Category Archives: Fintech International

20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

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Independent.ie | Adrian Weckler | May 21, 2020

Shane Curran Evervault - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsA 20-year-old former BT Young Scientist winner has landed $16m (€14.6m) in new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious US venture capital firms

The famous former data security chief for Yahoo and Facebook, Alex Stamos, has come on as a new investor, as have Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz and (French firm) Datadog’s CEO Olivier Pomel.  The heavy-hitting Silicon Valley firms backing the venture are led by Index Ventures with participation from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins and assistance from Dublin-based venture firm Frontline.

“We’re aiming to distill what GDPR did in 99 Articles down to a line of code,” said Mr Curran.

Seven years ago, Sequioa invested in the payments firm created by another former Young Scientist winner, Patrick Collison and his brother John. Stripe has gone on to become one of the world’s most valuable private companies, valued at $35bn (€31.7bn).

See:   Cyber security world first as unique guide is launched

Evervault hosts a network of hardware-secured data processing ‘enclaves’ which allows developers to deploy their applications in privacy ’cages’.  These cages allow information to be processed securely with strictly controlled access but without changing the way that developers build their software. Developers integrate with the Evervault API through their publicly available developer SDKs for all major architectures and frameworks.

“This is conceptually simple, but operationally complex. We’re building cages alongside specific companies which handle extremely sensitive data. Think location data, banking data, payments data, kids’ data, health data and more. At Evervault, we believe that data privacy isn’t a regulatory problem; it’s a technology problem.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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How This Billionaire-Backed Crypto Startup Gets Paid To Not Mine Bitcoin

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Forbes | Christopher Helman | May 21, 2020

texas turbines - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsIt’s everyone’s dream to get paid to do nothing. Bitcoin miner Layer1 is turning that dream into reality — having figured out how to make money even when its machines are turned off. 

Layer1 is a cryptocurrency startup backed by the likes of billionaire Peter Thiel. In recent months, out in the hardscrabble land of west Texas, the company has been busy erecting steel boxes (think shipping containers) stuffed chockablock with high-end processors submerged inside cooling baths of mineral oil. Why west Texas? Beause thanks to a glut of natural gas and a forest of wind turbines, power there is among the cheapest in the world — which is what you need for crypto.

See:  Bitcoin’s “halvening” is upon us

“Mining Bitcoin is about converting electricity into money,” says Alex Liegl, CEO and co-founder. By this fall Layer1 will have dozens of these boxes churning around the clock to transform 100 megawatts into a stream of Bitcoin. Liegl says their average cost of production is about $1,000 per coin — equating to a 90% profit margin at current BTC price of $9,100.

So it’s odd how excited Liegl is about the prospect of having to shut down his Bitcoin miners this summer.

Already this year west Texas has seen a string of 100-degree days. But the real heat and humidity don’t hit until August, which is when the Texas power grid strains under the load of every air conditioning unit in the state going full blast. During an intense week in 2019, wholesale electricity prices in the grid region managed by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) soared from about $120 per megawatthour to peak out at $9,000 per mwh. It was only the third time in history that Texas power hit that level. And although the peak pricing only lasted an hour or so, that’s enough to generate big profits. Analyst Hugh Wynne at research outfit SSR figures that Texas power generators make about 15% of annual revenues during the peak 1% of hours (whereas in more temperate California grid generators only get 3% of revs from the top 1%).

Turns out that running a phalanx of Bitcoin miners is a great way to arbitrage those peaks. Layer1 has entered into so-called “demand response” contracts whereby at a minute’s notice they will shut down all their machines and instead allow their 100 mw load to flow onto the grid.

“We act as an insurance underwriter for the energy grid,” says Liegl, 27.

“If there is an insufficiency of supply we can shut down.” The best part, they get paid whether a grid emergeny occurs or not. Just for their willingness to shut in Bitcoin production, Layer1 collects an annual premium equating to $19 per megawatthour of their expected power demand — or about $17 million. Given Layer1’s roughly $25 per mwh long-term contracted costs, this gets their all-in power price down 75% to less than 1 cent per kwh (just 10% of what residential customers pay).

See:  UNICEF Australia’s ‘The Hopepage’ Uses Crypto Mining To Raise Money For Children

It may seem like grid operators are paying Layer1 a lot for something that might not even happen, especially with coronavirus reducing electricity demand, but it makes total sense, says Ed Hirs, a lecturer in energy economics at the University of Houston and research fellow at consultancy BDO: “It’s a lot cheaper option than building a whole new power plant or battery system just to keep it on standby.”

And although this may be a new concept for cryptocurrency miners, it’s been done before. “It used to be called load management,” says Dan Delurey, a consultant with Wedgemere Group.

Two decades ago industrialist Charles Hurwitz bought up power-hogging aluminum smelters in the Pacific Northwest and made more money reselling electricity than making metal.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Useful Tips to Handle Bulk Flash Drives

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Guest Post | May 23, 2020

Flash drives and USB sticks - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsOver the years, the many forms of data storage and transfer devices have failed due to one reason or another. Floppy disks used to get spoiled too quickly, and CDs were an inconvenience when having to burn data on to them just to make it portable. However, after the introduction of USB flash drives to the market, numerous problems faced by almost anyone who had a job working with computers were solved.

They are known by many names; flash drives, thumb drives, USB drives, pen drives etc. and come in many shapes and sizes but their main function is storage and transfer of digital data from one location to another. The biggest benefit of these devices is that they are USB (meaning they connect via universal serial bus terminals) and the fact that they are plug-and-play (meaning that they do not require any external software to be installed before use).

However, as with anything on the market, certain precautions need to be taken while making a purchase for a USB drive as well as during its use.

Some Things to Know When Purchasing a Flash Drive:

  • Avoid buying a USB drive that requires any software to be installed on your computer for it to be able to function. As discussed earlier, flash drives do not need software to run on your computer; therefore, if one does require any software, it is usually going to cause numerous problems later on.
  • USB devices come in all shapes and sizes, and there are versions of these devices available that are simple and sleek and even versions that are shaped like various things from your favourite cartoon character to edibles like a pack of French fries or a piece of sushi. Although buying a uniquely shaped thumb drive might be extremely tempting, it is always a good idea to buy one that is thin and small. USB ports in a computer are usually built close together, and at times it can be difficult to attach a bulkier USB in one of them, especially if you have an external USB mouse or keyboard already attached.
  • Along with the external size of the thumb drive, it is also important to pay attention to the internal memory space. It is essential to remember a USB drive’s physical size has no influence over its storage capacity. However, buying a USB with a storage capacity that lines up with your needs is a good idea to avoid any further inconveniences.

Precautions to Take When Using USB Drives:

Flash drives are an extremely easy tool to use, and every computer invented and sold in recent years has many USB ports available for the thumb drives to simply plugin and start functioning. They don’t require any cables, external battery, any power supply or even the need to restart a computer. As soon as a USB drive is connected, it becomes visible as a new device and is ready to use within a minute or two of connection.

Some Security Measure When Using With a Mac

On a Mac, the icon for the drive appears on the desktop as soon as the connection has been made. This is similar to a CD or DVD, and the user has two options: drag and drop the files which they want to transfer to the Flash drive icon or open the drive like a folder on the computer and work in that manner.

See:  Banks, fintech startups clash over ‘the new oil’ — your data

When saving a currently open document on your flash drive one can simply choose the save as option and select the drive location from the dropdown menu. However, it is important to remember to close any open files before ejecting and removing the USB drive from the computer.

There are steps to be followed when removing a flash drive from a computer. One must first “Eject” the drive by holding ‘ctrl’ and clicking on the drive which opens up a menu and choosing the “Eject” option from this menu. However, if the USB drive disconnected without following the proper procedure, it can result in loss of data or the drive becoming corrupt.

Some Security Measure When Using With a PC

When using a flash drive with a PC, the drive will often take the next available letter when it is plugged in. It can be easily accessed via ‘My Computer’ folder and by looking for the name “removable disk”. However, there are a few precautionary measures to be taken when one has finished working with the drive:

  • Locate the green arrow icon on the taskbar (this can be usually found near the clock and volume control). If an individual is not sure about the icon they are looking for they can simply hover their mouse over each icon until they find the one that reads “Safely Remove Hardware”.
  • Once this icon has been located, click on it and a menu will appear with a list of devices connected to the computer. It is possible to have more than one device listed if you have more than one device connected to the computer, click on the device that needs to be removed.
  • Wait for a few seconds after clicking the option, and a pop up will appear informing you that the hardware has been safely disconnected and it is safe to remove it from your computer. The device can now be detached from the USB port.
  • It is essential to remember to do these few steps as they ensure the safe removal of the device. Failing to do these may result in data loss and/or corruption of the USB device.

See:  58 Must-Read Remote Work Resources | 50 Great Remote Working Resources

Some Steps to be Followed for the Proper Care of the Flash Drive:

Amongst the general precautions to be taken when working with any digital device for e.g., keeping it away from moisture and heat, a few other steps can be taken to eliminate the possibility of losing the drive. A name tag can be added to the drive so it can be safely returned to you in case you misplace it. This can be done on of two ways

  • You can name your device in software form by changing its name to yours.
  • Attaching a name tag or getting your name engraved on the device itself.

At the end of the day, taking a few precautions can make the experience of using these helpful tools enjoyable and full of ease. However, if these precautions are not taken, a person can find themselves in a compromised situation.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Introducing Plaid Exchange

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Plaid blog | Niko Karvounis & Jesse Dhillon  | May 20, 2020

Plaid exchange - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

Plaid Exchange

The financial ecosystem is undergoing an unprecedented digital transformation due to new realities brought on by COVID-19. Consumers and businesses have turned to fintech to manage their finances in record numbers. Digital transformation that was expected to take years is now predicted to take place over a matter of months. Now, financial institutions everywhere must be prepared to meet their customers’ rising demand for digital connectivity.

See:  With Plaid Acquisition, Visa Makes a Big Play for the ‘Plumbing’ That Connects the Fintech World

Today, Plaid is launching Plaid Exchange to accelerate consumer-permissioned data access strategies for financial institutions. As fintech adoption has grown, so have the needs of financial institutions that must now manage unprecedented customer connections across thousands of fintech apps. Plaid Exchange gives financial institutions, from banks to wealth management firms, an open finance platform that includes critical tools required to manage the secure and reliable data connectivity their customers’ financial lives demand, today and for years to come. At the heart of this platform is the ability for consumers to maintain control and transparency into where and how their financial information is permissioned and shared, increasingly important as more people rely on a variety of digital financial tools to manage their financial lives.

Over the past year, we communicated with over a hundred financial institutions to understand their evolving priorities and deliver a solution that fully encompasses what a financial institution needs to implement scalable API-led data access rooted in user transparency and control. With Plaid Exchange, financial institutions can bring an API solution to market in as little as 12 weeks. Implementing Plaid Exchange also means saving on the costs associated with standing up an API, such as building tools and programs to manage developer testing, implementation, and risk management.

Developed with shared security, transparency and reliability needs across the ecosystem in mind, Plaid Exchange is an API platform for financial institutions that provides the connectivity to:open finance x - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

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  • Establish token-based API connectivity. Financial institutions can leverage tokenization to maintain connectivity, and help ensure even more reliable integrations with the 2,600+ apps on the Plaid network today.
  • Optimize infrastructure load. With a bi-directional Plaid Exchange integration, financial institutions benefit from smarter scheduling and load management for data updates.
  • Build one integration for open finance needs. Plaid Exchange is a solution for the digital financial ecosystem stakeholders; it’s open finance in a box, so financial institutions can integrate with multiple data partners through the Plaid Exchange integration.
  • Align with key connectivity standards and principles in the industry. As an active member of FDX and multiple industry standards bodies, we’ve designed Plaid Exchange to reflect key principles around access, consumer control, transparency, and security.
  • Enable new control tools for consumers. Plaid Exchange includes the ability for financial institutions to easily build a consumer control center that gives their customers more visibility and enhanced control over how their financial information is shared and where their accounts are connected.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Remote Working Cybersecurity Checklist

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Cyber Management Alliance | Aditi Uberoi | May 21, 2020

CMA Cybersecurity checklist - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

Established in 2015, Cyber Management Alliance is one of the world’s leading cyber incident & crisis management service providers offering advisory, executive training and bespoke workshops in all aspects of cyber crisis management, incident planning, incident response testing and tabletop exercises. Cyber Management Alliance (CM-Alliance) is the creator of the internationally-acclaimed NCSC-Certified, Cyber Incident Planning and Response (CIPR) course. Previous attendees of the NCSC-Certified CIPR course and tabletop exercises include organisations including the United Nations, UK Ministry of Defence, several UK Police Forces, NHS Trusts, European Central Bank, Swiss National Bank, Microsoft, Ernst and Young, BNP Paribas and many others.

See:

 

Remote Working Cybersecurity Checklist

Some areas of risk - note this is not a comprehensive list but a list to help you prepare for cybersecurity attacks:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Passwords
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Privileged Users
  • Phishing Emails and Scams
  • Policy and Illegal Activity
  • Working remotely, Online Meetings & Calls
  • Exceptions and Change
  • Privacy
  • Cyber Attack and Incident Response
  • Backup Backup Backup
  • HR and Mental and Occupational Health
  • Video and Audio Conferences
  • Helpdesk & Support

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Shopify Balance Brings Banking and Cash Flow to Merchants

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Digital | May 20, 2020

shopify balance - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms

The huge e-commerce company also unveiled buy now, pay later and local delivery tools at its annual conference.

Need to Know

  • At Shopify’s annual conference, Unite, the e-commerce platform announced a number of new features.
  • Shopify Balance Account is a “one-stop-shop” account for small business owners and a feature several employees are referring to as Shopify’s bank.
  • The online platform also announced Shop Pay Installments, Fulfillment Network expansion, and Local Delivery products.
  • The conference emphasized the importance of strong digital tools and local commerce in COVID-19 retail climate.

See:  Shopify displaces RBC to become Canada’s most valuable company

Analysis

E-commerce giant Shopify announced a number of new tools and programs at its online Reunite event on Wednesday, the biggest of which is Balance, a banking account tailored to the particular needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Balance, which will be made available to Shopify merchants in the US later this year, is a one-stop-shop within Shopify’s platform admin allowing sellers to track cash flow, pay bills, and monitor expenses. According to a press release from Shopify, 40% of merchants are currently using personal accounts for some business needs; Balance aims to provide tools that are designed for the needs of small business owners, where personal accounts might fall short.

Shopify Balance will also provide merchants with a physical or digital banking card, the Shopify Balance Card, which will allow merchants to make purchases or withdraw cash from an ATM, and a Rewards program offering benefits such as cash back and discounts. Shopify Balance will have no monthly fees and no minimum balance.

See:  Shopify Launches Rebuilt POS to Offer Flexibility Post-COVID

Also announced at Reunite was Shopify’s buy now, pay later, option, Shop Pay Installments, which exists within the company’s Shop Pay tool and lets merchants offer customers flexible financing options. Shopify joins a number of merchants and businesses offering buy now, pay later financing, including Visa, which announced a partnership with Splitit earlier this year. The tool, which will also be available later this year, will be launched with a partner — though Shopify did not specify whom.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Full Court WordPress: Coil Deal Boosts Functional Blockchain — And XRP

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Forbes | Cory Johnson | May 19, 2020

XRP wordpress - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firmsXRP-powered Coil could put crypto transactions into the hands of tens of millions with WordPress deal. But will it take?

The excitement over how much blockchain could do has always been outmatched by what little blockchain does do. But that may finally be changing.

Today, the San Francisco-based blockchain startup Coil announced a new integration with WordPress, the dominant publishing engine on the Web. It means that website creators could get blockchain-metered payments, whether the content is free or behind a paywall.

Better still, users, currently accustomed to giving up their private information to unknown cookies, will have that personal information protected. They could even enjoy WordPress-powered sites advertising free.

See:  How the Pandemic Is Pushing Blockchain Forward

This is a big deal because, well, WordPress is big. According to an W3techs survey in April, over a third of the Web is published using WordPress software. Among those sites using content management systems, WordPress has 63.3% market share — number two Joomla has just 4.1%. WordPress version 5.4 has been downloaded 27 million times and counting. So yeah — it’s a huge opportunity.

Coil’s technology notes when a user visits a Coil-enabled site and apportions a payment to that site, paid out in cash or crypto currency — specifically in XRP.

That this could be the biggest use of XRP outside of the global payments company Ripple is no coincidence. Coil’s founder and CEO, Stefan Thomas, was Ripple’s chief technology officer until mid-2018  — Ripple being the biggest user of XRP to this point. Coil was backed by Ripple in 2018, which participated in a reported $4 million dollar seed round and then, in September 2019, tossed in a massive investment of one billion XRP tokens (and to be clear, I’m hopelessly conflicted reporting this story as I once worked at Ripple. To be equally clear, as of this writing I don’t own any XRP.)

To facilitate paying website owners, Coil is also announcing a new crypto wallet partnership with San Francisco-based Uphold, which boasts of trading in sixty currencies and having deals with banks in thirty-five countries

“Publishers and individual creators are seeking new revenue streams,” Thomas said in a release. “At the same time, consumers are suffering from site-by-site subscription fatigue and the invasive privacy issues associated with ads. With the introduction of the Web Monetization plugin and more payout options for publishers and creators around the globe, our goal is to provide more choice and less friction for everyone.”

That might be the goal, but one more payment option is surely more friction, at least at the start. And to be sure, this isn’t a deal with every site using WordPress. Indeed, it doesn’t appear to be a deal with any site using WordPress. This is more of a hunting licence, allowing Coil to try to convince content creators to hitch their wagon to Coil, if not XRP.

See:  Visa’s digital dollar concept opens a door to central bank currencies

“I’m all for writers getting paid,” says Lou Kerner, longtime analyst and founder of Crypto Mondays. “Is this a good use case for blockchain? Sure. The problem is the revenues generated from this are de minimis. Not many people, at the end of the day, care about privacy. Facebook and Google remain the winners.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 20-year-old Dubliner lands €14.6m funding round from top Silicon Valley firms The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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