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Fighting Superman? Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro proudly touted the debut of Venezuela's alternative currency, the Petro, which is backed by oil reserves and other resources. About $735 million worth of Petro sold in a few hours on Wednesday, reports the National Post, which quotes Maduro as saying the Petro is "kryptonite" that will allow Venezuela to take on "Superman," or the U.S. The truth is slightly different, as Venezuela remains mired in an economic depression, the U.S. announced the Petro violates sanctions, and most economists have warned the Petro is a risky investment.
Cashless' other side: One of the arguments against the migration away from cash is it would hurt cash-only businesses in traditionally underbanked communities that are gentrifying. A group in Boston is trying to stem that tied through a crowdfunding campaign. The Boston Globe reports the Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets, which represents mostly cash-heavy businesses in Dorchester, hopes to raise $2,500 so it can qualify for a $7,500 grant from the Boston Main Street foundation. That money would go toward purchasing Square card readers and bolstering internet access for businesses in the area, which are seeking a lower-cost alternative to credit cards.
Wrong number: Researchers have published an attack that allows Tinder accounts to be taken over with just the user's phone number. The Verge reports the attack exploits two vulnerabilities; one in Tinder and another in Facebook's Account Kit System, which exposes users' access tokens. This makes the tokens available via an associated phone number. Tinder told The Verge it has updated its login system to protect against the attack, adding there's no evidence the vulnerability has been exploited.
Samsung moves deeper into Australia: Samsung Pay has been gradually adding bank support in Australia over the past year, a network that just got larger with the addition of CBA. This is another sign that Samsung's move into Australia has been easier than Apple Pay's combative entry to the country. CBA's support of Samsung Pay adds an addressable market of $6 billion in payments each week, and will enhance CBA's support of payments on fitness bands and other wearable devices.
From the Web
Raisin, the European savings deposit marketplace backed by PayPal, gets dedicated UK launch
TechCrunch | Wed Feb 21, 2018 - Raisin, the PayPal-backed savings deposit marketplace that lets you shop for a better interest rate across Europe, has launched a dedicated U.K. site, meaning that savers can now access deposit accounts in Sterling. The first partner bank on the British version of the platform is BACB, which is offering a range of fixed-term savings accounts, from 1 to 3 years, with what appears to be pretty competitive interest rates. Originally founded in 2013, Raisin set out to crack open the savings deposit market in Europe by taking advantage of EU-wide banking regulation. The problem the startup solves is that saving deposit rates differ not only from one local bank offer to another but even more strikingly across Europe as a whole.
Zimbabwe and Kenya lead the way in Africa's dash from cash
The Guardian | Thu Feb 22, 2018 - M-Pesa–which references the Swahili word for money–offers efficiency and traceability. And if you lose your phone at the end of the night, no one else can access your funds. Launched 10 years ago in east Africa’s largest economy, this much-copied platform allows users to send money between mobile “wallets”, pay bills and apply for loans. Nearly 28m phone lines are registered for M-Pesa, and more than 16m transactions happen on the system every day. Over 36m mobile money accounts are registered across all available platforms, making Kenya a leader in digital payments on the African continent. But despite the ubiquity and convenience of mobile money “cash is still king” in the country, as the operator behind M-Pesa itself admits.
Hackers scored more Social Security numbers than stolen credit card numbers in 2017
NBC News | Wed Feb 21, 2018 - Fighting digital fraud has always been a game of wack-a-mole, but those pesky moles keep getting smarter — finding new ways to use stolen information to commit lucrative scams. And despite increasing efforts to stop them, the bad guys are winning. The “disease of identity fraud” has now reached “the level of an epidemic,” according to the just-released 2018 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research. Last year was the best year ever for fraudsters, with more victims and more money stolen. The numbers reported by Javelin are eye-opening.
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