Your 90-second guide to the day in tech Weds

- March 31, 2021 2 MIN READ

Welcome to Wednesday and the second-last working day of the week ;-).

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Here’s today’s tech news. 

Visa goes crypto

Credit card giant Visa is embracing cryptocurrencies, announcing it will use USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin backed by the US dollar, to settle a transaction with Visa over Ethereum. Visa is piloting the capability with Crypto.com, and plans to offer the USDC settlement capability to additional partners later this year.

Visa’s standard settlement process requires partners to settle in a traditional fiat currency, which can add cost and complexity for businesses built with digital currencies. The ability to settle in USDC can ultimately help Crypto.com and other crypto native companies evaluate fundamentally new business models without the need for traditional fiat in their treasury and settlement workflows.

Visa said its treasury upgrades and integration with Anchorage also strengthen’s ability to directly support new central bank digital currency (CBDC) as they emerge in the future.

Apple repairs get easier

Apple has announced plans to expand its Independent Repair Provider program, including to Australia, later this year. That means you’ll no longer have to wait 3 months for an appointment to open up at the Apple Store. The program authorises independent repairers as Apple service centres and currently runs in North America and Europe.

Hackers crack Homeland Security

The hackers behind the SolarWinds attack, believed to be Russian, managed to get into the secure email accounts of the US Department of Homeland Security boss Chad Wolf and other cybersecurity staff during the Trump administration, The Associated Press reports.
AP says that while it’s not known what the value of any intelligence the hack may have obtained “the symbolism is stark” in exposing the vulnerability of the US government to cyber attack, which failed to detect the SolarWinds attack, despite running a threat-detection system known as Einstein. US-based virtual private networks (VPNs) and hosting services such as Amazon Web Services and GoDaddy are also being used by hackers to evade detection.

The Biden administration has pledged to issue an executive order soon to address “significant gaps in modernisation and in technology of cybersecurity across the federal government” and is reportedly considering reprisals.

Mastercard joins FinTech Australia

Mastercard has joined FinTech Australia as an ecosystem partner and as an event partner for the 2021 Finnie Awards.

Mastercard aims to become a leading source for advice, support and guidance to fintechs in the global payments sector, and will also run a joint fintech pitch event with FinTech Australia later this year.

“Collaborations between fintechs and large financial services are key to growing our fintech sector. We’re thrilled to see Mastercard take this step in partnering with FinTech Australia to better collaborate with the local industry,” Rebecca Schot-Guppy, CEO of FinTech Australia said.

Stripe backs Ramp

Ramp, a two-year-old US fintech that manages employee expenses has raised more than US$115 million for a US$1.6 billion valuation.

The funding came in two rounds, initially US$65m led by D1 Capital Partners, alongside Stripe, Coatue Management and Goldman Sachs, before Stripe doubled down with a $50 million stake that upped the valuation by US$500m to the $1.6bn figure.


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