The U.S. and Cuba transact in bitcoin, Coin (the all-in-one credit card) has revealed the second iteration of its card, Coinbase allows users to purchase bitcoin with debit and credit cards, and more top stories from this week in FinTech.
The first reported bitcoin transaction between the U.S. and Cuba occurred. As relations between the U.S. and Cuba begin to smooth out, transactions are moving ahead between the two nations. And FinTech is poised to lead the way. From PYMNTS:
"By avoiding those capital controls, bitcoin would allow people to move money around without the extra fees, making it a worthwhile option for those who can afford it. That doesn’t mean everyone is rushing to switch their pesos into bitcoin, of course, but it means bitcoin could bridge the gap to help people avoid burdensome capital controls when exchanging cross-border."
The company behind Coin, the all-in-one credit card, has debuted Coin 2.0. The second generation model of the card uses NFC and is EMV-compatible so that users can not only tap to pay, but can integrate their chip-and-pin cards to the device. TechCrunch reports:
"With Coin 2.0, anyone with EMV credit cards can use the device through contactless payments, similar to the way Apple Pay works. Plus, the team has made a few other improvements including an improved electronic stripe, a 2x faster display, a thinner card (by 8 percent), and the ability to give cards nicknames within the app."
Coinbase is looking to change how people purchase bitcoin with a new test service that will make buying a bitcoin as easy as buying a latte at your local Starbucks. CT reports:
"We're excited to announce support for purchasing bitcoin with a credit or debit card. When purchasing with a credit or debit card, you'll receive your bitcoin instantly. To start, we'll be gradually rolling out credit and debit card purchase support to users in the UK and Spain."
iZettle, the mobile payments company that provides smaller merchants the ability to process card payments via its mobile card readers, has announced a new round of Series D financing. The round of US$67 million is led by prior investors Intel Capital and Zouk Capital. From TechCrunch:
"[iZettle] is expanding into what amounts to small business loans — announcing a capital advance product, called iZettle Advance, which will be available to select iZettle customers who need funds to grow their own businesses. So it’s basically moving onto even more of the territory where traditional banks fear to tread."
FinTech is hot! According to Accenture’s 2015 report, investment in the industry has tripled to $12.21 billion in the past year. And this is just the beginning! With no signs of slowing down, FinTech 2.0 is peeking its head around the corner. From Venture Beat:
"The fintech 2.0 age represents a leap towards faster, leaner, more tech-savvy platforms built for the finance industry. The fintech 2.0 economy will emerge out of the following trends: open architecture, smart due diligence, and the proliferation of complex investment vehicles. Let’s explore this new wave of fintech innovation."
INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation has recently completed a specialized training to identify the methods and strategies used to avoid detection on the Darknet, which often use non-standard communications protocols and ports.
INTERPOL’s Cyber Research Lab developed a sample private Darknet network for the training to mimic actual transactions and private trades settled on private cryptocurrency-powered Darknet marketplaces like the Agora.
FinTech is no doubt all the rage these days. As the legacy financial world continues to undergo disruption, one area that is experiencing tremendous innovation is the area of fundraising and investment. From Forbes:
"Fundraising is critical for startup businesses, whether it be a high-tech startup or real estate project. And with the more traditional fundraising sources of angel and venture capital investing heavily, along with new fundraising “alternatives” coming online, right now is arguably one of the best times in history to be fundraising as a startup entrepreneur."
Overstock has closed a deal for technology provider SpeedRoute, valued at US$30.3 million. SpeedRoute offers FinTech services that aim to increase broker-dealer profits and productivity. The Middle Market reports:
"Online marketplace Overstock made the acquisition through subsidiary t0, which develops technology that aims to make private and public equities trading secure. Overstock says the deal should help connect crypto capital markets to existing national markets."
Data intelligence provider Funderbeam is set to launch the world’s first blockchain based investment trading platform over the next few months, through a partnership with colored coins developer ChromaWay. CT reports:
"Funderbeam has processed US$277.49 billion in investments and currently supports over 42,000 investors worldwide. Using the blockchain, Funderbeam plans to process its settlements and verify its trades instantly without human input."
Freee, an accounting software as a service startup, just confirmed a US$28.7 million windfall in a series C round. From Tech In Asia:
"Freee is gaining steam in Japan as software slowly eats paper-based administrative tasks. Its basic accounting service attracted 380,000 companies since launching in July 2012. That’s a massive jump from September 2014 when it was servicing 120,000 firms. In the interim, Freee also nabbed the lead among cloud accounting software, with over 40 percent of the market share."
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