Lead conversion platform Verse.io has launched trustContact™, a new service to help businesses comply with FCC regulations around SMS and phone calls. Business SMS is considered application-to-person (A2P) messaging, and different rules apply. A2P texts may be sent from an app or a platform such as Verse. One of the most cost-effective ways to send A2P messages is with 10-digit long code or 10DLC numbers, which allow companies to send up to 15 messages per second. Starting in October of 2021, most U.S. businesses that use 10DLC to reach their customers will need to complete A2P 10DLC registration. The regulations apply to companies that send more than 3,000 messages per day or use more than five 10DLC numbers for messaging. The trustContact™ service offers more than A2P 10DLC registration. Through this new product, Verse provides SHAKEN/STIR registration to verify phone numbers for calling prospects. SHAKEN/STIR registration, which Verse also includes with all contracts, prevents telephone calls from being labeled as “scam likely” or “spam risk.” Soon, trustContact™ from Verse.io will also include CNAM (Caller Name Delivery), which labels business calls with the business name and a green checkmark to show that the caller is verified. And, for a step up in callerID, Verse will soon be releasing a branded call product that will display a company logo and a short business tagline on customer’s phones.
Cooler Screens is a digital in-store media company supporting 4k digital smart screens, integrates into retail stores. The technology leaves behind the cookieless world and privacy concerns to rely on in-store contextual targeting to create a different type of connection between brands and consumers. The system is built on an engine and data-graph technology that consistently collects consumer behavior signals in real-time using video and IOT sensors. It maps and identifies signals like motion and attention, the type that have become common on ecommerce sites. It took online signals and transitioned them into retail stores. The screens support a different type of data to target consumers with ads or messages. Online, technology monitors the consumer continuously to understand what someone clicked on, how long did they remained on the page, or did the person scroll down the page? Advertisers have been doing this online, but not in stores.
- Crypto is past the tipping point of mainstream consciousness, and use cases like cross-border payments are firmly outside of the sandbox stage. Cross-border payments are one of the earliest crypto use cases for obvious reasons. Qualitatively, public blockchains and their native cryptocurrencies are global by nature and built to be secure, censorship-resistant, cheap to transact with (depending on the token) and (possibly most importantly) can settle transactions instantly 24/7/365. It all comes down to crypto having the same or better level of global liquidity than fiat and readily available on-off ramps. Ripple early on focused on the thesis that it will become cheaper to source liquidity for cross-border payments with crypto over traditional fiat if (1) crypto grows in volume around the world (measured by the level of liquidity on exchanges) and (2) users can make bigger payments with it (measured by order book size).
- A key factor required to use crypto for cross-border payments is easy on- and off-ramps to move from fiat to crypto and vice versa to get access to crypto liquidity. Everyone from the major money transfer companies and card networks to global crypto exchanges is taking advantage of tokenization to address this first hurdle. Data shows that sourcing liquidity from crypto becomes more cost-effective than fiat over time. The fundamental question is at what data point does sourcing from crypto become consistently cheaper than traditional fiat foreign exchange. Crypto volume, an indicator of liquidity, has grown over the past five years by using five of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap (Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash) on Bitstamp as a proxy for the larger crypto market. Here’s the reason why companies are pushing to use crypto for cross-border payments — it’s no longer just about the qualities of blockchain and crypto that make it useful for this use case, but also that global liquidity can truly support these payments at scale.
Marketnode, the digital asset joint venture between the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Temasek, is partnering with ten major banks for the Q4 2021 launch of its enterprise blockchain fixed income solution. The banks include Barclays, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Citi, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Orient Securities International, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale and UOB. At launch, the solution will focus on fixed income digital issuance, including streamlining documentation, as well as ESG bond reporting and a depositary infrastructure. By collaborating with banking and technology partners, we are creating network effects and building scale and capability that can be applied cross-assets within a single platform, for the benefit of banks, issuers and investors. The expanded group of banks will be early adopters, providing feedback but there are also plans to co-create DLT solutions. These include exploring expansion beyond fixed income, and some of the new technology partners might point towards the direction.
Facebook has announced a $50 million fund that it says will help it develop the metaverse more responsibly. It’s officially called the XR Programs and Research Fund, and the company says it’ll be invested into “programs and external research” over the course of two years. Facebook calls the metaverse the “next computing platform” and says that the company will be working with policymakers, researchers, and industry partners while building it. The company describes “metaverse” as “virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people” that you’re not physically with, spread out over a variety of products and services. Facebook says the fund’s goal is to make sure it builds its part of the metaverse with an eye towards compatibility with other services, as well as inclusivity, privacy, safety, and “economic opportunity.” Right now, Facebook’s metaverse biggest metaverse program is a platform called Horizon, which exists as a beta Oculus app that lets people have VR meetings.
TRIPP, XR wellness and digital psychedelic platform, is launching on Nreal’s mixed reality glasses in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain. TRIPP is pioneering an integrated approach to self-care and wellness across VR, mobile and now AR. With VR, TRIPP places users in beautiful immersive environments that they cannot experience in real life, making for a deeper connection to self. Now, with AR, TRIPP is expanding to create experiences that change the way people perceive and interact with their environment, ultimately exploring ways to drive connection to others, in community. At $19.99 a year and available on Oculus and PlayStation VR, TRIPP VR provides an accessible stress management solution as people transition back to work in the new normal. By expanding TRIPP’s offering to AR platforms internationally, users can experience the benefits of TRIPP on a broader set of device form factors wherever they are. Users can access the first of these AR offerings on Nreal mixed reality glasses, which feature psychedelic-inspired visuals that open up via portals, as well as targeted sound frequencies, breathing exercises, and mini-games eliciting greater present-moment awareness — all layered onto your reality through the glass lens.
The food and beverage stand operator Delaware North is working with Mastercard to bring its Shop Anywhere platform to a checkout-free convenience store at the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field. Located near the stadium’s Section 2, the store is stocked with a variety of prepackaged, grab-and-go food and drink items. The new store, dubbed MRKT, is “the world’s first commerce experience within a sports venue to feature Mastercard’s Shop Anywhere platform, which allows fans to shop and pay without waiting in line or stopping to check out.” Supported by the artificial intelligence (AI) company Accel Robotics, the Shop Anywhere platform provides insights and analytics that lets retailers create personalized shopping experiences based on customers’ needs without sacrificing privacy. Before shopping at MRKT, visitors will register with a QR code that will link to a form of mobile payment. Once inside, they can select products and exit without checking out, with their cards billed automatically.
Claro, the financial coaching app, encourages the British public to reduce their reliance on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes by launching a series of eye-catching billboards at key landmarks in the capital. Claro is on a mission to help everyone develop an intelligent money mindset and a healthy relationship with money to achieve their goals. It has launched “Bye Now Pay Later”, a series of digital billboards which feature shocking statistics on the financial habits of society, at major sites in London, including Oxford Street, London Bridge, Canary Wharf and Westminster. The digital financial coaching app’s campaign encourages the public to claim one of 1,000 free one-to-one personal finance coaching calls. They can help create a financial plan and build sustainable financial habits to drive lasting change in how society manages money. The recent Woolard Review and subsequent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans for regulating BNPL schemes means changes will be made to the sector; however, their rapid rise over the pandemic means that reforms will be too late for many. Claro is also inviting BNPL providers and retailers to a meeting to explore ways to promote considered spending among the public and educate people on unsecured credit products. The financial coaching app believes there is a place for BNPL products in the market; however, it should be used occasionally rather than relied on.
Walmart has decided to scrap its layaway program completely before the 2021 holiday season, replacing it with a buy now, pay later financing option. The retailer is now using the company Affirm, to replace layaway. Instead of having stores hold items from late August through mid-December while customers make payments until paid in full, shoppers can now take the item home immediately and pay it off with Affirm. Unlike layaway, purchases made with Affirm can rack up interest over time. Although Affirm does not charge any hidden or late fees for using its services, customers can have an APR rate on purchases of 10-30% depending on their credit and 0% for select promotional items on Walmart.com. Not all Walmart customers may be eligible to use Affirm depending on their prequalification status. Affirm’s services operate alternatively to a credit card. Customers will purchase the item immediately, and pay for the items over a three to 24 month period. Customers can select their own payment plan and Affirm will match them with a lender who will provide them with a loan for the financed item. Walmart shoppers can return any purchases made with Affirm for a refund, but the amount they paid in interest will not be refunded. Partial payments or late payments may impact a consumer’s credit score or ability to receive new loans with the company.
Hugo Boss has introduced its second collaboration collection with Russell Athletic to the Australian market, in a phygital launch experience. The partnership with Russell Athletic helped the business firm its position in the casual space and attract a younger customer. With a huge focus on digital, the show was closed by TikTok star Khaby Lame. Joining the proceedings in Milan were 200 digital and social media stars in the crowd watching the spectacle. The whole event was live-streamed globally on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn and is Boss’ debut social-first event. Across Instagram and YouTube the livestream clocked up 21,000 views, while content from the event on Boss’ TikTok has been seen by almost 30 million users. Complementing the digital nature of the show is the accompanying TikTok campaign. Five unique Boss x Russell Athletic NFT collegiate jackets are up for grabs on TikTok and fans are invited to participate in the hashtag challenge, showing off their #BossMoves for a chance to receive one, as well as a redeemable twin of each design and a wearable filter. Currently, the #BossMoves hashtag has 1.4 billion views on TikTok while the #BossxRussellAthletic tag has 8.7 million.