Digital asset custody services provider Anchorage has raised $40 million in a Series funding round led by Blockchain Ventures and joined by Visa and Andreessen Horowitz.

Since launching in 2017, Anchorage has signed up a host of big name institutional investors as clients, helping them to keep their crypto assets safe.

The firm requires two members of a client to approve transactions and uses behavioural analytics to review requests before hardware security modules process the transaction.

Anchorage, which was recently included in the Facebook-led Libra Association, plans to use the latest funding to add support for new assets, and new features such as participating in on-chain governance, and to look into unlocking services beyond custody.

P Bart Stephens, managing partner, Blockchain Capital, says: "As our industry evolves, a growing number of crypto networks will depend on asset holders’ active participation in staking and governance. Anchorage’s next generation custody solution is ideally positioned to help investors keep up with the future direction of crypto networks.

"We are leading this investment because we believe Anchorage will have a transformative impact on the financial world."

Source: www.finextra.com

With PSD2’s Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) deadline fast approaching, Swedish open banking platform Tink is claiming that European lenders have failed to provide the proper technology environment for third party providers to access payments data as required by the new law.

European banks were mandated to make their production APIs available by 14th June - three months before the final RTS deadline.

In a bid to assess readiness, Tink has attempted to integrate 84 APIs representing 2500 banks across 12 markets. While 69% of the production APIs were available by 14 June, not a single one was found to be of sufficient quality to have met the required regulatory standards for integration.

Tink says that banks are welcoming feedback, and showing a willingness to improve but predicts that third parties will now need to rely on contingency methods stipulated by PSD2 if they are to offer a smooth service for end users come September.

The firm is calling on regulators to enforce an extended transition period after the deadline to give banks the time to get their APIs up to standard.

Tomas Prochazka, VP, product, Tink, says: "With less than three months to go until every financial institution in Europe is required to be fully compliant with PSD2’s RTS, this is concerning news.

"While efforts from both sides are being made to make the deadline work, TPPs all over Europe are being left in the dark. Unanswered questions - such as who will be granted an exemption from providing a fallback method and when these exemptions will be issued - mean they are faced with a suboptimal working environment.

"It’s in everyone’s interest to make sure that end users are able to continue enjoying the services they have become accustomed to after 14th September - and to ensure PSD2 and the open banking movement are successful."

Source: www.finextra.com

Visa is buying Verifi, a payment dispute resolution technology specialist that promises to help firms reduce chargebacks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Currently, transaction disputes are generally resolved by a process that sees information provided by various offline channels and platforms.

Verifi’s technology connects all parties in the dispute management process in near real-time with the aim of resolving issues before they become a chargeback. The firm serves more than 25000 accounts.

Visa says that by integrating Verifi chargeback tools into its risk management services, it can provide buyers and sellers more automation, near real-time communication and data-driven insights.

Mary Kay Bowman, global head, seller solutions, Visa, says: "Facilitating trust and transparency across the buying experience is core to Visa’s brand promise and Verifi’s technology and expertise will extend these capabilities to more partners across the payments ecosystem."

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

Source: www.finextra.com

EPSM, a European payment services industry group, has called for a minimum 18-month delay to the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules under PSD2.

In a plea to regulators for an extension, the 67-member organisation, whose members provide a range of payment services to merchants, warned of “significant market disruptions” and “a disaster for consumers and PSPs [payment service providers]” without a grace period for industry to get its house in order.

EPSM recommends that additional timeframes of 18 months for standard applications and up to 36 months for challenging applications, (eg in the travel and hospitality sector) across all regions should be agreed in a harmonised migration approach” the lobby group said, warning of business disruption risks without flexibility.

SCA, to be introduced September 14, 2019, requires robust additional security authentications for a majority of online transactions over EUR 30 (GBP 26.95). The rules are being introduced in a bid to tackle payment fraud.

Regulatory technical standards (RTS) for SCA were adopted by the European Parliament in March 2018. The aim is to increase the security of electronic payments over by introducing two-factor authentication (2FA) – for all transactions over EUR 30 that fall under the scope of the rules. These include credit transfer via online banking, standard ecommerce card payments, card payments at POS (chip-and-pin) and more.

Yet the EPSM claims many questions about implementation remain unanswered, saying that “a lot of questions regarding the interpretation of the legal texts have been addressed to EBA [European Banking Authority]. Unfortunately, only a small number has been answered and a high level of uncertainty remains.

EPSM notes: “According to a restrictive reading of the RTS by EBA, the online payment method ‘Remote card payment using OTP [one-time password], 3DS [an XML-based protocol designed as an additional security layer for online card transactions] and card data will not be allowed without, for example, an additional password or biometry, even if secured by EMV 3DS 2.x (the highest security level possible). It adds: “This would lead to significant market disruptions.”

When SCA is applied, two-factor authentication is required. This includes a combination of the following:

- Possession: something only the user possesses (a card, a mobile phone, etc)

- Knowledge: something only the consumer knows

- Inherence: something the user is (biometric identification like fingerprint, iris or voice recognition, etc)

The EPSM is calling on the EBA to belatedly change the rules and acknowledge that the combined use of card data (as “knowledge”; the current EBA opinion is that this is not compliant); OTP as “ownership” (the EBA opinion is that this is compliant) and EMV 3DS as “inherence (the EBA opinion being that this is not compliant) is a valid SCA method.

Source: www.thepaypers.com

Facebook's digital currency and wallet could be just the beginning of a new assault on financial services by the tech giant, a senior exec says.

Earlier this month Facebook confirmed its long-anticipated move into blockchain-based financial services, leading a consortium of heavy hitters prepping a global digital currency called Libra and unveiling a wallet - Calibra - that lets users store and exchange the new money.

In an interview with business and technology analyst Ben Thompson, quoted by CNBC, the VP of product for Calibra, Kevin Weil, says that if the wallet is a success, Facebook could move into other areas.

"If we are successful at providing a wallet that allows people to store money securely and send to anyone anywhere in the world, then over time we think there will be an opportunity to provide more financial services for people — you can imagine things like credit,” says Weil.

Weil also says that Libra and Calibra will boost Facebook's ecommerce position, making it easier for people to shop through Marketplace and Instagram Checkout. Meanwhile, advertising revenue could rise by enabling cash-dependent firms to sell to nearby customers more easily.

Source: www.finextra.com