Walmart, TikTok plan shoppable livestream; Affirm and HomeAdvisor partner

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Shopping in the stream

TikTok is debuting shoppable livestreams in the U.S., with Walmart serving as its initial partner. Consumers can shop for Walmart clothing from TikTok creators, and can also buy and pay for items on Walmart's TikTok page.

Walmart, which has been in talks to acquire parts of TikTok's platform — a deal that's been pushed back several times — hopes to use the event to burnish its e-commerce capabilities, according to CNBC. Walmart is interested in working with TikTok to add to its social strategy and reach younger consumers.

Livestream shopping is popular in Asia, and firms in the U.S. and Europe are adding the technology during the pandemic as more shoppers stay home.

Going public

Bitcoin's jump in value over the past few months has created huge momentum, including an IPO filing from Coinbase, one of the best known cryptocurrency exchanges.

Coinbase will be the first bitcoin-related company to go public, according to The Wall Street Journal. Coinbase earlier this year gained principal membership at Visa, another signal of cryptocurrency's maturation.

Crypto has gained more interest in 2020, partly due to investors seeking a hedge from inflation during the pandemic, and also increased support from PayPal, which this year allowed users to buy, hold, sell and make purchases at more than 26 million merchants directly from PayPal accounts.

Home installment

Point of sale credit provider Affirm is partnering with HomeAdvisor to offer financing for home projects.

The two companies hope to gain from two trends that have accelerated during the pandemic — people investing in their homes and also financing large purchases through buy now/pay later options to avoid credit card debt.

Consumers paying for a project through the HomeAdvisor app will have an option to select Affirm at checkout, with terms ranging from three to 36 months for approved borrowers.

Know the rules

Australian payment systems are changing quickly, as several of the country's national rails consolidate to counter the influence of outside networks and real-time payments and open banking take hold.

The Australian Payments Network, a standards group which consists of regulators and private companies, has issued guidance to support compliance for new entrants, such as outside firms or internal technology startups, reports Finextra.

The covers regulations for issuers and acquirers, information on installing new point of sale technology, and how to participate in the national real-time payment rail. There's also information on licensing.

In reserve

Libra (now Diem) has faced lots of pressure from governments concerned about the Facebook-affiliated project's impact on government central bank systems, including a potential impact to the U.S. dollar's role as the world's dominant reserve currency.

An International Monetary Fund study reports private stablecoins, which is Diem's model, could become international reserve currencies, reports Coindesk, citing the IMF's white paper.

The IMF says the dollar's status is secure now, but digital currencies will gain influence over time. Multiple currencies could emerge over time and could attain reserve currency status, even if not backed by traditional currency (Diem will be backed by the U.S. dollar).

From the web

Gucci joins Alibaba's luxury e-commerce site to woo Chinese consumers
REUTERS | Friday, December 18, 2020
Fashion label Gucci will open two flagship stores on Alibaba's online luxury shopping platform, underscoring the importance of the Chinese market for high-end brands seeking to reverse a revenue slide due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress Moves to End Surprise Medical Billing
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Thursday, December 17, 2020
A bipartisan agreement was expected to be included in a year-end legislative package being completed in Congress, after more than two years of negotiation.

Islamic fintech Wahed Invest to buy UK digital banking app Niyah
REUTERS | Thursday, December 17, 2020
Wahed Inc, a U.S.-based Islamic-finance fintech startup backed by Saudi Aramco, will acquire Niyah Ltd, a British company that runs a digital banking app designed for the Muslim community, the companies said on Thursday.

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