Up Romania introduces PayByFace: facial-recognition payments
Utilising cutting-edge facial-recognition technology, PayByFace is presented to users via a mobile app which can then be used to register a payment card, selfies and a unique PIN code. Once set up, shoppers can then dispense with taking their wallets and literally pay with their visage at Up Romania-affiliated stores.
Founded by Mihai Draghici in 2018 and headquartered in Bucharest, the company has set the goal of installing biometric readers in over 500 stores before the end of 2021.
With potential expansions to other countries in Europe under development, PayByFace could be spearheading a significant change in consumer payment patterns, itself caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire to reduce unnecessary contact in daily life.
The partnership will add a significant element to Up Group’s portfolio of capabilities. Currently in its 56th year and having expanded to cover 30 countries, 1.1mn client companies and 29mn individual users, Up’s dedicated approach to finding the right tools to give its customers financial advantages has proved popular.
The company has maintained its presence in Romania since 2002, where its mission to simplify lives through technology continues to encompass the most cutting-edge technology.
Elena Pap, Up Romania General Manager and Up Group Regional Manager, had the following to say on the brand’s current and future plans:
“Up Romania has committed to a broad digitisation process meant to offer our customers a
simplified experience in using the cards issued by our company.
“In addition to creating opportunities for online payments in as many stores as possible, we also want them to have at hand fast and safe means of payment.
“Therefore, our customers can now pay by phone via Apple Pay, without their phone, via PayByFace and shall soon be able to carry out direct payment from their Up Mobil app, through an Up Romania developed e-wallet.”
NFT Marketplace Rarible Raises US$14.2m
Alongside the funding announcement, Rarible has shared that they’ve officially partnered with NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs to bring their NFT marketplace to Dapper’s Flow blockchain. Dapper Labs has begun building out a wider coalition of NFT platforms on its proprietary blockchain which is more energy-efficient and less costly than transactions on the Ethereum network.
“To mark this next phase, we are also proud to enter an official partnership with Flow. Dapper Labs has an impressive track record of bringing NFTs mainstream by creating native experiences for non-crypto audiences. As a blockchain, Flow enables easier access and lowers the entry barrier for traditional consumers and brands, which makes it a perfect partner on our journey to the wider adoption.
“In the coming couple of months, we will be bringing Rarible on Flow as a primary and secondary marketplace, also welcoming the robust ecosystem of projects built on Flow blockchain,” Rarible said.
According to the company, last June, 6 months post-launch, total trading volume on Rarible hit the $28,000 mark. By June 2021 it grew by a mind-blowing 3000x, reaching $150 million in total sales.
“Just as we have always been at the forefront of the NFT movement, Rarible is determined to pioneer the next wave,” the co-founder of Rarible’s marketplace and CEO Alexei Falin said. “With this company milestone, we are thankful for the support of Venrock, 01 Advisors, and Coinfund and look forward to going beyond the current enclosed crypto environment and taking NFTs into mainstream consciousness.”
In a blog post the company says they hope to use this funding to explore more user-friendly developments like accepting credit card payments. “We need a world where an indie creator can effortlessly create an NFT and sell it for $5 to his community of supporters, as well as where a pop icon can use NFTs to establish close contact with her multi-million audience in a sustainable way.”
Rarible has a lot underway in the upcoming few months, including the launch of Rarible NFT protocol, L2 solution for scalability and sustainability, credit card payments, adoption of Flow blockchain, multiple partnerships and drops, and more. Many projects are already working on integrations with Rarible protocol, such as the partnership with one-click NFT creator S!NG that allows users to mint and put their NFTs on sale with no costs involved.