LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

MercadoLibre is the latest company to join crypto as soon it will offer its customers in Brazil the ability to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies using its digital payments app.

MercadoLibre is the largest Latin American company by market cap, and through crypto, it is expanding its financial products.

The crypto feature was already available to a select small group of clients earlier this month and will be rolled out broadly in the coming months, said vice president Tulio Oliveira. Mercado Pago’s digital wallet has 16.8 million unique users as of the third quarter of 2021.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which was retweeted by Mercado Libre co-founder and CEO Marcos Galperin, who also said that users of both Mercado Livre, the Brazilian branch, and its fintech arm Mercado Pago would be able to “buy, store and sell crypto” starting this week.

The company has been planning its crypto move for months now as back in August, President Osvaldo Gimenez said Bitcoin and Ethereum “could be a revolution in finance.”

Before that, in May, MercadoLibre had also disclosed its $7.8 million Bitcoin purchase as part of the treasury strategy. Prior to that, its Argentine real estate platform started accepting BTC for the purchase and sale of properties.

In a statement on Monday, MercadoLibre said that it was entering the crypto space in Brazil together with “a world-class custodian” but didn’t mention who it is partnering with. The company is “analyzing all financial and regulatory aspects surrounding this technology,” it added.

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Author: AnTy

Online Marketplace eBay to Support NFT Transactions On Its Platform

Popular e-commerce company eBay has joined the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) train as the online retailer now supports non-fungible token (NFT) auctions on its platform.

eBay Making Strides In Crypto Sector

In a blog post, eBay said that it had updated its company policy to include the sale of digital collectibles like trading cards, images, or video clips on its platform.

The online retailer said it would update its policies and tools on digital collectibles in the future. But pending the updates, trusted sellers who meet certain requirements will be allowed to list their NFTs on the platform.

However, the company said that it would add new capabilities that bring blockchain-driven collectibles to future NFT updates.

eBay has prior experience verifying physical collectibles and items for buyers. It plans to continue this model using the power of the blockchain.

eBay added that it was also working on programs, policies, and tools to let its customers buy and sell NFTs across a broad range of categories.

With this move, eBay becomes the first e-commerce company to tap into the NFT frenzy. The company is also mulling the idea of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future.

NFT Projects On The Rise

NFTs are digital assets with unique properties that cannot be interchanged with another. They are one-of-a-kind assets in digital form that can be bought or sold like any other physical asset.

With NFTs, these digital assets are tokenized to create a digital certificate of ownership. This ownership is what’s bought and sold. The details and records of the owner of the NFTs are stored on a public ledger, also known as the blockchain.

Popular NFT forms include gamified collectibles, pure collectibles, sports-based imagery and collectibles, and art-based collectibles. The uniqueness and price depend on rarity and special features.

Thousands of projects featuring NFTs have exploded in the crypto space over the last few months, from the piece of digital artwork by Beeple that went for $69 million to the numerous sports collectibles sold by NBA Topshot, a platform that’s in partnership with the NBA.

Numerous NFT marketplaces continue to spring up as the NFT craze waggles on. The popular names include Top Shot, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, and OpenSea. Having an online retailer like eBay, with a major presence in online shopping, making an entrance would extend the NFT craze to millions of active buyers on the platform. Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance is also making inroads into the NFT market. The bitcoin exchange plans to debut its NFT platform by June 2021.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ledger Wallet And Shopify Face Class-Action Suit After Rogue Employee Leaks User Data

Crypto wallet provider Ledger and its e-commerce partner Shopify are in for a tough year.

Both firms are defendants of a class-action lawsuit filed against them following the aftermath of a phishing attack that saw a quarter-million of their customers’ details exposed online.

The lawsuit, which is the first of many, was filed by law firm Roche Freedman for John Chu and Edward Baton in California on April 6.

Shopify’s Employee Stole Customer Details

According to the 43-page document, the complaints allege that the defendants had been negligent in their duties of safeguarding customer’s personal details between April and June 2020.

The plaintiffs also ask for commensurate compensation for the damages incurred from the data breach and have asked the court to grant all relief allowed by law, including injunctive relief.

According to John Chu, he saw BTC and ETH worth over $267,000 stolen from his digital wallet, and Baton said that he lost $75,000 worth of XLM through phishing scams.

The duo claims to have been deceived by correspondence from the defendants.

Ledger and Shopify later identified the leak’s source as one of Shopify’s employees who shared full customer names, email, phone numbers, and shipping address on the database sharing website RaidForums. Following this, customers said they got strange calls and were threatened by unknown persons.

Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier tweeted to reassure customers of the safety of their funds. He also assured that no hardware wallet was affected by the attacks.

Even though it’s been almost a year, the plaintiffs insist that the companies failed to notify affected customers or admit the full scope of the breach.

Speaking to The Block, Kyle Roche said the investigation had begun since the news of the breach became public knowledge. He said experts in the data security and cryptocurrency fields were consulted before any action was taken against the defendants.

In a July 2020 blog post, Ledger tried unsuccessfully to explain the breach admitting that only 9,500 users were affected by the attacks.

It published another blog post in the opening weeks of 2021, notifying customers about the changes they will be initiated in a bid to protect client’s data better. The cold storage wallet provider also admitted that its earlier number of affected customers was way off and said that the culprit leaked roughly 272,000 customer data.

It said it was creating a 10 BTC bounty fund for information that could lead to the culprits’ arrest.

Roche Freedman Is Crypto’s Bane

Even as the adoption of crypto has grown in a little over a year, many issues have cropped up. One of the most prevalent being malicious attacks that led to losses of digital assets by crypto owners.

US law firm Roche Freedman has been quite active in the past year as cases of retail investors seeing their crypto assets stolen due to the negligence of their service provider have grown.

In a report by investigative outlet OffshoreAlert, Roche Freedman filed 11 class-action lawsuits against 42 defendants. According to the filing, the listed parties were said to have allowed the investing public to trade unregulated cryptocurrencies.

The affected parties included popular exchanges like Binance, TRON, KuCoin, BitMEX, and others. Their company chiefs were not left out, with Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Brendan Blumer, Dan Larimer, Vinny Lingham, and BitMEX co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes made the list.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Moon Integrates Lightning Payments for All US-based VISA eCommerce Stores

Moon Integrates Lightning Payments for All US-based VISA eCommerce Stores

Moon has launched a new payment option that enables customers to purchase goods and services using virtual VISA cards on select eCommerce stores. This new payment feature is targeted at any VISA-enabled e-commerce site based in the United States.

Lightning Payments for VISA Merchants

This latest feature is in partnership with VISA. Users can make purchases using Moon’s Virtual VISA prepaid cards. Once purchased, the cards can be used as the payment option during checkouts at any VISA-enabled e-commerce site. What makes these cards unique is that they are created at the point of purchase.

They are generated for the exact amount of the purchase by the user at checkout. Once this is done and confirmed, the extension creates a Lightning invoice. Once the invoice is paid for, the card is loaded with the exact amount, no exchange or deductions made. The card can then be used to pay for the items in their cart.

Moon cards are virtual cards loaded with cryptocurrency temporarily for the purpose of making online purchases. The crypto is converted to USD to allow you to spend the funds immediately whenever you want, especially on sites where cryptocurrency is not accepted.

The cards are to be used only once. This way, if your payment information is leaked, there is no risk to the security of your coins. Moon cards have no fees and are only available to United States users.

Although some e-commerce retailers let you pay with cryptocurrencies, Moon’s focus is to enable crypto purchases on popular platforms that are yet to adopt crypto. This includes popular retailers like Amazon and Target. The startup allows customers to link their Coinbase balances to their Moon extension. You can make purchases using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash.

Moon extension browser is available on browsers like Chrome, Brave, and Opera.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Chinese e-Commerce Giant JD.com to Accept Digital Yuan in the 2nd Round of Public Trial

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said on Saturday that its fintech arm, JD Digits will accept digital yuan as payment for some products.

JD.com is China’s first virtual platform to accept the central bank digital currency, as part of an experimental giveaway of digital yuan to the citizens of Suzhou, according to the company’s post on its official WeChat account.

Under the trial, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the municipal government will issue a total of 20 million yuan ($3 million). 100,000 consumers selected through a lottery will be receiving 200 digital yuan “red envelopes”.

This will be the second such program after the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 selected customers in Shenzhen in October, South China’s Guangdong Province. It was the first time the trail of digital yuan went public after a series of internal tests.

Last month, PBOC Governor Yi Gang said over 2 billion yuan had been spent using the DCEP so far in 4 million transactions.

The new round of public trials of the central bank-backed sovereign digital currency involves a wider range of consumer and application scenarios compared to the first test.

Booming Digital Industry

As we reported, the central bank of China is also discussing the technical pilot testing of digital yuan for cross-border payments with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). The exact date of the launch is unknown but it will offer an additional payment option, said Eddie Yue, chief executive of HKMA. Yue said  on Friday,

“As the yuan is already in use in Hong Kong and the status of digital yuan is the same as cash in circulation, it will bring even greater convenience to Hong Kong residents and tourists from the Chinese mainland.”

The central bank governor also said on Monday that China will push forward the R&D of the digital yuan in a steady manner, launch pilot tests in an orderly manner, and improve its legal framework.

According to Pan Helin, executive director of the Digital Economy Research Institute at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, 2021 will usher in an important period for the digital industry as the technologies have become more mature after several years of development. Pan told the Global Times,

“In recent years, China’s digital industry has been booming, and new technologies such as big data, cloud computing, 5G, artificial intelligence and blockchain have been rapidly developed and widely applied in various fields of social economy, laying a good foundation for the development and application of digital currency.”

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Author: AnTy

Alibaba’s Cross-Chain Patent Approved by Us Authorities; Hailed as a ‘Better’ Option to Cosmos

  • China’s eCommerce giant, Alibaba, has been granted approval for a ‘unified blockchain domain name’ (UBCDN) by the U.S Patent.
  • This will advance the firm’s footprint in blockchain given recent milestones under its blockchain subsidiary, Ant Financial.

Dubbed ‘Cross-chain interactions using a domain name scheme in blockchain systems‘, the patent was filed back in April 2019 in a bid to make cross-chain interactions more seamless. According to Alibaba, the UBCDN proposes a greater value than the current cross-chain networks like Cosmos.

Alibaba’s UBCDN

The concept of interoperability has emerged as a core fundamental for blockchain networks, especially when it comes to communication between organizations or large entities. Alibaba’s UBCDN aims to solve existing inefficiencies attributed to relay chain ecosystems. Ideally, the design is based on providing a unified protocol to facilitate the communication of blockchains deployed on a given network. The patent reads,

“The described domain name scheme can provide a unified protocol for interactions between blockchain systems in a unified (or global) blockchain network that includes multiple or all blockchain instances deployed, based on different blockchain products or technologies.”

Compared to the Cosmos relay chains, Alibaba noted that its approach will make it easier to identify blockchain instances despite being transferred to a different ecosystem. In the former, a chain is assigned multiple ID’s before interacting with different chains hence making it difficult to identify a network in the long-run. With Alibaba’s UBCDN, this will not be a challenge since the chains will maintain a described domain scheme making them globally identifiable.

In addition, this cross-chain product might include a human-readable identifier that will help the blockchain users to better memorize their instances.

“As an example, owners or operators of public blockchains, private blockchains, or consortium blockchains can choose blockchain domain names that correspond to their names, helping users to remember the identifiers of the blockchain instances….”

Alibaba’s Expansion into the Blockchain Space

Notably, this is not the first blockchain milestone by Alibaba; the firm has been actively involved in the sector competing with IT giants like Huawei. Last year, the blockchain arms of both firms were both approved by Chinese Authorities. Since then, Alibaba has invested in a number of blockchain-based projects through Ant Financial.

Its blockchain platform ‘Ant’ had facilitated over $6 billion in medical billing as of Q4 in 2019. Going by these developments, the newly acquired patent might add to the portfolio of products/projects under Alibaba’s blockchain initiatives.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

E-Commerce Giant, Amazon, Patents Blockchain Authentication Of Accepted Consumer Products

The world-leading e-commerce platform, Amazon Technologies Inc., filed a patent on blockchain technology for proving the authenticity of consumer goods in its online marketplace. The filing approved and made publicly available on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, describes the platform as an

“interface for verifiable tracking of an item through a supply chain using a distributed electronic ledger.”

The patent titled “Distributed ledger certification” was filed back in July 2017 with the U.S. Patents Office signaling a long term view of Amazon on distributed ledgers.

The platform aims at improving the trustworthiness of an item, service, or party as the world’s online marketplace grows to unseen levels. Currently, systems that lack transparency, coherency, referential integrity, or security set challenges for the global growth of online marketplaces. All these challenges reduce the trust between different parties – a problem that Amazon aims to solve with its DLT network.

The platform aggregates data from manufacturers, distributors, and shippers on an open network architecture to give the consumer real-time trusted information. The patent further touches on a possible implementation of permissioned enterprise network, Hyperledger.

Amazon in blockchain

In late September of last year, the company announced plans of hiring a specialist in blockchain in a bid to integrate decentralized ledger technologies in advertisements on the platform. The project will curb the mistrust between the sellers and buyers to create a more transparent and secure online marketplace.

Additionally, in late 2019, Amazon announced two blockchain-based products in early phase testing – Amazon Managed Blockchain and the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database.

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Author: Lujan Odera

BTC Rewards App Lolli Raises $3M From Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Phan, and Bain Capital

Lolli, an e-commerce app that rewards shoppers with Bitcoin, has successfully raised $3 million in its seed funding.

The latest funding round was participated by Ashton Kutcher through his firm Sound Ventures as well as Michelle Phan from YouTube. Now, Lolli has so far managed to raise $5.4 million in capital.

The round was also participated by Pathfinder which is the early-stage investment outfit, Bain Capital Ventures, Digital Currency Group which owns CoinDesk as well as Craft Ventures.

According to Alex Adelman, Lolli’s CEO, explained that there are various incredible strategic partners which will play a pivotal role in enhancing the mass adoption of Bitcoin and Lolli going forward.

Starting this week, Phan’s fans can utilize Lolli in earning Bitcoin rewards after shopping from her Em Cosmetics website. Adelman explained that the current funding is set to be utilized in introducing Lolli’s mobile app during the upcoming summer as well as expand the firm globally this year.

Since Lolli was started in 2018, the e-commerce sector has changed tremendously. The majority of people in the world are shopping online as well as managing their own funds via apps. For instance, Shopify reported that its revenues have increased by 47% in the first quarter of 2020.

In addition, Square, a fintech startup that provides Bitcoin, is now taking part in mainstream programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program run by the US government. This is evidence that it is becoming easier as days go by for individuals to earn as well as use various forms of currencies from the comfort of their home.

Adelman praised Square’s latest patent to enable fiat to crypto conversion as a ‘game-changer’ that will be beneficial to the retail sector. He explained:

“It’s arguably the most important patent in the payments space that will affect cryptocurrency over the next 10 years. It’s an air-swap where someone can pay with whatever currency they want and also the merchant can accept whatever currency they want.”

Lolli will benefit immensely from Square’s patent as the startup teams up with merchants and retailers that emanate from homepages apart from Amazon. You can learn more about Lolli BTC Rewards App here.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Shopify Joins Facebook-led Libra Association To Help Build Stablecoin Payment Network

E-commerce platform Shopify has announced that it has joined the Libra Association. This means that the online shopping firm is the latest entrant of the Facebook-led stablecoin project. The entry of Shopify into the association comes barely a month following Vodafone’s pull out with the aim of developing its solo virtual payments platform. This marks the first time the organization is admitting a new member since it was created.

In a blog post, Shopify stated that it aims at working with other members to develop a payment system which can work everywhere in the world.

Libra was released by Facebook last year to work as a worldwide payment system with the Libra stablecoin pegged on various global currencies. A governing council to guide the execution and implementation of the project was formed in October and named the Libra Association in order to decentralize the stablecoin’s leadership albeit on paper. However, Facebook is not a member of the council but Calibra, its subsidiary, is a member.

The Libra Association brings together various firms such as Coinbase, Andreessen Horowitz, Anchorage, Xapo, Bison Trails, Union Square Ventures, Uber, Spotify, PayU, among others.

Other firms like PayPal, Mastercard, eBay, Visa, Booking Holdings, Mercado Pago and Stripe were initially to be members of the organization but withdrew from the project before its official launch, CoinDesk reports. Vodafone has been a member of the council but withdrew last month.

Shopify stated that it is joining the association in order to be active in the development of an infrastructure which empowers the majority of entrepreneurs across the globe. The press release also stated that most of the existing financial infrastructure in the world is not developed to scale in the right manner to meet the needs of online commerce.

Dante Disparte, the policy head in Libra Association expressed the organization gratitude in welcoming its 21st member. He added that Shopify will bring immense expertise and knowledge to the Libra project, since it is present in more than 175 countries with more than 1 million businesses. He added that Shopify will be crucial in the development of a financial system that will efficiently serve billions of people.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Overstock Shareholders Stake Their Claim To Lead Class Action Lawsuit Over tZERO Controversy

Overstock, an e-commerce giant that ventured into the decentralized space with its tZero platform is at the center of a class-action lawsuit filed against it on September 27 this year. The lawsuit accuses Overstock of security fraud and the firm is currently facing 5 cases against it. Several investors this week filed their motion to consolidate on these cases.

A total of 8 former and current shareholders have expressed their desire to lead the lawsuit which includes the likes of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Block & Leviton LLP, Bragar Eagel & Squire PC, Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP, and Kahn Swick & Foti LLC, Levi & Korsinsky LLP, Pomerantz LLP, Bernstein Liebhard LLP.

Benjamin Ha from Block & Leviton LLP claimed that Overstock purposely created a tZero platform to punish short-sellers who sold their Overstock shares. Overstock’s shares have been on a continuous decline along with its dominance in the home goods e-commerce market.

Investors claim tZero was created to artificially inflate the Overstock share price

The lawsuit claimed that Overstock’s dismal performance in its e-commerce market along with declining share prices forced the firm to create a tZero exchange to give it’s business some more time.

Ha claimed that the firm has been struggling to keep up with Wayfair.com and hasn’t recorded any profit in the past three years.

“According to the suit, in September, investors discovered that the company “had engineered the tZERO offering as revenge upon short-sellers and tried to create a short squeeze by offering a digital token dividend that would not be registered and could not be resold for at least six months.”

The tumbling of Overstock shares

The firm had put a tZero digital token dividend lock because of which short-sellers couldn’t hand off their stock even after selling their shares. tZero did rise as high as $27 at one point but soon the investment banks declared that they would not accept the tZero dividend and instead accept cash. The news tumbled the price of the crypto token and Overstock promised to register their stock to end the lockup.

The problems started to creep up right after that, The first company’s CEO Patrick Byrne resigned from his position and liquidated $90 million worth of his Overstock shares. Then the very next month in September when the firm presented its financial report, it was found that the firm misrepresented its financial prospects which tumbled their share prices by 50%.

Byrne stated that the main cause of his departure was not being able to get corporate insurance. He explained,

“The proximate cause for my departure was, in fact, the impossibility of our getting corporate insurance with me still at the helm. Just as we learned in Game of Thrones that behind the scenes the Iron Bank makes the big decisions, in Corporate America insurance companies get the last say.”

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Author: James W