In Tuesday’s edition of The Daily we cover stories about an electronic gift card program that Coinbase is extending to the U.S. market, new job offerings from Facebook that hint at the company’s blockchain plans, and an investment in the field from Unicef.
Also Read: US Law Professor: Confusing Cryptocurrency Regulations Will Hamper Innovation
Coinbase Extends Wegift Partnership to the US
Coinbase has announced that its trading platform now offers e-gift cards for its customers in the U.S. This means that American users will be able to instantly spend their cryptocurrency balances from the exchange with dozens of new retailers. The development has been achieved by expanding its partnership with the London-based startup Wegift, which supports many well-known brands such as Nike, Tesco, Uber, Google Play, Ticketmaster and Zalando.
Coinbase informed its users that purchasing e-gift cards incurs no withdrawal fees and that bonuses of up to 10 percent make it “smoother than ever to use crypto. Now, you’re just a few clicks away from spending your balance on e-gifts cards for Adidas shoes or your next vacation. Better yet, use some on the holidays — you’re just in time.”
Facebook to Develop Equitable Financial Services?
At the start of 2018, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg set a goal for himself to take back power from centralized systems using “encryption and cryptocurrency.” While the year is nearly over and this resolution remains unfulfilled, his company appears to still be focused on the subject. Recently surfaced ads show that Facebook is looking for data scientists and software engineers to help develop new blockchain solutions, possibly including financial services.
The company explains to potential candidates that: “At Facebook, we have established a new team building blockchain technologies. It’s a small, fast-growing, but talented group of people who are passionate about changing the world. Our leadership is experienced and are some of the best people working today in their respective fields.”
“The blockchain team is a startup within Facebook, with a vision to make blockchain technology work at Facebook scale. We’re exploring areas of interest across all facets of blockchain technology. Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now – that could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.”
Unicef Invests in Six Blockchain Startups
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has announced that it will provide backing to six blockchain startups from emerging economies trying to solve global challenges using the technology. The Unicef Innovation Fund will invest up to $100,000 in Atix Labs from Argentina, Onesmart and Prescrypto from Mexico, India’s Statwig, Utopixar from Tunisia and W3 Engineers from Bangladesh. The financial support is meant to help the companies deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12 months.
“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage — and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world,” said Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser at the fund. “That’s exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.”
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