Ebay and PayPal to part ways


Score one for activist investor Carl Icahn: Ebay is divesting itself of PayPal, its online payment entity after 12 years together. The separation in which PayPal will become an independent publicly-traded company should be completed next year, according to a statement that said the Ebay board approved the move following a strategic review of the companies’ options. Ebay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002.

Icahn started motivating for a breakup last year and settled with eBay on the issue in April of this year when eBay added David Dorman, of CenterView Capital Technology, an Icahn pick, to its board.

ebayAs for the logistics, Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, will become CEO of the new eBay post separation. Dan Schulman, of American Express, joins [company]PayPal[/company] as of now as president and designated CEO of the new PayPal.  All of this will be overseen by current [company]eBay[/company] CEO John Donahoe and CFO…

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Visa: Apple Pay will pave the way for more mobile wallets that people can actually use


Visa EVP of Technology Rajat Taneja gets understandably excited when you mention Apple Pay.

That makes sense given that Visa – along with American Express, MasterCard – is one of the key partners in Apple’s new smartphone payments ecosystem, but Visa is a partner in Isis/Softcard and Google Wallet as well. What gets Tenaja really worked up is that Apple Pay could become a blueprint for all sorts of other mobile payments services worldwide.

[company]Apple[/company] Pay is the first mobile wallet to use a new financial-industry backed standard based on the tokenization of the credit card, and according to Taneja it could become the precursor of any number of new mobile wallets and digital payments solutions embedded in smartphones, applications and even web browsers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple isn’t trying an end-run around the financial industry, and it isn’t introducing…

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Stripe is operating the payment machinery behind Facebook’s “buy” button


Stripe has always in the business of making digital and mobile commerce for startups easier. But lately it has been processing payments from some companies that have long since graduated from startup status. Stripe is the company behind Twitter’s new in-stream “Buy” button, and Re/code revealed on Thursday that it is also pulling the levers on Facebook’s similar buy button, which is currently in trials.

Stripe confirmed to me on Friday that it is indeed the sole payment processor behind the [company]Facebook[/company] trial, which essentially puts a shiny Buy-Me-Now! button right into ads and sponsored posts in the news feed. According to Facebook, the trial is limited to a few small and medium-sized business advertisers in the U.S. (I’ve yet to see the Buy button in my own feed, though I’m a casual Facebook user).

An example of the "Buy" button in a sponsored post in Facebook's newsfeed (source: Facebook) An example of the “Buy” button in a sponsored post in Facebook’s…

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Big banks invest $13.5M in machine learning startup Context Relevant


Context Relevant, a Seattle-based company pushing a set of specialized machine learning applications, has added to its series B round of venture capital with $13.5 million from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Formation 8, New York Life, and Bloomberg Beta. In a world of data science and open source libraries, Context Relevant’s approach of focusing on a select set of algorithms, and making them easy to implement, is pretty smart. It certainly seems to have struck a chord with financial services customers, which has historically been a lucrative market for software vendors.

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Two US banks are ready to embrace the Ripple protocol, allowing instant global money transfers


Sending money isn’t as easy as sending an email, especially when it’s dealing with foreign banks — at least not yet. Two U.S. banks, New Jersey-based Cross River Bank and Kansas-based CBW Bank, are set to announce their use of the Ripple currency protocol, which would allow instant and free cross-border payments on the network.

“It’s a big milestone,” said Ripple Labs CEO, Chris Larsen. “We’ve been working on our enterprise banking strategy for well over a year. It takes awhile for banks to get going.”

The Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) is an internet protocol like HTTP or SMTP (which is what powers email) that allows a transfer of value across a distributed network. No one “owns” the World Wide Web or e-mail, and likewise, Ripple is an open-sourced protocol with no owner or operator. Because email is based on the SMTP protocol, you can send messages freely regardless of…

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PayPal inches toward bitcoin acceptance by enabling payments for digital goods


PayPal is dipping its toes slowly into the world of bitcoin. The company announced Tuesday that it will start accepting bitcoin through its payments hub, but only for digital goods like ebooks, music or video games.

[company]PayPal[/company] announced earlier this month that its subsidiary unit, Braintree, will accept bitcoin. However, Braintree, which processes payments for companies like Uber and Airbnb, only teamed up with Coinbase to accept bitcoin payments. In an increasingly common move for companies entering the bitcoin arena, PayPal announced it is partnering with multiple payment processors, including BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin for digital goods transactions.

It’s not a full embrace of bitcoin, and Scott Ellison, senior director of corporate strategy at PayPal, made it clear in the company’s announcement that the company is taking a cautious approach:
[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]To be clear, today’s news does not mean that PayPal has added Bitcoin as a currency in our…

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Samsung is teaming with PayPal for mobile payments on a watch


In the wake of Apple Pay coming to the Apple Watch early next year, Samsung is working on its own mobile payment strategy. And instead of going it alone, it has a highly motivated partner: The company is working with PayPal to bring secure mobile payments to the wrist.

PayPal fingerprint

Business Korea pointed out the effort and added Synaptics to the mix, whose technology may be used for fingerprint authentication, according to a Samsung executive:

We are currently developing the smart watch equipped with fingerprint identification technology and relevant solutions through cooperation with PayPal, the world’s most renowned financial transaction service company, as well as Synaptics, a global company specialized in biometric verification. By the earliest, the third generation smart watch to be released early next year will have this new system in which payment is authorized immediately when users identify themselves through biometric sensors such as a fingerprint or login.


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Square has a new $100M coming in, jacking up its valuation to $6B


Square has a lot more competition now that Amazon and a dozen other companies are accepting swiped credit card payments, but it apparently has a fresh $100 million in the bank to help it face those rivals. According to a regulatory filing shared with Forbes and Fortune, Square has raised a Series E round from unnamed investors, bringing the valuation of the company up to $6 billion.

Last month CNBC reported that [company]Square[/company] was going after $200 million in new capital and a major new investor, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. It’s unclear whether this new $100 million represents only a portion of that round, or whether it is the extent of Square’s fundraising for the time being. In 2012, Square raised $200 million in a big round led by financial giants [company]Visa[/company] and [company]JPMorgan Chase[/company] as well as [company]Starbucks[/company].

Square may need the funds as it tries…

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This week in bitcoin: Why Apple Pay won’t kill bitcoin


This week’s bitcoin review focuses on the news surrounding Apple Pay and its effect on bitcoin.

There’s more to bitcoin than a consumer retail system

For bitcoin users, the biggest news out of Tuesday’s Apple event wasn’t a new iPhone or the unveiling of the Apple Watch, but a different kind of product: Apple Pay. It is Apple’s foray into mobile payments, using NFC to allow iPhone or Apple Watch users to store their credit card information on their phone and then simply tap it to pay at retail checkouts. Mobile payments have never really gotten off the ground in the U.S., which is why companies (including Google) have been trying to install some sort of a secure wallet and easier payment system into our increasingly cellular-dependent lives.

To many bitcoin users, this sounded like a death sentence for bitcoin. To the other bitcoin users, this was a blessing…

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