Morning Brief 1.8.20: IBM, Rabobank use blockchain for coffee supply chains

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

Coffee code

Rabobank and IBM are partnering on a technology project that uses QR codes on Beyers coffee cups to trace the coffee's supply chain from the farm to the retailer.

The initiative includes a blockchain-powered interactive map that identifies the farmers, traders, roasters and brands, along with payment processing. The blockchain will connect the payment to supply chain data. Other partners include the Columbina Coffee Growers Federation, J.M. Smucker, RGC Coffee and Volcafe.

The cups and app will launch in the U.S. and Canada, and IBM hopes to reach consumers who are interested in buying coffee that has been sustainably grown but reliant on a complicated international supply chain.

Move the crowd

Mobile payments fintech KogoPay has raised about $250,000 on CrowdCube, which it reports this is 102% of its target.

KogoPay supports transfers that fund charitable giving and other socially conscious transactions. It also supplies QR code payments for local merchants in the U.K. and Europe.

Crowdfunding usually draws less investment than traditional fundraising, though it can draw attention to a product or its brand. Curve, for example, recently used a crowdfunding campaign to attract users in addition to investment.

New unicorn

Treasury management and business payments technology firm High Radius has raised $125 million from Iconiq Capital, Citi Ventures and Susquehanna Growth Equity.

The funds push High Radius to "unicorn" status, or a valuation beyond $1 billion. The Houston-based High Radius' clients include Bank of America and Citigroup.

High Radius recently collaborated with Citi on Global Connect, an integration of payments, supply chain management and foreign exchange.

Cyber alert

The New York Department of Financial Services warns heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran could result in cyber attacks on U.S. banks and payment systems.

The department says Iranian-linked hackers launched denial of service attacks against U.S. banks in 2012 and 2013, and more recently Iranian-linked agents carried out attacks against bank card systems following anti-government protests in 2019.

The most common attacks delete or decrypt data, using phishing, credential stuffing or targeting unpatched devices, reports DFS, recommending financial firms review continuity plans and deploy multi-factor authentication.

Where's the money?

Standard Chartered has launched a Swift-linked portal that traces the status of cross-border payments that the bank clears.

Called SC GPI track, users can access payment status by using Swift's transaction reference number through the bank's portal, according to a release from Swift.

Swift recently linked its GPI service to faster payment rails in a number of international markets following a successful test in Singapore.

From the web

Alibaba undercuts Amazon in Europe to woo wary brands
REUTERS | Wed January 8, 2020
After years of reconnaissance, China’s retail king Alibaba is finally making its move on Europe. It is undercutting Amazon sellers’ fees to attract vendors but has had mixed results. A flood of small businesses have joined its European platform, AliExpress, in recent months but some larger brands are holding back, according to sources.

Could new laws designed to protect gig workers actually hurt them?
USA TODAY | Wed January 8, 2020
In an unexpected twist, a spate of new legislation that claims to stop the exploitation of freelance workers is causing a backlash from some of the contractors it's designed to protect. California's AB 5 is among the most controversial. The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, spells out standards that must be met to determine if workers are employees entitled to benefits and other protections, or contractors without those safety nets.

Chase and DoorDash announce partnership to deliver new dining benefits for select cardholders
CNBC | Tue January 7, 2020
Chase and DoorDash announced a new partnership for select cardholders. If you have a Chase card, you may receive a complimentary or discounted DashPass membership. DashPass offers free delivery and lower service fees from hundreds of restaurants on orders of $12 or more. This service typically costs $9.99 a month, but you can receive up to a year free with an eligible Chase card.

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