03.02.18 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Senator pushes Trump on North Korea hacks: North Korea has reportedly used attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges to get around U.S. sanctions against its government over its nuclear program. President Trump isn't doing enough to stop the attacks, according to Sen. Edward Markey (D, Mass.). Markey said North Korea's cyber activities are not addressed in the latest round of sanctions, which "do nothing" to restrict North Korea's ability to steal cryptocurrencies, a principal means for Kim Jong Un's regime to raise revenue for its military programs.
Ripple's B-to-B boost: Blockchain provider Ripple, Fleetcor and Cambridge Global Payments are teaming on a cross-border payment pilot. Cambridge will use Ripple's xRapid and XRP assets to speed processing for commercial payments. It's a relatively new frontier for Ripple, which has made major inroads over the past several years in teaming with remittance providers to execute international P-to-P transfers at lower cost but has been looking to add clients that execute larger, more complex transactions.
JPMorgan's push for diversity in fintech: JPMorgan Chase has issued a FinLab challenge, seeking development in payments and other digital financial services with a particular focus on people of color. Noting the gender gap in fintech — JPMorgan Chase reports $1.9 billion of the $85 billion in fintech venture capital in 2017 went to women-owned ventures — the developer contest will reward $250,000 to selected organizations along with professional assistance.
Dumping cash: Contactless payments are spiking in the U.K., leading to a push by many retailers to get rid of cash. Contactless payments expanded 79% over the past 12 months according to TalkingRetail, which notes the largest increases came outside of London and attributes the fast growth to the growing popularity of wearable devices. As a result of this growth, two in five retailers plan to be totally cash-free within the next five years.
From the Web
Uber co-founder Garrett Camp is creating a new cryptocurrency
TechCrunch | Thu Mar 1, 2018 - Garrett Camp, best known for being a co-founder of Uber and founder of the accelerator/venture fund Expa, is launching his own cryptocurrency. The currency is called Eco, and Camp wants it to be a digital global currency that can be used as a payment tool around the world for daily-use transactions. There will be one trillion tokens issued initially, of which 50% will be given away to the first one billion verified humans that sign up. 20% will go to the universities running trusted nodes, 10% will go to advisors, 10% will go to strategic partners, and 10% will go to a newly formed Eco Foundation which will be responsible for creating and maintaining the network. Camp as well as a small number of partners affiliated with Expa will also donate $10M to seed the foundation with an operating budget. Notably there will be no ICO – which means no money will be raised for the project, and also lets the project avoid any potential legal issues which have now become prevalent with most major ICOs.
An 'arms race' is emerging to steal computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, says RedLock CEO
CNBC | Thu Mar 1, 2018 - There appears to be an arms race by hackers to steal computing power from the public cloud to mine cryptocurrencies, RedLock co-founder and CEO Varun Badhwar told CNBC on Thursday. Cryptojacking, a process whereby hackers deploy software that exploits a computer's central processing unit to mine cryptocurrency, is on the rise, said Badhwar, whose firm specializes in cloud security. "Money doesn't grow on trees but it, in fact, does today with cryptocurrencies," Badhwar told "Squawk Box." The soaring value of cryptocurrencies, a growing billion dollar market, is prompting hackers to shift their focus from stealing data to pilfering computing power.
UK charities vulnerable to hackers, says National Cyber Security Centre
The Times | Fri Mar 2, 2018 - Charities who help to carry out government initiatives in foreign countries are susceptible to hackers hired by rogue states, according to the arm of GCHQ which protects against the cyber threat. The charity sector is “particularly vulnerable” to cyberhacking, fraud and extortion, with rogue nations considered a specific threat by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). An assessment released today warns: “Some charities operate through local partner organisations in the UK or overseas. Others play a role in helping formulate and deliver UK domestic and foreign policy. The NCSC assesses this makes them potentially attractive targets for state actors who oppose or mistrust their activity.
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