Apple’s mPayments Apathy, Bitcoin Banter And Pizza Commerce

5:43 PM EDT April 25th, 2013

Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days as judged by social media. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.

TOPIC ONE: Apple’s mPayments Play (Or Lack Thereof)

Why It’s Hot

Apple CEO Tim Cook made some headlines on Tuesday by dismissing mobile payments as “still in its infancy” during his company’s Q2 2013 earnings call. Since the world feels the need to react every time Cook sneezes, it’s no surprise this blew up into a big story in the payments world, with pundits and analysts from all corners of The Interwebs weighing in on what this means for the mPayments industry.

Karen’s Commentary

So, what did I tell ya? See best story below :). I must say that I did get some interesting comments on my piece. Everything from “lets hope they do something soon since we need a leader” to “it’s only because they don’t want to have to apologize for missing the NFC bandwagon.” What can I say…

Best Story

Ours, of course! To dive deeper into the issue, check out this piece by our Karen Webster on why Cook’s comments shouldn’t have caught anyone off guard. Hey, as we may have pointed out once or twice, she hasn’t been wrong yet!

Top Tweet

@ObsoleteDogma : Apple should start taking payments in Bitcoin. That will turn things around.

This is actually a pretty good idea. If we just start calling it the iCoin or something, then everyone will want one. Plus Samsung will come out with a virtual currency like six days later.

TOPIC TWO: Speaking Of Bitcoin …

Why It’s Hot

Bitcoin has been with us for quite some time now, but it’s really started to gain traction over the past three-or-so weeks, as an influx of attention and wider acceptance led to a massive spike in value, peaking at $266 per unit. That lasted for all of about 24 hours, of course, before market correction led the virtual currency to plummet all the way back down to a number in the low-100s. The madness has died down to some degree, bit Bitcoin still has social media – and to some extent, the payments world – abuzz.

Karen’s Commentary

Boy, I can only imagine how upset the economists and Central Bankers are at bitcoin. It takes thousands of people to run the Central Bank and only 6 mad computer scientists to run bitcoin. Well, all I can say, those Central Bankers would never let a bubble happen…

Best Story

This story from TechCrunch includes a succinct yet telling quote from Austan Goolsbee, former Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Goolsbee served as part a panel of experts asked to give their take on Bitcoins, and his response was a simple one: “Hahahaha. ROTFL.” For those of you unfamiliar with Internet slang, that stands for “Rolling on the floor laughing,” and demonstrates pretty well how many experts feel about the “most popular” virtual currency.

Top Tweet

@totalvibration: Every time I see the word “bitcoin,” I imagine Mario jumping feebly at some gold coin somehow defying gravity, only to fall to his death.

There is no shortage of good bitcoin jokes hitting Twitter on a daily basis, but I particularly enjoyed this visual. I’m not exactly sure who’d play Bowser in this scenario, but I’m open to suggestions. Perhaps those little turtle shells you can launch can represent DDoS attacks?

TOPIC THREE: Xbox Allows In-App Ordering From Pizza Hut

Why It’s Hot

Because it’s pizza. See what I did there?

A story loosely related to payments made a big impact on social media this week as Xbox announced the launch of a Pizza Hut-ordering app through its Xbox live platform. On a serious note, the ability to place orders from gaming consoles is perhaps an underutilized function by many merchants looking to cater to a specific audience today. On a less serious note, this seems to fulfill about seven different negative stereotypes about Americans all at once.

Karen’s Commentary

P-commerce – well, why not! Online ordering is a massively popular use case for mCommerce – and one of the most visible examples of the blending of on to offline commerce. I’m a big fan of the on to offline blurring phenomenon but thank goodness I don’t like pizza that much – yet another reason not to play games…

Best Story

This piece by TIME drips with sarcasm, like so many greasy slices of bad pepperoni. Read the whole thing for yourself, but the gist of it is the author feigns disappointment at needing to pause a game before ordering. I just wish he had omitted the “half-baked line. That makes the piece seem a bit overdone.

Top Tweet

@Endgadget: Pizza Hut app comes to Xbox 360, unstoppable force meets immovable gamer – engt.co/10vnT67

I’d rather not publically admit to the amount of time I spent trying to create a catchy headline when we ran this story, and can give full credit to Endgadget here for outdoing me. Well played.

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