News Pulse for August 8, 2017

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Bitcoin splits in two

Labor and Coalition senators have crossed the political divide to call on the Reserve Bank to embrace bitcoins as an official form of currency or risk the future competitiveness of Australia’s $145 billion a year financial services industry.

The push from Labor senator Sam Dastyari and Liberal senator Jane Hume comes after the digital currency soared to an all time high of $4070 per bitcoin on Monday, up from less than 10¢ per coin in 2010.

Shorten-omics will take its toll on small business

It’s no small feat to start out as a sole trader.

To take an idea, to back yourself and to have a go.

There are no guarantees. No clauses. No caveats. It’s you and your own hard work.

Treasury has interest in open banking

The Treasury has commissioned an independent review of plans for an “open banking” regime in Australia, which could boost competition and innovation in the financial services industry.

Treasurer, Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 said such a policy could promise the public greater access to their own banking data and had the potential to transform the way they interacted with the banking system.

Xero spins up a financial web

Cloud accountancy software provider Xero has signed up 100 Australian financial institutions as part of its strategy to make itself indispensable to Australian small businesses.

Extending its “financial web” allows Xero to leverage the direct relationships with the banks to open up a host of banking, lending, and growth opportunities for its customers.

Progress made towards a fairer distribution of power between small and big businesses

When small businesses engage with large enterprises, standard form contracts often leave them with no room to negotiate. Small businesses are left with the choice of either accepting terms heavily weighted against them, or terminating a deal that would be valuable for their business.

To protect small businesses from backing into a corner, the unfair contracts laws were introduced in November 2016, prohibiting unfair contract terms in small business standard form contracts.

Sydney fintech Stake is starting its $0 brokerage US share trading service

Sydney startup Stake will launch its $0 brokerage US share trading service within the next few days, giving ordinary Australians a low-cost opportunity to invest in brands like Amazon, Facebook and Tesla.

The fintech first revealed in June its plans for the new service but the details hadn’t been settled at the time. Now founders Dan Silver and Matt Leibowitz have revealed to Business Insider that the only user fee would be 70 basis points on the foreign exchange rate when loading up and withdrawing from the US dollar trading account.

Westpac just invested $40 million in ZipMoney in the biggest Australian fintech raise of the year

Sydney fintech startup ZipMoney has landed a $40 million investment from Westpac.

The round, announced on the ASX on Monday morning, includes $40 million cash upfront and a further $8 million in future performance-dependent funding.

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