Little wonder that EU regulators are looking at Mark Zuckerberg's plan to integrate Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram with some trepidation. Yesterday, reports came in from around the world that functionality was missing from services, and in some cases, users used to signing in to other services via the Facebook login were unable to proceed. "Facebook and Instagram appear to be partially down for some users around the world today," wrote The Verge yesterday. "While you can open both platforms and some services appear to have been restored, users are reporting issues with sending messages on Messenger, posting to the feed on all Facebook products, and accessing other features on Facebook.com, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Even Facebook-owned Oculus VR is experiencing issues related to the outage." Lafferty News has reported for several months that the endgame of this integration is to build a giant messaging network that can integrate payments, and potentially with a Facebook Coin or WhatsApp Coin. As yet there is no explanation forthcoming from Facebook about the cause of the outage: meanwhile, Visa for instance will be called to account over its network outage last year.
If payments was the hot flavour of fintech in recent years, Bloomquint is seeing that digital lending is the new flavour. Omidyar Network expects a surge in digital lending in India after several years of experimentation from the state and industry. "A key change which will enable formal lending to these enterprises is the shift of MSMEs from the informal to formal sector," reports Bloomquint. "This shift, according to the report, is driven by the Goods and Services Tax and the availability of digital payment options. A survey of 1500 MSME owners found that 47 percent of these firms have adopted digital tools for business processes, payments and online sales." The broader context is the move of many businesses into the formal sector with digital channels of income and also outgoings including tax payments.
In fairness, it hardly qualifies as news when Basel warns about digital assets and cryptocurrencies, but it's the detail that is interesting. "Crypto-assets are not a reliable substitute for money and are unsafe to rely on as a medium of exchange or store of value, the global banking watchdog said in a statement on Wednesday," according to Reuters. "The Basel Committee said that while banks currently have 'very limited' direct exposure to crypto-assets, they should still improve their risk management and disclosure processes to minimize risk." This news is coming on foot of threats from Facebook (see above!) to launch its own cryptocurrency, not to mention JPMorgan's recent announcement of JPMCoin and the move of institutional investors into custody services for digital assets.
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