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Mastercard announces new crypto partners for its NFT payments service

Mastercard has announced plans to widen access to the non-fungible token (NFT) market through the use of card payments. In a blog post published on June 9, Raj Dhamodharan, an executive vice president at the company, said it had partnered with Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Mintable, Spring, Nifty Gateway and MoonPay to enable NFT commerce. “We’re working with these companies to allow people to use their Mastercard cards for NFTs purchases, whether that’s on one of these companies’ …

Kushki hits unicorn status as payments platform raises $100 million

Kushki, a payments platform based in Ecuador, has raised $100 million in Series B financing at a unicorn valuation.  The round includes investors such as Kaszek Ventures, SoftBank Latin America Fund and Dila Capital among others, according to a statement on Wednesday.  “Reaching this milestone in times of historical economic uncertainty speaks to the quality and resilience of our entire team and the enormous Latin American talent that exists in the region,” CEO and co-founder Aron Schwarzkopf said in the …

Digital asset bank Custodia is suing the Federal Reserve over an application delay

Digital asset bank Custodia, previously known as Avanti, is suing the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for delaying a decision on its application for a central bank master account. A Federal Reserve master account allows institutions direct access to the Fed’s payment systems. It enables the most direct access to the US’s money supply available to financial institutions. Those without master accounts are often forced to rely on partner banks with master …

Open letter to Congress highlights rift among technologists over blockchains

A group of 20 international human rights activists has written an open letter to the US Congressional leadership advocating for a “responsible” crypto policy acknowledging the technology’s role in combating “monetary colonialism” worldwide. The letter is a direct response to an earlier letter submitted to Congress on June 1 by a group of 1,500 computer scientists, software engineers, and technologists urging lawmakers to take a “critical, skeptical approach” toward the industry. “To most in the West, the horrors of monetary …

PayPal adds new crypto services including transfers to other wallets

Payments firm PayPal has rolled out new functionalities for users of its crypto app. The changes, announced this morning, allow users to transfer crypto between PayPal and other wallets, and come in response to customer demand. Users can now send supported tokens — bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and litecoin — to external addresses, including those linked to exchange accounts and hardware wallets. They can also now use PayPal to send crypto to other users of the app. The move is …

Apple announces new buy now, pay later feature via Apple Pay

Tech giant Apple is jumping into the buy now, pay later (BNPL) fray via a new Apple Pay feature. The feature, dubbed Apple Pay Later, will mirror similar services, with zero interest or fees, with payments being made in four equal increments. Such payments can be issued to merchants that accept Apple Pay. The announcement was made during the first day of Apple’s developer-focused event on Monday. As The Block previously reported, a growing number of financial technology firms have …

Here’s what making bitcoin legal tender actually means

Quick Take El Salvador’s decision to make bitcoin legal tender has had ripple effects across the globe, and it’s been rumored that several other countries may follow suit. But El Salvador’s bitcoin efforts go well beyond the matter of legal tender — and that may be leading some advocates to misunderstand what “legal tender” really means. This feature story is available to subscribers of The Block News Plus. You can continue reading this News Plus feature on The Block.

Luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer inks deal with BitPay to accept crypto online in the US

Luxury Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer will now accept cryptocurrency as payment on US websites.  TAG Heuer will accept 12 cryptocurrencies at checkout, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Shiba Inu, and 5 USD-pegged stablecoins. The brand will work with the support of BitPay, a bitcoin payment services provider, on transactions up to $10,000, with no minimum spend required. BitPay works by converting cryptocurrency to fiat money, which is ultimately what TAG Heuer receives. “We have been following cryptocurrency developments very closely …

Revolut’s planned native token will reward customer loyalty, Storonosky says

Revolut’s planned native crypto token will aim to reward customers for their loyalty, CEO Nik Storonosky said in an interview, in which he also shared details on the neobank’s forthcoming non-custodial wallet. Speaking to The Block at the Finance FWD conference in Hamburg, Storonosky said the long-rumored native token — which some have dubbed “Revcoin” — will function in a similar way to airline Air Miles programs, where users earn rewards based on how often they use the service. “It …

Bitso officially launches its app in Colombia

Latin American cryptocurrency exchange Bitso has officially launched its app in Colombia, allowing its residents to load pesos into their wallets using a widely-used online payment system connected to the country’s major banks. The company announced its expansion into the South American country in February and has been working on a pilot program for cash-in and cash-out operations with Banco de Bogotá. But now, Bitso’s product is officially available to the wider Colombian public. Using a popular online payment method …