03.06.18 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Real speed for virtual currency: Virtual currencies have lagged as an option for payments, existing mostly as an investment asset. PayPal suspects slow transaction speed is to blame, and has filed for a patent that would expedite cryptocurrency transactions through a system of private keys that are quickly exchanged between buyers and sellers. PayPal wishes to remove what it says is a delay of about 10 minutes between the start of a transaction and the confirmation. The payment company says this 10 minute wait is too long, causing many people to turn to traditional methods for the payment, despite the advantages of virtual currencies.
Crypto TKO: Boxer Manny Pacquiao will have his own cryptocurrency, known as the PAC coin. The coin will be offered through the Global Crypto Offering Exchange, which helps public figures create and trade their own tokens, a model similar to Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who sold a cryptocurrency that could be used to buy "time" with celebrities and experts. Pacquiao, who has also served in the Filipino Congress and has recorded pop music, will use the tokens to enable fast access to live web streams, merchandise and other content.
EMV in Africa: Angola is one of the latest countries to migrate to chip cards, using Gemalto's tech to supply EMIS, Angola's domestic processor, with a white label system that will power the country's move to EMV chip and PIN cards, as well as mobile payment apps facilitated by EMIS' specifications. Angola will add to the 68% of the African market that has already switched to EMV payments, according to Africa.com, which cites research from EMVCo.
From the evidence room: Bidding registration opens this week for a U.S. Marshal-hosted auction of $25 million worth of bitcoin, or about 2,200 bitcoins. The virtual currency was seized during federal criminal and civil cases, including federal trials, ATF and DEA investigations. The auction is a kind of full circle from bitcoin's early days, dominated by concerns over its use to fund criminal activities. Crooks are now turning to other cryptocurrencies given law enforcement's focus on bitcoin.
Stolen mines: Icelandic authorities have arrested 11 people as part of an investigation into the theft of more than 600 computers that are used to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Gizmodo reports it's one of the largest series of thefts of any kind in the country's history. The computers will be hard to track down, because mining and trading is usually untraceable. Instead, authorities are looking for unusual electricity use, given bitcoin mining's unusually large electrical footprint.
From the Web
Uber 'Surprised' by Totally Unsurprising Pennsylvania Data Breach Lawsuit
WIRED | Mon Mar 5, 2018 - Uber faces more potential legal consequences for waiting to make public a major hack until a over a year after it happened. The Pennsylvania Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Uber Monday for violating the state's data breach notification law, which says hacks should be disclosed within a "reasonable" time frame. Uber didn't merely keep quiet about the massive breach; it reportedly paid a $100,000 ransom to the perpetrators in exchange for their silence. And while experts say Uber will likely settle the case, it may be just the latest in a cascade of similar lawsuits.
Square shares hit an all-time high, but nobody is sure why
CNBC | Mon Mar 5, 2018 - Square shares hit an all-time intraday high on Monday, rising over 9.5 percent, as shares changed hands at more than 200 percent the average 30-day volume. But many on Wall Street told CNBC they were stumped as to the exact catalyst of the share move. Financial shuffling like merger rumors, options or short-selling are sometimes the source of unexpected stock moves, but in this case, there wasn't any obvious chatter around Square's mysterious move. Square shares are up nearly 200 percent over the past year, and almost 96 percent over the past 6 months, amid some better-than-expected quarterly earnings reports. CEO Jack Dorsey has also embraced the recent enthusiasm in the cryptocurrency market, expanding a feature to buy and sell bitcoin through the app, Square Cash.
Cryptocurrency ripple jumps as traders speculate on Coinbase adding trading
CNBC | Mon Mar 5, 2018 - Cryptocurrency ripple climbed Monday amid renewed speculation that popular exchange Coinbase would add the cryptocurrency to its platform. Coinbase tweeted Monday that the company has "made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase" and that "any statement to the contrary is untrue and unauthorized by the company." A Ripple spokesperson told CNBC the company does not respond to rumors or speculation. Ripple's XRP coin, the third-largest digital currency by market cap, traded near $1.04 as of 2:04 p.m. ET Monday, up about 9 percent over the last 24 hours, and roughly 3 percent on the day, according to CoinMarketCap. Coinbase is the leading U.S. marketplace for buying and selling major digital currencies and is popular with both retail and professional traders. The platform only supports bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin right now. As a result, the addition of a new coin to Coinbase would likely bring in many more buyers.
More from PaymentsSource
As merchants go global, Amex evaluates its role
E-commerce removed many of the obstacles that have long prevented small businesses from selling their wares internationally. Today, those businesses are ready to take advantage of that opportunity.
A comeback for contactless cards? Not so fast
U.S. card issuers are adding contactless technology to credit and debit cards — but they are doing so in slow, small steps.
RecargaPay raises $22 million to grow mobile payments base in Brazil
RecargaPay, an eight-year-old mobile payments platform targeting unbanked and underbanked consumers in Brazil, has secured $22 million in funding to reach more users and merchants.
Alipay to reach all major Canadian cities in pact with Motion Pay
Ant Financial’s Alipay is working with the Canadian payments processor Motion Pay Technology to push Ant's geographic reach in North America.