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The UK led the world in open banking — and then got left behind | Financial Times

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Digital challengers now have 8 per cent of the market for personal current accounts, according to the financial regulator. But the market remains very concentrated among the biggest institutions, with a share of more than 80 per cent.

From The UK led the world in open banking — and then got left behind | Financial Times:

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Ordinals protocol sparks debate over the place for NFTs in the Bitcoin ecosystem

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The recent launch of a nonfungible token (NFT) protocol on the Bitcoin mainnet has the crypto community divided over whether it’ll be good for the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The protocol, referred to as “Ordinals,” was created by software engineer Casey Rodarmor, who officially launched the program on the Bitcoin mainnet following a Jan. 21 blog post.

From Ordinals protocol sparks debate over the place for NFTs in the Bitcoin ecosystem:

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he NFT-like structures are created by inscribing satoshis — the native currency of the Bitcoin network — with arbitrary content.

From Ordinals protocol sparks debate over the place for NFTs in the Bitcoin ecosystem:

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Ordinals, in its current form, wouldn’t be possible without Bitcoin’s 2017 Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade and the more recent 2021 Taproot upgrade. SegWit helped scale Bitcoin by introducing a block field to hold “witness data” – signatures and public keys for Bitcoin transactions. Potential vulnerabilities forced developers to impose limits on the size of that data. When Taproot came along, it resolved those security concerns, allowing the old SegWit restrictions to be removed and paving the way for large chunks of NFT data to be stored on-chain. Turns out it’s the perfect foundation for Ordinals.

From Bitcoin Community Erupts in Existential Debate Over NFT Project Ordinals:

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Mobey Forum: Now is the time for banks to secure role in digital identity – Mobey Forum : Mobey Forum

The Mobey Forum (which was established back in 2000) is a global, not for profit industry association of banks and other financial institutions who want to shape the future of digital financial services. Their Digital Identity Expert Group has just published a report called “The Rise of Digital Identity Wallets: Will Banks Be Left Behind?”, which suggests that a combination of consumers demand, regulatory mandates (such as eIDAS in Europe) and the trend toward digital identity wallet issuance by global governments means that financial institutions must start thinking about the role they wish to stake out in the emerging digital identity ecosystem. In particular, they identity unique opportunities for banks to leverage their position as custodians of personal data to offer value-added digital identity services and become brokers of trust in the digital economy. The report suggests that for digital identity systems to succeed, banks must bridge the divide between private and public sector and drive adoption of so-called digital identity wallets.

POST Brazil

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The Binance Card issued by Dock will allow all new and existing Binance users in Brazil with a valid national ID to make purchases and pay bills with cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and BNB, at over 90 million Mastercard merchants worldwide, both in-store and online. Users can enjoy a seamless transaction in which their cryptocurrencies are converted to fiat currency in real-time at the point of purchase. One of the perks includes up to 8% cashback in crypto on eligible purchases and zero fees* on ATM withdrawals.

From Binance and Mastercard launch prepaid crypto card in Brazil, one of the world’s largest crypto markets | Mastercard Newsroom:

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Binance Card holders in Brazil will be able to pay using their Brazilian Real balance or in 13 other cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin and the Santos fan token) for a 0.9% conversion fee. I mention the Santos fan token, by the way, because a study from Trading Browser has analysed the various soccer fan tokens out there over the last year and found that this was the best performing one! A $100 “invested” in the Santos fan token on 1st January 2022 was worth $123 on 1st January 2023.

(Santos are a Brazilian soccer team, one of the biggest in South America. Their most famous player, Pele, sadly died recently.)

Stripe in Talks to Raise Up to $3 Billion From Current Investors — The Information

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Employees have been concerned that Stripe’s margins will compress, leading the company to try tacking on other, higher margin services to its core business.

From Stripe in Talks to Raise Up to $3 Billion From Current Investors — The Information:

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Digital unified public bus system rollout set for 2023 – Eye Witness News

The key role of the bus in the mass-market use of digital money and digital identity

The digital pass will ultimately phase out cash payments for bus fares in favor of digital payments, QR codes, and value tap cards using The Bahamas’ CBDC Sand Dollar, according to a statement.

From Digital unified public bus system rollout set for 2023 – Eye Witness News:

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More Businesses Go Cashless, But Will Cash Disappear?

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Take the example of Sweetgreen. The salad restaurant chain experimented with going cashless in 2016 and reported that those stores recorded up to 15 percent more transactions an hour than its stores that took cash. Those locations also saved about two hours per day on cash management work, such as balancing register drawers and making bank deposits. This prompted the company to implement cashless operations at all stores, although it backed away from that after some customer backlash.

From More Businesses Go Cashless, But Will Cash Disappear?.

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The salad chain Sweetgreen said Thursday that it would start accepting legal tender, amid a growing backlash to “cashless” stores around the country. The move came on the heels of Amazon Go’s confirmation this month that it, too, would begin taking cash.

Critics say cashless stores discriminate against people without access to bank accounts or credit cards, or who simply prefer to pay with cash. Some have also raised concerns about privacy and data security. Philadelphia and the state of New Jersey passed laws banning cashless stores last month, and New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington are considering similar bills.

From Sweetgreen Scraps Its Cashless Policy as Criticism Grows – The New York Times.

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Consumer spending: The Australians who can’t remember using cash

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Ellysha Gillespie, 32, said she received thousands of dollars in cash when she got married in the Hunter Valley earlier this month before holidaying in Sydney. She quickly banked all the money, saying the only time she uses cash is when the eftpos machine at her nail salon has stopped working.

From Consumer spending: The Australians who can’t remember using cash.

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Payment Trends to Watch in 2023

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2023 could be a tipping point for open banking payments in the UK and the US with “new payment services leveraging open banking APIs” being a top IT product investment priority for almost one in four (23%) UK respondents and one in five (20% US respondents, according to Omdia’s 2022/23 survey of payment issuers/acquirers. Variable recurring payments (VRP) are being labeled the breakthrough use case: VRP is a more modern, secure, and flexible way of collecting regular payments for businesses and consumers than the traditional but inefficient direct debit or ACH system. Given the popularity of subscriptions and preference for utility firms to collect regular payments, VRPs could be the hero use case, offering flexibility to customers, that accelerates adoption in the UK, the US and the rest of the world.

From Payment Trends to Watch in 2023.

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