4.12.19 Your morning briefing

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

Gold rush
Google Pay has been branching out to new activities, such as transit, to lure new categories of users — a strategy that has extended to gold in India.

Through a collaboration with MMTC-PAMP, consumers can buy and sell gold via their smartphones, reports Android Police. Users enter an amount in rupees, and the app converts to the proper weight in gold. The gold is stored in a vault under the user's name. Prices are updated each minute.

Google Pay also recently embedded itself deeper into India's travel industry, as the app tries to tie itself to everyday transactions in a country that is attempting to replace cash with digital payments.
Heat for N26
German regulator BaFin has spotted several regulatory problems at Berlin-based challenger bank N26, including staffing, engineering and outsourcing.

The startup, a favorite among fintech investors and which recently achieved "unicorn" status, has not kept up with its growth, reports Yahoo Finance.

N26's regulatory troubles follow similar issues at Revolut, a U.K. fintech that has faced scrutiny over AML practices.

Bakkt hires PayPal and Google vet
Bitcoin exchange Bakkt has hired Mike Blandina to be chief product officer. Blandina was formerly head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and was a director who helped lead the engineering behind Google Wallet.

At Bakkt, his responsibilities will include developing payment use cases for cryptocurrency, reports Bitcoin Exchange Guide.

Bakkt made a splash when it entered into a partnership with Starbucks that could lead to the coffee chain accepting cryptocurrency for payments.

Amazon's bots
Amazon has a history of acquiring technology companies to bolster its logistics, such as buying smart doorbell company Ring to support home delivery.

In a new deal, the e-commerce company has acquired Canvas Technology, a Boulder, Colo.-based robotics company. Amazon hopes to use the technology to streamline operations in warehouses and other fulfillment centers, reports TechCrunch.

Amazon rival Walmart is also accelerated its use of robots for monitoring and stocking shelves.

From the Web

‘Crypto Stripe’ Flexa Raises $14 Million So You Can Buy Coffee With Bitcoin
CoinDesk | Thu April 11, 2019 - New York-based payments startup Flexa just raised that amount in a private token sale involving Pantera Capital, 1kx, Nima Capital, Access Ventures and others. The startup’s token, Flexacoin, is an ethereum-based ERC-20 token that will eventually be used by developers and businesses to stake value on Flexa’s network for merchant payment processing.

Asia driving global mobile payments, with eight in top 10 markets
ZDNet | Fri April 12, 2019 - The world's top 10 mobile payments adopters are in eight Asian markets including Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines, according to PwC's Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019. Vietnam is the fastest-growing global market in mobile payments. Across the globe, China leads the pack with 86 percent of its population tapping mobile payments.

Hackers use South-east Asian banks most to receive illicit funds: Swift
The Straits Times | Fri April 12, 2019 - Hackers used South-east Asian banks to receive funds from 83 percent of all studied fraudulent transactions in 2018 and 2019, according to global payments network Swift. The remaining 17 percent were spread across Europe, North America and the Middle East, Swift said in a recent report.

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