3.29.18 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
The ransoming of Atlanta
About 8,000 city workers in Atlanta were able to turn on their computers for the first time in about a week after a ransomware attack.
The New York Times reports the attack halted payments for traffic tickets and water bills, and also shut off reporting venues for potholes and other problems. The attack, which the Times reports came from the SamSam hacking troup, encrypts victims’ files and changes the file name to “I’m sorry.” The victims have a week to pay before the files are permanently cut off.
The city would not disclose if it paid the ransom, which is about $50,000.
Some light in the dark web
Monero, an alternative currency that’s perceived to be even more transparent than bitcoin, offers more of a peek into its users than previously thought.
Wired reports researchers have found flaws that make it possible to extract transactions, despite Monero’s blockchain’s design, which is meant to prevent users from linking Monero to an identity or source.
That has made Monero a popular currency on the “dark web,” which relies on anonymous transactions between users, who are often involved in hacking or other illegal activity, according to Wired.
EU streamlines close-to-home-fees
The European Commission will require banks to cut fees on cross-border payments between EU countries that are in the euro zone and those that are not.
This is a change form the current standard, in which residents of EU countries outside of the euro zone do not have the same fee protection.
The EC says this is counter to the goal of a “single market.” However, the new rules do not apply to countries outside of the euro area, which means most remittances and U.S.-related payments would be subject to the old rules.
Fresh on the heels of Subutai’s “green” cryptocurrency mining system (which relies on underused capacity of a network of computers to trim electricity), another startup called Chia is joining the race for ecologically sound mining.
TechCrunch reports Chia uses proof of space to locate available computing resources to use for mining, avoiding some of the energy drain that accompanies traditional bitcoin mining.
Chia plans a 2019 launch, and will have a limited IPO in the coming months to build a group of investors, according to TechCrunch.
From the Web
Thailand’s top banks to waive off digital transaction fees
Reuters | Thu Mar 29, 2018 – Thailand’s four largest banks have decided to waive off digital transaction fees to retain retail customers as new channels for online payments and electronic wallets are being launched in the country. Bangkok Bank Pcl, Kasikorn Bank Pcl, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB) and Krungthai Bank Pcl said earlier this week that they would drop charges by April for digital transactions with other banks, money transfers across banking zones, bill payments and cash withdrawals.
Reddit No Longer Accepts Bitcoin
Fortune | Wed Mar 28, 2018 – Reddit, one of the most active hubs of Bitcoin enthusiasts, has dropped its support for the cryptocurrency. The widely read social media site will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its Reddit Gold program. A person claiming to be an administrator on the site told users who were grumbling about the shift that the decision was made, in part, due to Coinbase discontinuing its Merchant Tool product.
In-Seat Vendors To Begin Accepting Credit Cards At Phillies Games
CBS News | Wed Mar 28, 2018 – The Phillies open the 2018 season Thursday in Atlanta. Fans in the seats at the team’s first home game next week will see a new way to pay for their beer or popcorn. The beer man is heading up the aisle at Citizens Bank Park, but you’re low on cash. No need to remain parched. This season, you can hand the vendor a credit card, says Aramark spokesman David Freireich.
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