Paytm Looking to Launch Payments Bank Before Diwali

Paytm Looking to Launch Payments Bank Before Diwali

Digital payment platform Paytm is readying a budget of Rs. 350-500 crores to roll out its payments bank and eyeing an October launch before Diwali this year, a top executive said.

“It is a large budget of about Rs. 350-500 crores. We are working on the launch of services. Technology implementation will take a bit more time. We think that we will definitely launch it before Diwali,” Paytm Payments Bank CEO Shinjini Kumar told PTI.

Earlier in May, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma had talked about August rollout.

Explaining the deferred timeline, Kumar said the company is trying to get a handle on newer issues in the run-up to the launch.

“The more we are getting into this, the more we are learning, everyday is a new understanding and learning,” Kumar said.

“And we are also trying to find different ways to solve some of the perennial problem like data connectivity, biometric authentication and all that. So, in terms of the actual rollout, there are a few more decisions that we will take.”

The Noida-based digital payment firm Paytm had won the payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank last year.

Payments bank can accept demand and savings bank deposits from individuals and small businesses, up to a maximum of Rs. 1 lakh per account.

The Paytm Payments Bank will be headquartered in Noida and kick off its services from east and north, to begin with.

“We definitely have the east and north of India as our priority areas, particularly for financial inclusion,” she said.

The company, Kumar added, has plans to take its payments bank services wherever Paytm has its reach today.

“We take the responsibility to reach out to new sections of society very seriously… That is because they are the new consumers who actually will migrate using the digital,” Kumar explained.

As part of the payments bank launch preparations, the company executives have criss-crossed India to get a sense of how the poor look at technology to solve their problems, she said further.

Oracle Confirms New Version of Java Enterprise Edition Is Coming

Oracle Confirms New Version of Java Enterprise Edition Is Coming

  • Oracle confirms that it has not abandoned Java EE
  • Assures that it is working on Java EE 8
  • Will announce full details at Java One in September

Earlier this month, Oracle came under the scanner for reportedly abandoning the development of Java Enterprise Edition (EE) – a popular server-side platform for developing and running Java-based applications. The company’s silence on the matter, and shifts for employees to other projects, raised serious concerns in the Java community. Developers came together to form the Java EE Guardians group, in order to pressure Oracle to reinstate development efforts in Java EE. A petition with the same aim even garnered 2,700 signatures, and now the company has finally issued a statement giving much needed clarity on the subject.

Oracle says that it has not abandoned the development of Java EE. The company is working on bringing a new version Java Enterprise Edition – Java EE 8 – and will reveal more details in September at its Java One event.

“Oracle is committed to Java and has a very well defined proposal for the next version of the Java EE specification-Java EE 8-that will support developers are as they seek to build new applications that are designed using micro-services on large-scale distributed computing and container-based environments on the Cloud. Oracle is working closely with key partners in the Java community to finalize the proposal and will share the full details with the broader Java community at Java One in September,” company spokesperson Mike Moeller said in a statement issued to Ars Technica.

The spokesperson also said that all the proposed changes will be discussed with the Java community, and feedback will be incorporated. Responding, Java EE Guardians spokesperson, Reza Rahman, said he was relieved by Oracle’s statement. “The community should treat this as an opportunity to continue to constructively engage Oracle going forward. We need to all work together to continue to ensure the well-being of the Java and Java EE ecosystems. Hopefully the forward plans for Java EE 8 will be done completely in the open with broad-based collaboration including from the community,” he said.

This response from Oracle was taken positively by developers, as many feared the death of Java EE would be a huge loss to the global IT industry. Oracle’s nasty reputation of being against open source projects fuelled fears further. After acquiring Sun Microsystems in 2010, Oracle put the lid on development efforts into community-driven technologies like OpenSolaris and OpenOffice.org.

Amazon India Says It Has Over 1 Lakh Sellers on Its Platform

Amazon India Says It Has Over 1 Lakh Sellers on Its Platform

E-commerce firm Amazon.in has crossed one lakh sellers on its platform during April-June quarter, witnessing a seller growth of over 250 percent year-on-year.

“Since our launch in June 2013, we have been working extensively to meet different business requirements of sellers and help them grow business profitably online,” Gopal Pillai, GM and Director Seller Services, Amazon India told PTI.

“As a result, we have crossed 1 lakh sellers on our platform (during the April-June quarter) and are witnessing a seller growth of over 250 percent year-on-year,” he added.

Seller initiatives include extensive education and skilling programmes, offering Fulfilment By Amazonwherein Amazon.in packs, ships and delivers products to customers, manages returns and does customer service on behalf of the sellers, and other assisted shipping services, he added.

Amazon is also enabling sellers to sell in India but even globally giving them access to over 304 million active customers through the Amazon Global Selling programme.

“Over 8,000 sellers in India are already selling to global shoppers under this programme,” Pillai said.

Amazon has 21 Fulfilment Centres, with more than 13 of them being opened last year across 10 states covering a total area of over 2 million square feet.

Besides, Amazon is also facilitating easy access to secured and unsecured loans for its sellers between Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 2 crores, through its partner Capital First.

Swift Bank Messaging System Calls in Help to Bolster Cyber Defences

Swift Bank Messaging System Calls in Help to Bolster Cyber Defences

Swift, a messaging system used by banks across the world, announced further steps on Monday to bolster its defences against hackers, after criminals sent fraudulent payment instructions across its network.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication said it has hired two outside cyber-security firms, BAE Systems and Fox-IT2, to reinforce in-house expertise, and has set up a team to share cyber defence “best practice” among its customers.

In February, thieves hacked into the Bangladesh central bank’s interface with Swift’s network, which is a pipeline for transferring funds and the backbone of international finance.

They sent payment instructions to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, telling it to transfer $951 million from Bank Bangladesh’s account to accounts in the Philippines. Most of the transactions were blocked but four went through, amounting to $81 million that remains missing.

Swift, a Belgium-based co-operative owned by its users, had already unveiled measures to tighten up security.

On Monday it announced it was also setting up a Forensics and Customer Security Intelligence team to investigate security incidents at customers.

The team will help in the collection and sharing of anonymised information with customers on how best to deal with hackers.

Swift Chief Technology Officer Craig Young said information from banks that have been subject to fraud attempts was crucial for identifying new malware.

“We therefore continue to remind customers that they are obliged to inform Swift of such incidents as soon as possible, and to proactively share all relevant information with us so we can assist all Swift users,” Young said in a statement.

Swift said its information-sharing initiative has grown significantly since its launch, and now includes detailed intelligence and analysis on the modus operandi of attackers in recent customer fraud cases.

“In addition Swift has published an inventory containing some of the specific malware used in reported attacks, as well as indicators of compromise (IoCs) that Swift has developed to assist other customers in detecting threats operating in their environments,” the company said.

NBC Universal Patents a Way to Detect BitTorrent Pirates in Real-Time

NBC Universal Patents a Way to Detect BitTorrent Pirates in Real-Time

  • NBC’s new patent will detect and target pirates
  • New patent is the company’s latest anti-piracy measure
  • Due to piracy, content owners suffer billions of dollars in losses

NBC Universal, an American media conglomerate, has been granted a new patent that can help track files being shared by groups via peer-to-peer networks in real-time. The patent titled “Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer swarms”, seems to be way forward for NBC Universal in its ongoing attempts to restrict piracy of its copyrighted content.

The new patent will essentially help the company identify the swarm’s popularity and take anti-piracy measures before is “too late to do much good.”

“Early detection of high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network, including a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, and an analytics engine processing the data feed and identifying the high volume swarms that have parameters that exceed a threshold. The system can include a pre-processing section for conditioning the swarm data for the analytics section. There can also be a verification section that confirms that the peer download file matches the target file,” notes the patent document issued by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

“The early detection provides for enhanced anti-piracy efforts, improved allocation of network resources, and better business decision-making,” it adds. NBC Universal says that the “P2P infrastructure has many advantages” but it also has led to abuses.

Of course, piracy of digital assets on peer-to-peer networks is considered to be one of the biggest losses incurred by content owners, estimated to be in billions of dollars annually.

“These costs are typically passed along to the consuming public in terms of increased costs for legitimate purchased works and higher charges for increased deterrents to the piracy,” NBC Universal added.

Torrentfreak points out that Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, back in 2007 received criticism when it wanted to “actively throttle BitTorrent traffic.” It is not clear when the company intends to implement the new patent to restrict content piracy of copyrighted content. Notably, the patent was applied for back in 2009 but only granted last week. The methods needed to detect and target particular torrent files presumably need to be updated.

Snapdeal Announces Changes to Simplify Seller Policies

Snapdeal Announces Changes to Simplify Seller Policies

E-commerce major Snapdeal has reduced the marketing fees for over 120 sub-categories, including for digital products, electronics, women’s fashion, FMCG products, as part of its policies to attract more sellers to its platform.

The changes have been incorporated on the basis of the feedback received from sellers and will be effective from this week, a company statement said.

However, the marketing fee for nearly 30 sub-categories has been increased marginally, it added.

While the reduction in fee ranges from 0.2-18 percent, the increase ranges from 0.5 to 5.5 percent, it said.

Snapdeal has also simplified policies for its self-serve platform which helps sellers resolve their queries easily. This is expected to enable the sellers avoid penalties due to ignorance or complexity.

To reduce the hassle of return of sold goods, or exchange, Snapdeal said it will bear the cost for reverse pickup and payment collection, while packaging and shipping will be borne by sellers.

“We believe reduction in marketing fees will foster growth for our sellers. We have worked closely with our sellers and based on their feedback. We have made these policy changes to make them in-line with e-commerce industry best practises,” Vishal Chadha, Senior Vice President, Market Development, Snapdeal, said.

The policy refresh is a part of Snapdeal’s initiatives to make the seller journey more transparent and frictionless.

redBus Acquires Majority Stake in Peru’s Busportal

redBus Acquires Majority Stake in Peru's Busportal

Ibibo Group-owned redBus has bought a majority stake in Peru-based bus ticketing platform Busportal for an undisclosed amount, a move that will help the Indian entity foray into the Latin American market.

redBus, which also has operations in Malaysia and Singapore, will now gain entry into large and under-penetrated online bus ticketing markets in the Latin American region like Peru, Colombia and Chile.

No financial details of the deal were disclosed. In addition to its local market expertise, Busportal.pe will leverage the redBus technology, product and brand name to launch and grow these markets, redBus said in a statement.

The co-founders of Busportal – Hassan Bourgi and Carol Riboud – will continue to drive the operations in Peru and further expand into Colombia and Chile, it added.

“redBus’s entry in the region will benefit the overall online e-commerce market. We are very enthusiastic about scaling up the platform with the support of the most innovative company in the industry,” Bourgi said.

Busportal’s application allows users to book bus tickets for over 20 bus operators in Peru and covers more than 70 percent of the routes.

“We are excited to partner with Hassan and Carol to expand redBus into Peru, Columbia and Chile. We believe that this will be a strong combination of local knowledge and the robust global platform and technology of redBus,” Ibibo Founder and CEO Ashish Kashyap said.

Ibibo Group also owns other online properties like Goibibo.com, Yourbus and ibibo Ryde.

redBus, which is present on mobile and desktop, has sold over 60 million tickets through its platform. It offers services of over 2,300 bus operators across 70,000 routes in India.

Microsoft Launches New IFTTT Competitor With Support for Voice Commands

Microsoft Launches New IFTTT Competitor With Support for Voice Commands

  • New tool recognises voice commands and makes conditions accordingly
  • CAP showcased for use in day-to-day life, rather than just business
  • Microsoft may keep your data for up to 1 year to make improvements

Just two months after launching its automated workflow tool Flow, Microsoft on Saturday, launched another alternative to IFTTT (If This Then That) named Conditional Action Programmer. Only this time, it is not as business-oriented as Flow, and you can even use your voice to tell CAP what you want it to do.

For those who are unaware of the term, IFTTT or If This Then That is a tool that connects several Web services and apps, and allows users to create workflows that perform a function if a certain condition is met.

Microsoft’s new alternative for IFTTT has been showcased for its use out of business world. The examples mentioned are the likes of “Text me the forecast every week” and “Save article to pocket”.

Notably, CAP is an experimental project from Microsoft Technology and Research, and is available as an app for Android via Google Play, as well as on the Web. It is linked with services like Office Pocket, SMS, Stocks, Weather, Office 365 email, and OneDrive for Business.

The most unique thing about CAP when compared with Flow is that it uses LUIS project to process natural language. In order to set an automated workflow, all you need to do is just give the command by speaking it aloud. The command is then interpreted and developed in to the conditions and the goal required for the workflow routine.

As the company has years of experience in voice recognition, thanks to Cortana, the service seems to be working fine according to reports.

However, website Neowin made an interesting observation that on signing up, Microsoft asks you to sign a disclaimer that mentions how some “data may be retained by Microsoft for up to 1 year for product improvement purposes.” People with privacy concerns might not be too willing to comply with this condition put forward by the company and choose to stay away from this offering

IBM to Open First Blockchain Innovation Centre in Singapore

IBM to Open First Blockchain Innovation Centre in Singapore

IBM plans to open a blockchain innovation centre in Singapore in collaboration with the government, as the city-state strives to become Asia’s main financial technology hub.

The tech giant will be working with the main economic planning agency, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to accelerate blockchain adoption for finance and trade.

One project, together with PSA International – one of the world’s largest container transshipment ports owned by state investor Temasek Holdings – aims to connect fintech with global trade and logistics.

The blockchain technology works by creating permanent, public “ledgers” of all transactions that could potentially replace complicated systems such as clearing and settlement with one simple database.

Singapore is rushing to reinvent itself as Asia’s fintech hub to fend off a regulatory threat to its wealth management industry and revive a sluggish economy.

Observers say it is ahead of long-time rival Hong Kong, but measures to curb the number of foreign workers and previous regulations creating a risk averse culture at odds with the trial-and-error approach of fintech startups, remain key obstacles in developing the sector.

Megaupload Coming Back? Founder Kim Dotcom Plans a Relaunch in 2017

Megaupload Coming Back? Founder Kim Dotcom Plans a Relaunch in 2017

  • Kim Dotcom hinted on Twitter that Megaupload 2.0 is in works
  • Megaupload, the controversial online storage, was shut down in 2012
  • Kim Dotcom was in the news due to Megaupload’s illegal course then

Flamboyant German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is planning to relaunch file-sharing website Megaupload in January 2017, five years after the US government took down the site accusing it of piracy.

Megaupload, founded in 2005, had boasted of having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors. At one point, it was estimated to be the 13th most frequently visited website on the internet.

Dotcom, who announced his plans in a series of tweets on Friday, said most of the Megaupload users would get their accounts reinstated with premium privileges.

He also hinted and that the new website will use Bitcoins.

Dotcom did not immediately respond to a mail seeking comment.

Dotcom and three others were arrested on January 20, 2012, after armed New Zealand police raided his country estate at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

US authorities had said Dotcom and three other Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows.

Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, has denied charges of internet piracy and money laundering and has been fighting extradition to the United States.

He has contended that the website was merely a storage facility for online files and should not be held accountable if stored content was obtained illegally.

A New Zealand court in 2013 granted Dotcom access to all evidence seized by police in the raid of his house.

While Kim Dotcom’s net worth was not known, he became well known for his lavish lifestyle as much as his computer skills.

He used to post photographs of himself with cars having vanity plates such as “GOD” and “GUILTY”, shooting an assault rifle and flying around the world in his private jet.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated in 2012 that Dotcom personally made around $115,000 (roughly Rs. 77 lakhs) a day during 2010.

The assets seized earlier included nearly 20 luxury cars, one of them a pink Cadillac, works of art, and NZD10 million invested in local finance companies.

“I’ll be the first tech billionaire who got indicted, lost everything and created another billion $ tech company while on bail,” he tweeted on Sunday.