Morning Brief 10.30.19: Tencent will write blockchain invoice standards

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

Building block

Chinese tax authorities have granted permission to Tencent to develop standards for blockchain supported invoices, giving the company's international payments strategy a boost.

Regulators in the U.K., Switzerland and Brazil also back Tencent's project, reports Coindesk, giving the project several large markets to work with. Tencent is also WeChat Pay's parent company, an added benefit as WeChat gets more aggressive in Europe.

Tencent's project started as an anti-fraud initiative, but has added more business use cases over time. While China has taken a hard line on cryptocurrency, China's government has asked the country's financial companies to develop blockchain services.

Fake selfies

Jumio is testing a real-time automated ID verification system that relies on a mix of visual aids for authentication.
The company is using what it calls liveness detection to determine if photos, videos or 3D masks are being used to create an online account instead of smartphone images, or selfies.
Jumio launched its own "selfie ID" technology in February and in the past had used "eye trackers" to spot fake images in photo IDs.

Short horizon

IBM and central bank think tank OMFIF predict a central bank somewhere in the world will produce a consumer-usable digital currency within the next five years.
Numerous central banks are considering or developing digital currencies, often in response to perceived rivalry from cryptocurrencies.
IBM and OMFIF say the initial central bank currency will debut in a small economy and will be geared toward a specific policy or use case. The central bank currency will also likely include partnerships with private firms.

Last mile battle

Amazon is offering free grocery deliveries to Prime members via its Amazon Fresh service in around 2,000 markets, the latest in a series of salvos in Amazon's battle with Walmart.
The e-commerce giant is removing the $14.99 monthly fee and is offering one and two-hour windows as well as links to local Whole Foods inventory, according to TechCrunch.
Walmart recently rolled out unlimited delivery to about 1,400 stores; and has been ramping up delivery services for the past year.


Johannasburg's cyber networks are shut down after hackers sized the city's computers and demanded payment in 4 bitcoins, or about $38,000 depending on the day.
The city has refused to pay the ransom, and is trying to restore the system, reports CNN. The timing is particularly bad, since it comes during a period of high volume in utility payments.
Bitcoin ransoms for hacking have become common, with municipalities, companies and even the PGA falling victim over the past few years.

From the web

TrueLayer, the open banking API provider, discloses investment and partnership with Visa
TECHCRUNCH | Tue October 29, 2019
TrueLayer, the London startup that’s built a developer API platform for fintechs and other adjacent companies to utilise open banking, has agreed to a strategic and commercial relationship with Visa. Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and co-founder of TrueLayer, tells me the Visa partnership will enable the fintech to work with a “huge network” of businesses and banks to help them develop open banking services and applications that will “provide tangible benefits” to customers.

US paytech BlueSnap acquires Armatic
VERDICT | Tue October 29, 2019
US-based payments technology firm BlueSnap has acquired Armatic, an accounts receivable and invoicing automation services provider. With this acquisition, BlueSnap aims to address the challenges in the global B2B payment processing market, which largely runs on paper invoices and cheques.

Apple Pay in EU antitrust spotlight as regulators seek details
REUTERS | Tue October 29, 2019
Apple faces more regulatory woes in Europe as EU antitrust regulators ask online sales companies whether they have been told to use its mobile payment service instead of rival services, an EU document seen by Reuters showed. In a questionnaire sent in August, the European Commission said it had information Apple may have restricted online payments for the purchase of goods and services made via merchant apps or websites, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

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