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FinTech Digest from CoinTelegraph
Lucas Duplan, CEO of payment rewards startup Clinkle, allegedly withheld key information from company employees regarding a possible acquisition from Apple. As a result, several employees have left the startup. TechCrunch reported:
“As suspicions of a hidden Apple offer swirled, Duplan fired the company’s CFO and VP of engineering, which is said to have been the last straw for quite a few employees. Duplan has tasked the remaining team with stopping development of Clinkle’s debit card product to pivot the company into a business to business API for payment reward.”
Google is set to begin testing “buy buttons” that will work within search result ads. Retailer Macy’s may be among the first to partner with the search giant on this new initiative. From The Verge:
“These sponsored results will reportedly take you to a special purchasing page that's still hosted by Google where you can pick what type of product you want, and how soon you want to get it — all without leaving Google itself. Meanwhile, the company will let you store your credit card information to do it all over again at another time.”
MasterCard is working on a remittance product called MasterCard Send. The company has high hopes for the new tool, believing customers will find it “more appealing” than the Bitcoin protocol. CT reported:
“MasterCard Send, currently in a pre-signup phase in the U.S. only, is designed to allow transactions between ‘banked and unbanked consumers,’ international and domestic payments at a near-instant speed rather than the several days required with the traditional bank clearing system.”
Core Innovation Capital, Data Collective, Stanford StartX Fund and Cooley LLP have each invested in FinTech startup Vouch. The “social network for credit,” which was in beta for a year, launched publicly last month to help users get loans. TechCrunch reported:
“While there are a number of alternative lending startups on the market today, Vouch’s differentiating factor is that it leverages a person’s social connections in order to determine their credit-worthiness. In addition, these connections can choose to ‘vouch’ for a loan recipient – even agreeing to pay back a portion of the debt if the borrower defaults.”
Payments company Stripe is reportedly in talks to raise new investment money that will value the startup at close to US$5 billion. From Re/Code:
“The talks come less than seven months after the San Francisco-based company announced a $70 million investment that valued it at $3.5 billion. Stripe has raised $190 million in total in previous financing rounds.”
According to the Payments Council, cashless payments have overtaken the use of banknotes and physical coins for the first time. They are predicting that the majority of transactions in 2016 will be cashless. CT reports:
"Сash transactions in the UK fell to 48% of overall payments last year, down from 52% in 2013. This comes as no surprise, given the international rise of popular social payment services as well as the already mainstream use of Paypal to shop online. These services, along with debit cards and digital currency trade, have collectively overtaken payments in physical bills and coins as of last year."
Global bank Citi has called on the government of the United Kingdom to adopt a digital form of legal tender to reduce the cost of moving money, increase consumer spending and add greater liquidity to the market. CT reported:
“Citi made the request in a response, obtained by CoinDesk, to the government's public call for information on digital currencies from the UK Treasury made in November, which asked for views on the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”
Square sets up shop in Melbourne. The mobile payments company hired former National Australia Bank and Visa executive Ben Pfisterer to lead the Australian division. From PaymentsSource:
“A year after initialing establishing a presence in Australia with its mobile card reader, Square Inc. says it will open its fourth ‘global hub’ in Melbourne to expand uptake of its Register tablet-based point of sale system.”
21 Inc. has intentions on embedding Bitcoin mining chips in consumer devices. The well-funded startup, led by Balaji Srinivasan, pulled the curtains back on its core marketing strategy in a recent blog post. CT reported:
“After much hard work, we’ve created an embeddable mining chip which we call the BitShare that comes in a variety of form factors. The 21 BitShare can be embedded into an internet-connected device as a standalone chip or integrated into an existing chipset as a block of IP to generate a continuous stream of digital currency for use in a wide variety of applications.”
Personal financial advice startup, NerdWallet has raised US$64 million to help match consumers with appropriate financial products, such as credit cards and life insurance. Reuters reported:
“While the San Francisco-based company has already attracted top engineers and product managers from companies such as LinkedIn Corp and Twitter Inc, having such a large first check from a top-tier venture capital firm, IVP, will help it recruit more in Silicon Valley's tough job market.”
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