CoinBene Launches the First Card That Integrates 100% Cryptocurrencies 11597

CoinBene

John Watson, 23, left home to work and asked for a Didi. Before entering the office, he stopped at a bakery and bought a loaf of bread and juice, using his card. In the middle of the day, he ordered a snack from Uber Eats as he had a discount coupon. His co-worker, Bob, charged him with money he owed, which John did at the same time, using the app. At the end of the day, Gabriel realized that he did not have the physical money to buy the subway ticket and had to cash in before going home. It seems like an ordinary day, and it really is. The difference is that John did all this using cryptocurrency.

In September, CoinBene — in partnership with Mastercard, launches its own card, which will use full cryptocurrency. You may use the card for any activity in your routine, such as a digital account. Cash withdrawals, cashback, payment of bills, direct money sending and even integration with WeChat are some of the features.

Benefits of a digital account — and even more

The card will have an app, where the person may pay their monthly bills, track their balance, get cashback in the agreed establishments and much more.
Deposits can be made directly from your CoinBene account, by bank transfer or even a ticket. There will be two types of cards, Gold, and Platinum, aimed at different audiences. The launch of the card will honor the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Friendly withdrawal

Besides the traditional ATMs, the CoinBene Card customer will manage to withdrawal money in any establishment that has the label “Friendly Withdraw”, estimated to be more than 15,000 places in Brazil. Just take your digital account app into the store, enter the amount you want to withdraw, read a barcode and you’re done! The checkout counter will make available the amount chosen.

Peer to peer transfer

CoinBene Card costumers will be allowed to transfer money among themselves instantly and without any fees, using a simple QR Code.

Cashback

There are more than 15,000 stores and restaurants with the cashback benefit. When you use your CoinBene Card at a merchant’s convenience store using the CoinBene Card, you get exclusive discounts, which are credited back in cash directly into the card. This credit — which varies from 1% to 10% of cashback — can be used anywhere in the world for other expenses or withdrawn from the ATMs of the banks that are affiliated. Simple like that!

WeChat

WeChat is an application with almost 1 billion users. With it, you can solve almost every problem of daily life in a few clicks, especially in China, where the application has more features. It is possible to order food, consult a doctor, book travel packages, flirt, buy all kinds of products, call a taxi, see friends’ posts, check fan pages and still pay from the coffee to the new car. All of this is done with WeChatPay. The digital payments in China today move around 4 trillion dollars a year. The CoinBene Card will be integrated with the application.

Mastercard

The CoinBene Card is operated by Mastercard, which allows the customer to participate in the Mastercard scoring program. Earn 1 point each time you use your card, regardless of the value of your purchase. From 5 points, you can buy a product and take another to share with someone special. Buy one, take another. There are several partners, from restaurants to travel packages.

Paying bills, shopping on the internet and even making withdrawals in reais has become easier for the user of crypto-coins. Brazil is the fifth country with the largest number of people who have some crypto actives — 8.1% of Brazilians between 16 and 64 years old. Now they will have more functionality for their cryptos. For example, use them in your routine life.

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WhatsApp in Talks to Launch Crypto Mobile Payments in Indonesia 10457

Indonesia

Facebook Inc’s messaging service WhatsApp is in talks with multiple Indonesian digital payment firms to offer their mobile transaction services, in a bid to tap the nation’s fast growing e-commerce sector, people familiar with the matter said. Indonesia could become the second country worldwide where WhatsApp introduces such services, as it awaits regulatory approval from India, its biggest market by users, that has been delayed due to local data storage rules.

But unlike in India where it plans to offer direct peer-to-peer payment services, WhatsApp will simply serve as a platform in Indonesia supporting payments via local digital wallets due to tough licensing regulations, the sources told Reuters.

The Indonesia model could become a template for Whatsapp to adopt in other emerging markets to get around regulations on foreign players creating their own digital wallets, the sources said.

Indonesia, home to 260 million people and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is one of the top-five markets globally for Whatsapp, with over 100 million users.

The nation is set to see its e-commerce industry tripling to $100 billion by 2025, according to some estimates, but it also has some of the region’s strictest digital payments regulations.

WhatsApp is in advanced talks with several digital payments firms including ride hailer Go-Jek, mobile payments firm DANA, backed by China’s Ant Financial, and fintech startup OVO, which is owned by Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group and is also backed by ride hailing company Grab, the sources said.

Deals with the three firms are expected to be finalised shortly, the people said, declining to be named as the talks are private.

WhatsApp has also approached state-owned Bank Mandiri (BMRI.JK), which operates a digital wallet, they said.

The Indonesia plan comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out WhatsApp payments to “some countries”.

“As Mark has said earlier this year… we are looking to bring digital payments to more countries,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.

“WhatsApp is in conversations with financial partners in Indonesia about payments, however the discussions are in early stages and we do not have anything further to share at this stage.”

Go-Jek declined to comment. DANA, OVO and Bank Mandiri did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

A spokeswoman for the Mandiri-backed e-wallet LinkAja said she could not confirm any talks with WhatsApp.

EPAM Joins Blockchain in Transport Alliance, the World’s Largest Commercial Blockchain Association 10287

EPAM Systems, Inc., a leading global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, today announced that it has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). BiTA is the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world and develops blockchain best practices and standards in the transportation, logistics and supply chain industry. As one of BiTA’s member organizations, EPAM will leverage its software engineering expertise to help the alliance drive standards and enable blockchain technology adoption.

“With all the buzz and hype in the market, some companies assume that blockchain is the ultimate be-all, end-all solution for any business challenge. At EPAM, we’re working closely with our customers to help them truly understand how they can utilize distributed ledger technology, in combination with our other solution offerings, to increase efficiency and unlock new business models,” said Jitin Agarwal, VP, Enterprise Products, EPAM. “With over 25 years of software engineering expertise, we’ve helped our customers through each wave of technology change, and we’re excited to work with BiTA and other industry partners to help our clients navigate this emerging technology and realize the real business benefits of blockchain.”

EPAM has identified 21 blockchain use cases across six industries, including agriculture, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and retail, insurance, healthcare, life sciences and transportation and logistics. With over 30 engagements and 15 working prototypes, EPAM helps its customers create enterprise blockchain solutions from scratch and integrate enterprise IT ecosystems to external blockchains, resulting in increased traceability and greater customer trust and engagement.

“On behalf of the members of BiTA, I welcome EPAM Systems to the Alliance,” said BiTA President Patrick Duffy. “EPAM’s real-world blockchain expertise will be valuable as the organization moves forward in its development of additional standards for the global transportation marketplace.”

Digix partners with UK-based Visa Debit Card Provider, Monolith, and international blockchain organization, MakerDAO, to expand its e-payment solution 10360

Monolith

London-based Monolith announces its partnership with international asset-based Decentralised Finance (DeFi) companies Digix and MakerDAO, to make their tokens loadable on the Monolith Visa debit card.

Taking Decentralised Finance mainstream with Monolith’s Visa debit card

As part of driving the everyday adoption of digital currencies in e-payments, the Monolith team is partnering with international blockchain companies MakerDAO and Digix to bring their respective digital currencies to the Monolith Platform.

Starting from the 15th of August 2019, users who sign up for Monolith will also be able to load their Monolith Visa debit cards with MakerDAO and Digix’s digital currencies through the Monolith mobile app. These currencies can be used for everyday transactions such as paying bills, purchasing goods or even to send and receive money.

Digix is the world’s first smart-asset company using blockchain that accounts for the authentication and provenance of 99.99% investment-grade gold bullions. Every DGX token represents 1 gram of gold that is stored in accredited precious metals vaults in Singapore and Canada. Retail investors holding DGX tokens can exchange their token back at Digix to redeem the physical investment-grade gold bullion.

To mark their partnership with Monolith, Digix is offering the first 1,000 users who activate their Monolith Card 0.1g of Gold in DGX tokens credited to their Monolith Wallet.

Raising the growth and applicability of Decentralised Finance internationally

The decentralized finance space has seen greater attention in 2019 with larger institutions seeing the potential for blockchain in payment processing. Monolith’s announcement comes at a time where prominent institutions such as Visa, J.P Morgan Chase, and Facebook have delved into blockchain-based projects of their own.

Through the Monolith platform and debit card which allows for usage anywhere that accepts Visa, European and London-based retail investors of Digix’s digital assets can now use DGX tokens for everyday purchases. With the credence of connecting with anywhere that accepts Visa, more blockchain-based companies like Digix can integrate their e-payment options to better serve everyday consumers.

“We’re thrilled to have had a fantastic response from our beta users and are now ramping up for growth. Rebranding to Monolith helps us achieve our mission of democratizing finance and bringing the Token economy to everyone while providing a unique service to our customers,” Mel Gelderman, CEO of Monolith said.

“MakerDAO and Digix are some of the most well-recognized and earliest Ethereum-based projects. For TKN holders, these partnerships mean that DAI, DGD, and DGX are now eligible for usage in the TKN Asset Contract. We’re thrilled to offer them on Monolith, and see this as the start of bringing many more quality tokens into the Monolith ecosystem. Watch this space.” he added.

Monolith’s solution provides a powerful way for token holders to extend the usefulness of their crypto-holdings,” said Rune Christensen, CEO, and Cofounder of MakerDAO. “Their cards create a critical bridge from the world of DeFi to the more traditional world of retail.

“Monolith is a pioneer in the space of cryptocurrency cards. This partnership is driven by a common mission with Monolith to democratize access to cryptos to the majority, and increase the utility of blockchain assets, allowing blockchain assets to permeate into everyone’s daily lives.” Kai C. Chng, CEO of Digix said.


About Monolith

Monolith is a London-based banking alternative powered by Ethereum. Established in 2016, Monolith aims to bring the Ethereum economy to the real world.

Available on the App Store (iOS with Android to come), Monolith allows you to securely store ETH and ERC-20 tokens in your own decentralized Contract Wallet. You can then exchange them to fiat and preload them to your Monolith Visa debit card.

The Monolith token, TKN, gives community members a chance to share in the success of the Monolith card and is backed by a basket of Ethereum tokens that people use to pay for everyday purchases.

Find out more at https://monolith.xyz/

Kelly Services Enters Public Blockchain Arena, Partners With Online Hiring Platform 11127

Stablecoins

An increasing number of mainstream giants have taken the plunge into the blockchain world over the past two years. Players such as Walmart and Facebook have shown interest in the technology to improve areas like supply chain and value transfer. Staffing giant Kelly Services has joined online hiring platform Moonlighting to bring blockchain to human capital.

Kelly has announced “a strategic partnership between Kelly Services and Moonlighting,” John Healy, vice president and managing director for the Office of the Future of Work, “an organization within Kelly [Services],” said to me in an interview.

“Kelly’s innovation fund and our Office of the Future of Work, together, are coming together with Jeff [Tennery] and Moonlighting to form this,” Healy said. “A big part of it is the aspect that Moonlighting has made a commitment to using blockchain as a foundation for what they’re doing with their platform as they move forward,” he added. “We think that [there are] some pretty significant market opportunities that are going to come as a result of that.” The Moonlighting platform is based on EOSIO’s public blockchain, with no crypto asset involved, Moonlighting CEO and founder Jeff Tennery clarified to me in an email.

In the hiring world, job seeking and freelancing can be difficult and redundant in the sense that such parties may need to upload their skills, profiles and information to many different platforms and websites in an attempt to gain job exposure. This can be time consuming. Blockchain may hold the keys to smoothing out the process, as well as adding elements of decentralization and security to the mix.

Varonis Uncovers New Malware Strains and a Mysterious Web Shell During a Monero Cryptojacking Investigation 10677

 

The Varonis Security Research team recently investigated an ongoing cryptomining infection that had spread to nearly every device at a mid-size company. Analysis of the collected malware samples revealed a new variant, which the team dubbed “Norman” that uses various techniques to hide and avoid discovery. We also discovered an interactive web shell that may be related to the mining operators.

Research Overview

  • We found a large-scale infection of cryptominers; almost every server and workstation in the company was infected.
  • Since the initial infection, which took place over a year ago, the number of variants and infected devices grew.
  • Norman employs evasion techniques to hide from analysis and avoid discovery.
  • Most of the malware variants relied on DuckDNS (a free, Dynamic DNS service). Some needed it for command and control (C&C) communications, while others used it to pull configuration settings or to send updates.
  • Norman is an XMRig-based cryptominer, a high-performance miner for Monero cryptocurrency.
  • We have no conclusive evidence that connects the cryptominers to the interactive PHP Shell. However, we have strong reason to believe they originate from the same threat actor. We make a case whether they may or may not be connected.
  • We provide tips for defending against remote web shells and cryptominers.

The Investigation

The investigation began during an evaluation of our Data Security Platform, which quickly raised several suspicious network-related alerts for abnormal web activity alongside correlated abnormal file activities. The customer quickly realized the devices flagged by the Varonis platform belonged to the same users who had reported recent unstable applications and network slowdowns.

Varonis’ Forensics team manually investigated the customer’s environment, hopping from infected station to station based on the alerts generated by Varonis. Varonis’ Incident Response team implemented a custom rule in DatAlert to detect machines that were actively mining and quickly contained the incident. The team forwarded malware samples to our Forensics and Research teams, which determined that additional investigation was needed.

Infected hosts were easily detected by their use of DuckDNS, a dynamic DNS service that allows its users to create custom domain names. As stated above, most of the malware from this case relied on DuckDNS for command and control (C&C) communications, to pull configuration settings or send updates.

Almost every server and workstation was infected with malware. Most were generic variants of cryptominers. Some were password dumping tools, some were hidden PHP shells, and some had been present for several years.

We delivered our findings to the customer, removed the malware from their environment, and the infection stopped.

Out of all the cryptominer samples that we found, one stood out. We named it “Norman.”

The Changing World of Payments 11484

Payments

The payments industry is evolving at pace. In Digital Payment Services we are helping to shape those changes, allowing us to transform our services and deliver the best for our users. Often when we talk about payments, people automatically think of CPS, our Central Payment System, however our payments estate is much more extensive and complex than that. That means any new changes will be felt across our payments ecosystem that provides services for our 20 million customers.

Design thinking

The way the industry is changing has not only influenced our design thinking, but has also challenged our understanding of the needs and demands the next 5-10 years could bring, as well as the known challenges and pain points.

A key principle of design thinking is to challenge our mind-set and put the users and their experiences front and centre. Before shaping the future, we need to consider the influencers and disruptors that could have direct and indirect implications. Some of the disruptors we’re watching are Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. Other important influencers include socio-economic changes, such as an aging population increasing demand on our services. We’re also looking at the introduction of open banking, which is aiming to create more competition in the payments industry by opening up and standardising banking data.

An important conclusion of our design thinking is that although we must change and develop new services, we need to protect the core services that our users rely on.

Changing trends

Some of the trends that we’ll be watching as we transform our payment services include:

  • New Payments Architecture – this will introduce the biggest set of changes to the way UK payment schemes process payments in years. Forecasted to start implementation in 2021, a common payment message standard will be introduced, the existing schemes will be consolidated and new overlay services, such as Request to Pay and Confirmation of Payee, will be available.
  • Open Banking – this is now starting to reshape financial services at pace, enabling new business models and products.
  • Distributed Ledger Technologies – we are starting to see the first full production implementations, such as Santander’s One Pay FX. The benefits include reducing time, cost and failure rate associated with making transactions whilst data is stored on a secure immutable ledger.

I’m keen for us to consider how we can harness the payment innovations coming out of these trends and how we can influence the New Payment Architecture to help shape future of payments across government.

Successes so far

Payments are core to our service and are critical to help people live better lives.

We’ve already achieved a lot: we’ve insourced some services, migrated the hosting of our core payments system from external suppliers to on premises hosting and now manage and evolve our payments systems within the department. We have delivered some fairly significant change: introduced a new Faster Payment solution allowing for near real-time payments. And we have migrated our banking services to the new Government Banking Services.

As we move our Payment Services forward they need to be efficient, modern, fast, scalable, flexible, innovative and available 24/7. To do this we’re building a team of incredible people and skills. But most importantly, we’re continuing to ensure our customers receive their payments on time.