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Undercover at Money2020, our man in Las Vegas ls lost in booths, babes and benjamins. But can agent 0111 stop a killer new technology from falling into the wrong hands? It’s Main Street vs Infinite Loop in the major new blogbuster from CHYP End… welcome to… Pay Another Day

Part 5. The Man with the Golden iWatch

As Bond walked around the corner, he realised something was wrong. Very wrong. Not only was he up and about at 7 in the morning, but out of the corner of his eye he saw man walking towards him with a fixed grin and a psychopathic stare. He looked like a KAOS killer.

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That wasn’t Rodger Desai! Bond had studied Rodger’s file — well, LinkedIn profile — before heading over to the MGM. So that was why he’d been missing from the Illuminati dinner. They had him. But who were they? A.P.P.L.E? M.C.X? One of the Far Eastern groups? Some splinter group hoping to exploit Rodger’s considerable lead in using mobile phone data support device-based authentication?

Bond darted into the milling crowd and let himself get carried along by the bustle. He fell into a river of people that carried him through the doors and into the main conference room, where a few thousand of the faithful were waiting to hear from the Reverend Weiner and some of his powerful friends. Bond slid sideways, making sure he wasn’t being followed, and walked to an empty chair near the front, in the light, where he could clearly see any movement in either aisle. Just as he sat down, a couple of Powerpoint jockeys from McKinsey, which is a management consultancy, said that there were six key themes to the event this year: POS evolution, security, cryptocurrency, credit models, globalisation and partnerships. Putting the last two to one side because he could imagine what they might mean in general terms, Bond had no idea what they were talking about, but nodded sagely like the rest of the audience around him.

Just then, saw a flicker of movement in the corner of the room. A shadow slipped out of a side door: Bond was on his feet in two or three minutes and out into the corridor. He went down an escalator and found himself in a vast exhibition hall, where vendors from around the world were exhibiting all manner of products and services. Then he saw him, sitting in a far corner and trying to look inconspicuous, was the cat-burgler Bond was sure he had seen upstairs. Blocking the man’s exit, Bond knelt and pretended to tie his shoelace.

“Who are you working for, friend?”

Nothing. The intruder remained impassive. Bond moved closer.

“Listen to me. I don’t care who you are working for, A.P.P.L.E or M.C.X or anyone else, let me give you a message to take back to your head honcho. We know that the mobile wallet is real, and I’m going to make sure that people know all about it. So if you, or anyone else, thinks that they can keep it to themselves, they are dead wrong. Our view of the national interest is clear: we need a balance of power and competition. If either side gets total control of the mobile wallet, the potential for abuse is too great. Do you understand?”

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Nothing. The man in black refused to say a thing, and Bond thought it better not to waterboard him in daylight, so he stood up to think. Perhaps he should make his way back up to the keynote session before he was missed.

Bond settled back down again. A chap from Visa was talking about a new approach to partnership and co-operation, opening up the “edge of the network” through APIs. It all sounded jolly good to Bond. There was something that puzzled him though. At the Aria hotel, where this Money2020 was being held, and where all of these people were supposed experts in retail payments, there were no contactless terminals so no-one could tap their phones to pay, no in-app payments so no ApplePay or Google Wallet, no chip-and-PIN terminals, and you had to produce photo ID to buy a coffee as well as a drink at the paper. The staff gave you pieces of paper to sign when you bought something. Bond didn’t know what you were supposed to write on the paper, and he didn’t want to ask anyone, so he just chose an exotic sounding name and wrote that each time. Sergio Aquero, Bruno Zuculini, Pablo Zabaletta, Willy Caballero, Martin Demichelis. No-one seemed to care.

This apparent paradox — of supposed payment experts who he never saw using either “tap and pay” or “app and pay” — was still nagging at the back of his brain when a strange thing happened. A pair of rich white men (who looked so similar they might be twins) came out on stage and started talking about people bartering fish for goats — or something along those lines — 10,000 years ago. Bond was absolutely baffled. This was obviously some weird ritual that the boys back home hadn’t seen coming. He glanced left and right to see how to respond, but all around him people were get up and leaving, which struck him as dashed rude of them. A gentleman, Bond thought, should always sit and listen to another gentleman’s talk, even if it is all guff.

[Part 6: Dr. NoAuth]

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