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Crypto shade
Joining the chorus of crypto critics such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman is the latest to slam bitcoin, saying it's not a "really" a currency.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Schulman said cryptocurrencies are primarily designed to showcase blockchain, reports CCN.

While technology companies are using the downturn in cryptocurrencies to offer lower-fee merchant payments, many of the initiatives still convert crypto to traditional currency or use mechanisms such as stablecoins to shield merchants and consumers from market volatility.
Know your bitcoin
The stream of criticism from high profile financial executives and a market crash has not stopped cryptocurrency deals.

Global ID platform Onfido has signed an agreement with BitPay to accept bitcoin payments. The partnership includes Know Your Customer anti-money laundering compliance and onboarding.

Onfido uses machine learning to to vet smartphone images to authenticate customers; while BitPay processes about $1 billion annually and for B2B clients. The two companies hope the deal will allow expansion to emerging markets that are underserved by credit card issuers.

Apple ads
As Apple Pay picks up support from lingering holdouts such as Target, Apple is launching an ad campaign designed to drum up consumer usage for Apple Pay Cash and Apple Pay in Messages.

Both features are limited to the the U.S., and Apple is attempting to demonstrate ease of use as it tries to pry P2P transfer market share away from Venmo.

It's not the first campaign for Apple Pay Cash, which earlier in 2018 included a landlord jokingly threatening an eviction as part of a commercial.

Bit taxes
One area where cryptocurrencies have made some progress is for tax payments, and a pending bill in New Hampshire could support cryptocurrencies for state taxes and other agency transactions.

The bill would allow agencies to accept a yet-to-be determined amount and type of cryptocurrencies through a third party processor, according to Coindesk.

If the bill passes, the state treasurer would develop a plan to integrate cryptocurrency payments before Nov. 1, 2019.

From the Web

Alipay in 80% of stores at Davos
China Daily | Wed January 23, 2019 - Mobile payment giant Alipay has given access to its platform to merchants in Davos, where the World Economic Forum's annual meeting is being held. Around 80 percent of stores in the village are accepting Alipay, news outlet Sina reported, quoting Roland Palmer, who heads Alipay's European business.

Anchorage emerges with $17M from a16z for ‘omnimetric’ crypto security
TechCrunch | Wed January 23, 2019 - Anchorage is coming out of stealth and launching its cryptocurrency custody service to the public. Anchorage holds and safeguards crypto assets for institutions like hedge funds and venture firms, and only allows transactions verified by an array of biometrics, behavioral analysis and human reviewers.

Uplift raises $123M to bring flexible payments to the travel industry
TechCrunch | Wed January 23, 2019 - Travel financing startup Uplift is announcing that it has raised $123 million in Series C funding. Uplift works with partners like the vacation package sites of United Airlines, Southwest and American Airlines, as well as Allegiant Travel Company and Kayak, to offer financing to travelers, allowing them to pay for their trips in monthly installments.

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