Morning Brief 12.10.19: China to test digital currency counter to Libra

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Close to launch

China has accelerated its plans for a government digital currency to combat Facebook Libra and other large external digital payments, with initial tests coming soon in Suzhou and Shenzhen, two major Chines cities.

The test will include a group of banks and telcos, including Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Mobile.

The People's Bank of China pilot will use the digital currency to pay for general services such as transport and health care, according to a web translation of Caijing, a local news site. The first test will come at the end of 2019, with a larger rollout in early 2020.

Accounting for PSD2

U.K. accounting app Coconut has added an open banking portal into its system, a move designed to court contractors and small businesses by tying bank-issued card accounts to business management tools.

The integration will consolidate expense management, receipt capture, invoicing and taxes that can cover multiple accounts for each business.

PSD2, which mandates data sharing between banks and third parties, has sparked investments in fintechs, which can offer a wider range of financial services through connections to traditional banks.

Warning on big data

As firms like Google, Amazon and Apple expand deeper into financial services and payments, an international regulatory coalition says new laws may be necessary to manage the impact on smaller firms.

The Financial Stability Board, a Basel-based international group of finance ministers and central bankers, says the companies provide innovation for financial services, though there's also risks to financial stability, reports Finextra.

The FSB suggests open banking initiatives such as PSD2 may have to evolve as the data management power and scale of the large multinational firms expands in coming years.

Store sharing

A New York startup called ShopFulfill is using elements of shared workspace firms such as WeWork to reach online retailers that want to build an offline business.

The firm is opening what it calls Anchor Shops, in which retail staff warehousing and other logistics are shared among different retailers that lease a tailored amount of space, reports Yahoo.

ShopFulfill uses an API to integrate with an e-commerce firm's site. The Anchor Shop serves as a showroom for shopping or pickup. It's first Anchor Shop will open in the second quarter 2020 in Central City Philadelphia, with about a dozen locations in the Philadelphia area to follow.

From the web

Jack Dorsey will face more pressure in 2020 to step down from Twitter or Square
YAHOO FINANCE | Tue December 10, 2019
NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway, a Twitter shareholder (334,000 shares, currently worth more than $10 million) wants Jack Dorsey out as Twitter CEO. And he lays out a compelling case based on poor stock performance, user growth, monetization, management, and even Dorsey’s personal plans for 2020.

Money laundering battle drives Japan banks to JPMorgan’s payments network
THE BUSINESS TIMES | Tue December 10, 2019
JPMorgan Chase & Co's blockchain-based information network for payments is drawing the greatest interest in Japan, a country long blamed for weak measures against money laundering. More than 80 Japanese banks have expressed a willingness to join the Interbank Information Network, said Daizaburo Sanai, an executive director at the US firm.

Australian banks need to do more on payments, cross-border fees: RBA
THE BUSINESS TIMES | Tue December 10, 2019
Australia's central bank wants to see the country's banking industry roll out new payments platforms at a faster rate and to reduce fees on some products, particularly for the high cost of sending money across international borders. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe noted the price of sending money out of Australia has been consistently higher than the average for the rest of the G-20 nations.

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