Chain Raises $30 Million from Financial Industry Leaders

Chain, Inc., the leading provider of blockchain technology solutions to financial institutions, announced today that it has raised $30 million in equity funding from a syndicate of financial and payments industry leaders including Visa, Nasdaq, Citi Ventures, Capital One, Fiserv and Orange. Chain’s newest partners will also join the company in forming a Blockchain Working Group to explore the application of the technology in various markets and take a collaborative approach to interoperability. Former American Express CEO and RRE Ventures founder, Jim Robinson III, has joined the company’s board of directors.

“A blockchain is more than a financial technology – it’s a strategy,” said Adam Ludwin, Chain’s CEO. “Applied intelligently, blockchain networks fundamentally improve how assets move between parties, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the organizations we believe are best positioned to capitalize on the inevitable changes in market structure that are on the horizon.”

“Visa’s investment in Chain underscores our long-standing commitment to explore technology, like the blockchain, that could have the potential to advance secure and convenient digital payments for our clients and their customers,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa.

A blockchain is a new model for transferring financial assets that substitutes third-party intermediaries with cryptographically secured networks. A blockchain enables asset holders in a market to transact peer-to-peer instantly and at low cost. These networks can facilitate the issuance and transfer of asset types as varied as financial securities, currencies, gift cards, mobile minutes, loyalty points and energy credits. Transactions are recorded automatically on the network’s shared ledger, providing increased transparency to asset issuers, owners and regulators. In addition, the use of cryptographic signatures reduces counterparty risk and prevents fraud, making blockchain-based transfer safer than any other alternative available today.

“Blockchain technology represents a fundamental, generational shift for financial services, and Chain’s platform is enabling and accelerating this transformation,” said Ramneek Gupta, Managing Director and Co-head of Global Venture Investing at Citi Ventures. “We hope to leverage Chain’s platform to rapidly test and develop applications as part of Citi’s multi-faceted blockchain strategy which has the potential to greatly enhance our customers’ experience well beyond just currencies and payments.”

The company, which launched just over a year ago, already works closely with several large institutions, including First Data and Nasdaq.

“Chain is collaborating closely with us to increase efficiency in the capital markets,” said Brad Peterson, Chief Information Officer, Nasdaq. “We see their platform helping us accelerate our time-to-market across our various blockchain initiatives. We are excited to further our partnership with them through Nasdaq’s investment in the company.”

Chain partners with leading institutions to design, deploy and operate blockchain networks that are built specifically for particular markets and assets. These private networks, which typically do not use bitcoin currency but are based on the same open protocols, can be interoperable with one another and other open digital currency networks.

“Blockchain technology presents a new opportunity to enhance the financial services experience,” said Fiserv CEO, Jeff Yabuki. “Our investment in Chain reflects our commitment to innovation in financial services, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Chain management team to drive this important technology forward.”

Chain’s intuitive and secure software platform implements an open specification and includes a full suite of components to connect to and transact on a blockchain network as an issuer, asset holder or other market participant. The platform also includes development tools that enable companies to rapidly prototype in sandboxed environments. The company’s engineering team previously built software infrastructure at and Microsoft.

“Chain provides a developer-centric technology platform that is as intuitive as it is powerful,” said Adam Boutin of Capital One Ventures. “As we have begun exploring the tremendous potential of blockchain technology, the Chain team has served as a great strategic thought partner, including co-hosting an internal hack-a-thon that produced 12 different solutions in 48 hours.”

Blockchain technology also creates opportunities for companies outside of financial services including, for instance, mobile operators who process a vast quantity of digital data every day.

“We believe in the disruptive potential of the blockchain. Becoming a key partner and investor in Chain will help us to learn faster and perform tests around this technology,” said Pierre Louette, Orange’s Deputy CEO. “We are seeking to carve out multiple use cases in our range of businesses to improve our services and propose new ones to our customers.”

Chain’s new strategic investors will form a Blockchain Working Group with the company whose bi-annual meetings will also include leading technologists, academics and researchers working on blockchain technology. In addition to learning from one another and from leading experts, the working group will be able to identify points of interoperability between these next-generation financial networks.

Existing Chain investors Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Thrive Capital and SV Angel also participated and were joined by former Bank of America CEO, David Coulter, X PRIZE Foundation CEO, Peter Diamandis and MongoDB co-founder, Kevin Ryan.

About Chain

Chain Inc. partners with leading financial institutions to build and deploy blockchain networks that enable seamless, programmatic and peer-to-peer transfer of digital assets. The platform, which is based on the open and interoperable bitcoin protocol, enables institutions to create, issue, store and transfer digital assets on private networks purpose-built for a given market. The company offers a range of solutions, from a development sandbox for rapid prototyping to secure network nodes for production systems. Chain is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information please visit

MasterCard at Money 2020 – the Future of Connected Commerce

MasterCard to Engage Developers, Drive Industry Dialogue and Showcase Digital Innovations

PURCHASE, N.Y. – October 19, 2015 – The digital shift in payments is the biggest change in the industry since the introduction of plastic, and the next five years could see more change than took place in the previous fifty. MasterCard is thinking differently, designing products differently and innovating faster than ever before to make sure every MasterCard account is as digital as the consumers using them around the world. Tweet: Join #MasterCard at #Money2020 to hear about the future of connected commerce #LetsConnect

Join MasterCard at Money20/20, October 24-28 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, to hear and see how the company is creating safer and richer mobile and digital experiences for consumers who are moving from the offline and disconnected world to being constantly connected.

Engaging Developers to Create the “Next Big Thing”

On Saturday, October 24, MasterCard will be one of nine companies sponsoring the Money20/20 Hackathon. The MasterCard Open API team will be on hand to help participants build real and scalable innovations that reach new sets of customers around the world. They’ll also challenge participants to create a VIP shopping experience by leveraging the power of connected devices and visualization, with winners receiving an amazing set of prizes.

Driving Industry Dialog on the Future of Commerce

Over the course of the conference, MasterCard executives will participate in moderated panel discussions within tracks covering innovation, tokenization, safety and security, financial inclusion, and biometrics, among others.

Complementing the formal show agenda, MasterCard executives will lead several sessions within its space in the exposition hall (Booth #1109) as part of a “conference within a conference” series. All Money20/20 attendees are invited to attend these #LetsConnect sessions, with additional details on the topics and corresponding calendar found here.
Showcasing What’s Next in the Future of Commerce
Also within its exhibit space (Booth #1109), MasterCard will feature live immersive product demonstrations – from simplifying the way you do laundry, speeding mobile payments at gas stations and convenience stores, to using a “selfie” to complete a payment – showcasing its work with partners and customers to power the future of connected commerce.

Be sure to visit the MasterCard Engagement Bureau and follow @MasterCardNews on Twitter for updates on Money20/20. If you are a member of the media planning to attend, please contact the team to set up a meeting.

About MasterCard

MasterCard Enables Corporate Card Use in All Digital Wallets

MasterCard today announced it will provide tokenization services to commercial credit card issuers, enabling issuers to allow corporations and business travelers to load eligible corporate credit cards within participating mobile and digital wallet services.
With the addition of corporate cards, MasterCard will now enable tokenization across virtually all its products – consumer credit, debit and prepaid cards, as well as small business and commercial cards. This functionality is made possible through the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), which enables a connected device to be securely used for business purchases and payments.

Major merchants frequented by business travelers already accept contactless and in-app payments from digital wallet solutions.

“Digitizing commercial payments will help make business travel even more convenient without sacrificing any of the core controls and value,” said Sachin Mehra, executive vice president of Global Commercial Products, MasterCard. “We’re committed to ensuring all MasterCard cardholders can use their cards when, where and how they want in a simple and secure manner.”

MDES supports both contactless (NFC) payments with a mobile device at a physical point of sale and purchases made within a mobile app. Transactions are secured using industry-standard EMV cryptography and take full advantage of the most secure payments technology in the world.

Since the introduction of MDES in 2013, millions of MasterCard accounts have been tokenized for use in popular mobile wallet services. Additional information can be found at the MasterCard Engagement Bureau. 

Source: MasterCard

Visa and Chevron Bring Mobile Payments to the Pump

Visa and Chevron Bring Mobile Payments to the Pump

Northern California initiative brings fast and more secure payment method to more than 20 Chevron stations

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. (NYSE: CVX) today announced they will launch a mobile payments program at more than 20 Chevron-branded stations, accepting any NFC (near-field communications) payment service. The program, launching later this fall at select Chevron stations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, will offer consumers a simple and more secure way to pay at the pump with a range of mobile payment services. Already, an estimated 80 percent of Chevron customers in the U.S. pay for gas at the pump using a credit or debit card.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience at our stations and further expand our offering of mobile payment solutions at the pump”

“Mobile payments are moving into the mainstream in the U.S. because, more and more, consumers see the value of using their personal devices to purchase everyday items like groceries and gas,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa Inc. “Chevron has always focused on giving their customers great experiences by offering convenient ways to pay and being committed to protecting against fraud. For this reason, they are who we want to help us broaden both the reach, and consumer understanding of the many mobile payment options in the market today.”

“We are continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience at our stations and further expand our offering of mobile payment solutions at the pump,” said Glenn Johnson, general manager, Americas Products marketing sales and services, Chevron. “This new program with Visa further solidifies our commitment to delivering high-quality products and services in a more secure and convenient environment.”

As the payments industry increasingly shifts from plastic to digital, new technology advances from Visa and its partners are helping merchants like Chevron and its retailers offer their customers a simple and more secure purchasing experience, regardless of where they are and what device they are using. With security at the core of the mobile purchasing experience, Chevron customers can feel confident that each transaction is authorized through the Visa Token Service, which uses a unique digital identifier to process consumer payments without exposing actual account details.

“With my travel and training schedule, I rely on my mobile phone to do so much more than keep in touch with friends, family and fans,” said Carli Lloyd, soccer champion. “Even better, is when I can use my phone to do something faster, like paying for something with just a tap.” To see Carli pay at the pump, please visit:

EMV Card Shift sets stage for using Mobile Pay at Gas Station Pay-at-the-pump Dispensers.

Pay-at-the-pump automated fuel dispensers are exempt from EMV Card requirements under the fraud liability shift rules until October 1, 2017. On that date, fuel stations are required to support EMV Cards or face stiff chargeback rules. The expense to migrate to EMV will be significant. Fortunately, it will not be nearly as high as it was when the fuel industry migrated to “pay-at-the-pump” equipped terminals in the 1990s.

While the expense and effort to support EMV will be high, smart fuel operators will use the opportunity to include mobile payment and NFC Card compatibility in the terminal upgrades.  That includes enabling fuel dispensers to support Apple Pay, Android Pay, as well as others still brewing just below the surface.

The reason may not be apparent now, but preliminary studies conducted by my research team is showing that the consumer experience between “swiping” and “dipping and holding” a card at Automated Fuel Dispensers is subtle but annoying. That is because unlike a mag-stripe card, the EMV Card must stay in the POS terminal until authorized. The subtle “multi-tasking” that takes place with swiping (you swipe then return your card to your wallet while waiting for the transaction to be approved) is upended with EMV Card “Dip and Hold” behavior.

This subtle change in behavior creates an opportunity for fuel operators to use mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Android Pay as a differentiation point for a significant number of motorists.

In fact, our research shows that motorists likely to use mobile payments are more likely to purchase premium fuels and tend to drive more miles annually than non-mobile payment users.

The bottom-line is simple:  As fuel operators begin mapping technology migration plans to support EMV, be sure to give strong consideration to include mobile payments in your strategy.

New: American Express Serve® Prepaid Debit Account Earns Rewards

American Express Claims Serve Cash Back is the Only Prepaid Debit Account with 1% Cash Back on Purchases1

Beginning today, American Express (NYSE:AXP) announced Serve Cash Back, a new prepaid debit Account option that will earn cardholders 1% cash back on purchases. Consumers who spend in line with the 2012 – 2013 U.S. Department of Labor national averages for gas, groceries, dining out, clothing, transportation and entertainment using the Serve Cash Back Card could potentially earn more than $400 annually2 when earning 1% cash back.

“We know consumers are looking to stretch their budgets and get more from every dollar they spend”

“We know consumers are looking to stretch their budgets and get more from every dollar they spend,” said Stefan Happ, Chief Commercial Officer, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “With the American Express Serve Cash Back Card, we are defining a new standard in the prepaid industry and rewarding our customers where they’re already spending – on everyday items such as gas, groceries and clothing.”

Earning cash back will help customers put money aside towards future purchases. After earning cash back, customers will be able to log in to their Serve Account, view how much cash back they’ve earned, and elect to redeem that amount on their next purchase.

In addition to the 1% cash back benefit, customers will enjoy features of the flagship Serve product, including:

  • Free Direct Deposit and the newly added ability to get your paycheck up to two days before payday3
  • Free online bill pay
  • Free withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass® ATMs4
  • American Express world-class 24/7 service
  • Fraud Protection
  • Access to Amex Offers (exclusive discounts from popular merchants)

The Serve Cash Back monthly fee is $5.95.

There is no credit check, no hidden fees and no minimum balance. Customers can learn more about the Serve family of products, including the American Express Serve and the new American Express Serve Free Cash Reloads Card, and find the right product for them at

Here’s the “Fine Print”:

1 Earn 1% Cash Back on purchases (less returns/credits) rounded to the nearest dollar, added to your Account after you use your Card. Rounding purchases to the nearest dollar means that you won’t earn a fraction of a penny in Cash Back. For example, a purchase of $0.01-$0.49 rounds to $0.00 (you don’t earn Cash Back), a purchase of $0.50-$0.99 rounds to $1.00 (you earn $0.01 Cash Back), and so on. The Serve Cash Back Card is the only prepaid Card/account with 1% Cash Back on purchases, not limited to select merchants or select purchases. Cash Back is typically applied to your Account promptly after your purchase, but could take up to 60 days. Cash Back can be redeemed and used only for future purchases made with your Card and cannot be redeemed for cash or otherwise exchanged for value. Subaccounts are not eligible to earn Cash Back. ATM transactions, fees and Serve Online Bill Pay are not purchases and do not earn Cash Back. For full terms and restrictions, see the Cash Back User Agreement.

2 Based on average spending estimates: Average annual spending on gasoline in 2013: $2,418; Average annual spending on groceries 2012-2013: $6,602; Average annual spending on dining out 2012-2013: $3,977; Average annual spending on apparel and services 2012-2013: $17,148; Average annual spending on transportation 2012-2013: $9,004; Average annual spending on entertainment 2012-2013: $2,482 . Total annual spending = $41,631 (Bureau of Labor Statistics US Department of Labor)

3 Faster access compared to standard payday electronic deposit and subject to your employer submitting paycheck information to the bank before payday. Your employer may not submit paycheck information early.

4 Transactions at non-MoneyPass® ATMs have a $2.50 American Express Serve fee. ATM operator fees may also apply. for details.