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Women Entrepreneurs Reveal how they Launched Small Businesses During Pandemic, Supported by Digital Payments with PayPal

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The Research and Insights team at PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) notes that when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Jennifer Vaughan started noticing a visible change in her business’s customer base.

Usually, Jennifer’s “high-end” paper store, Mulberry Paper and More, had been appealing to professional artists. However, Jennifer soon discovered that it was increasingly appealing to amateurs as well, who were buying paper for crafts at home.

Jennifer says that this is a trend seen “across the craft industry.” With many people spending a lot more of their free time at home during the last year, they’ve decided to take up creative “pandemic hobbies,” which has significantly increased sales for established craft businesses and “even driving some amateur hobbyists to turn their craft making into a successful small business,” PayPal Research and Insights reveals.

The report adds that consumers have “turned to crafts as they search for creative ways to bond, spruce up their homes, do school art projects, or even relax and relieve stress.”

Jennifer Vaughan, the owner of Mulberry Paper and More, believes that the changes in her client base has been due to the pause in gallery and art shows during the Coronavirus crisis. This has led to professional artists purchasing “less high-end” paper, and there’s a rising interest in “casual crafting” as consumers now have a lot more free time.

PayPal’s insights team further reveals that with the transition to working from home, Aysegul Conboy, an interior designer, realized that she was spending a lot more time in front of a computer. Conboy noted that she was “answering emails in the middle of the night and attending endless video calls.”

With the lines between work and life “increasingly blurred,” Conboy discovered that she was unable to help but laugh at the “conventions of office-speak.”

She points out that “at first, I was frustrated at the emails ending with ‘friendly reminder’ that are never friendly, but then it started to make me giggle.” She started to wonder if other people were going through the same thing.

While trying to find a screen-free activity, Conboy ordered an embroidery machine and began embroidering her favorite work “jargon” onto sweatshirts.

She began wearing the sweatshirts to online meetings. Soon, friends and colleagues started asking where they could get these clothing items for themselves, and that’s when Conboy realized that her pandemic hobby could become a “full-fledged” business. She established Out of Office Brand, which she refers to as “clothing with a weekend attitude, made for the entire week.”

In order to establish her business, she started up an Instagram account and a website that aims to make it easy for clients to order and pay for the sweatshirts via PayPal Checkout.

She added:

“PayPal is one of the only payment methods that is user friendly, trustworthy and easy to use. It’s been a great tool for me and my business, because when it comes to online shopping, customers love to see options that are convenient, easy to use on their phones and trustworthy.” 

Jason from The Glitter Guy remarked:

“I’m beyond pleased [people are] supporting small businesses now more than ever. We’re thankful to PayPal for continuing to give us the opportunity to grow into the business we strive to be.”

As reported recently, Catherine Wood, Founder, CEO, and CIO of ARK Investment Management LLC, an investment management company that managed the largest actively-managed exchange-traded fund (ETF) last year, recently commented on Fintech industry developments and shared her views regarding future growth opportunities.

The Ark Funds CEO pointed out that the Cash App from Square Inc (NYSE: SQ) and Venmo from Paypal Holdings  are now benefiting from the shift towards digital wallets and Fintech apps that’s being led mainly by Millennials.

As covered, Dan Dolev from Mizuho has said that Fintechs like PayPal have the P2P payments edge against large banks.

Dolev thinks that PayPal (and payments company Square) has “a brand.” He further claims these Fintech firms have “the P2P edge.” He clarified that what he means is that because consumers use these services to transfer funds between each other– “nobody really has that, that P2P thing– that lowers the cost of acquisition.”

He acknowledged that there’s plenty of room for further growth and development, because they’re “all taking share away from the banks, from the big banks.” He predicts that Square and PayPal will be “at the top of it.”

As reported in February 2021, PayPal is planning to offer a super app with Fintech services like crypto, payments, investing, and rewards accessible via a common interface.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/03/173346-women-entrepreneurs-reveal-how-they-launched-small-businesses-during-pandemic-supported-by-digital-payments-with-paypal/

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Pakistan to Conduct Research on Developing its own Central Bank Digital Currency to Enable Greater Financial Inclusion

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Pakistan is reportedly planning to carry out studies in order to potentially launch a State-backed virtual currency so that it can enhance its existing banking system, enable greater financial inclusion, and also ensure that illicit activtiies such as money laundering are not being carried out by local or foreign entities.

Pakistan‘s digital currency will aim to provide more transparency by more accurately keeping track of monetary transactions. The nation’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is focused on combating corruption while providing more accessible financial services to locals.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the nation’s central bank, stated that they’re “studying” digital currencies “very carefully.”

SBP Reza Baqir spoke to CNN correspondents earlier this month. He pointed out that the benefit of virtual currency is that it will give another boost to their efforts to promote financial inclusion. A central bank digital currency (CBDC) will also allow Pakistan to make more progress in its fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, the Governor added.

He also mentioned that they’re hoping to make an announcement regarding the development of a CBDC in the coming months. For now, however, they’re supporting a digital banking framework for local consumers and businesses.

The digital currency will not actually be replacing physical currency and coins, at least not right away. Paper currency may be difficult to replace considering Pakistan’s economy is heavily dependent on cash payments. But the Pakistani Ministry of Finance could begin promoting the use of a virtual currency and focus on increasing its use in the long-term

As reported by the Tribune, a State-backed virtual currency could help the Pakistani government in its efforts to combat money laundering and terror financing, because it would become a lot easier to trace transactions on a digital ledger. This would also help ensure compliance with the action plan provided by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Pakistan has reportedly managed to increase its compliance with 27 points of the FATF action plan during the past couple years. The country is expected to be placed in the FATF white list in the coming months, according to local sources. This reclassification may help the country attract significantly more foreign investments while also helping it increase its revenue from exports.

In statements shared with the Tribune, Noman Said, a technology professional, noted:

“Pakistan has 60-70% infrastructure in place for introducing a digital currency. However, strict monitoring to shield the digital currency from cybertheft will remain a challenge … like the one every modern economy is facing these days.”

The SBP governor added:

“We are doing a comprehensive internal study to know the trends in this regard (digital currency) at other central banks around the world. We will soon share the outcome of the studies … what are the possible considerations for us for introducing a digital currency by the central bank and what is the experience of other central banks in this regard. Pakistan has witnessed 100-200% growth in online banking during the Covid-19 pandemic as the country has a huge tech-savvy population.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/174360-pakistan-to-conduct-research-on-developing-its-own-central-bank-digital-currency-to-enable-greater-financial-inclusion/

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South Korea to Introduce Updated Crypto Regulations due to Investors Engaging in Trading Activities with Investors, Platforms in Other Nations

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Financial regulators in South Korea are reportedly discussing the launch of an updated regulatory framework for overseas remittances made by investors. These traders are allegedly trying to make huge profits by capitalizing on Bitcoin price gaps found on different cryptocurrency exchanges based in Korea and other nations.

As reported by the Korea Times, the decision to introduce new crypto regulations has come as a response to “growing suspicions” that investors in the country and overseas are engaging in virtual currency “speculation” by acquiring digital assets via overseas trading platforms and then selling them via Korean exchanges. It’s worth noting that Korean crypto exchanges are quoting BTC prices that are about 10% higher than those in the United States and other markets.

Data also reveals that suspicious foreign exchange remittances continue to rise. Available data from Korea’s 5 major banks ― including KB, Shinhan, Hana, Woori and NongHyup ― reveals that Chinese citizens in the country remitted $72.7 million (appr. 81.2 billion won) to their home country between April 1 to 9, 2021. This is notably 8x greater than the total amount remitted by Chinese citizens in Korea in March 2021.

Following these developments, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) conducted an online meeting on Friday (April 16, 2021) with the heads of the foreign exchange divisions of large lenders.

Officials present during the meetings said they were quite concerned about the excessive cryptocurrency “speculation” and looked into potential ways to prevent this activity by introducing updated regulatory guidelines. These news laws would allow banks to take preemptive measures against entities carrying out overseas remittances.

Following the rise in international payments made (earlier this month), commercial banks in South Korea reportedly began tightening up their monitoring of these transfers. They’re now preventing retail clients from sending more than $50,000 to other nations unless they’re able to explain and verify the actual purpose of the transfers.

However, there are no set or clear regulatory guidelines yet for crypto transactions. Because of these limitations, authorities are simply trying to carefully monitor suspect financial transactions and then later will try to provide clearer guidelines to local banking institutions.

A government official noted:

“Authorities will keep monitoring any signs of illegal trading activities in the cryptocurrency market here, and team up with global institutions to systematically deal with unlawful acts made through overseas exchanges.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/174364-south-korea-to-introduce-updated-crypto-regulations-due-to-investors-engaging-in-trading-activities-with-investors-platforms-in-other-nations/

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DeFi Needs a More Reliable Credit Scoring System According to Blockchain Platform Ontology Founder Li Jun

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Decentralized finance (DeFi) requires a more reliable credit scoring system, however, we need to be cautious, according to Ontology (ONT) Founder, Li Jun.

Jun explains that credit scores have been “a cornerstone of risk evaluation in the global banking systems for decades.”

He adds that they allow banking institutions to determine who may qualify or is eligible to receive a loan, at what interest rate, and what the credit limits might be for an individual or business. Lenders use these scores to assess or evaluate the “likelihood that the borrower will fulfill their obligations and repay their loan,” Jun explained.

He also mentioned that the global lending and payments market managed to reach $6.7 trillion last year. It may be on track to reach $7.6 trillion this year, Jun revealed. He also noted that if you’ve applied for a bank loan, then you’ll know that these traditional credit-scoring systems and ID verification processes “work together.” He added that these include proof of address and a copy of a passport (or some other form of official identification).

Jun further noted that Europe’s Open Banking initiative, PSD2, is expected to streamline credit scoring. It will “make it possible for lenders and borrowers to access a full picture of an individual’s financial history in real-time,” Jun added while noting that its introduction into financial services systems will “revolutionize the loan process.” It will “increase speed, accuracy, and more importantly, financial inclusion,” Jun predicts.

He also mentioned:

“In comparison to this highly sophisticated system, lending and borrowing in the DeFi industry is still in its [early stages of development.] However, as we know, over the past 12 months it’s grown at an incredible rate. Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi as of March 2021 stands at $39.7 billion, according to DeFi Pulse. What’s more, it is lending that makes up for the largest segment of that market. The DeFi lending market sits at $17.8 billion. Decentralized exchanges follow closely behind at $15.6 billion.”

He continued:

“What the DeFi industry has been missing is a credit scoring system that provides a full picture of an individual’s varied crypto assets across different wallets and chains. To increase trust and reputation when it comes to lending and borrowing through DeFi, we need a system that supports cross-chain interaction and verifiable credentials. By connecting user identities with personal accounts, users can bind their digital assets and contact addresses making it easy for the correct due diligence to take place.”

Jun further noted that crypto credit scores will allow lenders to look at or review the borrower’s eligibility or creditworthiness. They should also help them with avoiding “over-collateralization when looking to borrow assets,” Jun explained while adding that they’ll “have the ability to put their positive credit scores to use and to access more rewarding opportunities.”

He also noted:

“As the DeFi industry progresses to merge with traditional financial systems, there will need to be an evaluation of on-chain and off-chain assets. To create a trusted merger between these two worlds, a full picture of traditional and digital holdings and history needs to be made available. This will further bolster the benefits of legislation like Europe’s PSD2. It will provide a more rounded, integrated look at asset holdings and histories, including crypto assets, in real-time.”

But he also pointed out that as we have now seen with any new technology that “deals with highly sensitive data, we must be cautious.”

He also mentioned that any decentralized credit scoring system “applied to DeFi lending and borrowing needs to put user privacy and security first.” Jun also believes we “cannot ask individuals to give up their data sovereignty in exchange for a well-working DeFi lending system.”

He added:

“Decentralized digital identity systems can help immensely here. By coupling decentralized credit scoring with a decentralized digital identity system, no one party will hold full control over an individual’s financial data. The buck will stop with the individual. The World Economic Forum has been promoting these kinds of digital identity solutions for a long time. In addition, the UK Government endorsed their use universally as the cornerstone of future economies.”

Jun concluded:

“If DeFi is serious about going mainstream and further nurturing relationships with institutional players, a reliable means for evaluating risk in a timely, accurate manner while permitting the same level of due diligence is integral. In addition, [if]the DeFi industry wants to win the trust of mainstream finance, it … [must] avoid the mistakes many disruptors in big tech have made in recent years.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/174368-defi-needs-a-more-reliable-credit-scoring-system-according-to-blockchain-platform-ontology-founder-li-jun/

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Mastercard Set to Acquire Identity Verification Platform Ekata For $850 Million

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Mastercard announced on Monday it has acquired digital identity platform Ekata for $850 million. According to Mastercard, Ekata works with global merchants, financial institutions, travel companies, marketplaces, and digital currency platforms. It notably uses insights to deliver unique scores, data attributes and risk indicators that businesses then use to make more informed decisions.

Ekata’s identity verification data, machine learning technology and global experience combined with Mastercard’s fraud prevention and digital identity programs will help businesses confidently know who their customers are and, in turn, help those customers safely interact online. Mastercard and Ekata’s integrated services will build on both companies’ commitments to ensure trust and the responsible use of data.

While speaking about the acqusition,  Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions at Mastercard, stated that with the addition of Ekata, Mastercard will be able to advance its identity capabilities and create a “safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy.” Rob Eleveld, CEO at Ekata, added:

“The right identity verification solutions enable inclusive and frictionless experiences while, at the same time, ensuring customer privacy, control and security. Becoming part of the Mastercard Identity family ensures a broader, collective approach to meeting the growing demands of the digital economy.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/174392-mastercard-set-to-acquire-identity-verification-platform-ekata-for-850-million/

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