Newsletter: Google Dives In Indian Mobile Payment Market & No Bitcoin For Chinese

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

 GOOGLE INTRODUCES TEZ MOBILE WALLET FOR INDIAN USERS

 THE STORY

Unlike Android Pay and the much used Paytm, Google Tez works more like Apple Wallet.

 WHY ONLY INDIA?

There were already speculations regarding Google secretly working on a mobile wallet app targeted at the hot digital payments market in India. While there was no official announcement from Google last week, they surprised everyone by announcing Google Tez for iOS and Android users in India. A lot of fans from other countries sure seem upset, but the 300 million strong smartphone user base in India sure sounds like a juicy target for such a service.

Moreover, there has also been a constant rise in digital transactions in india ever since the nationwide demonetization last year. And being the second largest smartphone market, it was only obvious that Google would introduce a payment service of their own to cater the Indians.

BUT WHY NOT JUST LAUNCH ANDROID PAY?

A lot of people have questioned as to why Google needs to launch a separate mobile wallet app, when they already have Android Pay. This however can be explained as Android Pay uses Near Field Communication or NFC to facilitate communications between two devices. This feature however, isn’t very common among a majority of smartphone users across India and devices with NFC aren’t exactly affordable in the country.

OKAY, SO HOW DOES TEZ WORK THEN?

Unlike other mobile wallets Google Tez authenticates payments between devices by utilizing ‘Audio QR’ technology. This uses special audio frequencies to greenlight negotiations between payer and payee. Since audio signals are ultrasonic, they’re totally inaudible and incomprehensible to humans, keeping their transactions safe and secure. This new technology has been named as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) that is backed by Indian Government. Also unlike Paytm, Google Tez would directly access user’s bank account and authenticate payments with other mobile wallets.

According to Google’s official announcement, “Send money home to your family, split a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighbourhood chaiwala. Make all payments big or small, directly from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India.”

 


CHINA DRIVES THE FINAL NAIL IN BITCOIN’S COFFIN

 THE STORY

Contrary to speculations of China’s ICO only ban last week, government orders top cryptocurrency exchanges to shut shop.

WAIT, IS IT A TOTAL BAN NOW?

When China laid a major crackdown on Initial Coin Offerings last week, most experts thought this would only be temporary and wouldn’t really affect Bitcoin trading. But in a move that surprised everyone, Chinese government has issued ordered to Bitcoin trading agencies to stop local trading. The news of China’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrency exchange became evident as BTC China, which is one of the oldest bitcoin exchanges in the country finally ended trading.

As the Chinese communist government maintains strict regulations over market and funds, Bitcoin was certainly a threat to their economic organization due to its floating nature. According to Mr. Li Lihui from National Internet Finance Association of China, “Digital tokens like bitcoin, ethereum that are stateless, do not have sovereign endorsement, a qualified issuing body or a country’s trust, are not legal currencies and should not be spoken of as digital currencies. They can become a tool for illegal fund flows and investment deals.”

WHAT DOES THE WORLD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT?

While this does sound like the beginning of a dark era for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors, experts suggest this is only but a minor hurdle in the journey of digital currencies. Even with a 19% drop in it’s value, it still remains enticing enough to lure investors and users. Also, investors seem confident that the prices will recover eventually.

Analysts from Wall Street have also predicted that the digital currency might actually reach prices as high as $25,000 in the coming months. As per Mr. Thomas Lee, “here are only about 300,000 holders of at least $5,000 of bitcoin. That is like saying the iPhone was a bubble in 2007 four days into the sale because there were 500,000 iPhones sold. Bitcoin is a protocol. Meaning, the actual network itself is generating the value so that the Visa of bitcoin is not going to be as valuable as the blockchain network itself. And that is why, for instance, to make a fraudulent transaction on bitcoin today, it would cost almost $30 billion to create one fake bitcoin.”

Akshay Peter

Akshay Luke Peters is a writer and blogger for Systweak Software. He likes to write about off-beat topics and technological awareness. He is also part musician who likes to explore the future of technology in entertainment and popular media.

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