Morning Brief 9.12.19: The Netherlands may bar foreign crypto companies

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

House rules

The Netherlands is considering legislation that would require domestic cryptocurrency companies to register with the central bank, and could ban most foreign cryptocurrency companies entirely.

The bill is positioned as an anti-money-laundering measure, which is similar to efforts in other nations that have taken a hard line on cryptocurrency, such as China and India. The bill is not in its final form, with compliance details for cryptocurrency companies in the European Economic Zone yet to be determined, reports the Arizona Daily Register.

That includes Facebook's Libra, which has faced regulatory pushback globally, but is technically located in Switzerland, where it's also facing tough regulations.

Lost wages

A Clifton Park, N.Y.-based cloud-powered payroll firm called MyPayrollHR has abruptly closed, apparently leaving about $35 million in payroll and tax transactions for as many as 4,000 clients unaccounted for after employees that use the service found their bank accounts were drained of the amount of their pay rather than receiving deposits.

The lost wages appear linked to insider fraud, reports security writer Brian Krebs, who says the fraudsters took advantage of the complicated process through which people receive salaries.

In this case, instructions to a third party that handles part of the processing were changed to redirect payroll disbursements to another account controlled by MyPayrollHR, resulting in a "reverse direct deposit." The third party has contacted law enforcement, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for an investigation into the company's sudden shutdown.

Exiting Express

Google is migrating users from its outgoing Google Express online delivery portal to a redesigned Google Shopping, a personalized analytics-driven brand and product search engine that launched in the U.S. in May.

The migration should take several weeks, reports TechCrunch, adding the original Google Express was envisioned as a way for Amazon's retail rivals to reach consumers through an online mall without using Amazon for delivery.

Google Express never gained traction, reports TechCrunch, and the service's retail partners, such as Target and Walmart, dropped out of Google Express in favor of their own online shopping and fulfillment businesses.

Fighting city hall

Square is accusing San Francisco of wrongly classifying it as a financial services firm instead of an information firm, a distinction the company alleges is causing it to pay too much in taxes.

In a lawsuit, Square is asking for a $1.27 million tax refund, arguing that most of its resources are used for engineering and designing, rather than for payments. It also alleges it's being taxed on payment fees that go to third parties such as processors and banks.

Information businesses in San Francisco pay half of the taxes of a financial institution, or less. Square's suit covers 2014 and 2015, but the result of litigation could impact taxes for other years, reports the San Francisco Examiner.

Big Four challenge

Prepaid issuer Xinja Bank has gotten an Australian banking license, enabling its to offer bank accounts and lending in opposition to the country's "big four" banks.

The new products are due to be released in the first quarter of 2020, and follow a study from the Australian government that cited a lack of competition in the country's banking market, reports the Straits Times.

As a result, Australian regulators have stepped up efforts to grant banking licenses to payment technology firms and other digital companies.

From the Web

Nigerian online-only bank startup Kuda raises $1.6M
TECHCRUNCH | Wed September 11, 2019
Nigerian fintech startup Kuda — a digital-only retail bank — has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding. The Lagos- and London-based company recently launched the beta version of its online mobile finance platform. Kuda also received its banking license from the Nigerian Central Bank, giving it a distinction compared to other fintech startups.

Globe myBusiness partners with Facebook for MSMEs payments
BUSINESSWORLD | Thu September 12, 2019
The enterprise arm of Globe Telecom, Inc. has partnered with Facebook, Inc. to offer payment solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Globe myBusiness said in a statement that the social media giant will now allow payments through an Ad Creator, where online advertising may be paid through the company’s postpaid bill.

How Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma went from affording just one meal a day to India's cashless king
CNBC | Wed September 11, 2019
Two years back, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma became the country's youngest billionaire. Worth more than $2.6 billion (about Rs 18,460 crore), according to Forbes, Sharma made a splash in August 2018 by getting Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to invest $300 million in Paytm. But Sharma, often painted as the man who lives life king-size, hasn’t always been the billionaire titan he is today. He is the son of a simple school teacher from a small city in north India. And he didn’t set out to be the CEO of a mobile-payments startup Paytm that expands as Pay Through Mobile.

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