Reuters reports that Mastercard has formally complained to the US government that the Indian government is deliberately promoting domestic payment networks over international ones like Mastercard and that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has actively used nationalism in promotion of payment processing network RuPay.

According to the report, Mastercard and Visa are not the dominant payment modes in India – at least half of the country’s payment cards use the RuPay network.

Modi has likened the use of RuPay to public service because the transaction fees stay inside the country.

The complaint was in the form of a note to the Office of the United States Trade Representative from Sahra English, who serves as the company’s Vice President for Global Public Policy. It read, in part:

“Increasing rhetoric from the prime minister and government mandates on promotion and preference for RuPay […] continues to create market access issues for U.S. payments technology companies. The Indian government’s preferential treatment of RuPay coupled with fallacies on pricing must be discontinued.”

The move, in Mastercard’s view, will hopefully stimulate some form of action on the part of the US government. It is coupled with other pro-domestic moves on the part of the Indian government which are meant to increase local revenues, such as forcing foreign technology companies to store more data locally, which stimulates local data storage revenues.

Indian Government Seemingly Against Any Outside Payment Rails

Mastercard and other traditional payment processors are not the only payment providers to be the subject of government interference and/or disparaging. Crypto tokens are formally on the chopping block in the country, and the operator of a non-functioning Bitcoin ATM was recently arrested.

Trading has largely halted in India as a result of a ban in placesurrounding the practice. Indian Bitcoiners may find themselves in a similar situation as those in China, where theycan possess coins but not use them for much, although progress is being made on that front and it appears Chinese merchants can also accept Bitcoin. The trouble with local regulations is that they can often be confusing and widely vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

India comprises almost a fifth of the global population and many of its residents live in the sort of poverty that cryptoassets, given the opportunity, can help alleviate. The question of how much such opportunity India will have remains to be answered, but to date it doesn’t look good.

This post credited to ccn Featured image from Shutterstock.

From Visa’s potential entry into the world of crypto to a new app bringing XRP to social media, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the blockchain metaverse.

Visa & Crypto

In a new interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Visa CEO Al Kelly says Visa is prepared to implement cryptocurrency if need be.

“If we actually think that crypto starts moving from being more of a commodity to actually really being a payment instrument…

If it goes in that direction, we will move in that direction. We want to be in the middle, Jim, of every payment flow in the world regardless of how it happens or what the currency is behind it. So if we have to go there, we will go there. But right now, it’s more of a commodity than a payment vehicle.”

BitcoinNew data reveals Bitcoin adoption is on the rise in Canada.

According to a report from the Ontario Securities Commission and the Bank of Canada, the number of Canadians who own Bitcoin went from 2.9% in 2016 to 5% in 2017.

“The increase in Bitcoin ownership was seen more in certain demographic groups. The 18-to-24 age group, already one of the main users of Bitcoin in 2016, grew the most in ownership, from 6 to 14% in 2017. Most other age groups saw increased ownership as well, but the differences were usually not significant. The exception was the 45-to-54 age group, where ownership grew almost four times over from 0.9 to 3.5%.”

Ripple and XRP

In a new interview with the UK fintech outlet Bobsguide, Ripple’s head of strategic accounts says there’s little reason for Ripple to collaborate with the international payment network Swift.

“If you look at the value of Swift versus Ripple, it’s hard to see the incentive for us to collaborate. Swift may want to chat. They may see value in Ripple and the model that we’re developing.

I think it’s very important to keep things clean and focused. That’s how we’ve succeeded up until now. The entire stack we’ve created is fresh and new and free of legacy. It’s a very elegant proposition from top to bottom. We don’t really want to pollute that. Whether there’ll be some commercial arrangement, I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, the popular XRP Tip Bot just released an app for iOS and Android. The platform allows anyone to send XRP to users on Twitter, Telegram and Discord.

Tron 

Tron founder Justin Sun and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao met up at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to boost blockchain’s use in the non-profit sector of the economy.

At the World Investment Forum, Zhao unveiled his company’s new blockchain-based donation portal, the Blockchain Charity Foundation. Tron recently contributed $3 million in donations to the new initiative.

TRON Foundation

@Tronfoundation

TRON is proud to join @binance in discussing the implementation of blockchain innovation to the non-profit sector at the . Leaders @cz_binance and @justinsuntron are paving the way to utilize tech for social good. @UNDP https://finance.yahoo.com/news/binance-unveils-blockchain-based-donation-160000702.html 

EOS

Sign-ups are open for the next EOS hackathon. The event will be in San Francisco, from November 10th – 11th.

Block.one

@EOS_io

After a truly enjoyable experience meeting participants at the London EOS Hackathon, we’re thrilled to announce that our CTO Dan Larimer (@bytemaster7) will join the panel of judges at the next in San Francisco. Sign up here https://eoshackathon.io/events/san-francisco/ 

EOS Hackathon in San Francisco | EOS Global Hackathon

See you in San Francisco for the next hackathon at The Village on Nov 10-11, and join us in building the future of decentralized applications on EOSIO.

eoshackathon.io

Litecoin

A new video of Litecoin creator Charlie Lee on a panel at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas is now online.

Lee joins the founder of Elixxirto David Chaum to talk about privacy and security in the digital age.

 This post credited to Daily HODL  Image source: Daily HODL

Amid Mastercard’s unexpected push for a patent outlining “fractional reserve” banking for crypto assets, the CEO of Visa has claimed that cryptocurrencies aren’t a pertinent threat to the stability of legacy financial systems.

Al Kelly: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency Aren’t Immediate Threats To Visa

Months after claiming that the “sun has set” on Bitcoin and crypto assets, former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer, spoke with Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, on CNBC Mad Money to discuss the payment processor’s ambitions to enter the cryptosphere.

Cramer, who rose to prominence on the public stage as the eccentric showrunner for CNBC’s Mad Money segment, first asked Kelly if his firm deems cryptocurrencies as a challenge to the Visa’s hegemony in the financial world. Responding, Kelly stated:

“Certainly not in the short to medium-term in any way, as I think that [the market needs to actually believe] that crypto is moving from being a commodity to really being a payment instrument. [There also] needs to be a market so that it can become somewhat like a fiat currency in order for us to be comfortable with it.”

While the CEO’s comments sounded skeptical at best, Kelly added that if crypto assets somehow succeed, he would be open to pushing Visa to “move in that direction,” as the multinational corporation intends to situate itself in the world’s leading financial mediums. However, the traditionalist alluded to the fact that he still isn’t sold on the idea of cryptocurrencies, expressing that this innovation remains a commodity in Visa’s eyes.

He elaborated, closing his appearance on Cramer’s Mad Money with the following comment:

“If we have to go there (cryptocurrency), we will go there, but right now, its more of a commodity than a payment vehicle.”

Mastercard Seeks Crypto-Backed “Fractional Reserves,” Aims To Undermine Decentralization

Still, many are fearful that crypto-centric forays from firms like Visa and Mastercard could spell the end of financial decentralization, even though it has only been a single decade since Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous innovator and coder extraordinaire, launched the Bitcoin that many have grown to love.

Earlier this year, Mastercard, Visa’s foremost competitor, filed a U.S. patent that outlined a “method and system for linkage of blockchain-based assets to fiat currency accounts.” While the patent’s given title doesn’t raise any immediate red flags, decentralization diehards quickly took issue with the document’s abstract, which mentioned “fractional reserves” in its first sentence.

The official patent, which is still pending approval in U.S. courts, outlines a method that allows New York-based Mastercard to manage fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies simultaneously. The system, which allows financial institutions to monetize blockchain networks, will allow banks to facilitate fractional reserve banking for crypto assets through a complex ecosystem of databases, devices, and accounts.

Mastercard’s proposed system essentially undermines the concept of decentralized assets, as it links cryptocurrencies to the fiat world, which is an industry that Satoshi sought to crush by redistributing power to consumers. Surpsiringly, Mastercard’s move to file the aforementioned patent came just days before the CEO of Mastercard, Ajay Banga, bashed the cryptocurrency space for its supposed affiliation with the underside of society — money launders, terrorists, and the like.

While these two occurrences aren’t indicative of the firm’s final position on crypto assets, the bottom line is that Mastercard and Visa may not have the best intentions in mind when seeking to foray into this nascent market.

This post credited to News BTC  Image source: NewsBTC

On October 12, Finance Magnates reported that payment giants Mastercard and VISA will both soon group cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) jurisdictions in a new “high risk” category.

What are the consequences for those ‘high risk’ merchants?

According to the publication’s undisclosed sources, the ban will be applied to brokers who operate “from unregulated or loosely regulated environments,” and therefore have no license that would show that proper due diligence has been applied to their business. The action reportedly deals with forex, binary, cryptos, and ICOs.

More specifically, the alleged move seems to target non-EU countries “in the Balkans, former Soviet Republics, and the Far East,” as Finance Magnates argues, while “EU-regulated brokers are suffering due to significant changes to their operations, stemming from the new regulatory framework.” Apparently, the publication referred to the regulations introduced by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in June, when the regulator rolled out leverage limits for local retail brokers within the EU. The restrictions targeted cryptocurrencies, among others, as Steven Maijoor, the ESMA Chair, declared:

“The new measures on CFDs will, for the first time, ensure that investors cannot lose more money than they put in, restrict the use of leverage and incentives, and provide understandable risk warnings for investors.”

Thus, non-regulated brokers would reportedly be classified as “high-risk securities merchants” by VISA and Mastercard, brining similar limitations outside of the EU. Consequently, such transactions would be labeled with code 6211, meaning that chargebacks made by clients on those transactions can still be executed for up to 540 days.

Some of the limitations have reportedly come into force, but remain unconfirmed

Allegedly, Finance Magnates’ sources stated that the new classification by Mastercard had started on October 15, while VISA was planning to implement a similar grouping in December of this year. Neither Mastercard nor VISA have commented on the matter as of press time.

Moreover, the publication stated (without providing any specific examples) that “some” associated businesses had already reported to their customers that they will stop accepting credit cards, meaning that the clients of brokers that operate poorly regulated businesses will have to rely entirely on alternative payment options, like wire bank transfers.

There is no information that would confirm the authenticity of the Finance Magnates’ report, which is written rather loosely — there is no evidence to back up most of the claims made throughout the article. Cointelegraph has reached out to Mastercard representatives for further comment, but have yet to receive an answer.

There were similar (also unconfirmed) reports in May

Previously, in May, Finance Magnates reported similar news, announcing that Mastercard was going to single out binary options, CFDs, forex, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs as “high risk” businesses in a “well-coordinated campaign” that involved “several regulators and government agencies.” The write-up quoted a letter allegedly written by a “partner bank” (without mentioning its name), stating the following: “If the merchant is unable to obtain an updated license, we will cease processing applicable high-risk securities transactions from such merchant until provided with an updated license.”

At the time, Finance Magnates wrote that Mastercard’s regulation was “effective from the 12th of Oct. 2018, which is 6 months since the payment processors have received the letter,” with the changes affecting “all transactions globally via Mastercard, Debit Mastercard, and Maestro.” Starting then, every payment processor processing the transactions of a high-risk securities merchant are supposed to show to Mastercard that adequate due diligence has been applied. There have been no official statement from Mastercard confirming or refuting this news.

Both VISA and Mastercard seem anti-crypto, pro-blockchain

Either way, it seems logical that the largest credit players on the market want to put unregulated players under more scrutiny and dodge potential risks, as seems to be a general trend: many countries have at least announced their regulatory frameworks, while the US regulators seems to have extended their purview to fight scammers on the market. It is worth stressing that the alleged move by Mastercard and VISA won’t target compliant players.

Mastercard’s relationship with crypto is rather complex: the company has been putting a lot of effort into studying blockchain and securing patents related to the technology, but has publicly expressed its anti-crypto stance. Thus, in October 2017, Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga argued that anonymous, not-state-issued cryptocurrencies are “junk” due to their high volatility and inability to operate as a medium of exchange. Previously, in 2014, Mastercard went as far as releasing anti-Bitcoin videos narrated by South East Asia CEO Matthew Driver, where he argued:

“If its an anonymous transaction, that sounds like a suspicious transaction, why does somebody need to be anonymous?”

VISA, on the other hand, has also been cutting ties with cryptocurrencies while investing in blockchain startups. In January of this year, the company stopped supporting crypto debit cards via a partnership with debit card provider WaveCrest. As a result, cards including those issued by CryptoPay, Bitwala, TenX, Wirex, and others, were suspended, limiting people from paying for goods and services in crypto.

 

This post credited to Cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph