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Sports streamer

Carrier billing firm Boku will power mobile payments for more than 80 million subscribers of Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo, a deal timed to coincide with the opening of several sports leagues.

Boku will work with sports streaming platform DAZN, which holds the rights for soccer and baseball, as well as televised matches of the U.K. Premier League, which features several well-known Japanese players. Japan’s baseball and soccer leagues start in late winter.

Consumers will be able to purchase and make recurring payments to DAZN through their mobile phone number.

New money

Jamaica is joining the central bank digital currency train, planning to test its version in December ahead of a launch in 2022.

The government is pushing the project as a way to accelerate digital payments and financial services to spur and economic recovery from the pandemic, reports Coindesk. Nearby, the Bahamas recently launched its digital currency, the Sand Dollar, in partnership with Mastercard.

Dozens of countries are working on central bank digital currencies, drawing attention from financial institutions that wish to contribute technology.

Wear and pay

Part of the payments industry’s attention on India stems from its mobile phone penetration, which is attracting other forms of payment innovation, including Internet of Things use cases.

Local bank Axis has launched a series of wearable contactless payments through a partnership with Thales, Mastercard and Tappy Technologies. The devices will be bands, keychains and watches linked to consumer bank accounts, and will work similar to a contactless debit card.

Tappy and Mastercard have collaborated in the past, developing Timex watches with NFC capabilities.

Looking to pay

Russia’s Sberbank and Visa are jointly developing a facial payment system that will be initially deployed at more than 200 locations of X5, a supermarket chain.

Consumers access the feature by selecting “Pay with a Glance” in the bank’s mobile app and choosing a card, which is linked to a biometric profile. Consumers then pay by glancing at biometric terminals in self-checkout lanes.

Spain’s CaixaBank is among the other banks that have embraced facial recognition for payments; and facial recognition has expanded for retail use over the past several years. The practice has caused some controversy and political pushback over privacy concerns.

From the web

Ant Group publishes financial self-discipline rules amid tougher Chinese scrutiny
REUTERS | Friday, March 12, 2021
China’s Ant Group flagged a set of financial self-discipline rules on Friday amid intense scrutiny on its activities by authorities and the country’s overall tightening of financial technology regulations.

Grab in Talks to Go Public Through Largest Ever SPAC Merger
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Thursday, March 11, 2021
A SPAC merger could value the Southeast Asian ride-hailing startup at as much as $40 billion, making it by far the largest such deal on record.

Cryptocurrency platform FalconX secures $50 million investment
REUTERS | Thursday, March 11, 2021
Cryptocurrency trading platform FalconX said on Thursday it had secured a $50 million investment from Tiger Global and B Capital Group.

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