8.5.19 Your morning briefing

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

Vote of confidence

As the October 31 Brexit deadline approaches, the impact on fintech will be in play, making R3's bullish tone welcome news for London.

The bank-backed blockchain consortium, which has built a substantial business supporting cross-border payments, plans to increase staff in London as part of a global plan to grow by 33% before the end of 2019. R3 acknowledged the uncertainty but asserted London is well-placed and will thrive in the coming years.

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga also recently expressed confidence in the U.K.'s ability to weather Brexit, while also noting there is some potential risk.

Italian contactless

Wirecard and SisalPay have signed a digital payments deal with a focus on contactless payments in Italy, where firms such as Gemalto are pushing the technology.

SisalPay is regulated by Italy's central bank, and covers 40,000 points of sale, 15 million consumers and processes about 200 million transactions per year. Sisal estimates about half of Italy's current payments are contactless.

Beyond contactless, the partnership also addresses utility bills, tax payments, mobile phone top-ups and subscriptions to television services.

Another breach

Clothing e-commerce site Poshmark has been hacked, exposing full names, usernames, genders, email addresses, hashed passwords, clothing sizes and social media information. The scale of the breach was not disclosed.

The hashed passwords are encrypted, according to Poshmark, though Engadget reports it's still possible these passwords could be accessed, and other data in the breach is usable for phishing scams.

The Poshmark breach follows a major breach at Capital One, which security experts say may create more opportunity for crooks to trick consumers into turning over more information, given the criminals' ability to build new, harder-to-detect attack types.

Crypto credit

Nexo and Mastercard are offering a crypto card that allows consumers to use their cryptocurrencies to back their purchases, a model that's designed to support spending crypto without actually using the crypto for payments.

The consumers can use the value of their crypto for a later sale to pay the balance on the card, reports CoinTelegraph. There is some risk to the consumer, given the value of the cryptocurrency could go up or down.

Like most cryptocurrency payment products, consumers don't actually touch cryptocurrency, since the crypto is converted to traditional currency before the point of purchase.

Blockchain sandbox

The South Korean government has waived blockchain regulations in Busan in an attempt to encourage innovation around distributed ledgers.

The government is pushing for financial services, tourism and safety uses, reports CoinDesk, adding the South Korean government has waived nearly a dozen regulations.

South Korea has been a hotbed of blockchain and cryptocurrency, with nearly a third of all cryptocurrency activity in the world, despite having only 1% of the world's population, according to VentureBeat.

From the Web

Banks Confront Fed on Faster Financial Payments
The Wall Street Journal | Sun August 4, 2019 - Big banks are fighting a likely U.S. government effort to speed up how money moves through its payments system, arguing this could derail a private network they have developed. The battle is dividing financial firms and policy makers at a time when payments are becoming a potential flashpoint between banking and big tech.

Fed ‘strongly considering’ launch of instant payments network to rival Wall Street
Yahoo Finance | Mon August 5, 2019 - Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sent a letter to lawmakers defending the idea of an upgraded network, which would aim to support instant transactions for individuals and businesses. Currently, the Fed operates a payments network that sits alongside the networks run by banks and credit card companies, but it is underpinned by outdated technology and does not support instant, 24-7 transactions.

Nyca Partners raises $210M to invest in fintech startups
TechCrunch | Fri August 2, 2019 - Nyca Partners, a firm with investments in financial technology businesses including PayRange, Trellis, Affirm and Acorns, has collected another $210 million for its third venture capital fund.

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