Morning Brief 9.4.19: HSBC's first trade finance blockchain transaction

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HSBC has completed its initial blockchain-based trade transaction, using the Voltron network that HSBC has developed in collaboration with other banks.

Hong Kong-based MTC Electronic used the network to ship raw materials to its parent company, Shenzhen MTC, in mainland China, reports Finextra. The documents tied to the shipment and payment transferred in about 24 hours, much less than the usual 10 days for the transfer.

Banks and nonbank financial companies are building blockchain payments processing systems in the hope of streamlining supply chains. In China alone, there were more than $750 billion in inbound cross-border transactions in 2018, Finextra reported, citing data from Swift.

In the black

Indian fintech MobiKwik reports it's turning a profit, a rarity for relatively young digital payments firm, and a milestone it's reached ahead of local rival Paytm, which is still cash flow negative.

MobiKwik has focused on building broader financial relationships with its base of about 110 million users, reports TechCrunch, adding that's allowed it to become cash flow positive about 10 years after its launch. MobiKwik has raised about $118 million to date, while Paytm has raised about $2 billion, reports TechCrunch.

MobiKwik in 2017 pushed back its profitability target by about a year (to the second half of 2019) to invest in mobile payments technology following India's demonetization efforts.

Square biz

Square is floating discounts through partnering with TSB Bank in an effort to build a base of business clients for the payment company's U.K. operation.

The bank's business customers will get a free Square Reader and a fee waiver for the first £1,000 in sales.

Square this year opened an app store and launched its invoicing technology in the U.K. following an earlier acquisition of Weebly, a San Francisco-based web design firm that Square is using to power its U.K. expansion.

Crypto concert

Manny Pacquiao has launched "Pac" tokens, which people can use to buy the boxer's merchandise and connect with him on social networks.

Pacquiao launched Pac at a concert in Manila (Pacquiao is also a singer and a member of the Philippines' Senate), Pac will be listed on the Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange, reports The Guardian.

Boxing and cryptocurrency have not always been a good mix. Floyd Mayweather promoted a cryptocurrency that was hit by a criminal investigation over listing violations. Mayweather and DJ Khaled were later fined in connection with that case.

From the Web

Amazon tests handprint payment technology to use in Whole Foods: Report
FOX BUSINESS | Tue September 3, 2019
Amazon is reportedly testing a new payment system that uses handprints for checkout, instead of a card or an app. The e-commerce giant is testing the biometric scanners on vending machines in its New York offices with the hope of setting them up in its Whole Foods grocery stores.

Alibaba reportedly near finalizing a deal to acquire NetEase’s cross-border e-commerce unit
TECHCRUNCH | Wed September 4, 2019
After weeks of media reports, Alibaba may finally be nearing an agreement to acquire NetEase’s cross-border e-commerce unit, Kaola. Chinese tech news website 36kr reports that a deal may be announced as early as this week and is expected to be worth $2 billion in cash and shares.

Chinese shoppers adopt facial payments in cashless drive
THE STRAITS TIMES | Wed September 4, 2019
No cash, no cards, no wallet, and no smartphones: China's shoppers are increasingly purchasing goods with just a turn of their heads as the country embraces facial payment technology. China's mobile payment infrastructure is one of the most advanced in the world, but the new systems — which require only face recognition — being rolled out nationwide could make even QR codes seem old-fashioned.

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