduce Risk for Lenders Through Payroll-Linked Lending

Argyle and Highline | August 30, 2022

To meet the needs of U.S. consumers who are normally shut out of affordable credit products, payments fintech Highline Technologies and employment data platform Argyle have partnered to bring payroll-linked lending and billpay capabilities to lenders nationwide. With payroll-linked lending, consumer loans are automatically repaid through preset distributions directly from the borrower’s paycheck. This benefits consumers by providing them access to lower cost credit through more reputable, non-predatory lenders; and also benefits lenders as payroll-linked lending enables them to decrease missed payments by up to 2/3rds and reduce default rates by more than half. “Our partnership with Highline empowers workers, consumers and lenders with over 160 granular data points, while moving us closer to universal financial access for the underbanked, those with thin credit or no credit history, and those that the financial system has traditionally left out; gig workers, shift workers and creators, Argyle’s data coupled with Highline’s commitment to financial wellness is meaningfully expanding access to financial services and reducing risk for consumers and lenders alike.” -Shmulik Fishman, CEO of Argyle Argyle’s real-time, borrower-permissioned service is fully integrated into Highline’s platform, which enables lenders to implement any number of decisioning, origination and repayment use cases. Lenders can embed these capabilities within their own digital experience. An applicant’s income and employment data, including employment tenure and income, can be used for decisioning. Consumers then opt-in to repay loans through allocations from payroll and Highline manages the flow of funds to pay off the loans. True financial inclusion begins with the recognition that there is a shortage of non-predatory options available for many Americans who need access to relatively small dollar loans, The team at Argyle recognizes this as well and, like Highline, is committed to helping more consumers gain access to credit in a way that also makes sense for lenders and fits their business objectives,said Geoff Brown, CEO of Highline. About Argyle Argyle is building the leading user-consent-based platform for employment data, helping people avoid situations where their personal information is sold or used without their consent or knowledge. With Argyle, any business can process income and work verifications, gain real-time transparency into earnings, as well as view and update worker profile details. By removing the barriers between a worker, the companies they make money from, and the business they buy services and products from, Argyle has reimagined how employment data can be leveraged to benefit both institutions and individuals. About Highline Highline is a new payments platform that automates bill payments directly from payroll. It provides lenders with a simple, direct approach to credit decisioning and payment automation that can be supported at scale. Lenders can decrease missed payments by up to 2/3rds, reduce default rates by more than half, expand customers’ credit options, and better support financial wellness. Built by subject matter experts, data scientists and technologists, Highline’s solution unleashes the power of payment automation to help lenders and financial institutions expand the pool of potential borrowers.

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Spotlight

In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights podcast series, S&C partner Craig Jones joins Sam Saunders and Zyad Wright to discuss recent developments in sustainable finance, which essentially encompasses any financial transactions that aim to promote desirable environmental and social outcomes. The Project Development & Finance Group team assesses recent trends in regulations in the rapidly developing market, as well as evaluating the pros and cons of investing in sustainable finance.

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