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Blockchain fever pitch: Arsenal FC has partnered with CashBet to support the ICO of CashBet Coin, which is designed for the football club iGaming. CashBet Coin will be the club's official blockchain partner, making Arsenal an early major league sports franchise to enter a marketing deal with a cryptocurrency, according to a release from CashBet. The deal will place CashBet Coin's brand and signage in Emirates Stadium and other advertising channels. CashBet is aimed at games for casinos, social gaming, e-sports and sports betting.

Under the hood for connected cars: One of the more interesting parts of driverless cars is the potential for people to use connected vehicles to shop and pay while on the move. A project in the U.K. aims to bring much of the underlying technology together to create a national driverless vehicle infrastructure that can support payments and other uses. Called E-CAVE, it's a four year project that will use emerging digital data technology and wireless protocols to test different connected and driverless car models for accessibility, reliability and safety for different transactions. "The learning we gain will show the U.K. to be an exemplar, and the infrastructure design which comes from this activity can be scaled up and used internationally," said Nigel Clifford, CEO of Ordnance Survey, a national mapping service that's one of the initiative's participants, in a release.

Crypto acquisition: While bitcoin struggles to gain ground as a payments option, some market participants are acquiring technology to add payment features. Blockchain currency provider Epazz has acquired the Android app Cryptofolio, which tracks and manages bitcoin and altcoin portfolios and has been installed more than 2,900 times. Epazz, which operates the bitcoin payment system ZenaPay, will develop an iOS version of CryptoFolio and allow users to access ZenaPay.

Techies' way to Tipperary: First Data is recruiting 150 engineers for a research and development center in Tipperary, Ireland. The center will open in March and will specialize in analytics, data science and product development for digital commerce products, reports Finextra, which adds it will be First Data's third Irish location, following two offices Dublin. Like many established processors, First Data is in the midst of a multi-year technology-driven diversification strategy to accommodate mobile commerce and other payments innovation, an initiative that has included investments in R&D and acquisitions of payment gateway companies such as BluePay.

From the Web

Ripple Adds New Partners in Push to Make Case for XRP
Fortune | Wed Jan 24, 2018 - Ripple, which provides blockchain software for banks, announced on Wednesday that a currency exchange firm and a telecom provider will be the latest to use XRP—Ripple’s highly volatile currency—as part of their money transfer operations. The firms are publicly-traded IDT Corporation, which provides international long distance and payment services, and MercuryFX, which offers discount rates on foreign exchange transactions. According to Ripple, both firms will use its XRapid product, which relies on XRP as a bridge currency to rapidly transfer and settle global money transfers. The announcement follows recent news that money transfer giant MoneyGram and the Mexican bank Cuallix are likewise testing XRP in their operations.

Stellar jumps 20% after Stripe says it may add support for the digital coin
CNBC | Wed Jan 24, 2018 - Digital currency stellar soared 20 percent Wednesday after online payments company Stripe said it may add support for the cryptocurrency. Stellar, or XLM, climbed to about 58.96 cents, up 21.2 percent on the day, according to CoinMarketCap. That gave the digital currency a market value of about $10.3 billion, making it the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Stellar traded near 58.1 cents as of 9:05 a.m. ET. Stripe handles payments for more than 100,000 businesses, including Warby Parker and OpenTable. The company announced Tuesday afternoon that it would stop processing bitcoin transactions on April 23 due to slower transaction rates and high fees.

Exclusive: Brazil central bank looks to rein in fees on debit cards – sources
Reuters | Wed Jan 24, 2018 - Brazil's central bank wants to regulate fees retailers must pay when customers swipe debit cards to boost the use of electronic payments and add to already enhanced consumer protections, three people with knowledge of the matter said. In a Friday meeting at central bank offices in Sao Paulo including representatives of card companies and retailers, the regulator made clear its interest in capping fees that card processors charge retailers, according to two of the sources, who requested anonymity because the matter is not yet public.

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