Microsoft, EY test Xbox blockchain; Lloyds pilots digital invoices

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Microsoft and Ernst & Young will use a distributed ledger to support payments and accounting for Xbox partners, artists and content creators.

The software giant wants to accelerate contract digitization, and will use AI based on Microsoft Azure as part of the Microsoft/E&Y collaboration. The two firms will also use a blockchain to integrate statements and invoices with ERP applications to increase speed for royalty payments.

The two companies contend the blockchain and related integrations will reduce Xbox payment times by 99% with near real-time royalty calculation. The blockchain has been tested in a high-volume environment, called "soak testing," and can process 2 million payments per day, according to EY.

BitATM

ATM provider Kerma Tech is collaborating with cryptocurrency firm DigitalMint to expand bitcoin ATM locations, mostly at gas stations and convenience stores in the southeastern U.S.

The deal follows an earlier 2020 DigitalMint partnership with Answers Etc., a financial services technology firm, and another partnership with E-Money Commerce.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been rallying in recent months as investors look for a hedge against inflation. That's opened an opportunity for bitcoin ATM makers to accelerate deployment plans.

Digital order

The digital yuan isn't a threat to the global monetary system, contends a former China Central Bank governor, looking to head off the same type of concern that's dogged Diem, the Facebook-affiliated stablecoin project formerly known as Libra.

Zhou Xiaochuan contends China's digital currency is designed to encourage international trade and boost the yuan's status, reports Coindesk, citing local reports from a financial conference in Shanghai.

The digital yuan is partly a response to Diem/Libra, which has drawn concerns that it would create instability by operating outside traditional monetary policy. The Diem project has shifted its model to address that concern. The digital yuan has also faced claims it will compete with Alipay and WeChat Pay, an assertion the Chinese government denies.

E-pilot

Lloyds Banking Group is testing a digital invoice financing program that's designed to speed funding to small businesses that are suffering liquidity challenges because of the pandemic and economic downturn.

The bank is using digital cashflow technology from Satago Financial Solutions, with a six-year contract resulting from a successful test, reports Finextra. Stago will receive a recurring fee based on how many Lloyds clients use the service.

Banks are relying on collaborations with technology companies, partly due to the growth of PSD2-influenced open banking and a need to deploy new technology faster.

From the web

China central bank urges wider acceptance of cash as payments go digital
REUTERS | Tuesday, December 15, 2020
China's central bank has called for wider acceptance of cash in economic activities and vowed to punish those who refuse to accept cash payments in the wake of a widening gap in access to digital services.

Taxdoo, the tax compliance platform for cross-border e-commerce, raises $21M Series A
TECHCRUNCH | Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Taxdoo, a startup that has built what it calls an “automated platform for financial compliance” aimed at cross-border e-commerce companies, has raised $21 million in new funding.

SolarWinds hackers have a clever way to bypass multi factor authentication
ARS TECHNICA | Monday, December 14, 2020
The hackers behind the supply chain attack that compromised public and private organizations have devised a clever way to bypass multi-factor-authentication systems protecting the networks they target.

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