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China Roundup: facial recognition lawsuit and cashless payments for foreigners

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. This week, a lawsuit sparked a debate over the deployment of China’s pervasive facial recognition; meanwhile, in some good news, foreigners in China can finally experience cashless payment just like locals.

China’s first lawsuit against face scans

Many argue that China holds an unfair advantage in artificial intelligence because of its citizens’ willingness to easily give up personal data desired by tech companies. But a handful of people are surely getting more privacy-conscious.

This week, a Chinese law professor filed what looks like the country’s first lawsuit against the use of AI-powered face scans, according to Qianjiang Evening News, a local newspaper in the eastern province of Zhejiang. In dispute is the decision by a privately-owned zoo to impose mandatory facial recognition on admission control for all annual pass holders.

“I’ve always been conservative about gathering facial biometrics data. The collection and use of facial biometrics involve very uncertain security risks,” the professor told the paper, adding that he nonetheless would accept such requirement from the government for the purpose of “public interest.”

Both the government and businesses in China have aggressively embraced facial recognition in wide-ranging scenarios, be it to aid public security checks or speed up payments at supermarket checkouts. The technology will certainly draw more scrutiny from the public as it continues to spread. Already, the zoo case is garnering considerable attention. On Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, posts about the suit have generated some 100 million views and 10,000 comments in less than a week. Many share the professors’ concerns over potential leaks and data abuse.

Scan and pay like a local

The other technology that has become ubiquitous in China is cashless payments. For many years, foreign visitors without a Chinese bank account have not been able to participate in the scan-and-pay craze that’s received extensive coverage in the west. But the fences are now down.

This week, two of the country’s largest payment systems announced almost at the same time that they are making it easier for foreigners to pay through their smartphones. Visitors can now pay at a selection of Chinese merchants after linking their overseas credit cards backed by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Global Network or JCB to Tencent’s WeChat Pay.

“This is to provide travelers, holding 2.6 billion Mastercard cards around the world, with the ability to make simple and smart payments anytime, anywhere in China,” Mastercard said in a company statement.

Alipay, Alibaba’s affiliate, now also allows foreign visitors to top up RMB onto a prepaid virtual card issued by Bank of Shanghai with their international credit or debit cards. The move is a boon to the large swathes of foreign tourists in China, which numbered 141 million in 2018.

Also worth your attention

Didi’s controversial carpooling service is finally back this week, more than a year after the feature was suspended following two murders of female passengers. But the company, which has become synonymous with ride-hailing, was immediately put in the hot seat again. The relaunched feature noticeably included a curfew on women, who are only able to carpool between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. The public lambasted the decision as humiliating and discriminating against women, and Didi responded swiftly to extend the limit to both women and men. The murders were a huge backlash for the company, and it’s since tried to allay the concerns. At this point, the ride-hailing giant simply can’t afford another publicity debacle.

The government moves to stamp out monopolistic practices of some of China’s largest e-commerce platforms ahead of Single’s Day, the country’s busiest shopping festival. Merchants have traditionally been forced to be an exclusive supplier for one of these giants, but Beijing wants to put a stop to it and summoned Alibaba, JD.com, Pinduoduo (in Chinese) and other major retail players for talks on anti-competition this week.

Iqiyi, often hailed as the “Netflix of China,” reports widening net loss at $516.0 million in the third quarter ending September 30. The good news is it has added 25 million new subscribers to its video streaming platform. 99.2% of its 105.8 million user base are now paying members.

36Kr, one of China’s most prominent tech news sites, saw its shares tumble 10% in its Nasdaq debut on Friday. The company generates revenue from subscriptions, advertisements and enterprise “value-added” services. The last segment, according to its prospectus, is designed to “help established companies increase media exposure and brand awareness.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/10/china-roundup-face-recognition-lawsuit/

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Coinbase Custody selected by 21Shares for Bitcoin ETP

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Coinbase

Today we’re proud to announce that 21Shares AG has chosen Coinbase Custody to store its digital assets for its Bitcoin ETP. 21Shares AG is listing its 21Shares Bitcoin ETP (ISIN: CH0454664001 — WKN A2T64E) on the Deutsche Börse’s Xetra electronic venue on Thursday July 2nd 2020. Coinbase Custody will serve as custodian for the underlying assets of their Bitcoin ETP.

21Shares selected Coinbase Custody after reviewing our institutional-grade offline storage solution, which includes world-class security, regulatory compliance and insurance coverage. Coinbase is committed to serving a wide spectrum of institutional clients and we are excited to be the chosen custodian for the 21Shares Bitcoin ETP, Europe’s first physically-backed bitcoin ETP.

Hany Rashwan, CEO at 21Shares AG, says, “21Shares is delighted to bring this historic product to Europe. We are honored to give investors access to the best performing asset class of the last decade and we believe the next ten years as well, through our simple, transparent, and regulated crypto ETP product suite.”

Coinbase Custody is the world’s largest and most trusted crypto custodian. To learn more about Coinbase Custody click here.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/coinbase-custody-selected-by-21shares-for-bitcoin-etp-a1b5dd380694?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase Earn

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Coinbase

Earn COMP while learning how to borrow crypto and earn interest with Compound

Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system, where anyone in the world can participate on equal terms from their computer or smartphone. To bring this vision to life, we’ll need to make blockchain technology more accessible, both in the sense of making cryptocurrencies easier to obtain and easier to understand.

Coinbase Earn is a trusted source where customers all around the world can educate themselves about new developments in crypto and earn assets as rewards. Starting today, Coinbase customers can start earning Compound (COMP) by watching lessons and completing quizzes about the Compound protocol and its governance token COMP.

Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the autonomous Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to borrow and lend Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Lenders earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

The ability to earn crypto assets has become an increasingly important function in the crypto ecosystem — alongside buying, staking, voting, and mining — especially when paired with education.

Since the launch of Coinbase Earn in 2018, we’ve announced nine different assets, including 0x, Basic Attention Token, Zcash, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Dai, Tezos, Orchid and now Compound. In less than a year, asset issuers offered over $100M in crypto to distribute to our customers, and we have launched Earn internationally. As we expand globally, millions of people are gaining access to a trusted, secure, and legal bridge to the crypto economy — even if they don’t have a credit card or bank account with which to buy crypto.

Check out all Coinbase Earn campaigns through our homepage or access them directly through the Coinbase mobile app.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here and download the iOS or Android app to start earning crypto today.

Coinbase receives a servicing fee from the participating asset issuer. Consideration for Coinbase Earn is wholly independent of our digital asset framework for new listings. Click here for our Earn FAQ and terms.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-earn-74cb88acbf78?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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zephyrnet

Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase

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Coinbase

Starting today, Coinbase supports Compound (COMP) at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP. COMP will be available for customers in all Coinbase-supported regions, with the exception of New York state.

Compound (COMP)
Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to supply or borrow Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Suppliers earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

One of the most common requests we hear from customers is to be able to buy and sell more cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. We published a process for listing assets, designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages (see COMP here), as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here to buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP today.

Coinbase owns COMP tokens as a result of a 2018 investment in Compound. Coinbase intends to maintain its investment in Compound for the foreseeable future and maintains internal policies that address the timing of permissible disposition of its digital assets, including COMP tokens.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-de42a317790c?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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