12.27.18 Your morning briefing

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

India restricts foreign e-commerce
India is cracking down on some of the e-commerce policies that Walmart and Amazon rely on most, TechCrunch reports.

The new policy for foreign direct investment, which goes live February 1, bans exclusive sales, bans the sales of products or platforms that a seller is invested in, and limits discounts and cashback offers, the article states.

Specifically, brands can't make more than 25 percent of their sales via a single e-commerce provider — a rule designed to extend a 2016 ruling that bans foreign e-commerce providers from owning inventory, the article notes. Amazon joint ventures like Cloudtail India and Appario Retail would seem to be in violation of the new ruling.

Alexa, take the day off
Even as Amazon boasts of record sales this holiday season, one key figure wasn't pulling its weight: the Alexa digital assistant.

Apparently a victim of their own sales success, the Alexa servers crashed after thousands of new users plugged in and began using new Alexa-enabled devices such as Echo speakers, The Guardian reports.

Amazon has built its Alexa devices to be their own sales channel, sometimes offering discounts only to people who use its voice assistant, so any outage could translate to lost business and a lack of trust in Alexa as a mechanism for payments.

Picking a patent fight with Apple
A Texas company called Fintiv has acquired a Korean patent that it says Apple Pay infringes on, 9to5mac reports.

The article notes that Fintiv was founded in 2018 despite boasting over 20 years' experience, and little more information on its website.

Apple is a big target for patent troll lawsuits, the article notes. However, Apple has its own history of ignoring intellectual property law; famously, it named its smartphone the iPhone despite knowing that Cisco owned the trademark on that term.

Crypto for food
While many people still see cryptocurrencies as an investment option, some headway is being made in the product's use for payments.

Oasis Supermercados, a supermarket chain based in Rio de Janeiro, has trained staff in its two stores to accept payments in bitcoin, bitcoin cash and litecoin, Finance Magnates reports.

Working with CoinWise, the supermarket plans to convert any crypto coins it receives into local currency every three days, the article says.

From the Web
Singapore capitalising on growing fintech remittance industry
The Straits Times | Wed December 26, 2018 - New high-tech players with their low fees and virtually instant mobile transactions are shaping up as one of the most disruptive forces in the financial industry. And Singapore is capitalising heavily on this trend, buoyed by its large migrant workforce and a sizeable contingent of Singaporeans working overseas and expatriates posted here, said industry observers.

Cyber breaches abound in 2019
TechCrunch | Wed December 26, 2018 - News of high-profile cyber breaches has been uncharacteristically subdued in recent quarters. However, we recently learned that Marriott International/Starwood was the victim of the multi-year theft of personal information on up to 500 million customers — rivaled only by hacks against Yahoo in 2013 and 2014.

Bank of America Files Patent for Blockchain-Enabled Cash Handlers
CCN | Wed December 26, 2018 - Bank of America (BoA) has filed another blockchain patent, documents with the USPTO reveal. The American multinational investment bank stated that it would use blockchain, the underlying technology which powers the world’s leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to handle some portions of its cash handling devices.

More from PaymentsSource
Swift fortifies its tech for a turbulent market
The financial services and payments industries are aggressively trying to replace older systems with sleeker technology, but Swift has a separate goal in mind with the Global Payments Innovation system, or GPI.

Advice for crypto firms on joining financial mainstream
More traditional players interested in creating a safer market for digital assets have issued a checklist that cryptocurrency firms can follow to build confidence among banks, consumers and regulators.

How U.S. policy shifted Alipay's strategy in other markets
On the surface, Ant Financial's reported discussions to acquire U.K.-based WorldFirst demonstrate a savvy business move to establish itself beyond the substantial market it controls in China. It also shows how far the Chinese payments giant is willing to go to resist the headwinds of U.S. policy.

Data: What motivates millennials' payments
Younger consumers today have a very different view of, and utility for, general purpose bank and private label retail credit cards when compared to older generations.

Amazon's record holiday shows consumers' spending splurge
Amazon.com Inc. reported a record-breaking holiday season as shoppers loaded their online baskets with items from Echo speakers to Calvin Klein clothes, suggesting consumer optimism isn’t being deterred by a tumbling stock market.

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