EMEA Daily: Strauss & Co. Hosts NFT Auction for Fine Wines; Apple Faces More EU Antitrust Charges

In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, South African auction house Strauss & Co. will offer fine wine non-fungible tokens to the highest bidders, and Apple is facing another antitrust charge in the European Union following a complaint about Spotify.

Plus, Contis, the banking-as-a-service provider, is teaming with open banking technology firm Ecospend; Neurons, the consumer behavior prediction platform, has acquired rivals VisualEyes and Loceye; and British supermarket chain Asda has launched a personal shopper trial with Buymie, the delivery platform.

South African Strauss & Co. to Host NFT Auction for Fine Wines

Strauss & Co., the South African auction house, has partnered with five of the country’s wineries to offer fine wine non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the highest bidders.

The sale, to be held April 18-25, will feature vintages from the past, present and future. Each NFT holds as many as 50 vintages, with collections from 66 to 288 bottles.

Apple Faces More EU Antitrust Charges Over Music Streaming Practices

Apple is facing another antitrust charge in the European Union following a complaint about its practices by music subscription service Spotify.

Last year, the European Commission accused the tech giant of hindering competition in the streaming music sector by imposing rules in its App Store that force developers to use Apple’s in-house payment system and keep them from telling customers about other payment options.

Contis Teams With Ecospend to Deliver Faster Payments to MrQ Gaming Site

Banking-as-a-Service provider Contis is teaming with open banking technology firm Ecospend to bring a closed-loop, instant account-to-account payment and withdrawal solution to online gaming site MrQ.com.

The partnerships aims to allow MrQ.com to offer its customers an alternative deposit method and instant withdrawals.

Neurons Digs Deeper Into AI With VisualEyes, Loceye Acquisitions

Consumer behavior prediction platform Neurons has acquired rivals VisualEyes and Loceye in a move that will expand Neurons’ artificial intelligence product to better predict human emotions and sentiments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisitions give Neurons a competitive advantage that will result in elevating the accuracy of its customer prediction platform, per the release.

OneDegree Partners With Munich Re on OneInfinity Digital Asset Insurance

OneDegree Hong Kong Limited on Monday (April 11) partnered with Munich Re in a three-year collaboration to debut digital asset insurance platform OneInfinity.

Under the terms of the partnership, Munich Re will provide reinsurance capacity and support OneDegree’s technical underwriting.

Nigerian Central Bank Gives Approval for DLM Capital to Buy Links Microfinance Bank

DLM Capital, a leading development investment bank, has gotten the final approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to buy Links Microfinance Bank, a report said, which will make it further ensconced in its position to launch a digital banking program.

CEO Sonnie Ayere said the bank thanked the SEC and CBN for the approval. Meanwhile, Links CEO Funsho Idowu said this would help the bank carve out more of a position in the market.

British Supermarket Asda Tests Personal Shopper With Buymie Handling Delivery

Asda has debuted a new personal shopper trial at some stores, which will team with Buymie, the delivery platform. During the trial, customers will contact in-store shoppers as they’re selecting the products for purchase, with the deliveries made within an hour or so.

Shoppers get access to groceries and can be in touch with pickers as their shopping is being done. Because of this, they’ll also have the option to submit preferences and talk about their requests, including various substitutes they’d accept if the original choice isn’t there.

Russia Turns to BRICS for Sanctions Relief in Payment Systems

As Russia is still under the thumb of Western sanctions, it’s called for the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to extend the use of national currencies and integrate payment systems.

The sanctions have cut Russia off from the global system, as well as from almost half its gold, along with foreign exchange reserves that were valued at around $606 billion as of early April.

FinTechs Think Big to Help Africa’s SMBs Find Working Capital

There’s been a 10% year-over-year increase in business-to-business (B2B) payments in the wake of the pandemic, according to data from McKinsey.

B2B payments remain a challenge for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in emerging markets, given the high cost of processing invoices, $16 each. As a result, many companies still use the manual process of reconciling incoming payments to invoice data.

African Payments Company Cellulant Expands Its Business Platform Into Ghana

Cellulant has debuted a new digital pay platform, Tingg, which will help businesses and customers to make seamless payments.

This comes as digital payments have seen much growth in the last few years; 38.9% of the population over 15 years old has a mobile money account in Ghana.