Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Wall Street is warming up to cryptocurrencies. Large banks and other financial institutions have been staffing departments ready to serve clients’ blockchain needs. Hedge funds and professional investment outfits led the way, with many mutual funds and pension managers now following along, lest they be perceived as out of touch. Some say the involvement of traditional investment sectors could add some stability to the often-volatile crypto markets, whose ongoing viability is hardly assured. Although Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks it is, predicting that at least one billion people will have tried crypto within a decade. Continue reading Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Washington policymakers have identified stablecoins as the initial target for stricter cryptocurrency regulation. Stablecoins — which are backed by a reserve asset — are booming due to investors using them to trade among other cryptocurrencies. The stablecoin sector grew by about 500 percent in the 12-month period ending October 31, according to a report issued by the Biden administration. While there are four basic types of stablecoin, the ones collateralized by fiat currency — and specifically the U.S. dollar — is by far the most popular. A bipartisan effort exists to create safeguards ensuring one stablecoin is expeditiously redeemable for one dollar. Continue reading U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Congress continues to grapple with ways to provide government oversight for the cryptocurrency industry, which has exploded from $500 billion in 2020 to nearly $3 trillion today, according to CoinMarketCap. House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) called out crypto’s lack of accountability, saying its markets have no “centralized regulatory framework, leaving investments in the digital-asset space vulnerable to fraud, manipulation and abuse.” Those testifying on behalf of virtual currency argued it speeds financial transactions, can save money, and makes a new asset class accessible to people around the world. Continue reading Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

As cryptocurrencies undergo explosive growth with little federal oversight, the Treasury Department is asking Congress for more power to regulate stablecoins due to their perceived danger of triggering a run on funds, according to a report by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. Treasury is asking that those issuing stablecoins be subject to the same requirements under which banks and other traditional financial institutions operate, which would require the crypto’s brokers to maintain sufficient reserves to compensate customers who want to cash out quickly. Continue reading Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

Facebook Is Developing Cryptocurrency Payments System

Facebook is currently recruiting financial firms and online merchants to launch a “cryptocurrency-based payments system on the back of its gigantic social network,” reports The Wall Street Journal. At its center is a digital coin that users would be able to send to one another and use to make purchases on Facebook and on the broader Internet. This has the potential to significantly disrupt, or even up-end, “the traditional, lucrative plumbing of e-commerce and would likely be the most mainstream application yet of cryptocurrency.”

Continue reading Facebook Is Developing Cryptocurrency Payments System

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation Nears Activation

On May 25, the European Union will activate its General Data Protection Regulation that gives users more control over the data collected and shared about them over the Internet. The law includes real punishment: 4 percent of its global revenue for any company that break the regulation. The impact to the user experience will not be apparent, especially for U.S. visitors there. But a European Union citizen is likely to see fewer ads that follow them around the Internet after an e-commerce purchase. Continue reading The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation Nears Activation

Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

According to sources, Amazon is currently in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and other banks about creating a product similar to a checking account aimed at a younger demographic. These early stage talks may not result in anything tangible, and are not intended to turn Amazon into a bank. What the product would do is further integrate Amazon into its customers’ lives, from Whole Foods, Kindle, Alexa and its website. The new product would also potentially cut fees Amazon currently pays to banks and provide more customer data. Continue reading Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

Goldman Sachs Exploring Creation of a Bitcoin Trading Desk

Goldman Sachs Group, in the early stages of considering whether to start a trading operation for Bitcoin, could become the first blue-chip Wall Street company to deal directly in the virtual currency. If it does so, it will give Bitcoin more credibility among investors. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies were first used and are still perceived as commonly used for illegal activities. The currency is still controversial, banned by China and deemed a “fraud” by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chief executive James Dimon. Continue reading Goldman Sachs Exploring Creation of a Bitcoin Trading Desk

Blockchain: More Than $50 Million in Virtual Currency Hacked

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization raised $160 million in Ether, a virtual currency that is an alternative to Bitcoin. The experimental project was hailed as the most successful crowdfunding effort ever, until last Friday when a hacker made away with more than $50 million. Although the hack was frozen and the project’s computer scientists plan to rewrite Ether’s code to recover the money, the project most likely will end, leaving in its wake a bigger debate than ever about the viability of virtual currency. Continue reading Blockchain: More Than $50 Million in Virtual Currency Hacked

After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory operator best known for assembling Apple’s iPhones, is acquiring two-thirds of Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, which supplies phone screens to Apple. The $3.5 billion deal, which follows a slew of public negotiations, rumors and setbacks, could provide Foxconn with leverage to make it a more attractive Apple partner. However, some analysts suggest that the acquisition will hand Foxconn an ailing and costly business. Foxconn is facing rising labor costs in China and a global slowdown in smartphones, while Apple diversifies its supply chain. Continue reading After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Banks Make Changes to Adapt to Today’s Mobile Technologies

As a growing number of consumers, particularly millennials, access financial services on their smartphones, traditional banks are struggling to keep up with new competitors. Major tech companies, from Apple to Snapchat, have entered the consumer banking industry, along with a wide variety of financial tech startups. Banks like Citigroup have formed new partnerships and departments for developing more mobile-friendly banking services as Americans’ banking habits continue to evolve. Continue reading Banks Make Changes to Adapt to Today’s Mobile Technologies

Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Apple is in talks with banks to develop a new payment service to allow an iPhone user to send money to another iPhone user, most likely bypassing Visa and MasterCard by working directly with banks. The talks are at an early stage and no one involved would comment on the evolution of the plan. But multiple sources confirm Apple’s talks with the country’s largest banks and that the company is serious about moving forward. Unknown is whether credit card companies are engaging Apple or waiting for the company to contact them. Continue reading Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

With the introduction of credit cards with an embedded security chip, the banking and retailing industries are battling over issues of security, fraud and the cost of adoption. For years, European banks have issued credit cards with both the chip and a PIN; U.S. banks are foregoing the PIN and relying solely on the chip and an in-person signature. Retailers argue they are absorbing the high cost of adopting the chip technology and paying interchange fees, without reaping any of the benefits of lower fraud. Continue reading Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

Apple Pay Mobile Payments Service Experiences Growth in Fraud

Banks are scrambling to tighten security measures as Apple’s mobile payments service experiences a growing incidence of fraud. Criminals are lifting credit card numbers and stealing identities through Apple Pay by reportedly exploiting vulnerabilities in the verification process. Some banks may make it too easy for customers to authenticate numbers when adding cards. According to one expert, fraud may account for about 6 percent of Apple Pay transactions, compare to only 0.1 percent of credit card-swiping transactions. Continue reading Apple Pay Mobile Payments Service Experiences Growth in Fraud

Google Seeks Carrier Support to Revive Wallet Payment Service

In order to help build traction for its Google Wallet service, Google is exploring how it can unite banks, wireless carriers, payment networks and device makers to carry the payment service. The company is reportedly willing to offer wireless carriers additional revenue to have Google Wallet featured on Android phones. Google’s attempt to revive its mobile payment service comes after a recent announcement by Apple claiming that its Apple Pay is now the leading contact-less payment service.  Continue reading Google Seeks Carrier Support to Revive Wallet Payment Service