Payments Trends All The Talk At SXSW

Austin
4:00 PM EDT March 17th, 2014

The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival now underway in Austin, Texas, is representing an opportunity for various payments players to show their wares and demonstrate emerging technologies’ possibilities. It’s also generating lots of discussion.

The recent woes affecting Bitcoin have not dimmed hopes for cryptocurrencies, for example, as many technology professionals attending the event remain confident that virtual currencies won’t be going away, reports CNBC.

During a panel discussion, CNBS reported, Jered Cohen, director of Google Ideas, noted that cryptocurrency is “inevitable.” “There’s a danger in having it not be regulated in some form, but people will take it and debate that as this plays out,” he said. And as to whether Bitcoin is the next Napster, alluding to the once widely popular music-sharing app, Cohen said “we don’t know.”

MasterCard is there, at the Mashable House, where tech start-up publisher Mashable is playing host to its community at the event. The bloggers and influencers in attendance may tweet#PricelessSurprises to receive a code to use to activate a vending machine. MasterCard launched the Priceless Surprises campaign in January to try to bring an interactive aspect to its Priceless campaign series.

Mediapost.com notes that from March 10 to 21, interactive digital assets will be on mashable.com, enabling MasterCard cardholders to share in their surprises by surprising their friends with bakery items and other goods, citing J.R. Badian, MasterCard vice president.

During a session on the event’s opening day, one speaker suggested it was time for mobile payments to begin growing, as should other mobile-shopping activity, according to MobileShopTalk. “Who doesn’t want to take out their phone and scan in stores,” asked Pamela Naumes, director of brand engagement at Wm. “Unified (mobile) payment systems are a real point of frustration.”

According to MobileShopTalk, much of the discussion during the day focused on how mobile can help better serve customers individually.

PayPal featured wearable technology, smartwatches, according to brandchannel, while its social-media lounge at the event was selling items for the first time in three years, costing attendees just a penny if they paid with PayPal, reports KVUE.com. The hangover kits were especially popular on March 8.

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