Bitcoin breakthrough: Rakuten to accept the currency on global marketplaces

JapanAfter hinting several times over the past year or so that it wants to accept Bitcoin on its marketplaces, Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten announced today that it will start to accept the cryptocurrency on its global marketplaces. The rollout will begin in America, and then spread to Rakuten Germany and Rakuten Austria. Bitnet, an enterprise-focused developer that creates bitcoin platforms, is Rakuten’s partner in the rollout.

https://www.techinasia.com/rakuten-bitcoin-global-marketplace/

WeChat users sent each other 1 billion cash-filled red envelopes last night

ChinaLast night was Chinese New Year’s Eve. Amidst all the other festivities, China’s WeChat users sent each other an astonishing 1.01 billion red envelopes (pictured above), the social media company revealed this afternoon. The virtual red envelopes stuffed with actual cash, which mirror a long-held gift-giving tradition at Chinese New Year, are a growing trend in China as people make more use of online payment methods.

https://www.techinasia.com/wechat-1-billion-red-envelopes-chinese-new-year-2015/

Alibaba’s Alipay users gift US$642M in cash to their buddies for Chinese New Year

ChinaLast night was Chinese New Year’s Eve, when the lunar new year festivities kicked off with family reunions, big dinners, fireworks, and red envelopes stuffed with cash. That last tradition is increasingly shifting online in China. Alibaba just revealed that users of its Alipay Wallet app sent a grand total of RMB 4 billion in cash, which is US$642 million, to their friends and family members during the 24-hour period of Chinese New Year’s Eve.

https://www.techinasia.com/alibaba-alipay-users-gift-cash-red-envelopes-chinese-new-year/

Hong Kong lawmakers urge clamp down on bitcoin

Hong KongThe future does not look bright for bitcoin in Hong Kong as local lawmakers are urging the central bank to ban the virtual currency, following the scam that could have duped investors of up to US$387 million. The company at the centre of the scam, MyCoin, describes itself on its website as the “leading global bitcoin trading platform and application service provider.

http://mis-asia.com/resource/industries/hong-kong-lawmakers-urge-clamp-down-on-bitcoin/

Samsung buys Apple Pay rival

KoreaSamsung will buy mobile payments company LoopPay in a direct play against rival Apple’s own payments platform. The companies today confirmed reports of an impending acquisition that surfaced in December last year. Samsung will acquire LoopPay – a mobile wallet solution provider – for an undisclosed amount. LoopPay’s technology turns existing magnetic stripe readers in point-of-sale (PoS) terminals into contactless receivers, Samsung said, meaning the service can be used in the majority of physical retail stores.

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/400644,samsung-buys-apple-pay-rival.aspx

Line acquires Japanese payment startup WebPay

JapanLine Pay, the payments solution-focused subsidiary of Japanese messaging company Line, has agreed to buy out Tokyo-based WebPay Holdings in order to accelerate Line Pay’s business expansion.  WebPay provides a Stripe-compatible payment processing solutions for e-commerce, web services, and mobile developers in Japan.

http://thebridge.jp/en/2015/02/line-pay-acquires-webpay

Nearly $2M in bitcoins feared lost after Chinese cryptocurrency exchange hack

ChinaA Chinese cryptocurrency exchange revealed on Sunday that 7,170 bitcoins have been stolen by hackers. The current value is about US$1.75 million. The BTER exchange is temporarily closed while it tries to track down the culprits and recover the bitcoins. BTER’s site is now displaying only a notice about the hack along with a reward of 720 bitcoins (US$176,000) for hunting down the perps. This was first noticed by Coindesk.

https://www.techinasia.com/bitcoins-lost-after-china-cryptocurrency-exchange-hack-bter/

PayPal co-founder talks start-ups, China expansion

ChinaTAIPEI, Taiwan — Silicon Valley is underestimating the distance to which the Chinese government is willing to go boost its global expansion, said PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel in Taipei recently. Thiel was asked to assess whether Jack Ma’s (馬雲) e-commerce platform Alibaba Group, the face of China’s entrepreneurship success story, can be a game-changer overseas.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/asia-taiwan/2015/02/17/429175/PayPal-co-founder.htm

Ecommerce services for payment to start

MyanmarWhile services like US-based PayPal and China’s AliPay are making it easy for seamless e-commerce around the world, Myanmar is still a cash-based society, with few of the solutions that has helped drive online shopping in the rest of the world. The Myanmar Payments Union, an enterprise owned by the domestic banks, is planning to launch a service allowing for online payments. It is already working with Cooperative, Myawaddy and United Amara, and is actively attempting to recruit more banks to take part in the service, said MPU chief executive U Zaw Lin Htut.

http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/technology/13075-ecommerce-services-for-payment-to-start.html

Aussie Bitcoin miner scolded for pre-IPO marketing

AustraliaRegulators have ordered Australia’s Bitcoin Group to stop making public statements about its plans to undertake the world’s first initial public offering of a virtual currency exchange after the company approached potential Chinese investors via social media. Melbourne-based start-up Bitcoin Group in December said it hoped to raise $20 million on the Australian Stock Exchange, and had been seeking expressions of interest from potential investors from the Chinese community through Wechat, China’s hugely popular instant messaging service.

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/400510,aussie-bitcoin-miner-scolded-for-pre-ipo-marketing.aspx

Ecommerce services for payment to start

MyanmarWhile services like US-based PayPal and China’s AliPay are making it easy for seamless e-commerce around the world, Myanmar is still a cash-based society, with few of the solutions that has helped drive online shopping in the rest of the world. The Myanmar Payments Union, an enterprise owned by the domestic banks, is planning to launch a service allowing for online payments. It is already working with Cooperative, Myawaddy and United Amara, and is actively attempting to recruit more banks to take part in the service, said MPU chief executive U Zaw Lin Htut.

http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/technology/13075-ecommerce-services-for-payment-to-start.html

Bitcoin pyramid scheme in Hong Kong makes off with $387M of investors’ money

Hong KongA scam involving bitcoin in Hong Kong has robbed investors of HK$3 billion (US$387 million), according to the South China Morning Post. MyCoin.hk, a small local bitcoin exchange, suddenly closed and boarded up its office last month. The company reportedly ran a pyramid scheme wherein as many as 3,000 local investors signed up for the promise of a HK$1 million (US$129,000) return on HK$400,000 (US$52,000) bitcoin mining contracts.

https://www.techinasia.com/bitcoin-pyramid-scheme-hong-kong-387m-investors-money/

Alibaba’s financial affiliate takes 25% stake in Indian payments service Paytm

IndiaAnt Financial, the affiliate group of Alibaba that oversees its third-party payment service Alipay, has invested in India’s One97, the parent company of third-party payment service Paytm, Bloomberg reports. The size of the investment has not been disclosed, but Ant Financial will take a 25 percent stake in the New Delhi-based firm.

https://www.techinasia.com/alibaba-confirms-investment-indian-payments-service-paytm-takes-25-stake-parent/

Indonesian Bitcoin startups must now compete with BitX

IndonesiaIt’s fair to say that Bitcoin technology has grabbed attention in Indonesia, especially after local startup Bitdoku facilitated US$22,000 worth of bitcoin transactions within 24 hours at Startup Asia Jakarta 2014. Tech in Asia also recently ran a piece on the most popular Bitcoin startups in Indonesia.

https://www.techinasia.com/indonesia-bitx-bitcoin-launch/

Service NSW building centralised payments system

AustraliaNew South Wales (NSW) is to build a single, centralised payments system for all agencies in the state to use, tender documents have revealed. Service NSW – the agency charged with bringing together all citizen-facing public services – has published documents seeking commercial interest in building the new system to handle online payments made by citizens.

http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/6075-new-south-wales-building-centralised-payments-system

Service NSW to build whole-of-govt payments platform

AustraliaService NSW has revealed plans to introduce a single whole-of-government payments engine by the end of 2015 as part of its mission to overhaul the state’s customer-facing services. Service NSW is the young agency charged with consolidating government customer service channels traditionally run on an agency-by-agency basis.  One of its projects this year is to bring Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) functions within its remit, meaning transactions like licence renewals and vehicle registration will increasingly be taken out of the road agency’s hands.

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/399608,service-nsw-to-build-whole-of-govt-payments-platform.aspx

SMI, Citi, and Visa revolutionize digital payments

SMART e-Money, Inc. (SMI), the mobile financial solutions arm of Smart Communications, Inc., in partnership with Citi Philippines and Visa recently unveiled Charge2Phone or C2P, the country’s first sticker-based Near Field Communication (NFC) payment solution that is expected to revolutionize the way Filipino consumers pay for face-to-face and online transactions. This innovative payment technology enables Smart and Sun postpaid subscribers to use their phones not only for SMS, calls and browsing services, but also to pay for small-ticket items.

http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/01/10/smi-citi-and-visa-revolutionize-digital-payments/

Japan’s Credit Saison invests in Singapore-based ewallet MatchMove Pay

Singapore-based mobile payments provider MatchMove Pay today announced a “significant” investment round led by Japanese credit card and financial services company Credit Saison and joined by GMO Venture Partners. The funding amount was not disclosed. Japanese investors have exhibited a piqued interest in Southeast Asian tech companies, likely due in large part to their country’s rapidly shrinking and aging society coupled with a flat domestic economy with an ever-weakening yen.

https://www.techinasia.com/credit-saison-matchmove-pay-ewallet-funding/

M-commerce, payments and IoT to boost mobile innovations in APAC

INTERNATIONAL Data Corporation (IDC) expects the Asia Pacific mobility market to continue experiencing strong growth in 2015 as mobile takes centrestage for business growth in both consumer and enterprise markets. “The conditions couldn’t be better for strong mobility growth in the Asia Pacific region in the coming year,” said Ian Song, research manager for Enterprise Mobility at IDC Asia/Pacific.

http://www.digitalnewsasia.com/mobile-telco/mcommerce-payments-and-iot-to-boost-mobile-innovations-in-apac

Police suspect fraud took most of Mt. Gox’s missing bitcoins

Nearly all of the roughly US$370 million in bitcoin that disappeared in the February 2014 collapse of Mt. Gox probably vanished due to fraudulent transactions, with only 1 percent taken by hackers, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, citing sources close to a Tokyo police probe.

http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/563121/police-suspect-fraud-took-most-mt-gox-missing-bitcoins/