- The U.S. Marshals Service plans to auction 3,813 Bitcoins in 11 blocks Jan. 22. The agency acquired the digital currency through forfeitures in 18 federal criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Bidder registration opens today. At Thursday morning’s price of approximately $14,000 per Bitcoin, the assets are worth about $53.4 million.
- Wire-transfer provider MoneyGram International Inc. said it will test the XRP digital currency from Ripple Labs Inc.; MoneyGram said XRP transaction fees are a fraction of a penny compared with fees as high as $30 for XRP rival Bitcoin, and average transaction times are only two to three seconds.
- In related news, Reuters reported that a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce said “protectionist voices have been rising in the U.S.;” the comment came in the wake of the failure of the proposed buyout of MoneyGram by China-based Ant Financial Services Group to get clearance from a federal panel that oversees acquisitions of American companies by foreign ones.
- Processor Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) completed its previously announced, $1.05 billion cash acquisition of merchant acquirer Cayan LLC.
- Wells Fargo & Co. said it is supporting FitBit Pay for its customers. A payments service of wearables provider FitBit, FitBit Pay works with payment terminals equipped with near-field communication. FitBit’s first wearable offering the payment service is its first smart watch, FitBit Ionic.
- VeriFone Systems Inc. said it will support the mobile-payment service Alipay at its terminals in certain Lacoste U.S. stores. An affiliate of China’s Ant Financial, Alipay is used by millions of Chinese tourists in the U.S. each year.
- U.S.-based card technology provider Dynamics Inc. announced a deal to supply what it says is the first lockable credit card to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. Cardholders activate the card by entering a password on touch-activated buttons on the card. Once used, the card cannot be used again until the password is entered.
Experts have been saying that the payments business is hot, but few suspected it was …