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Strongman crypto
Petro, the Venezuelan state-backed cryptocurrency that President Nicola Maduro boasts will allow Venezuela to compete with the U.S., has links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Time reports Russian business people and government officials collaborated with Venezuela on the currency, viewing it as a way to avoid U.S. sanctions. North Korea has used cryptocurrency hacks to get around sanctions, though a state-sponsored alternative currency would be a more bold counter to U.S. policy.

Time also reports Russia's participation could be in violation of the U.S. ban on Petro, since the U.S. ban also covers "conspiracies" formed to violate the ban on Petro.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin Bloomberg News

All the news that's fit to pay
Google has added a new tool for publishers called Subscribe that's designed to ease payments for premium news services.

Google has long supported newspaper and magazine subscription payments, and Subscribe furthers this by embedding payments in browsers. That allows people to set up subscriptions and pay through the cards that are linked to their Google accounts.

People could use the feature to subscribe to a newspaper immediately from that paper's page when the reader has reached his or her allotment of free monthly articles.

Biometric Key
Amazon has made several moves to improve delivery, introducing its Key technology to allow couriers to access homes; and acquiring high-tech doorbell company Ring.

It's now adding more security to the mix by introducing fingerprint ID to the Key app. TechCrunch reports Amazon was concerned the mobile phone-based authentication could pose a danger if the phone was lost, and added fingerprints for another layer of security to its Android app. An iOS version is expected shortly.

Expedia attack's fallout hits Amex
Some American Express consumers who Expedia's Orbitz to book travel may have been exposed in the latest in a series of attacks on the travel industry, where hotels and other travel companies often hold onto account information during the course of a trip.

Expedia said some transactions between Jan 1, 2016 and Dec. 22, 2017, may have gotten caught in the attack. Amex will elevate fraud monitoring for accounts that may have been impacted, and will contact affected customers, adding the attack did not compromise American Express Global Business Travel or platforms that consumers use to manage card accounts.

From the Web

Bitcoin will become the world’s single currency, tech chief says
The Times | Wed Mar 21, 2018 - Bitcoin will overtake the dollar in importance as it becomes the single global currency of the internet within a decade, Jack Dorsey, one of Silicon Valley’s leading entrepreneurs, has said. Despite recent weakness in the value of bitcoin and concerns that it cannot currently process transactions fast or cheaply enough to act as a currency, Mr Dorsey, who is chief executive of both Twitter and the payments company Square, believes that bitcoin will overcome these obstacles and will be used to buy everyday items such as coffee.

Security Breaches Lead To Increase In Identity Theft
CBS | Tue Mar 20, 2018 - Several massive security breaches in the past few years have exposed the personal information of millions of consumers. Cybersecurity experts say that data can give criminals the info they need to steal your identity and open up accounts in your name. Tara Nicolson learned this first hand. She was home on maternity leave when she figured out something might be wrong. A voicemail from a representative from Capital One’s application team was her first clue that she was the victim of identity theft. She immediately contacted an identity protection company for help.

Chargebee raises $18M to help businesses manage subscriptions
TechCrunch | Tue Mar 20, 2018 - San Francisco and Chennai-based Chargebee has raised an $18 million Series C round to help companies manage recurring billing. The funding was led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management. Tiger previously led a $5 million Series B in 2015. Chargebee works with payment platforms like Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Adyen and others to help its 7,000 customers keep tabs on recurring revenue, with customers that include Okta and Freshworks as well as other businesses in digital media, e-commerce and SaaS. It also helps companies manage accounting and taxation compliance across 53 countries.

More from PaymentsSource

Western Union takes on mobile, blockchain and biometrics under new tech chief
The speed at which money transfer payments are evolving from legacy, paper-based systems to digital platforms couldn’t be more stark at Western Union, where Sheri Rhodes has just been named executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Business execs are missing the gold hiding in payments data
Payment data can also reveal insights for companies to foster better relationships with customers and vendors or suppliers, writes Matt Clark, president and COO of Corcentric.

As more gas pumps add EMV, connectivity comes to the forefront
As gas stations add EMV-chip card acceptance at the pump, they will also find themselves rebuilding systems for loyalty programs and special offers that were reliant on their older hardware.

Flywire, Flutterwave use API to streamline Nigerian cross-border payments
Flywire is teaming up with Flutterwave to improve payments technology in Nigeria, which has Africa’s highest number of international students and medical patients traveling outside the country.