5.3.19 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Friending crypto
Facebook has been inching toward its own cryptocurrency for more than a year, an effort that is reportedly advancing as the social network tries to line up partners for a cryptocurrency-based payment system.

Facebook is recruiting financial firms and online merchants to invest in the initiative, and also use the social network as the basis of a cryptocurrency system, reports The Wall Street Journal. The effort is part of Project Libra, a secretive effort at Facebook to produce a digital coin that users can exchange and make purchases on Facebook and elsewhere online. Facebook would not comment on the report.

The social network has long been rumored to be building its own currency. By late 2018 it was reportedly working on a stablecoin and crypto-based P2P transfer system on WhatsApp.

It won't be easy for Facebook to build its own coin. As famous as Facebook is, analysts have said it will have a hard time building a merchant network. An earlier attempt at a Facebook coin, called Facebook Credits, was phased out.
Light rail hailing app
Uber's widely known as a ride hailing app, but it also has plans to apply its model to mass transit, a hot category for companies like Apple and Mastercard that are looking to build a base of mobile users.

Uber has provided information about transit in Denver to its app, and it is extending that to ticket payments and boarding through a collaboration with ticketing company Masabi.

Riders will be able to buy Regional Transportation District tickets through the app, then use their smartphone to ride rail and bus transit, a derivative of Uber's ride-sharing model in which the user experience is largely seamless.

DLT alliance
Distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain have boosted cross-border payments by streamlining processing, opening up new markets for international e-commerce.

The concept has extended to governments, as the Bank of Canada and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have used a distributed ledger to transfer central bank digital currencies.

The central banks' argument for the move is that the existing cross-border payment practices are slow, expensive and prone to counterparty risk.

Samsung Simple
Digital financial services company Simple has added support for Samsung Pay — a bit late for Simple, which says its consumers have been asking for the app.

Simple got its start as an alternative financial services company after the 2008 crisis, pitching itself to consumers frustrated by traditional banking.

BBVA acquired Simple in 2014, and since then Simple has been adding payments technology such as P2P transfers, real-time processing and push payments.

Auto mall
Paytm Mall has added automobile booking through a partnership with French automaker Renault's Indian subsidiary.

Customers can book one of three Renault models through Paytm's platform, and make payments through the same user experience, which also directs the purchaser to the nearest dealership, reports Financial Express.

From the Web

Kenya’s Safaricom posts increased revenues on booming payments business
Financial Times | Fri May 3, 2019 - Safaricom said rapid growth in its market-leading mobile payments business Mpesa had driven a jump in annual revenues, as east Africa’s most profitable company continued its march from a telecommunications provider to a market-leading digital company.

A quiet London-based payments startup just raised among the biggest Series A rounds ever in Europe
TechCrunch | Thu May 2, 2019 - You probably haven’t heard of Checkout, a digital payments processing company that was founded in 2012 in London. Apparently, however, investors have been keeping tabs on the low-flying company and like what they see. Checkout announced that it has raised $230 million in Series A funding at a valuation just shy of $2 billion.

Payments Lift MercadoLibre to New Heights
The Motley Fool | Thu May 2, 2019 - The marketplace platform of Latin American e-commerce provider MercadoLibre was initially the focal point for growth, but recently, its payment network has been the biggest driver of growth for the company -- paralleling the experience that one of its closest counterparts in the U.S. experienced with its own related payment service.

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Experian wants to break the digital ID deadlock by breaking the rules
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Square Cash app, card aid growth in a crowded digital field
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Underbanked women a focus of Visa, Mastercard's digital strategies
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NatWest launches merchant acquiring service to compete with Worldpay
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