Morning Brief 5.13.20: Visa boosts tokenization network as digital payments spike

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Token booth

Visa has added 28 acquirer gateway and technology partners to its token service, adding more scale as transactions move online during the coronavirus outbreak.

The partners include BlueSnap, Moneris, Spreedly and other firms that will be able to tokenize credentials on file to secure digital payments, creating a faster checkout experience for repeat visits. “These partners are force multipliers, rather than going merchant by merchant we can go to the acquirers and build faster,” said Brian Cole, head of product for Visa North America.

Visa’s token service uses the EMVCo standards and replaces Visa card numbers with a token that’s unique to a merchant or acquirer. Both Visa and Mastercard have pushed tokenization years as a way to standardize digital payments security and as part of the networks’ “click to pay” button for online transactions.

JPM's other coin

New York cryptocurrency platform Gemini has signed JPMorgan Chase as a client, with the bank providing cash management services and dollar-based transactions for Gemini's U.S. customers. JPMorgan Chase will use the Automated Clearing House to process transactions.

Gemini, co-founded by the Winklevoss twins, has been partnering with financial institutions to build a cryptocurrency network. JPMorgan Chase's activities in cryptocurrency include JPM Coin, which supports B2B transactions between the bank's institutional clients.

The Gemini partnership marks an evolution for JPMorgan Chase for cryptocurrency. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon famously slammed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2017.

Half time

Bitcoin's third "halving" took place this week, reducing the number of bitcoin in circulation. Each block in the blockchain now produces 6.25 bitcoins, worth about $55,000; instead of 12.5 bitcoins, or about $110,000.

The main near-term impact is less energy spent on mining, reports ArsTechnica. Mining's energy consumption has been a concern for years. The bitcoin market response was more muted than for past halvings, suggesting less volatility.

That could be good news for merchants that have been on the fence about accepting bitcoin but have avoided support due to the cryptocurrency's fluctuating value. Bitcoin picked up some merchant support this week as Beliani, a European furniture retailer, said it would support bitcoin payments through BitPay.

Streaming gift

Twitch has added gift cards to bolster use of its streaming platform, which supports the broadcast of gaming, sports, music, entertainment and other crowd-produced and funded content.

The cards range from $25 to $200, with both virtual cards and plans for a physical card that will be available at Best Buy and GameStop.

The cards can also be used for "bits," or a virtual currency that supports creators. There's also a subscription option, which includes benefits for the user who funds a creator.

Football pitch

Fintech Skrill signed a four-year payments deal with football club AC Milan. Skrill will be the main payment option for the club's online store, as well as a link between Skrill's digital wallet and the club's ticket sales, which have been shut during the coronavirus outbreak.

Skrill acknowledges matches aren't happening now, and will likely not include spectators when they do resume, but said it's working with the club to push methods that accelerated during the crisis as people moved toward contactless and digital payments.

Skrill waived transaction fees earlier in the outbreak for Italian transactions as the country locked down in March.

From the web

Brazilian digital wallet PicPay reaches 20 million customers
REUTERS | Tue May 12, 2020
Brazilian digital wallet PicPay hit 20 million clients in early May, reaching a goal previously expected for December as social isolation measures to combat the coronavirus accelerates the search for digital financial services.

Modulr raises £18.9M for its ‘Payments as a Service’
TECHCRUNCH | Tue May 12, 2020
Modulr, the U.K. fintech that offers ‘Payments as a Service’ as an alternative to commercial and wholesale transaction banking, has secured £18.9 million in growth funding.

OCC Floats New Payments Charter For Stripe, PayPal, And Crypto Firms
FORBES | Tue May 12, 2020
Instead of providing a charter for lending, the OCC could potentially offer a ‘payments charter’ that would be of interest to both traditional payment companies such as Stripe and PayPal as well as crypto companies, the new chief operating officer at the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has suggested.

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