Libra adds Shopify as member

Libra, Shopify | February 21, 2020

After shedding several high-profile members, the Facebook-led digital currency project Libra has signed up online commerce giant Shopify.Shopify becomes the first new Libra Association member in four months, stemming a tide in the opposite direction which has seen Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, Vodafone, Mercado Paygo, and booking.com all bail on the project. Explaining its decision to sign on to the stablecoin initiative, Shopify says: "As online commerce becomes increasingly borderless, it’s easy to forget that payments and the value exchange of goods are not a solved problem everywhere. Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce."

Spotlight

How can companies stay compliant with regulations such as FINRA, MiFID II, and GDPR? Should they ban WhatsApp at work and risk the productivity and efficient communication between their employees? Or should they rather create effective policies and invest in the right technologies to help them stay compliant and achieve effective enterprise communications all at once? The emergence of blockchain technology has become inextricably linked to Bitcoin,2 a ‘virtual currency’ that allows users to trade ‘bitcoins’ directly from peer to peer without involving banks or other intermediaries.3 Whereas Bitcoin in theory is nothing more than a unit of account, it has in practice developed functions akin to those of money, in particular since it can be freely exchanged against currency and is regularly used to store value.4 Bitcoin has also risen to prominence as a means of payment (over 100,000 retailers accept bitcoins).


Other News
PAYMENTS

Huntington National Bank expands digital payments through acquisition of fintech Torana

Huntington | May 16, 2022

Huntington National Bank, a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares, Incorporated (Nasdaq: HBAN) announced today it has acquired Digital Payments Torana, Inc. (Torana), a business-to-consumer payments fintech based in San Francisco. Torana's digital payments solution, which will launch as Huntington ChoicePay, will further enhance Huntington's digital capabilities and advance Huntington's enterprise payments strategy. Torana's payment solution is a software as a service (SaaS) model built in the cloud and will enable Huntington and its clients to distribute digital payments to a variety of end users. Torana's acquisition aligns with our enterprise payments strategy of servicing clients across businesses of all sizes and enables us to maintain a leadership position within our commercial banking segment and further develop additional scale in verticals such as healthcare, public sector, insurance and Huntington's National Settlements business, Huntington ChoicePay technology enhances our commitment to delivering differentiated, automated experiences through best-in-class digital tools, and it aligns extremely well with our digital innovation roadmap. Scott Kleinman, co-president of Huntington Commercial Banking. This payment solution will increase engagement with our business and commercial clients because of its ability to rapidly distribute payments to end consumers who are increasingly seeking a faster and broader range of payments options – all critical drivers of customer satisfaction. Kleinman. About Huntington Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (Nasdaq: HBAN) is a $177 billion asset regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1866, The Huntington National Bank and its affiliates provide consumers, small and middle‐market businesses, corporations, municipalities, and other organizations with a comprehensive suite of banking, payments, wealth management, and risk management products and services. Huntington operates more than 1,000 branches in 11 states, with certain businesses operating in extended geographies.

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BITCOIN AND CRYPTO

Ledgible Introduces Free Crypto Tax Estimate Tool for Tax Extension Filing

Ledgible | March 09, 2022

Ledgible, the leading professional-first platform for tax and accounting of crypto assets, announced the availability of Ledgible Crypto Platform for tax professionals to assist clients with an estimate of crypto obligations in order to file a IRS tax extension. The crypto tax estimates are for tax planning and extension filing purposes. This year most of the estimated 50 million crypto holders understand the potential tax consequences surrounding crypto presenting a challenge to tax professionals as traditional tax packages cannot accurately account for all crypto transactions. Tools like Ledgible Crypto make it easy for tax professionals to connect their client's exchange accounts and wallets to identify taxable transactions, calculate the correct tax gain/loss, and import the results directly into traditional tax packages, For those who need a bit more time, we are offering the ability to estimate crypto taxes in order to file an extension of taxes due with the IRS." Kell Canty, CEO of Ledgible. The Ledgible Platform supports a wide range of integrations across major blockchains, cryptocurrency exchanges, and wallets. As the bridge between cryptoassets and traditional financial accounting, the Ledgible Crypto Platform is the integrated crypto tax tool for tax professionals. The Platform determines crypto tax liabilities and delivers that data to the tax filing systems used by tax professionals. The platform produces IRS Form 8949 and other reporting formats that are directly importable to filing systems with all major tax and accounting solutions. About Ledgible Ledgible is an AICPA SOC 1 & 2 assured tax reporting and portfolio tracking platform for crypto assets for professionals, enterprises, and consumers. The Ledgible Crypto Platform is the proven crypto asset solution for tax and accounting professionals with leading accounting firms, institutions, and major crypto companies globally. Ledgible Crypto Tax Pro is used by thousands of firms to make tax reporting easy for their professionals and clients.

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FUNDING

Astra Launches First-Ever Point-to-Point Debit Transfer Product Powered by Cross River

Astra, Inc. | December 17, 2021

Astra, Inc. (“Astra”), the automation platform for money movement, today announced the launch of its first-ever card-to-card instant payment API. Through a strategic partnership with Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology-driven financial services organization that provides core infrastructure and embedded financial solutions, Astra is providing the critical infrastructure that will, for the first time, enable fintech developers to fund accounts and facilitate deposits via the debit card payment rails. “Astra’s new instant payment API gives fintech developers the ability to easily embed card-to-card transfers into their own application, for the first time without the need for any additional infrastructure. The funds are instantly applied to the destination card,” said Gil Akos, CEO of Astra, Inc. “Never before have developers been able to leverage card payment rails like Visa to instantly transfer cash between debit cards. We are extremely excited about the product innovations our team, together with Cross River, have been able to build on our platform that will transform the industry.” Financial technology products have the ability to choose several payment options when processing account-to-account (A2A) transactions via ACH or traditional card processing services. With this new solution, developers can process a transaction instantly, directly from one debit card onto a second debit card, without the need for settlement accounts or developing reconciliation operations. The solution is also PCI compliant by default. Astra’s secure API integration ensures developers will have limited liability for sensitive card data. “Astra chose to partner with Cross River to develop this innovative solution and with our new product, we can leverage the experience of Cross River and combine it with our work in risk mitigation and automation to make fast transfers on the debit network more streamlined and efficient than ever before,” said Sam Morgan, COO of Astra, Inc. Cross River provides leading technology and deep banking expertise which has become the foundation on which dozens of partners build their ecosystems and fuel their brands. This partnership will add new functionality to Astra’s payments API while increasing the speed of transfers and the accessibility of the debit card system for developers across the United States, all through Cross River’s comprehensive, one-stop-shop platform that provides streamlined access to the payment rails, core infrastructure, and a robust compliance framework. We are excited to partner with Astra as they bring their innovative payments solution to market. Cross River’s payments and banking API infrastructure allows fintechs like Astra to create value for their clients. Gil, Sam, and the entire Astra team have created a unique and differentiated way to move money, leveraging our core competency in card payments.” Keith Vander Leest, Director of Payments at Cross River. About Astra Astra is a leading provider of advanced bank-to-bank transfer technology for financial institutions, fintechs, and enterprises. With headquarters in San Francisco, the company was founded in 2016 by co-founders Gil Akos and Sam Morgan. Astra’s proprietary, vertically integrated API allows developers to easily embed financial automation within their existing products. For more information, visit https://astra.finance. About Cross River Cross River is a fast-growing financial services organization that merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise and traditional services of a bank. Since its founding in 2008, Cross River has developed strategic partnerships with leading technology companies, marketplace lenders and payment providers, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Cross River provides a highly secure, API-based banking platform and comprehensive suite of products encompassing lending, payments, risk management and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings to deliver responsible financial solutions that empower businesses and consumers anytime, anywhere. Cross River Bank is a New Jersey state-chartered FDIC insured bank.

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PAYMENTS

ZIL MONEY CORPORATION PARTNERS WITH FISERV

ZIL MONEY | March 11, 2022

Zil Money Corporation announces its partnership with Fiserv, a global technology provider of financial service solutions. Zil Money, the parent company of onlinecheckwriter.com, will now offer the lowest cost credit card processing in the industry using Clover Connect. CEO and Founder of Zil Money, Sabeer Nelli states "We will meet or beat any price" when it comes to customers receiving payments using Fiserv solutions. Clover Connect is Fiserv's integration portal that will enable Zil Money customers to transform their software into an ultimate business management tool. Point of Sale systems will be made available to Zil customers to accept payments at lower costs to the business owner and seamlessly track sales with integration to their existing reports all in one place. Clover Connect cleverly uses its slogan "Powerful alone, better together" to emphasize the streamlined businesses' successes with their partners. This integrated payments approach as a solution to better serve Zil Money's current customers creates a more powerful union. Fiserv is one of the largest payments processors worldwide, moving money and information for thousands of financial institutions and millions of individuals and businesses, the company says. Fiserv helps more than 12,000 banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and leasing companies, investment firms, and other business clients deliver financial services. According to their website, they have 1.4 billion accounts on file, working with six million merchant locations, and enable 100 million digital banking users. ZilMoney.com is a B2B account payable and receivable platform that offers integration with your bank or to open a FDIC insured bank account using their cloud banking options or through their zilbank.com platform. Zil Money offers expense cards, vendor management, cloud-based approval flow, auto reconcile, positive pay, and more. Since 2019, Zil Money has acquired more than 390,000 customers into their platform and processed over $27 billion in transactions. One million beneficiaries of their system stand to gain from their new credit card processing partnership. The partnership between Zil Money and Fiserv will strengthen the platform enabling businesses to process payments using credit solutions that drive sales faster and more efficiently. By adding this new tool, the Company's flagship platform, Online Check Writer, continues to underscore its all-in-one approach for small to medium-sized businesses.

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Spotlight

How can companies stay compliant with regulations such as FINRA, MiFID II, and GDPR? Should they ban WhatsApp at work and risk the productivity and efficient communication between their employees? Or should they rather create effective policies and invest in the right technologies to help them stay compliant and achieve effective enterprise communications all at once? The emergence of blockchain technology has become inextricably linked to Bitcoin,2 a ‘virtual currency’ that allows users to trade ‘bitcoins’ directly from peer to peer without involving banks or other intermediaries.3 Whereas Bitcoin in theory is nothing more than a unit of account, it has in practice developed functions akin to those of money, in particular since it can be freely exchanged against currency and is regularly used to store value.4 Bitcoin has also risen to prominence as a means of payment (over 100,000 retailers accept bitcoins).

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