Morning Brief 10.8.19: EU presses Facebook for detailed answers about Libra's risk

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Much of the political pushback against Facebook's pending Libra cryptocurrency has been general expressions of anger over the social network's impact on government-driven monetary policy, or even more general queries about privacy that typically accompany any move from Facebook.

The European Union is getting more specific, sending a list of questions to Facebook and the Libra Association that focused on financial stability, money laundering and data security, reports the Financial Times. These new questions appear to be an attempt to determine how the EU should regulate Libra — either under existing or new rules to guard against more direct risks. It's also possible the EU may ban Libra outright, or crack down on cryptocurrency in general.

While Libra's announcement was designed in part to preempt political stress by focusing on the stablecoin structure and use for financial inclusion, the way Facebook handles compliance will play a role in how its partners decide to participate, if at all. Visa has suggested compliance will drive its decision, and news of the EU's new questions come as PayPal announced it will not participate in Libra at first, a move widely seen as coming out of regulatory concern.

Signs of a cool down

Online payments startup Kaspi has cancelled plans for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, which in a broader context points to possible overall softness in the technology market.

The payment company cited "unfavorable and uncertain market conditions," reports Finextra, adding the Kazakhstan-based Kaspi was seeking a $5 billion valuation for its IPO. The news follows a report from KPMG that shows fintech investment slowed in the first half of 2019, though it remains high relative to recent years.

Finextra also pointed to WeWork, the New York-based work sharing company, which recently reduced the size of its IPO, then scrapped plans entirely.

Blocking out

The Sacramento Kings are building a reputation as a high-tech franchise, with the NBA team's latest move being a blockchain-supported incentive marketing program.

The Kings will use the blockchain to help fans accumulate coins in a virtual wallet in the team's Golden 1 Center app. The coins are part of a predictive gaming mobile feature and should be ready when the season opens Oct. 25.

The Kings frequently dive into new technology, supporting bitcoin in 2014, deploying high-tech entry points in their new arena, offering a mobile feature that gauges restroom lines and adopting checkout-free payments at concessions.

A bigger Stripe

Stripe has launched in Malaysia, offering its full stack of products, such as billing, payment acceptance and merchant services.

The move is part of a broader geographic expansion for Stripe, which just passed the $35 billion valuation mark.

Like a lot of the countries in the region, Malaysia is a smartphone-heavy market that primarily uses cash, giving Stripe a large addressable opportunity. Stripe estimates more than 80% of Malaysians have internet access and about 66% access the web via their phones.

From the web

FBI Issues Surprise New Cyber Attack Warning: Multi-Factor Authentication Is Being Defeated
FORBES | Mon October 7, 2019
One of the primary defences against cyberattacks is multi-factor authentication (MFA), the use of a secondary token or one-time code to assure the identity of staff. But the FBI has now warned that it “has observed cyber actors circumventing multi-factor authentication through common social engineering and technical attacks.”

Wirecard and SES-imagotag to Accelerate In-store Mobile Payments Adoption
YAHOO FINANCE | Tue October 8, 2019
Wirecard and SES-imagotag strengthen their cooperation to build a joint ESL-enabled (Electronic Shelf Label) mobile payment solution for in-store shoppers. Wirecard payment technology will now be automatically available on all cloud-based SES-imagotag IoT price tags. The solution will enable frictionless shopping while reducing the cost and time of traditional checkout.

The Standard Cybersecurity Model Is Fundamentally Broken
FORBES | Mon October 7, 2019
According to data from Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity spending for the five years leading up to 2021 is expected to exceed $1 trillion, but the annual global losses from cyberattacks is expected to hit $6 trillion by the same year. Clearly, there is something fundamentally wrong with the standard model of cybersecurity.

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