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TWO MILLION DANES JOIN THE NEXT WAVE IN MOBILE PAYMENTS AS DANSKE BANK’S MOBILEPAY TEAMS UP WITH POWATAG

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Dan Wagner

Integration partnership will enable MobilePay users to instantly complete transactions with PowaTag-enabled brands and retailers across the globe with their smartphones

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Denmark is leading the way to a cashless society by planning to scrap obligatory cash payments – and now two out of three smartphone users will be able to enjoy an entirely new way to shop as Danske Bank’s market leading MobilePay app introduces the transformative “buy anywhere” capabilities of acclaimed mobile commerce platformPowaTag.

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Over two million Danes use MobilePay, the free application from Danske Bank that enables peer to peer (P2P) money transfers and mobile purchases in-store and online. The app is the market leader in the Nordics, with over 12 billion kroner in transactions processed since launch.

The PowaTagplatform adds a powerful new level of engagement to MobilePay, creating a compelling way for Danske Bank to enable instant purchases through a wide variety of different triggers. More than 1,200 companies have so far partnered with Powa, including L’Oreal USA, The Big Issue Foundation, Best Western and Miinto, and some of the world’s biggest names will be rolling out this year.

Due to Powa’s global reach, MobilePay users from New York to Jakarta will be able to make instant PowaTag purchases with participating brands in locations around the world– ideal for the Danes, who are the world’s fourth most well-travelled people.[1]The international mind-set extends to online shopping, with 39 per cent of Danes buying from overseas websites in the last year, and the UK as a favourite location[2]. PowaTag enables shoppers to buy from their favourite brands online in just two taps, skipping long-winded order forms.

Mark Wraa-Hansen, Head of the MobilePay division in Danske Bank, says: “The Danish people are incredibly switched on to the huge potential of mobile payments, as demonstrated by the fact that two out of three smart phone users now use our solution. With PowaTag we can over time take MobilePay to the next level with a new set of services. The speed and convenience of PowaTag make it an ideal fit with the services that have made MobilePay so popular.”

Dan Wagner

Dan Wagner

Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies, says: “Integrating PowaTag’s singular ability to turn any form of media into an instant point of sale will further cement Danske Bank’s position at the forefront of mobile payments without compromising its decision not to charge customers.”

“Instantly engaging with over two million users through one of the world’s most well known retail banks is an important step as we continue to establish PowaTagas a new global standard in commerce. This partnership is a perfect example of the value PowaTag brings to banks, merchants and consumers alike.”

Danske Bank is the first of many leading retail banks to integrate PowaTag into its services through Powa’s software development kit (SDK), enabling MobilePayusers to instantly utilisePowa’s powerful transaction capabilities using details already saved to the app. The SDK enables companies to easily integrate the full PowaTag platform with their own in-house offerings to create an enhanced, scalable solution that enables banks and merchants to bring its benefits directly to their existing installed user base.

[1] 14.10.15 Timetrichttps://timetric.com/info/media-center/press-releases/2014/10/09/timetric-reveals-which-countries-travel-most/

[2]Postnord – ecommerce in the Nordics 2014 report

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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