6.20.19 Your morning briefing

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

Blockchain giants

Microsoft has joined the Hyperledger community, a blockchain consortium that includes American Express, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and other companies from inside and outside financial services such as IBM and SAP.

It's a sign that blockchain is maturing, as Microsoft extends its strategy beyond the Azure Blockchain service it launched in May.

It also comes as Facebook unveils Libra, a cryptocurrency that it plans to launch next year in partnership with Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and several other large retail technology and financial brands. Other bank-supported blockchain initiatives are advancing globally, giving Libra competition.

New rules

Standardized rules for cryptocurrency have proven elusive, though the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force this week plans to release proposals for standards.

The proposals will come during the V20 Summit, which includes blockchain groups from different countries and will run parallel to the G20 Summit, which starts later this week in Osaka, Japan, reports Coindesk, adding the FATF's proposals are scheduled to be released June 21.

Japan has the most extensive rules governing cryptocurrencies, including measures to curb speculation and protection fund requirements to hedge against losses.

More mPOS competition

Mobile security companies Trustonic and Rubean and payment fintech CCV are collaborating to build a mobile point of sale system focused on processing large transactions, as opposed to the micro-merchant payments that have been a staple of mPOS.

The companies will combine their platforms in an attempt to protect mobile apps through a user interface that isolates input and displays of PINs, a move they contend can reduce upgrade work on behalf of the merchant in the collaborators' target of small to medium sized business market in Europe.

The companies face a crowded market, as their new mPOS system comes as Square and PayPal also battle for merchants in Europe.

A new game

Paytm has rebranded its gaming platform from Gampind to First-Games as part of a broader strategy that includes a goal to raise $30 million to add more games and functions.

The company wants to scale games to fuel other Paytm activities, such as its fantasy cricket league and its expansion into entertainment content, reports Economic Times. Gamers can win virtual currency that can be applied to other Paytm products.

Paytm's Gampind has drawn more than 30 million users since its launch in February 2018, the ET reports, citing figures from Paytm.

From the Web

OKCoin partners with Simplex to allow USD deposits by credit card
CoinGeek | Wed June 19, 2019 - Simplex, a FinTech company, partnered with OKCoin, a fiat digital asset exchange, to provide payment processing solutions that will allow international OKCoin users to make USD deposits via a credit or debit cards which promotes faster and easier purchase of digital assets.

Virgin Money South Africa plans bank account, expansion for fintech app
Reuters | Wed June 19, 2019 - Virgin Money South Africa will launch a zero monthly fee bank account and cheap cross-border payments on its financial technology app, and could eventually roll this out in other developing markets.

Litecoin Foundation to Release Physical Cryptocurrency Debit Card
Yahoo Finance | Wed June 19, 2019 - The Litecoin Foundation has announced a partnership with Bibox Exchange and blockchain firm Ternio to release a physical cryptocurrency debit card. The companies will jointly roll out a cryptocurrency debit card dubbed “BlockCard” that will purportedly let users spend their cryptocurrency funds both online and in physical store locations around the world.

More from PaymentsSource

Facebook's Libra turns foes into allies in regulatory face-off
Facebook grabbed the spotlight this week with the announcement of its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, and its list of high-profile supporters suggests that it's the only game in town. But banks have their own projects in the works.

Wirecard adds palm scans to biometric payment options
Wirecard has introduced a new biometric payment approach enabling consumers to check out in stores by scanning their palms.

Waters calls for halt to Facebook's crypto plans
WASHINGTON — Top Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Financial Services Committee called Tuesday for Facebook to appear before Congress to testify on its cryptocurrency plans.

Banks can't be counted on to lead faster payments
History has shown that banks cannot be trusted with exclusive rights to payments innovation. They have never done it in the past and likely never will in the future.

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