2.12.19 Your morning briefing

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

Bots at the wheel
SoftBank's Vision Fund has led a $940 million financing round in Nuro, an autonomous delivery startup that has worked with clients such as Kroger.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro has been building a "last mile" service for the past two years, focusing on driverless "bot" vehicles that can fit up to six bags of groceries, reports TechCrunch. That would give SoftBank a position in automated order fulfillment as Walmart and Amazon both pursue autonomous vehicles as part of their delivery strategies.

SoftBank has also made recent investments to expand mobile payment technology in Japan and has deployed robotic customer service at restaurants and other retailers.
Chasing PayPal
Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar says his government is actively pursuing PayPal as a way to make it easier for local employers to pay younger employees.

Umar countered local complaints that the government was stonewalling PayPal's wish to set up a domestic payment system in Pakistan, reports Pakistan Today.

Pakistan is also pursuing Alipay, which is affiliated with Ant Financial's ownership of Pakistan's Telenor Bank (Ant Financial operates Alipay). Umar told local press Pakistan would welcome both systems.

Monzo's B2B
U.K. fintech Monzo is testing a business account that will pair B2B payments with other business banking services for Monzo's core consumer customers that own a small business.

The beta group of about 100 users will provide data to determine what features will be added to the initial mix of payments, budget tracking and expense management.

Monzo, which recently became a "unicorn," has also added marketing and itemized receipts to help retain a customer base that's expanding at about 100,000 per month.

Factoring forms
Mizuho Financial Group is collaborating with six local financial institutions to build a system to automate data processing to cut down on documents, such as large payments with complex forms.

Called the "AOR," it will use AI and optical recognition technology to digitize parts of forms while recognizing other handwritten portions, reports Finextra.

A proof of concept revealed the system can cut manual data entry by about 80 percent for direct debits and other B2B payments, estimates Mizuho, which is working on a variety of projects to remove paper forms and cash from payment processings.

From the Web

A Major Philippine Bank Just Launched Crypto ATMs and it May Fuel Massive Bitcoin Adoption
CCN | Mon February 11, 2019 - Union Bank of the Philippines, one of the largest commercial banks in the Philippines, has launched the country’s first crypto ATM. The bank said in an official statement that the purpose of the ATM is to provide local users an easy way to convert cryptocurrency to fiat and vice versa.

Two Remittance Firms Go Live With Ripple-Based Payments to Thailand
CoinDesk | Mon February 11, 2019 - Remittance firms UAE Exchange and Unimoni have gone live with blockchain-based payments using Ripple technology. Finablr, which owns the two brands, announced that “real-time” cross-border remittances using RippleNet are now live, starting with payments for its international customers to Thailand.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Explains Why He Believes No Cryptocurrency Will Ever Beat Bitcoin
CCN | Mon February 11, 2019 - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey continued his love-letter to Bitcoin on a recent episode of the Stephan Livera podcast, where he proclaimed that while there may be interesting ideas emerging from other coins in the crypto space, they can all eventually be integrated into Bitcoin if they’re good enough.

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