12.28.18 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

A startup for stocking up
A startup that delivers household supplies by subscription — a market that Amazon and its rivals are eager to own — has been raising a lot of money from investors, TechCrunch reports.

Grove Collaborative, which is based in San Francisco, had raised $62 million by the start of 2018, the article states. Over the course of the year it added $27.4 million and is in the process of raising an additional $125 million (of which it has already secured $76.4 million), the article says, citing SEC filings.

Grove differentiates itself from Amazon, Walmart and other big competitors by targeting a niche of consumers who buy only all-natural products, TechCrunch notes.

The wrong Alexa
Capitalizing on Amazon's efforts to get more Alexa-enabled devices into homes as holiday gifts, one scammer set up a fake Alexa app for iOS to trick people into handing over sensitive information, 9to5mac reports.

The app, called "Setup for Amazon Alexa," asks users for their IP address, device serial number and name, the article states.

While this app may not necessarily lead to payment fraud, its prominence on the App Store's search results suggests a more devious app could do just as well. Since Amazon wants its Alexa devices to be platforms for e-commerce, it wouldn't be suspicious for an Alexa app to ask for Amazon or payment credentials.

Taking flight
Why hasn't drone delivery taken off? Probably because the devices are as loud as chainsaws, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Wing, a sister company of Google, is testing its delivery drones in Australia — and getting backlash from residents, the Journal reports. One group of residents, called Bonython Against Drones, is asking local legislators to look into the issue.

There are some in favor of drone deliveries; the article quotes one neighbor who used a drone delivery to restock on sunscreen in seven minutes, compared to the 25 minutes she estimates it would have taken to run to the store and back.

What to buy?
A grocery list may seem like a decidedly low-tech idea for an app, but Any.do is blurring the lines between listmaking and actual purchases.

Its updated app can suggest purchases based on past activity, such as noticing that the user buys a loaf of bread once a week, The Verge reports. The feature can sync across users, so these suggested items aren't purchased my multiple members of a household.

Though the list doesn't have an e-commerce function, the suggestion feature is similar to Amazon's Dash system, which can integrate with appliances to suggest when a user needs to buy more detergent, for example.

From the Web
Remember Bitcoin? Some Investors Might Want to Forget
The New York Times | Thu December 27, 2018 - And just as the American public had been given every possible blockchain explainer that could be written, the whole thing collapsed. The bubble popped. Today the price of Bitcoin — $19,783 last December — is $3,810. Litecoin was $366 a coin; it’s now $30. Ethereum was $1,400 in January; today it’s $130.

Following Mobile Money's Rise In Africa, Mobile Banking Is Now Booming
Forbes | Thu December 27, 2018 - Africa is well-known for its ascendancy in the newest form of electronic payments, and this year saw the rise of a new form of mobile banking, particularly in South Africa where several new mobile banks launched.

Putting the cryptocurrency bear market into perspective
The Business Times | Fri December 28, 2018 - As the saying goes: "What goes up must come down." This idiom rings especially true as the cryptocurrency economy hits a bear market.

More from PaymentsSource
Visa makes $250 million offer for Earthport
Visa plans to acquire London-based bank payments provider Earthport for 198 million pounds ($250.6 million U.S.), pending approval of Earthport's shareholders.

Former LifeLock boss takes aim at surcharge fees
LifeLock co-founder Robert Maynard is behind a startup called SurchX, which hopes to capitalize on the confusion around swipe fees with technology that generates a surcharge amount customized for each transaction.

Consumer payment disruption will finally force B2B automation
Business pay has always lagged consumer innovation because of complexity. But new advancements in underlying business technology should change that, according to Rob Eberle, CEO of Bottomline Technologies.

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