By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: Fintech startups have struck gold with Indians buying more than 1,000 kg of the yellow metal through mobile apps in the past year. Digital payment companies Paytm, PhonePe and tmw have seen a surge in customers buying gold on their platforms in recent months. PhonePe, which started selling gold in December, has sold more than 250kg of the precious metal and has a customer base of 4 million. Paytm -- the largest player after it launched its gold offer in July -- has sold 800kg to 1.5 million customers. It sources gold from a joint venture between Indian bullion importer MMTC and Swiss gold refiner PAMP. At tmw, customers can buy 24K gold for an amount that is as little as Re 1, or for about Rs 10,000, and they can store it in virtual vaults for up to five years without storage fees. Reportedly an expert in digital payments, who did not want to be named, said, "Gold is always a hot commodity, and fintech players would benefit from the rate fluctuation in gold, arbitrage and bullion trading. It can be used as an underlying asset to induce banks to sanction fresh loans. Also, there is the price point ,it's cheaper digitally. Companies needn't spend money on premium retail space like swanky showrooms or hire salespeople.” He added, "Fintech players are following in the footsteps of banks, for whom gold sales was an innovative customer acquisition strategy a decade ago. It's interesting that digital players have convinced customerssince gold is an emotional purchase with associations of trust and long-standing brand names.”. . Free online courses from University of Hong Kong.HKUx on edX has started a course onIntroduction to FinTech: Learn from leading academics and practitioners from around the world about the innovations, technology and regulation driving the transformation of finance. This course isavailable at www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-fintech#what-you-will-learn.Over the past decade emerging technologies, paired with massive changes in regulations, have driven an unprecedented transformation of finance around the world. This process is happening more rapidly in China and Asia than anywhere else. This course is designed to explore FinTech fundamentals and help make sense of this wave of change as it happens. New players such as start-ups and technology firms are challenging traditional players in finance, bringing democratization, inclusion and disruption. Companies engaged in social media, e-commerce, and telecommunications, as well as, companies and start-ups with large customer data pools, creative energies, and technical capacities, have brought competition to the existing financial infrastructure and are remaking the industry. These transformations have not only created challenges but also unprecedented opportunities, building synergies with new business and regulatory models, particularly in emerging markets and developing countries. To meet these changes, 21st-century professionals and students must be equipped with up-to-date knowledge of the industry and its incredible evolution. This course - designed by HKU with the support of SuperCharger and the Centre for Finance, Technology and Education - is designed to enable learners with the necessary tools to understand the complex interaction of finance, technology and regulation. In this course, through a series of video lectures, case studies, and assessments you will explore the major areas of FinTech including, beginning with What is FinTech before turning to Money, Payment and Emerging Technologies, Digital Finance and Alternative Finance, FinTech Regulation and RegTech, Data and Security, and the Future of Data Driven Finance, as well as, the core technologies driving FinTech including Blockchain, AI and Big Data. These will set the stage for understanding the FinTech landscape and ecosystem and grappling with the potential direction of future change.