Ireland has become quite the fintech haven in the UK. From Stripe—makers of a payment solution for mobile apps—all the way to the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook, all have set up corporate offices at the Silicon Dock—Ireland’s answer to California’s Silicon Valley. But will the ships leave harbor once the storm of Brexit rears its head, or will Ireland’s generously low 12.5 percent corporate tax rate keep the ships docked? Only time will tell.
Wall Street responded positively to news of Square adding the ability to purchase Bitcoin directly from its Cash app—shares closed three percent higher on Wednesday, January 31. Bitcoin purchases are limited to just that—purchasing. The Cash app will only serve as a wallet, restricting users’ ability to send others bitcoins directly. It should also be noted that Robinhood—the commission-free stock trading app—recently announced its own entrance into the crypto-trading realm.
Zelle, the bank-backed co-op competing with Millennial-favorite Venmo and Square Cash, announced some rather impressive stats: 247 million payments processed totaling $75 billion for 2017. But those stats may not paint an entirely truthful picture. Zelle owes much of this success to clearXchange, which is what Zelle was called before 2017. It was clearXchange, with its pre-existing bank integration, which gave Zelle a 2.5 times head start—Venmo recently reported processing approximately $30 billion in payments in 2017.
Sweatcoin is a new mobile app that rewards physical activity with cryptocurrency. The London-based firm uses mobile phone GPS data to reward participants with one Sweatcoin for every 1000 steps taken, which can later be exchanged for fitness-related goods and services. What’s more, the new app has already been successful at getting people off their couches. App Annie, an app analytics firm reports Sweatcoin has been the most-downloaded fitness app in both the Apple and Android app store marketplace since September 2017.
—The New York Times
First, there was Mt. Gox—where hackers made off with an estimated $400 million in bitcoin back in 2014—now Coincheck has been breached. This time, hackers absconded with the lesser-known NEM coin valued at an estimated $530 million in USD. Unlike Mt. Gox, however, Coincheck will be partially reimbursing users for these losses—how they will do so remains unknown.