5.21.19 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Like Alipay, WeChat Pay has been able to expand to markets outside of China without really expanding, as the number of Chinese tourists provides enough of a market to attract merchants without establishing a full domestic processing market.
WeChat has attracted enough merchants in Europe to make the continent the next key market for WeChat Pay's cross-border payment business, reports UKTechnews. The number of merchants in Europe that support WeChat Pay has expanded 350% over the past year, the site reports, adding that WeChat Pay's 800 million monthly users provide scale for a European expansion.
Outbound travel has also increased, with 149 million Chinese tourists traveling abroad in 2018, of which 11% traveled to Europe, reports UKTechnews, attributing those numbers to China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Facebook's march to developing its own currency has reached Switzerland, where it has set up a fintech company called Libra Networks.
Libra is also the name of Project Libra, Facebook's blockchain initiative that has been widely reported to be the center of Facebook's pending cryptocurrency. Project Libra is largely secretive, so most of the news has been speculative.
In Switzerland, Libra Networks will focus on activities that are consistent with a cryptocurrency, including payments technology, blockchain, data analytics and investing, reports CCN.
Russians are also embracing the move away from cash, with nearly half of all Russian payments now digital.
Non-cash payments in the first quarter were more than 49% of the total transaction volume, according to Sberbank, which notes that's 5.5% higher than the prior year. More than 54% of the payments in St. Petersburg were cashless, and 53% of the transactions in Moscow.
Cashless payments were higher in all regions of the country, with the rate of growth higher in smaller cities and rural areas, the bank added.
ABN Amro is changing its blockchain strategy, halting its work on a possible cryptocurrency wallet while building a blockchain platform for trade inventory management.
The Dutch bank is in talks with financial institutions to partner in the trade blockchain product, called Forcefield, reports Coindesk, adding ING Bank and Accenture are among the companies that have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the platform.
But the bank has soured on its crypto wallet, believing crypto assets are not properly regulated and too risky for the bank's clients, Coindesk reports.
From the Web
Bitcoin, Not Blockchain: People Feverishly Search for World’s First Crypto
CCN | Mon May 20, 2019 - Around the world, the majority of searches related to cryptocurrency involve the word “Bitcoin,” a new report by ConsenSys concludes. Excepting a few Asian countries, most of the world wants to find information about Bitcoin.
This Coinbase-Backed Cryptocurrency Surged 75% in a Single Day
CCN | Mon May 20, 2019 - The cryptocurrency market has been awash in bearish sentiment on Monday, with Bitcoin failing to maintain the $8,000 mark and most of the other top 20 coins moving in a sideways or downward trend. Nonetheless, one lesser-known crypto token isn’t intimidated by the market gloom, and it took advantage of one concrete announcement and one wild rumor to surge more than 75% in a single day.
Millions of Instagram influencers had their private contact data scraped and exposed
TechCrunch | Mon May 20, 2019 - A massive database containing contact information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts has been found online. The database, hosted by Amazon Web Services, was left exposed and without a password allowing anyone to look inside.
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