7.26.19 Your morning briefing

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

A bigger force

Salesforce.com has made a deal to be Alibaba's exclusive CRM product in China, while Alibaba will be the sole provider of Salesforce to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The two companies have substantial payment operations that could embed with the CRM suite. Salesforce.com recently added billing to its sales cloud and made an investment in U.K. payments fintech GoCardless.

Alibaba is affiliated with Ant Financial and Alipay, and has made two major U.S.-related moves this week, also opening its online technology to U.S. businesses.

Amazon Go's rival picks up funding

EQT Ventures, Initialized Capital, CRV and Y Combinator have invested $35 million in Standard Cognition, which builds checkout-free technology for retailers looking to counter Amazon Go.

Standard Cognition will use the funding to launch its technology in Europe, reports TechCrunch, adding it will also pursue more merchants in the U.S.

Amazon Go's launch has corresponded with a race among other firms to build checkout-free technology for retail use. Standard Cognition's new funding follows an earlier $40 million round in November 2018. The company opened its first store in September 2018 in San Francisco.

WeChat in the sky

WeChat Pay has introduced in-flight mobile payments in China, opening one of the few venues in China where the app is not active.

The payments will be tested on two domestic flights, and will add more routes if the test is successful, reports Shanghai.ist, a local news site.

While mobile technology is common at airports for terminal purchases and boarding passes, it's more unusual for in-flight payments, given the challenges of web connectivity while in the air.

Bank of cannabis

While most financial services firms stay away from legal cannabis, there is a growing market for companies that provide digital transactions, particularly as more countries and states legalize weed.

One such firm is Swissx Bank of Cannabis, which has formed in Switzerland and has plans to open a second headquarters in the Caribbean. Swissx will issue a c ryptocurrency, SWX coin, which will be backed by proprietary hemp strain seeds worth about $750 million, according to a release. Farmers will be paid in SWX and can redeem that for cash from the bank's vaults in Gstaad.

The bank and the coin will manage all of Swissx's financial transactions in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean, and the bank has plans to expand its suite to provide broader merchant services for cannabis businesses.

Elavon's PSD2 point person

Elavon has named Scott Frisby as head of strategy for the European region, where he will lead efforts in alternative payments, PSD2 and open banking, all key tasks given the tough overall PSD2 migration thus far. Frisby will also drive M&A activity in Europe.

Frisby was previously a bank and payment company M&A advisor for First Annapolis Consulting, which is part of Accenture. He also was a vice president and managing consultant for Visa Europe.

His roles have also included work in digital product development.

From the Web

Contactless continues to represent more than half of all card present transactions in Q2
Yahoo Finance | Thu July 25, 2019 - Contactless transactions continue to account for the majority of card present transactions in Canada, according to the MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation.

Concerns over security: Govt fears WhatsApp may share payments data with Facebook, others
Economic Times | Fri July 26, 2019 - Indian authorities are concerned that WhatsApp’s payment service might share user data with group companies Facebook & Instagram, compromising the security, privacy and non-commercial information of its subscribers.

BitGo moves into cryptocurrency staking market
Yahoo Finance | Thu July 25, 2019 - Previously, the Palo Alto-based company offered secure storage of cryptocurrencies but they weren’t accessible for features like staking, where coins generate interest by maintaining a proof-of-stake network, like Dash. Now, staking providers will be able to store their coins at BitGo—and pass the staking rewards on to their customers.

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