01.26.18 Your morning briefing

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

Staying busy: While Kenneth Chenault is expected to retire as CEO of American Express on Feb. 1, he's already been appointed to a couple of boards. Facebook recruited Chenault to join its board, with a particular eye on improving Facebook's direct commerce and service capabilities. Chenault will also join Airbnb's board of directors to help implement the company's "21st century" vision. TechCrunch speculates Chenault's arrival and counsel may accompany an IPO, since Airbnb's announcement said it would make another announcement on Feb. 22 that will empower "substantial improvements to our service."
Sustainable commutes: Payoneer, which has been building its technology to serve the "gig economy," is collaborating with Waze Carpool, which connects riders with similar routes for carpooling. Waze is an alternative to ride sharing apps in that it's positioned as an environmental play; the drivers do not earn a salary. Instead, commuters use the app to match with other travelers and pay the driver to cover gas and wear and tear on the vehicles. Payoneer's mobile payment technology will support those transactions. Waze, which is owned by Google, has 90 million users globally and recently served as a transportation app for people involved in hurricane recovery in Texas and Louisiana.

Party like it's your birthday: 50 Cent's early bet on bitcoin has resulted in millions of dollars in gains. TMZ reports the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, accepted bitcoin payments for his Animal Ambition album, which released in 2014. The album drew about 700 bitcoins in sales, or about $460,000 at the time, or nearly $8 million today since 50 "forgot" about the original investment, TMZ reports. 50 Cent just finished paying off about $23 million in debt he owed from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015, and he is also the CEO of SMS Audio, a headphone company.

India calling: India's demonetization is drawing lots of attention from digital payment companies outside of the country, and payments processor First Data sees an opportunity to expand its geographic footprint. The company has partnered with SBI Card, a subsidiary of the State Bank of India, in a deal that will allow First Data to process payments for 5.6 million SBI-issued cards, as well as open a new data center in India.

From the Web

Bank of America, Citigroup reviewing the use of credit cards to buy bitcoin
CNBC | Thu Jan 25, 2018 - Bank of America is reviewing policies that allow customers to buy bitcoin with credit cards. Citigroup is also reviewing its policy, just as Capital One Financial earlier this month decided to prohibit cryptocurrency purchases. J.P. Morgan Chase is still allowing customers to buy cryptocurrencies with their Chase credit cards, the bank told CNBC. The bank did not respond to a question about potential changes to that policy.

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking
TechCrunch | Thu Jan 25, 2018 - No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

Bank of England says payments problem fixed, some catch-up work ongoing
Reuters | Fri Jan 26, 2018 - The Bank of England said on Friday it was working to catch up on processing financial transactions after a communications outage hit one of its payment systems on Thursday. “Technology communications problems reported by the Bank yesterday have been fixed overnight. Systems are now working normally although there is some catch-up work to complete,” the central bank said in a statement. The BoE expected to process payments as normal on Friday, but added that wholesale counterparty transactions may be dealt with later in the day than normal. The outage did not affect the general public or the main high-speed interbank payments service, CHAPS, the BoE said.

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