Morning Brief 8.31.20: Hackers target MoneyGram and Braintree, demanding bitcoin

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

Bitcoin extortion

Hackers have targeted several high-profile companies over the past few days, including Tesla, MoneyGram, Braintree and its Venmo subsidiary.

Braintree (a unit of PayPal) and MoneyGram were subject to distributed denial of service attacks with the hackers demanding bitcoin as extortion, reports ZDNet. Similar hacks hit the New Zealand Stock Exchange, which periodically halted trading for three consecutive days last week.

DDoS-for-bitcoin attacks have increased in severity because the hackers are ramping up assaults on backend infrastructure and APIs, causing prolonged disruption.

SMB Play

Bill.com and KeyBank are collaborating on a centralized platform designed to combine several small-business payment and financial services, part of the trend of technology company and bank partnerships that have grown out of open banking.

Called Key CashFlow, the platform supports B2B transactions, manages approvals digitally and integrates with accounting software. It will also link to Bill.com's Connect payment gateway.

By partnering with technology firms, banks are trying to add speed to business tools that can aid in recovery.

What's a gigawatt?

Bitcoin mining's electric consumption has been an issue for years, enough to impact mainstream broadband networks and cause general environmental concern.

Mining has reached a record in 2020, at 7.46 GW thus far, reports Engadget, citing research from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance. That's the equivalent of 600 wind turbines or 1.5 nuclear power plants (and enough to power 3 round trips between 1985 and 1955).

It's also profitable for the miners. The cost to mine a single bitcoin is about $7,500, meaning the average miner makes about $4,000 in profit, Engadget reports.

Apple on board

South Western Railway has added support for Apple Pay, a step designed to link ticketing to transactions at nearby merchants while eliminating paper tickets.

The railroad, which operates a mix of longer routes and commuter trains to London, is one of the first U.K. operators to add Apple Pay, reports Rail Business Daily. But the app has become more widespread on metro systems over the past two years.

The London Underground has supported all three major mobile wallets for years and transit systems in the U.S., such as New York's MTA, have deployed Apple Pay as part of broader projects to sunset closed loop payment systems.

From the web

As fintech upends banking, Japan regulator expects more cross-boundary tie-ups
REUTERS | Sunday Aug 30, 2020
Japan will likely see more financial tie-ups that extend beyond traditional boundaries similar to those signed between internet banking giant SBI Holdings Inc and regional banks, the country's senior financial regulator said.

India’s Reliance Retail to acquire Future Group’s units for $3.4 billion
TECHCRUNCH | Saturday Aug 29, 2020
Reliance Retail, India’s largest retail chain, has found a much simpler way to expand its dominant position in the country: Acquire most of the second largest bricks-and-mortar retailer.

Facebook pilot program linking its users’ news subscriptions could cut down on password fatigue
THE VERGE | Saturday Aug 29, 2020
Facebook says it’s now testing a feature that will help reduce how often you have to log in to news sites, allowing paying news subscribers to link their Facebook accounts to their subscriptions.

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