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

For your ears only
Shoppers may be accustomed to cameras following their every move — whether for security or to track purchases — and Walmart is thinking about doing the same with microphones.

Walmart explains in a patent, granted last week, its idea for a listening system to detect the rustling of bags or register beeps, The Verge reports. The technology could be paired with self-checkout to detect whether shoppers are taking more than they paid for; it could also monitor cashier interactions.

Walmart's other high-tech ideas include systems for making e-commerce purchases within the store, asking employees to handle deliveries on their way home, and supporting its own Walmart Pay wallet.

Blockchain-based farming
IBM is teaming up with Hello Tractor in a blockchain project designed for farmers in Africa, TechCrunch reports.

The pilot, called Digital Wallet, is a cloud-based service designed to provide data on crop production through AI and blockchain, the article says.

Digital Wallet relies on a digital ledger and machine learning to track data on weather and tractor use to predict crop yields and equipment repairs. It can also help build credit profiles for farmers, TechCrunch says.

Airborne Amazon
Despite its drone delivery plans fading from the spotlight, Amazon still relies heavily on the skies for shipments. Its Prime Air service, launched in 2016 with 40 jets, is now called Amazon Air and boasts a total of 50 aircraft, Engadget reports.

Those planes will be supported by a gateway operation opening next year in Wilmington, Ohio; a regional air hub at Fort Worth Alliance airport and an Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport, the article said. The air hubs will open in 2021, according to Engadget.

These projects demonstrate that despite Amazon's increasing presence in physical retail, the company is very much committed to upgrading its core e-commerce business.

From the Web
With Christmas Comes Cybercrime - Are You Prepared?
Forbes | Sat December 22, 2018 - According to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast, there is expected to be up to a 22% jump in online sales compared to last year. Additionally, online sales are expected to reach up to approximately £100 billion during the holiday season.

Three busted for credit card fraud, bank detects "clones" in ATM
CBS News | Sat December 22, 2018 - Authorities in Clinton uncover an international organization behind major credit card theft and have arrested three, alleged hackers. Clinton Police say they've stopped the hackers before they could take off with thousands of dollars and card numbers.

Banque du Caire wired link on Tahweel network, launches mobile wallet deposit, withdraw service via ATMs
Daily News Egypt | Sun December 23, 2018 - Banque du Caire has completed the process of connecting with the Tahweel network by launching the withdrawal and deposit service for mobile wallet clients, Cairo Cash, and all mobile wallet and mobile operator clients through the bank’s automated teller machines (ATMs), according to the bank’s chairperson and CEO, Tarek Fayed.

More from PaymentsSource
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Facebook’s payments ambitions have made banks wary for years, despite many false starts. But now it looks as if Facebook is pivoting to develop a remittance business, starting with a cryptocurrency project in India.

Google Payment expands with e-money license from Lithuania
Google Payment, a company owned by Alphabet Inc., obtained an e-money license in Lithuania, joining a growing number of fintech firms that have secured permission from the Baltic nation to offer financial services across the European Union.

Farm Bill plants seeds for legal cannabis payments
Hostilities toward the legal U.S. cannabis industry are softening considerably, with signs of further removing cash and digital workarounds from a market that has long been shunned by traditional payment cards.

Mastercard hires Liz Oakes to bolster real-time payments
Former McKinsey & Company associate partner Liz Oakes has been named Mastercard's executive vice president of market development for the New Payments Platforms division.

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