- The FuzeX card allows consumers to spend their cryptocurrency via a credit card sized physical e-card that can be used like any other debit or credit card
- An e-paper display shows balance of all accounts accessible from the card, including cryptocurrencies and current exchange rates
- The partnership with Energi Mine brings it to the UK, allowing consumers to spend EnergiTokens earned for energy saving behaviour anywhere that accepts debit and credit cards
- In the near future, the FuzeX card will allow consumers to combine cryptocurrency, debit, credit and reward accounts into one secure, credit card-sized physical e-card
Global cryptocurrency card provider FuzeX has partnered with Energi Mine, the UK-based blockchain energy company, to provide the next generation of electronic debit card to consumers. For the first time, holders of cryptocurrencies will be able to view their balance from a credit card sized physical e-card, and then spend it as a payment currency using a EMV-compatible card.
Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, share all the characteristics of ‘money’ except for the one most crucial for widespread adoption – the ability to access and spend cryptocurrencies at merchants and retailers as quickly and easily as regular cash.
Korea-based FuzeX has developed a new type of electronic payment card that allows for the instant spending of cryptocurrencies at merchants, using an electronic credit-card sized device. In the near future, this card will also hold the details of the user’s existing regular credit and debit cards. It is partnering with UK-based Energi Mine, the blockchain company looking to financially reward energy saving behaviour. The partnership will allow Energi Mine’s users to spend EnergiTokens (ETK) earned for their energy saving behaviour from using energy saving white goods, to using low carbon public transport.
Andrew Bae, CEO at FuzeX said: “FuzeX caters to a new generation of crypto-enthusiasts, those who wish to keep all their assets in cryptocurrencies and who shun regular banks. It gives them the ability to make purchases at merchants without having to hold fiat currencies.”
The FuzeX card contains an EMV chip, which enables it to be used like any other debit or credit card at merchants and retailers to pay for purchases in local currency. However, the difference is that behind the scenes, payments are automatically routed to partner crypto exchanges and instantly debited from users’ cryptocurrency balances.
Andrew Bae continued: “Our partnership with Energi Mine represents the next step in creating a cryptocurrency ecosystem around the FuzeX card. One that will allow consumers to seamlessly spend all cryptocurrencies at merchants. We’re thrilled to be working with the Energi Mine team and look forward to supporting its vision of a decentralised energy market, while offering its customers a new way to use their EnergiTokens.”
The FuzeX Card is identical in size and thickness to a standard debit or credit card. It contains an EMV chip, a dynamic magnetic strip, an e-paper display and three input/option buttons, allowing users to physically see the balance of their cryptocurrency accounts before spending.
Omar Rahim CEO of Energi Mine said: “Our partnership with FuzeX will allow EnergiToken holders to spend their tokens in a way that feels intuitive and natural. This is a perfect practical example of Energi Mine’s effort to make saving energy behaviour as rewarding as possible. Users will be able to spend their ETK on whatever they want, removing one of the most significant barriers to true cryptocurrency utility.”
In the UK, FuzeX’s offering is made possible by the country’s Open Banking regulations. Traditional banks are now required to let their customers safely share account data with third parties like FuzeX, providing them with “read only” access to customers’ accounts. This effectively makes banks responsible for underwriting their customers data security and allows third parties to aggregate account data into a single view or service.
The Open Banking regulations and changing consumer banking trends, particularly among millennials, together signal that there is an appetite for the convenience offered by an all in one card like FuzeX. While aggregator cards like Curve are proving successful as all-in-one card options, they lack the ability to effectively bridge the normally segregated crypto and fiat currency markets. This is something that the FuzeX card does as part of its objective to make cryptocurrency more viable as a legitimate currency alternative.
For more information about Energi Mine, its energy-saving reward scheme and the EnergiToken, please visit https://energimine.com
Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.
Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.
The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.
Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.
Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.
Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.
“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)
UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.
Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.
“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.
“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”
Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.
He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.
“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.
Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.
“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of Stateâ€™s (Dowden’s) assertion that the governmentâ€™s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.
It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.
The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.
Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)
Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.
“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.
Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.
Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.
The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.
“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.
Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.
The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.
It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.
“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.
“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”
Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.
“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.
A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.
“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.
The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).
“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.
($1 = 0.7064 pounds)
(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)
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