TeraExchange Receives US Approval to Launch First Bitcoin Derivative

“The first financial instrument tied to bitcoin has launched following approval from the US government.  TeraExchange, a swap execution facility based in Summit, New Jersey, is marketing the bitcoin derivative to large institutions looking for a way to reduce the volatility and risk associated with traditional types of bitcoin exposure.  TeraExchange began working on the product earlier this year, and only just received approval from the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the government agency that regulates futures and options markets.  The bitcoin swap enables parties to hedge against fluctuations in the digital currency’s value.”


BitPay Expands European Headquarters

“Last week, BitPay announced plans to move to a larger office in the Dutch capital after observing a bitcoin payment explosion in Europe of €28 million this year: a whopping 1,900 percent increase from last year’s €1.4 million.  With demand for the cryptocurrency found particularly high in the U.K., Germany, and Netherlands, BitPay hopes to acquire 30,000 merchants in Europe by the end of 2014. The company cited already had 7,000 by earlier this year.  In May, BitPay received $30 million capital infusion led by London-based Index Ventures, just a month after announcing plans to expand operations in South America and Europe.”


PayPal’s Braintree Embraces Bitcoin, One-Touch Payments

“Nearly a year after PayPal acquired it in an all-cash $800 million deal, online and mobile payments platform Braintree is unveiling one-touch payments and is integrating Bitcoin.  They’re partnering with Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Coinbase to enable Bitcoin-based payments.  ‘This is PayPal making a move to embrace Bitcoin,’ Ready said, pointing out that Braintree is the go-to developer platform for PayPal.   Developers who have integrated Braintree’s software development kit will also be able to add Bitcoin to their payment methods. The integration will support instant exchanges, meaning that the merchant doesn’t have to handle Bitcoin directly.”


Apple Pay won’t bite into bitcoin: Winklevoss

“Apple’s entry into mobile payments last week through Apple Pay won’t really waver use of bitcoin, investor Cameron Winklevoss told CNBC on Thursday.  ‘I don’t think they compete. I think Apple Pay is a closed system. You know, bitcoin is inherently open sourced, decentralized,’ Winklevoss said on ‘Squawk Alley,’ where he promoted his investment in Authy, a two-factor authentication app.  Bitcoin is a digital currency, not backed by any government or central bank, that fluctuates in value according to its users’ demand. Users can transfer bitcoins to each other online, store the currency in digital ‘wallets’ and pay for goods at select retailers.”


Walmart Rejects Apple Pay For Rival Payments Service

“Instead, the country’s largest retail chain will throw its considerable clout behind a service under development by Merchant Customer Exchange, which is owned by Walmart itself and several other retailers, including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Darden Restaurants, Shell Oil and Target.  MCE’s CurrentC Network is expected to debut in more than 100,000 retail locations in 2015. It lets consumers pay for goods with an Android or iOS app.  Merchants on board with Apple Pay, meanwhile, include Bloomingdales, McDonald’s, Staples, Disney and Macy’s.  Competing mobile payment networks could put consumers and businesses in the unwieldy position of having to deal with incompatible standards.”


PayPal Takes Potshot at Apple Pay, Mentioning iCloud Breach in New Ad

“eBay Inc. appears to be warily eyeing Apple Pay, the new iOS-tied NFC payment system which Apple, Inc. is preparing to launch for the iPhone, and (the upcoming) Apple Watch.  As PayPal steps up its own NFC payments campaign (using its Android app), Apple is perhaps the biggest obstacle given its propensity for closed, tightly integrated services.  But PayPal isn’t going quietly.  It took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, in which it proclaims: ‘We the people want our money safer than our selfies; PayPal, protecting the people economy.'”


Alibaba’s Alipay And PayPal Will, And Should, Destroy Physical Banks

“Who needs banks? I’m not questioning the basis of our financial system—I’m talking about  physical (high cost, low service) bank branches.  Someone will truly digitize the entire experience—and when they do, the product will look a lot like China’s Alipay. Controlled by Jack Ma  and other Alibaba executives, the PayPal-like company processed $519 billion worth of digital payments in 2013 (Paypal processed $180 billion). Alipay offers a lot more than easy e-commerce payments.  Alibaba’s payment platform is morphing into all-in-one banking tool:  a savings bank, wire service and investment house. Most importantly, it’s all done via mobile device.”



Alibaba launches entertainment investment fund

“The product, called ‘Yu Le Bao’ or ‘entertainment treasure’ in English, lets people deposit a minimum of 100 yuan ($16.12) using their smartphones. The funds will then be invested in film, television programme and online game projects through insurance and wealth management products offered by Guohua Life, a Shanghai-based life insurance company.  Yu Le Bao has a forecast annualized interest rate of 7 percent, more than twice the capped 3.3 percent rate that traditional banks can offer depositors.  Customers who invest in Yu Le Bao can also meet the actors of the films and shows in which they invest and decide who directs and who will act as the leading man and lady.”


China’s Largest Bank Declares War on Alibaba

“ICBC informed customers that it was cutting back resources needed to process such transfers.  Alipay said the restrictions were imposed by ICBC and referred customers to the bank’s service hotline. It also suggested customers try using a different bank account for Alipay.  The move follows on the heels of similar moves in recent months, with all four state-run banks imposing new monthly limits on the amount of money customers can transfer to mobile payment products like Alipay. In response to such moves, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has come out swinging. ‘What determines success in the market shouldn’t be the monopolies and those with power, but the consumers,’ he said.”


Alibaba to boost IPO size on “overwhelming” demand

“The Chinese e-commerce company launched the IPO last week and had enough investor demand to cover the entire deal within two days, people familiar with the process said last week.  Alibaba could set a new record for the world’s biggest IPO if underwriters exercise an option to sell additional shares to meet demand, pushing it as high as $24.3 billion and overtaking Agricultural Bank of China Ltd’s $22.1 billion listing in 2010.  The company and some shareholders offered 320.1 million American depositary shares at a $60-$66 per share indicative range. Alibaba will likely file an amendment to its IPO with a higher price range after discussing the new price with large U.S.  investors.”