11.9.17 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Ontario deregulates fintech to battle Silicon Valley: Toronto and surrounding areas are among the world's hotbeds for financial innovation, with a large development center called MaRS and a host city for early tests of in-car mobile payments, ride sharing payments and parking technology. The city's embrace of fintech dates to the early days of NFC payments and it has deep roots in collaboration among businesses, financial companies and academia. The market's large enough for the government of Ontario to set up a fintech regulatory sandbox and accelerator office, as well as to ease some regulations to encourage startups as Toronto competes with Silicon Valley and other development hubs in the U.S., reports the Globe and Mail. The model is similar to a U.K. program in which developers can test and build ideas outside of normal regulations, followed by help from an accelerator office to help the companies launch. The move follows the establishment of a LaunchPad to aid startups in compliance. The region also aims to encourage investment in alternative cryptocurrencies by adding transparency and guidance, reports the Globe and Mail.
Innovation in India: NCR has opened a research and development center in Hyderabad, its largest technology hub outside of the U.S. at 140,000 square feet, featuring labs, programming centers and recreational facilities. The center will focus on omnichannel, digital enablement and other advancements in merchant services. Contactless ATMs, mobile payment, CRM and automated checkout will be a particular focus. India has become a particularly important market for digital payment technology, as the country's migration away from cash has attracted dozens of outside companies that specialize in payments and retail technology. NCR's presence in India also includes a manufacturing facility in Chennai, a development center in Gurgaon and sales and services offices in Mumbai.
Green cryptocurrency: Swedish electric car company Uniti plans its own cryptocurrency, which will be certified under the Green Bonds Principals, or a set of standards that encourage investments in sustainability and alternative energy. The "Uniti Green Tokens" are an early cryptocurrency to support alternative energy or an environmental strategy. The global green bonds market is worth about $100 billion in originations annually. The Uniti Green Tokens will be redeemable to access the data generated by the user's vehicles starting in 2019, with a diversification in data sources after that. The Uniti vehicle, which is being manufactured in Sweden, will launch in December and the first deliveries are expected in 2019. "Emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies are fundamental to how Uniti interacts with society. Over time, our tokens will be used for value creation activities such as incentivizing the open source community, incentivizing safer and more energy-efficient driving behaviour, and they could be redeemed by the public for access to mobility as a service and access to charging infrastructure," said Lewis Horne, Uniti's CEO, in a press release.
Thoma Bravo picks up health club tech: Private Equity firm Thoma Bravo plans to acquire ABC Financial Services, a software and payment processing company with 6,700 health club clients in Europe and North America. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, will allow Thoma Bravo to add DataTrak, a program that supports membership management, member and employee scheduling and human resources. "Thoma Bravo’s support, experience and software expertise will help us continue our current success and expand our product offerings within the fast-growing wellness industry," said Paul Schaller, president and CEO of ABC Financial, in a press release.
From the Web
With deletion of one wallet, $280M in Ethereum wallets gets frozen
Ars Technica | Wed Nov 8, 2017 - Digital currencies and the wallets that hold them have become an increasingly attractive target for digital pickpockets, resulting in millions of real dollars' worth of lost currency. A $50 million heist of Ethereum currency last year exploiting weaknesses in the cryptocurrency's underlying software threatened to break the Bitcoin competitor. Today, Parity Technologies Ltd., the developer of cryptographic "wallets" for the digital currencies Bitcoin and Ethereum, announced that an "accidental" triggering of a bug affecting certain Parity wallets had broken them, making it impossible to transfer Ethereum funds out of them.
Charities unprepared for cyber attack risk
Financial Times | Wed Nov 8, 2017 - In a 2016 survey by US accounting firm CohnReznick, almost half of the non-profit organisations polled said they had not completed a cyber-risk assessment in the past year and 66 per cent had no plan to increase their spending on data security. While it is not surprising that charities want to spend scarce resources on housing the homeless or feeding the hungry, some argue that those very services could be at risk if they fail to invest in cyber security tools and practices. When breached by ransomware, the potential human cost of being unable to deliver services means the pressure for non-profit organisations to pay off the hackers is intense.
Xiongan New Area to be built as AI city
Chiina Daily | Thu Nov 9, 2017 - Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone to be built southwest of Beijing, has teamed up with e-commerce giant Alibaba to build itself into a smart city. The Xiongan New Area management committee and Alibaba signed a strategic cooperation agreement here Wednesday to jointly build "a city brain" run by artificial intelligence for Xiongan. The smart city will have "cloud computing" as its most important infrastructure and the iternet of things will serve its nerves system.
More from PaymentsSource
Grab's wallet strategy goes well beyond ride-sharing
Many companies in the payments realm want to be seen as the next Uber, but Uber's Asian counterpart Grab is working to become something else — the next Octopus.
Square beats estimates, showing it's more than a payments player
Square Inc. reported earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations and raised its full-year forecast, bolstered by larger merchants that are increasingly using its platform for payment transactions and buying business software services.
TransferWise aims its alternative account at 'borderless' consumers
TransferWise, one of the fintechs that has challenged old school banking models for international transactions, is entering a new phase that adds geographies and different markets for its account alternative.
TSYS mends its own digital divide
When Karim Ahmad arrived at TSYS last year as the new head of global product and innovation, he found a stolid company that still housed its data on the mainframe and was woefully out of step with the new era of digital payments.
Data: Calling out call center fraud
In the wake of the 2015 EMV liability shift, it was widely assumed that fraud would migrate predominantly online. While this has happened — irrespective of the impact of EMV — there are other card not present channels that are often overlooked but are experiencing something of a crime wave.