3.11.19: Your morning briefing

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

Addressable market
Voice enabled financial transactions are still in the early stages, though consumers have shown an appetite for shopping through voice assistants. That makes the market trajectory for technology such as smart speakers a window into future payment channels.

It would appear that Amazon has a decided advantage at this point. The Alexa-powered smart speaker has a 61 percent market share, over Google Home's 24 percent share, according to Voicebot.ai, which also reports smart speakers grew 40 percent in 2018 and are now used by more than 66 million people, which is more than 26 percent of the adult population.

Opening up
U.K. fintech Currencies Direct has opened its tools for other companies that wish to add international payments.

The API will extend access to Currencies Direct technology that executes and authenticates cross-border payments.

The service enables Currencies Direct to join the growing market for fintechs that are trying to eat into the share enjoyed by business payment providers such as Stripe, Square, PayPal and Adyen.

Central command
The Monetary Authority of Singapore governs several digital payment, fintech and smart city projects, leading it to combine several technology-related departments under a single regulatory umbrella.

The Technology Group will cover data analytics, information technology and cyber risk, reports Finextra.

Part of the goal is to marry speed and security for technology projects. There are several initiatives currently underway, including a contactless transit payment deployment that's scheduled to go live in April.

Go local
A startup called Pixie is taking a swing at the tough 'buy local' market, offering a curated marketplace with incentives to shop locally.

People use the app to find independent nearby businesses, using a payment service with rewards for local shopping, reports TechCrunch. Pixie's founder, Greg Barden, served in the British military and found that buying from local merchants in Baghdad was an effective way to engage residents, the article said.

The 'buy local' technology market is not new, and has been a challenge for other contenders — such as Bling Nation, which struggled with local merchants that felt its rules were too restrictive.

From the Web
Alibaba launches two blockchain subsidiaries
Asia Times | Fri March 8, 2019 - Blockchain technology remains of great interest, to both business and the state. One of China’s largest ecommerce enterprises, Alibaba, is taking a closer look at this with the launch of two new blockchain affiliates via its payment arm Ant Financials.

MyEquifax.com is yet another security disaster
TechCrunch | Fri March 8, 2019 - One would think that having one of the most high-profile breaches in recent memory would make a company take security to heart, but Equifax is full of surprises. The latest is that its MyEquifax.com site, to which the company invites those affected by its poor security practices to freeze and unfreeze their credit, itself has extremely poor security.

Samsung Pay Will Integrate Cryptocurrencies for 10 Million Users: Report
CCN | Fri March 8, 2019 - Even before the official announcement of Samsung Electronics on the launch of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet, local publications speculated that Samsung Pay could be behind the high-profile crypto integration for the Galaxy S10.

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