Morning Brief 8.29.19: Amazon reportedly mulls Go-Jek investment

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Amazon may acquire a stake in Go-Jek, an Indonesian ride-hailing company that has recently expanded its geographic footprint and service range.

The e-commerce giant is in preliminary talks, reports the Financial Post, citing unnamed sources. Go-Jek would improve Amazon's payments and fulfillment profile in Southeast Asia, where Go-Jek has built a delivery and digital payments business, and has attracted investment from Visa as Go-Jek battles Grab for market share.

Amazon earlier in 2019 made a similar investment in Deliveroo as part of an effort to counter the expansion of Uber's food delivery business in the U.K.

China's crypto

China has chosen the initial institutions that will receive the state-backed cryptocurrency that's planned as part of China's counter to Facebook Libra.

The Industrial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, China UnionPay, Alibaba and Tencent will receive the cryptocurrency, reports Forbes, citing a former staffer at China Construction Bank.

These institutions would cover most of China's banking and payments market, with UnionPay operating China's largest card network, Tencent managing WeChat Pay and Alibaba managing Alipay. The cryptocurrency is expected to be issued within the next few months, with Forbes reporting the goal is to have it in place by Singles Day on November 11.

New CEO

Fresh off a new funding round, London-based open banking startup Token has promoted COO Todd Clyde to CEO as the company scales in response to PSD2.

Clyde has been COO for three years, and has spent more than three decades in financial software, including 12 at Accenture and 21 leading fintech startups.

Steve Kirsch, Token's founder and current CEO, will be the company's chief innovation officer and will focus more on Token's product roadmap, including a digital currency. Token's flagship open banking platform currently has connections to about 4,000 banks.

Corner store

Google Pay has launched an initiative to acquire kirana stores, which are India's version of local neighborhood markets.

There are about 12 million kirana stores in India, and Google hopes to use its enhanced connection to India's United Payments Interface to build an acceptance network, reports the News Minute, a local news site.

There is urgency for Google, as Facebook's WhatsApp plans to launch a payments service in India this year.

From the Web

Telegram to introduce its own cryptocurrency in October, report says
CNET | Wed August 28, 2019
Encrypted messaging service Telegram will offer its own cryptocurrency in the fall, according to a report from The New York Times on Wednesday. The company reportedly wants its digital coin to function as a new online currency that will let people transfer money around the world, similar to Facebook's newly unveiled Libra cryptocurrency.

Cool Hip Tech Brands Don't Get Bitcoin, But Global Brands Do
FORBES | Wed August 28, 2019
Global brands like Microsoft, NewEgg, ATT, Avnet, Dish Networks all accept Bitcoin, but very few silicon valley startups or technology unicorns do.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin And Ripple's XRP Suddenly In Free Fall
FORBES | Wed August 28, 2019
Bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin cash, and Ripple's XRP have suddenly gone into free fall, each losing between 5% and 10% in value in a matter of minutes. The reason for the sudden sell off, which wiped billions of dollars from the value of the world's biggest cryptocurrencies, was not immediately clear.

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