Morning Brief 10.2.20: Google extends free listings for merchants

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Google is extending free merchant product listings for most markets on Google Shopping, part of a pandemic strategy to reach more merchants that have moved to e-commerce and to counter Amazon.

The search engine allowed merchants in the U.S. to list products on its Shopping tab for free in April, and has gradually added markets in Europe and other parts of the world in the months since, reports Engadget. Google contends the retailers can find more consumers through Shopping, which uses Google Pay to process transactions. It's also another way for retailers to reach consumers digitally if their brick and mortar stores are closed.

Google over the past year has added AI, voice tools and a Shopify integration to its Shopping functions as a way to help merchants compete with Amazon in e-commerce.

Name tag

Lawyers for the European Central Bank have applied to trademark "digital euro," another signal it's interested in building a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for member nations — or at least it doesn't want someone else to issue a currency with that name.

Eurozone banks have not committed to a project, but are looking for alternatives to cryptocurrency, reports Coindesk. Most CBDC projects derive at least partly out of concern that cryptocurrency projects may dilute central bank control over monetary policy.

The EU's banking authority recently told banks in the Eurozone to prepare for CBDCs or risk getting left behind other nations that are working on projects.

Making a deal

Taiwanese payment technology company Castles Technology has acquired U.K.-based electronic funds transfer/point of sale terminal Spire Payments.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Castles Technology will invest to expand Spire's products and will take on service for Spire's merchant and retail clients, as well as Spire's partnerships with merchant acquirers.

Castles Technology hopes Spire will give it a platform to reach EMEA markets, and add more point of sale hardware to Castles' portfolio, which includes payment systems that use Linux, Android, MiniPos and ECRPos.

Writing code

Payments technology company InComm Japan has struck deals with five QR and bar code payment processors to expand consumer access for retailers in Japan.

AlipayHK and UnionPay are on board, which would make it easier for retailers to serve consumers from China. InComm has additionally added EZ Wallet and Kakao Pay to reach South Korean consumers; and Touch'n Go eWallet from Malaysia.

InComm's merchant network in Japan includes more than 50,000 stores with clients in convenience, pharmacy, department stores and supermarket categories. The new QR deals give it partnerships with 22 processors that do business in Japan.

From the web

U.S. Treasury warns cyber insurers payments to hackers may violate sanctions
REUTERS | Thursday, October 1, 2020
Cyber insurers and other financial institutions that facilitate payments to hackers to end cyberattacks risk running afoul of sanctions rules, the U.S. Treasury Department warned on Thursday.

U.S. charges BitMEX cryptocurrency founders with failing to prevent money laundering
REUTERS | Thursday, October 1, 2020
The Department of Justice charged Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Benjamin Delo, who together founded BitMEX in 2014, and Gregory Dwyer, its first employee and later head of business development, with violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act and conspiring to violate that law.

FinCEN Warns on Ransomware Attacks, Notes Increased Targeting of Government Entities
COINDESK | Thursday, October 1, 2020
Amid a rising incidence of ransomware attacks being reported this year, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory Thursday concerning such attacks.

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