Welcome to Five at Five, your late look at the payments and commerce news of the day. Coverage includes Amazon opening up voice applications for iOS users, Overstock’s blockchain unit nabbing a huge investment, Intuit securing a bitcoin processing patent, Facebook and L’Oréal using augmented reality for makeup tests and Dish accepting Bitcoin Cash as payment.
Looking to boost adoption by iPad and iPhone users, Amazon launched a new application that allows iOS users to use Alexa voice recognition technology for smart speakers and other devices, providing Apple users with an alternative to Siri. The technology allows users to perform a range of functions on connected devices, including listening to music, asking questions and finding local movie showings and restaurants.
Shares of Overstock rose sharply after announcing that Hong Kong-based private equity firm GSR Capital is investing more than $270 million into Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary tZERO. As part of the agreement, GSR Capital will also buy $30 million in tZERO security tokens.
The company behind major tax return and accounting software has landed a patent that will allow it to process bitcoin payments secured via text message. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the patent, which potentially has several use cases to build upon, including business-to-business transactions.
Inspired by the proliferation of social media selfies and beauty bloggers, the social media giant and L’Oréal agreed to begin testing a new augmented reality technology that lets customers visualize how they look with different makeup, including lipstick, eye shadow and other products. The move follows the March agreement by L’Oréal to acquire ModiFace, a Canadian firm specializing in augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
The satellite television provider announced an agreement with BitPay that would allow it to accept bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from subscribers. Dish, one of the leading providers in the U.S., became one of the first major companies to accept bitcoin in 2014, and now says that many of its customers use cryptocurrency. The agreement with BitPay will provide customers with the additional choice.