Morning Brief 9.5.19: Mastercard joins R3's Marco Polo blockchain

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The bank-led R3 blockchain platform's international expansion has gotten a boost from Mastercard, which will join one of R3's B2B trade projects.

The card brand has joined Marco Polo, an R3/TradeIX initiative that uses the Corda blockchain to add speed and transparency to cross-border trade transactions. Marco Polo launched in 2017 and has about two dozen members, including ING and Commerzbank.

The news comes shortly after HSBC announced it has executed a cross-border trade finance payment using Voltron, another bank-led blockchain consortium.

E-commerce giant

Alibaba is reportedly finishing an agreement to buy Koala, NetEase's cross-border e-commerce company.

The deal may come as early as this week, reports a translation from 36kr, a Chinese news site, and will total about $2 billion. Koala would become part of Tmall Global, one of Alibaba's online marketplaces, reports TechCrunch, adding Tmall and Koala have a 55% share of the global cross-border e-commerce market, compared to Amazon's 6%.

Tmall is also part of a recently announced collaboration between Alibaba and Adyen to extend merchant acquiring outside of China.

No 'Twitter coin'

While Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg face political pushback over the Libra cryptocurrency project, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apparently hopes to avoid a similar fate.

Dorsey told The Sydney Morning Herald he does not plan to issue his own currency through either Twitter or Square, instead opting to promote bitcoin.

Square supports bitcoin trading through its Cash app, and has expanded its roster of cryptocurrency experts in the past year, mostly to build new use cases for bitcoin.

Apple air

Payment technology company CellPoint Digital and the UATP airline-powered payment network have signed an agreement with Southwest to support Apple Pay for ticketing and related transactions.

The deal follows an earlier collaboration between CellPoint and UATP to offer joint payment products to airlines.

UATP also recently signed a deal with Uplight to offer installment payments for travelers.

From the Web

The Indian government can thank Google for the popularity of its digital payment system
QUARTZ | Thu September 5, 2019
Google Pay is winning the race in enabling digital payments powered by India’s state-run platform. The real-time payments app powered 59.75% of all United Payments Interface (UPI) transactions logged in August 2019, much higher than Flipkart-owned PhonePe’s 24.91% and Paytm’s 5.93%, show data from Razorpay, a Gurugram-based payment gateway.

SF based African fintech startup Chipper Cash expands to Nigeria
TECHCRUNCH | Thu September 5, 2019
The African no-fee, cross-border payment startup Chipper Cash has expanded to Nigeria. The San Francisco based startup, with offices in Ghana and Kenya, will offer its P2P payment service and app in Africa’s most populous nation in partnership with PayStack—the payment gateway company.

Scottsdale police bust 5-member ID theft crew find "hundreds of altered credit cards"
ABC NEWS | Thu September 5, 2019
Scottsdale police have busted a 5-person identity theft crew and in the process found hundreds of altered credit cards and the equipment to make them.

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