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Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association

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After eBay, Visa, Stripe, and other high-profile partners ditched the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency collective, Libra scored a win today with the addition of Shopify. The ecommerce platform will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin.

If Libra manages to assuage international regulators’ concerns which are currently blocking its roll out, Shopify could gain a way to process transactions without paying credit card fees. Libra is designed to move between wallets with zero or nearly-zero fee. That could save money for Shopify and the 1 million merchants running online shops on its platform.

Shopify stressed that helping merchants reduce fees and bringing commerce opportunities to developing nations as reasons it’s joining the Libra Association. “Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce” Shopify writes. Here are the most critical parts of its announcement:

“Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone and to do that, we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better . . . As a member of the Libra Association, we will work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere . . . Our mission has always been to support the entrepreneurial journey of the more than one million merchants on our platform. That means advocating for transparent fees and easy access to capital, and ensuring the security and privacy of our merchants’ customer data. We want to create an infrastructure that empowers more entrepreneurs around the world.”

As part of the Libra Association, Shopify will become a validator node operator, gain one vote on the Libra Association council, and can earn dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve in proportion to its investment, which is $10 million at a minimum.

The Libra Association had lost much of its ecommerce expertise when a string of members abandoned the project in October amidst regulatory scrutiny. That included traditional payment processors like Visa and MasterCard, online  processors like Stripe and PayPal, and marketplaces like eBay. That threw into question whether Libra would have the right partners to make the cryptocurrency accepted in enough places to be useful to people.

As it works to convince regulators Libra is safe, Facebook has been working on its other payment plays, including Facebook Pay and WhatsApp Pay that rely on traditional bank transfers or credit cards.

Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that “Shopify spends a lot of time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better. That’s why we decided to become a member of the Libra Association.”

“We are proud to welcome Shopify, Inc. (SHOP) to the Libra Association. As a multinational commerce platform with over one million businesses in approximately 175 countries, Shopify, Inc. brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Libra project” writes Dante Disparte, the Libra Association’s Head of Policy and Communications. “Shopify joins an active group of Libra Association members committed to achieving a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.”

A recent hire further tied the two companies together. Facebook’s former lead product manager for its payment platform and billing teams Kaz Nejatian in September Shopify’s VP and GM of money.

Operating an ecommerce store can be difficult or impossible without a traditional bank account that can be tough to attain in some developing countries. Libra could allow these merchants to establish a Libra Wallet where payments are sent instantly, without steep credit card fees, and in theory could be cashed out at local brick-and-mortar establishments or ATMs for local fiat currency.

Shopify’s credit card readers

But for any of that to happen, the Libra Association will have to convince the US government, the EU, and more that it won’t help terrorists launder money, hurt people’s privacy, or weaken nations’ power in the global financial system. “The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, “the monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatisation of money . . . we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil.”

Libra was initially slated to launch in 2020. We’ll see.

Here’s the full list of Libra Association members:

Current

Facebook’s Calibra, Shopify, PayU, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Illiad SA, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

Former members

Vodafone, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, Mercado Pago, Bookings Holdings, eBay

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Sam Bankman-Fried Lawyer Says Agreement Has Been Reached on Use of Messaging Apps

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Sam Bankman-Fried Lawyer Says Agreement Has Been Reached on Use of Messaging Apps

The two sides are asking the court to modify Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions to allow him to use various messaging apps, including FaceTime, Zoom, iMessage, SMS texts, emails, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. (For WhatsApp, Bankman-Fried’s cell phone must have monitoring software installed to record those messages.)

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Kenya labor court rules that Facebook can be sued

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Kenya labor court rules that Facebook can be sued

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A judge in Kenya has ruled that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, can be sued in the East African country.

Meta tried to have the case dropped, arguing that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction over their operations, but the labor court judge dismissed that in a ruling on Monday.

A former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, is suing the company claiming poor working conditions.

Motaung said that while working as a moderator he was exposed to gruesome content such as rape, torture and beheadings that risked his and colleagues’ mental health.

He said Meta did not offer mental health support to employees, required unreasonably long working hours, and offered minimal pay. Motaung worked in Facebook’s African hub in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, which is operated by Samasource Ltd.

Following the judge’s decision that Meta can be sued in Kenya, the next step in case will be considered by the court on Mar. 8.

Meta is facing a separate court case in which two Ethiopians say hate speech was allowed and even promoted on Facebook amid heated rhetoric over their country’s deadly Tigray conflict.

That lawsuit alleges that Meta hasn’t hired enough content moderators to adequately monitor posts, that it uses an algorithm that prioritizes hateful content, and that it responds more slowly to crises in Africa than elsewhere in the world.

The Associated Press and more than a dozen other media outlets last year reported that Facebook had failed to quickly and effectively moderate hate speech in several places around the world, including in Ethiopia. The reports were based on internal Facebook documents leaked by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen.

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Mayor Woodards to Present 2023 State of the City Address

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Mayor Woodards to Present 2023 State of the City Address





This year’s theme is “Building Tomorrow Together.”

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Mayor Victoria Woodards will present the 2023 State of the City Address at the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium (4634 S. 74th St. in Tacoma) on Thursday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Building Tomorrow Together.” Topics covered during her address will include community safety, affordable housing and homelessness, and Tacoma’s ongoing recovery from the global pandemic.

 

Community members wishing to attend this free, public event in person can visit cityoftacoma.org/stateofthecity for additional information and to register. Ample free parking is available at the venue. Event doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

 

There will be American Sign Language interpreters at the State of the City, which will also be available in Spanish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language via Zoom. It will simulcast in Spanish live on VT Radio Universal at vtradiouniversal.com, on TuneIn Radio and on the VT Radio Universal Facebook page.

Follow the State of the City Address Live on TV Tacoma and Facebook

 

Woodards’ remarks can be viewed on TV Tacoma or tvtacoma.com, and on Facebook Live at facebook.com/cityoftacoma.

 

On Rainier Connect, TV Tacoma is available within Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County:



·      

On channel 512 in high definition



·      

On channel 12 in standard definition



·      

On channel 21 in standard definition in University Place

 

On Comcast, TV Tacoma is available:



·      

On channel 321 in high definition within Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County



·      

On channel 12 in standard definition within Tacoma city limits



·      

On channel 21 in Pierce County



·      

Not available in University Place

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