Morning Brief 7.28.20: Walmart boosts marketplace with Shopify's help

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Sellers market

Walmart's attempt to boost its online marketplace through a partnership with Shopify is growing by leaps and bounds, demonstrating just how dramatic the coronavirus-era jump to digital shopping has been.

The big box retailer inked the partnership in June with the goal of adding 1,200 sellers by the end of 2020. Instead Walmart added 3,000 in June and should exceed 3,600 more in July, reports TechCrunch.

Walmart is adding sellers at triple the rate it was in January, partly due to the Shopify deal and partly due the increase in digital shopping and payments during that time. The pace is still well below rival Amazon, which adds thousands of sellers daily.

Private sector push

An IMF official is advocating for private bank involvement in the development of central bank digital currencies, which are gaining momentum as governments consider how to disburse stimulus finds.

Tobias Adrian, director of the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Division, said commercial banks could issue CBDCs and manage due diligence, digital wallets and distribution, reports Coindesk.

That public/private digital currency model is gaining steam among banks as an alternative to a fully public digital wallet that would enable consumers to directly access central banks.

Sports gaming

London fintech Paysafe has agreed to acquire Openbucks, a payments company that supports retail gift cards as an alternative to credit cards.

The nine-year old Houston-based Openbucks has found a market for its technology in online gaming and esports. Openbucks partners with CVS and Dollar General to offer gift cards that can be redeemed at online merchants.

The Openbucks staff will transfer to Paysafe and will be part of the company's eCash division. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

E-commerce plug-ins

China's largest payments organizations have supported plug-ins that will ease merchant acceptance in the U.S.

Santa Clara-based Citcon will supply the technology, allowing e-commerce merchants to accept Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay without coding. That will make it easier for the Chinese firms to allow China's consumers to pay in their own currency, a major expansion play for all three companies.

The plug-ins will also work with Shopify, Salesforce, Magenco, SAP Hybris, Woo Commerce, API cloud and others.

Traveling light

Bitstamp will be the first cryptocurrency exchange to join the BCB Group's real-time payments network, which is designed to serve both digital and traditional currencies while reducing processing time.

Through the Liquidity Interchange Network Consortium (BLINC), BCB hopes to settle instantly in pounds, euros and Swiss francs, eliminating Swift and Sepa for transfers. Crypto, security tokens and smart contracts are all provided in the network with no fees.

BLINC's primary challenge is to build a system that allows immediate clearing and inter-counterparty settlement reconciliation for this diverse range that can additionally address scale via a blockchain, BCB said, adding it's targeting issuers, investors, financial institutions, brokers and administrators.

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