Last week was a busy one for the industry, with a great deal of new developments around the globe. Also, 2 key events, namely MRC Dublin and India Ecommerce Expo, have kept the conversation around current trends going, while preparations for the June edition of Money 2020 Europe are in full swing.

Here are the top news that caught our attention.

Industry acquisitions

PayPal looks likely to close what has been described in the media as “the largest deal in its history” with a USD 2.2 billion acquisition of European mobile payments company iZettle. As a result of this move, PayPal will gain an in-store presence in 11 markets in Europe and Latin America, plus a stronger foothold in physical retail, where most transactions still occur.

While headlines have constantly reported the tremendous growth of the eCommerce market, the physical channel still remains the dominant one for transactions. According to Euromonitor International estimates, 83% of physical goods and 91% of foodservice orders will still be made in physical outlets in 2022.

Last week, Worldline also set the stage for more consolidation on the European payments market by closing a USD 2.75 billion deal to buy the payments unit of Swiss exchange operator SIX Group. SIX Payment Services delivers both commercial acquiring and financial processing services.

The tech world can’t stop talking about cryptocurrencies

There is an article on this topic in the media every day and within the past years, industry attitudes towards the Bitcoin – cryptocurrencies – blockchain triangle have varied from sheer criticism to absolute praise and action. The same goes for regulation in this space.

Most recently, the European Council has introduced a directive that will impact the crypto sector in Europe, as it aims to drastically reduce anonymity for both users as well as transactions. The document updates the anti-money laundering legislation of the European Union to address, among other topics, “the risks linked to virtual currencies.” The new rule introduces requirements for KYC procedures that crypto platforms will have to implement.

The law obliges exchange service providers as well as wallet custodians who exchange in transactions between fiat and virtual currencies to report any suspicious transactions. In addition, authorities will be empowered to monitor cryptocurrency use via these platforms with national financial intelligence divisions having access to information, Coingeek reports.

Titled “Strengthening EU rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing”, the directive was approved by the European Council last week.

Upgrading to a modern payment gateway is key

Online retailers risk losing their customers due to out-of-date payment technology, research from Barclaycard has revealed. Over 7 in 10 retailers have not added any new payment technology to their website in the past two years, the same source indicates. As a result, retailers could be missing out on GBP 18 billion in sales each year, as consumers abandon purchases at checkout.

Meanwhile, retailers who chose to add new payment technology to their website – for example, a new payment gateway – are reaping the rewards. Almost 96% of those involved in the study mentioned that this has enhanced the online experience for their customers, while 64% claim payment processing is faster.

China: cross-border online shopping growing strongly

Total online shopping sales in China are set to surpass USD 1 trillion this year, while cross-border online purchases will exceed USD 125 billion, new data from Frost & Sullivan shows. Chinese consumers are significantly motivated by 2 main factors: the higher quality and lower risk of buying fake goods that overseas retailers offer.

Meanwhile in Russia

As of 2019, Russians will be able to transfer money via QR-codes in instant messengers (WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger) and social networks (VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook). Using a special application, the user will generate his individual QR-code that incorporates the beneficiary name, account number, bank, and other relevant details. To send money, customers will only need to scan the QR-code and enter transaction amount in the app.

Social media question of the week: “Blockchain seems to be in direct opposition to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because data on a blockchain is immutable. How can Blockchain work within the GDPR framework?” – via Mark van Rijmenam AI, Blockchain, Big Data speaker and author.