Morning Brief 4.29.20: EU considers digital currency for coronavirus recovery

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European central banks are concerned about the rapid changes in banknote supplies, a trend that could push development of a "digital Euro."

There have been sudden spikes in cash demand because of the coronavirus outbreak, with a record level of €19 billion in circulation in March, quickly falling to below normal by mid-April over fears of banknote handling and surges in online payments, reports Finextra. There are also bottlenecks in printing that could further complicate banknote supplies, though officials say supply chain issues have been resolved.

European officials have also formed a task force to discuss an EU digital currency to address supply issues. Central bank digital currencies have gotten more attention during the outbreak as a way to move more funds quickly within countries.

Contactless rent

Zillow has rearranged its rental user experience to support virtual tours, online applications, related paperwork and payments through the same function.

The real estate site previously offered these services, but has created a digital bundle to accommodate social distancing, reports Engadget.

Rental payments are frequently still paper-based, so it's not a given that all landlords that use Zillow would support the centralized online feature, Engadget explains.

Going shopping

Shopify has developed its own consumer shopping app to reside alongside its business of supporting other business' online stores.

Called Shop, it's a rebuild of Arrive, an existing Shopify feature that tracks packages for Shopify's merchants, reports TechCrunch.

The new Shop feature will have a feed of recommended products, information about brands and a one-click checkout process.

Buying local

A town in central Italy is printing its own banknotes for residents to redeem at local stores in an attempt to make it easier for people to shop and access currency.

Castellini, which is 158 miles south of Rome, is calling the bills "Ducati," with each worth about one euro, reports Euronews. The businesses can return the Ducati to the town and receive the same number of euros.

The bills have pictures of local attractions and churches. About 4,000 of the bills have been used at a local butcher shop, for example.

From the web

WhatsApp eyes lending feature in India as Amazon rolls out Pay Later to tens of thousands of customers
TECHCRUNCH | Tue April 28, 2020
On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled and began rolling out Amazon Pay Later. WhatsApp’s expansion in mobile payments in India could create new challenges for the aforementioned player, but the company has yet to receive approval from New Delhi for a nationwide rollout of Pay in India.

Bitmain-Backed Platform Matrixport Enables Users to Buy Crypto With Credit Cards
COINTELEGRAPH | Tue April 28, 2020
Bitmain-affiliated financial service platform Matrixport has teamed up with Simplex, an EU-licensed payments processing firm, to allow users to purchase select cryptocurrencies using their credit and debit cards.

Half a million debit cards to be issued to bank customers to help them shop online
9NEWS | Wed April 29, 2020
More than half a million debit cards are being issued to bank customers around Australia to help them shop online or use contactless transactions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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