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Seed money: Prodigy Finance, a London-based peer-to-peer lending company that helps foreign graduate students borrow from an alumni network, has secured $240 million to expand in the U.S. The financing includes a $200 million debt facility from an investment bank and $40 million of equity. About half of the company’s $500 million in student loans is generated in the U.S. Financial Times, New York Times

Wall Street Journal
Taking the fight abroad: Two Chinese technology giants are battling for control of the world’s largest mobile payments markets, including those outside their home country. The biggest player, Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of Alibaba, operates Alipay, the dominant service in China. But after holding “a near-stranglehold” on 80% of China’s mobile payments market just three years ago, it’s now “losing ground fast” to upstart Tenpay, a similar service on the WeChat messaging platform run by Tencent Holdings. Tenpay’s market share has risen to 40% from 7% over the same time period.

In response, “Ant is trying to take advantage of its edge in e-commerce and follow Chinese shoppers abroad, where there is the promise of booming Chinese tourism and new foreign users,” the paper reports. “Tencent is close behind.”

Son of bitcoin takes off: Bitcoin Cash, the bitcoin offshoot that launched earlier this month, saw its price jump by as much as 86% last Friday after the digital coin network showed it could handle higher trading traffic. The currency’s total market capitalization reached $9.4 billion, still a long way from original bitcoin’s $69.9 billion.

The higher price is good not only for traders who bought low but “is also creating the incentive for miners to dedicate computing power to the bitcoin cash blockchain, one that could find them moving away from bitcoin,” one developer said.

Back to the future: Should companies “get on the blockchain learning curve now or wait and run the risk of being left behind by more aggressive competitors?” asks Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a regular contributor to the CIO Journal column. “There is no easy answer,” he writes. “In the end, it all comes down to your leadership aspirations. For those ready to jump in now, the internet strategies employed two decades ago could serve as a guide.”

Free Willy: The Securities and Exchange Commission said it will drop civil charges against two former JPMorgan Chase traders involved in the bank’s 2012 London Whale case, “ending the last U.S. case against traders involved in a debacle that cost the New York bank more than $6 billion,” the paper reports. The decision by the SEC followed the Justice Department's decision last month to drop criminal charges.

Financial Times
In the green: Financial institutions accounted for half of global dividend growth in the second quarter, with bank dividends increasing nearly 9% over the year-earlier quarter to $58.4 billion, according to the Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index report. Across all industry sectors, dividends grew by 7.2% in the quarter, the strongest quarterly performance since late 2015, largely due to stronger global economic growth. In June, the Federal Reserve gave American banks the green light to increase their payouts to shareholders, which could total almost $100 billion this year among the six largest banks.

Quotable
“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways.” — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, rejecting calls from his 1985 Yale classmates to resign following President Trump’s comments about demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., the previous weekend.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Bloomberg News

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