Morning Brief 12.9.19: EU regulators make a fresh push against Facebook's Libra

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Instability

The European Commission and the European Council are tightening regulations for stablecoins in a way that makes it harder for Facebook's Libra project to get off the ground.

The regulators are saying no global stablecoin can operate in the EU unless legal issues have been resolved, reports Law360. The EU doesn't mention Facebook or Libra, though the reference to "stablecoin" is a reference to Libra's structure, which is supported by a mix of traditional currencies. Regulators in Japan have said that structure makes it harder to regulate Libra, since it's not backed by a specific currency.

Libra has been met by an almost constant drumbeat of political pushback since its announcement in June, mostly over contentions it will operate outside of central bank oversight.

Game night

Arcade and restaurant chain Dave & Busters has upgraded digital payments by adding an "engagement app" for iOS and Android that supports NFC payments through connected devices, instant payments and loading of the chain's virtual card and integration with incentive marketing.

Dave & Buster's co-developed the app with technology company Stuzo, and it's part of a digital transformation for the chain.

The strategy includes kiosks from Diebold Nixdorf that support cash, cards, or mobile payments to redeem coupons and load funds across Dave & Buster's 134 locations.

Cash's dip

Canada's embrace of digital payments is doing a number on cash, which has declined 40% over the past five years.

Payments Canada's 2019 trends report details cash's retreat, as well as the growth of digital. There were 2.1 billion payments in Canada in 2018, totalling about $10 trillion. Electronic payments were 73% of the transactions and 59% of the volume. Contactless payments grew 30% in 2018, reaching 4.1 billion transactions totalling about $130 billion. Online transfers are also on the rise, jumping 52% from 2017 to 2018.

And credit card usage jumped 52% between 2013 and 2018, giving Canada the second highest volume of credit cards per capita after South Korea, according to Payments Canada.

Retirement pay

U.K. payments fintech Revolut has added retirement savings, using a collaboration with technology firm Smart Pension to allow businesses to set up pensions for U.K. staff in a few minutes.

Revolut's pension move quickly follows a deployment that allows businesses to set up direct debits for automatic bill payments and pension contributions.

Revolut has been expanding geographically and adding financial services to its core mobile payment business, including a recent partnership with Visa to reach new markets for P2P payments; and an agreement with Bottomline Technologies to power faster payments.

From the Web

AI and biometrics could boost e-commerce confidence in LatAm
ZDNET | Fri December 6, 2019
Improving knowledge about technologies such as artificial intelligence and biometrics could help address consumer concerns over e-commerce security in Latin America, according to a new study. E-commerce is seeing consistent growth in Latin markets, with a 21,3% boost predicted for 2019 at $71,3 billion, according to the report carried out by Kantar on behalf of Mastercard.

Can PayPal Continue to Grow Its Business?
THE MOTLEY FOOL | Sat December 7, 2019
The digital global economy is growing rapidly, with a total market opportunity of around $110 trillion in payment volumes. PayPal's total payment volume (TPV) of $581 billion means it has a less-than-1% share of the market. The question here is: Can PayPal carry on growing its business, or will it get swamped by the competition?

Swiss fintech incubator F10 sets up shop in Singapore
THE BUSINESS TIMES | Sat December 7, 2019
Zurich-based incubator and accelerator F10 has expanded to Singapore and will kick off its six-month programme in the city-state in May. Its Singapore office will support pre-seed and seed-stage financial technology (fintech) and regulatory technology (regtech).

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