Explained: Innovations in cashless payment and digital currency


Based in the US, Square is a payment solution that offers a register and a wallet. Square Register serves as a free full point-of-sale system for businesses to accept payments, track inventory and monitor daily reports. Square Wallet is an app that enables customers to buy items directly from their mobile device.

iZettle for iPhone


This technology is being heralded as the UK and Europe’s answer to Square. It allows anyone to take secure card payments via a smartphone or tablet. It was launched in the UK exclusively with EE and takes MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club.


Ven is a currency used to power all exchanges within social network Hub Culture. Its main use is to send payments that can be exchanged at zero cost to anyone with an email address. It can be used to buy commodities as well as smaller items. Members of Hub Culture invite others into the network to buy Ven and it is available inside Facebook. The currency is moving into financial trading, markets, funds and a partnership with Thomson Reuters is delivering Ven pricing data to more than 500,000 data terminals.



This virtual currency scheme was designed and implemented by Japanese programmer Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 and is based on a peer-to-peer network similar to file sharing programme BitTorrent. Operating on a global level, the currency can be used for virtual transactions, services and real goods and therefore it competes with official currencies like the euro and US dollar. The scheme maintains a database that lists product and service providers that currently accept Bitcoins.

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