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Walmart delivers a weapon to battle Amazon: Walmart has made several moves as it battles Amazon's foray into groceries following the e-commerce giant's acquisition of Whole Foods. Walmart's latest move is a deal with Instacart to support same-day delivery for its Sam's Club warehouse stores. The service will start in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and St. Louis. Consumers will be able to shop at Sam's Clubs without a membership and will be eligible for same-day delivery. Walmart also has its own delivery service, which started in New York last year.

Bloomberg News

Jack Dorsey's 'secret weapon' joins another company: Pinterest has hired Francoise Brougher to be chief operating officer, reports TechCrunch, which adds Pinterest will likely make use of Brougher's experience working with merchant clients as it adds more services in that sector, such as a visual search tool. Brougher was most recently business lead at Square and also served as vice president of small to medium-sized business sales and operations at Google. While at Square, Brougher was called CEO Jack Dorsey's "secret weapon" given her expertise with business data analysis.

Visa tries on jewelry: Visa's contactless payments push has reached deeper into Europe, as the card brand has entered deals with the National Bank of Greece and CaixaBank to support payments through jewelry and watches. The National Bank of Greece and Visa will work with Folli Follie and Links of London to build rings and bracelets that can make payments at any contactless point of sale terminal. Visa's collaboration with CaixaBank includes support of Garmin smartwatch payments in Spain later this year.

Kicking the tires, with no contact: Mastercard's interest in embedding payments into web-connected cars already includes a partnership with General Motors, and the automaker is adding a partnership with SAP and its Connected Vehicles Network platform. The partnership will support in-car payments for parking, fuel, food ordering and delivery through a series of pilot programs in U.S. cities. Mastercard is also working with Postmates to offer on-demand food ordering and delivery from vehicles.

From the Web

Rakuten will roll its $9B loyalty program into a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin
TechCrunch | Tue Feb 27, 2018 - Back in 2016, Amazon’s Japanese rival Rakuten acquired Bitnet, a bitcoin wallet startup that it had previously invested in, to help it work on blockchain technology and applications. Today, one of the first fruits of that deal has come to light. The company is planning a new cryptocurrency called Rakuten Coin — built on blockchain technology and the company’s existing loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points — which it plans to use to encourage loyalty services globally and to help customers to buy goods across different Rakuten services and markets. The news was announced by Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he described Rakuten Coin as a “borderless” currency.

Fintech startup Pagaya raises $75 million in debt finance from Citi
Reuters | Tue Feb 27, 2018 - Pagaya Investments, a U.S.-Israeli financial technology provider that uses machine learning and big data analytics to manage institutional money, said on Tuesday it raised $75 million in debt financing from Citi. Founded in 2016, Pagaya has raised $200 million in capital, mainly from institutional investors. The company also said it has created the Opportunity Fund, a leveraged fund suite created by Pagaya using the debt financing. Prosper, an online lending platform, will sell loans to the Opportunity Fund, Pagaya said.

JPMorgan Chase Admits Cryptocurrency Is a 'Risk' to its Business for the First Time
Fortune | Tue Feb 27, 2018 - Despite JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon having called Bitcoin a “fraud,” the big bank is now taking cryptocurrency very seriously—acknowledging the blockchain-based technology as a veritable threat to its future. In JPMorgan Chase’s annual report, released Tuesday afternoon, the bank counted cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as “risk factors” to its business for the first time, recognizing the digital currencies as new forms of competition that could, quite literally, give the bank a run for its money.

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