MUFG teams up with Akamai to launch blockchain payments network

MUFG and Akamai to launch Global Open Network Inc joint venture — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group — “The new company will utilize MUFG’s presence in the payment business and Akamai’s intelligent edge platform, which offers world-class speed and security, with the aim of providing an open payment network in Japan based on new blockchain technology by the first half of 2020.”


JP Morgan to launch its own cryptocurrency

JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business — CNBC — “Each JPM Coin is redeemable for a single US dollar, so its value shouldn’t fluctuate, similar in concept to so-called stablecoins. Clients will be issued the coins after depositing dollars at the bank; after using the tokens for a payment or security purchase on the blockchain, the bank destroys the coins and gives clients back a commensurate number of dollars.”


Saudi Arabia and UAE to develop joint digital currency

UAE and Saudi Arabia announce launch of common digital currency ‘Aber’ — Emirates 24/7 — “The United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) today announced in a joint statement the launch of the common digital currency project ‘Aber’, which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through blockchains and distributed ledgers technologies.”


Marshall Islands to issue digital currency ‘banknotes’

Tangem to produce physical blockchain banknotes for the Marshall Islands’ digital currency legal tender — Tangem — “Each Tangem card will take the form of a unique physical banknote with secure blockchain-enabled microprocessor inside and combine the familiar advantages of paper banknotes with the security of blockchain technology. These protected notes will be fully transparent, 100% secure, decentralized, and represent a controllable mechanism of currency issuance and circulation for the state.”


Luxochain to use NFC and the blockchain to guarantee the authenticity of luxury goods

Luxochain combats counterfeiting with launch of authentication and tracking service of luxury goods on the blockchain — Luxochain — “At the stage of manufacture, all authentic luxury products will be fitted with an invisible and encrypted serial number (a Block ID). The ID is associated with a token that is uniquely identifiable, to which luxury brands will register on the blockchain. Once inputted, the information can never be altered from the outside. Certifying authenticity at the point of sale using blockchain technology, customers can scan the code and ascertain the authenticity of the product.”


Blockchain mobile payments pilot to go live in Mongolia

Blockchain firm Terra to launch instant remittance, lending services in Mongolia’s capital city — e27 — “The pilot programme in Nalaikh City will launch with two main features: peer-to-peer (P2P) payments to allow instant transfer among users of different banks, and mobile payments to build the infrastructure for secure, contactless payments… The programme is set to launch within the next six months.”


US credit unions to offer blockchain digital ID service

Credit unions adopt blockchain as the first step for digital ID — PaymentsSource — “MyCUID uses distributed ledger technology that allows credit unions to detect fraud and support self-sovereign identity, or a decentralized user-controlled authentication that can enable access to apps, programs, buildings, triggers for financial transactions, and other uses… CULedger on Jan 18 is scheduled to demonstrate MyCUID with a more general public rollout scheduled for the second half of 2019.”





Japanese banks launch blockchain P2P payments service

SBI Ripple Asia’s MoneyTap app has launched in Japan — Coindesk — “The product allows users to send funds to others using just their telephone numbers or a QR code, and utilizes devices’ biometric log-in features, such as fingerprint scanning, for security… Currently, the service is only able to remit between accounts held at the three participating Japanese banks — SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank. Payments are being offered at no charge and can be sent in Japanese yen or foreign currencies.”


Japanese bank pilots blockchain mobile payments in bars and restaurants

Notice concerning demonstration experiment of S Coin — SBI Holdings (translation) — “S Coin is a settlement coin that allows charging and settlement on smartphones. In this demonstration experiment, for SBI Group employees, we will construct a mechanism that allows cashless settlement at eating and drinking establishments in Izumi Garden Tower, Roppongi 1-chome where SBIH is based.”


LG to pilot blockchain carrier billing system for international mobile payments in stores

LG U+ to offer blockchain-based overseas payment service — The Korea Herald — “Once the service is launched, LG U+ subscribers will be able to buy things at selected retailers using their mobile phones when they travel to Taiwan and Japan. Far EasTone subscribers will also be able to enjoy the same convenience when traveling to Korea and Japan. The service uses direct carrier billing, enabling transactions to be billed and paid through their carrier in their home currency.”




Clause to add NFC to smart blockchain contract platform

Thinfilm and Clause collaborate to deliver NFC technology to blockchain smart legal contracts — Thinfilm — “Clause and Thinfilm will use NFC to facilitate the pairing of physical goods to digital contracts through the tap of a smartphone. The resulting connection will deliver key functional and efficiency improvements for customers across the Clause ‘connected contracting’ platform, including contract creation and management, supply chain administration, and invoice/payment automation.”


Japanese carrier KDDI to pilot blockchain coupons that shoppers can redeem using biometrics in stores

KDDI and Hitachi pilot finger vein biometrics for redeeming coupons in stores — KDDI (translation) — “The user can authenticate himself by holding the finger registered on the authentication infrastructure, so it is not necessary to present the coupon at the store, and the coupon can be used even without the smartphone… Since coupon usage information recorded in the blockchain is extremely difficult to tamper with, it is easy to share coupon usage history securely and reliably between KDDI and affiliated stores, and payment according to the number of coupon users is highly accurate.”


Singapore Airlines rolls out blockchain digital wallet that lets customers spend loyalty points in retail stores

KrisFlyer launches innovative miles-based digital wallet, KrisPay — Singapore Airlines — “The SIA Group’s KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme today launched KrisPay, the miles-based digital wallet which enables members to convert KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles instantly for everyday spending at partner merchants… Members can easily turn their KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles using the app’s instant top-up function… To pay for purchases, members simply need to scan the KrisPay QR code at the merchant, and key in the amount they wish to pay with their KrisPay miles.”


Barclays files blockchain funds transfer and KYC patents

Barclays seeks twin blockchain patents for banking services — Coindesk — “The US Patent and Trademark Office published two applications by the UK’s second-largest bank Thursday, both of which revolve around account security. Perhaps most notably, however, was an application for a patent which outlined a blockchain platform which could facilitate cryptocurrency transfers. The bank also proposed streamlining know-your-customer processes by storing identifying information on a private blockchain.”


Mastercard patent proposes combining blockchain with existing payments systems

Method and system for linkage of blockchain-based assets to fiat currency accounts — USPTO — “The use of traditional payment networks and payment systems technologies in combination with blockchain currencies may provide consumers and merchants the benefits of the decentralized blockchain while still maintaining security of account information and provide a strong defense against fraud and theft.”


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