South Korea May Get A New Crypto Custodian After Largest Bank Files Trademark App

KB Kookmin Bank, the largest bank in South Korea, is preparing to launch its cryptocurrency custody service as soon as possible.

As per the local news outlet Digital Today reported on March 27, KB Kookmin Bank filed a KBDAC trademark application in which it referred to the Digital Asset Custody subsidiary it proposed in January, this year.

BTC and ETH Mentioned

The bank’s application to the Korean Intellectual Property Office expresses its intention of trademarking KBDAC in more than 20 areas that are all related to the crypto industry. These areas include consultation, management and trading of digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). It also mentioned virtual asset settlement, consignment and fiat currency transactions.

Since many crypto areas have been mentioned, speculations that the bank is planning to launch a subsidiary offering financial products and services for receiving and managing investment funds’ virtual assets started to appear. A thread link to all these services is provided by the Digital Assets Custody moniker. According to the bank’s previous trademark applications, the new subsidiary may be launched in H1 of 2020.

There’s Also the Partnership with Atomrigs

KB Kookmin Bank partnered up last June with Atomrigs Labs, in order to explore digital asset protection and management solutions. The bank has always been proactive when it comes to blockchain technology. It made last October a statement in which it talked about the benefits this tech could bring to the industry of financial services.

Furthermore, it said that it plans to integrate blockchain into all its internal processes. In the meantime, 40 banks from Germany are seeking the approval of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to offer BTC custody, after the country introduced a new regulatory law for crypto.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Chinese Central Bank Warns Against Crypto Trading Due to Market Manipulation, Bots

Bank of China, a Chinese central bank, is continuing with its anti-crypto campaign, this time the bank has issued a long post in its official WeChat account lashing on crypto exchanges. According to Cointelegraph, the post which was released on March 22 is titled “3.15 Protetion of Financial Consumption Rights and Interests”.

Through the post, the bank warns the crypto worshippers against crypto investment highlighting three major issues or concerns being witnessed on crypto exchanges.

According to the post, the top three Chinese crypto exchanges have registered a significantly higher turnover rate compared to foreign exchanges licenced to operate in China which raises eyebrows about bots committing fraud transactions.

The post also points out that crypto exchanges cause deliberate breakdowns or downtimes to force leveraged trading positions loss. As per the post, a large crypto exchange platform reported six system downtime in one year, where three were reportedly unexpected and occured due to unknown reasons.

The post also states that after a thorough analysis of withdrawal data from the crypto trading firms, the central bank found some evidence of suspected money laundering activities.

The post stated:

“First of all, the amount of fraud transactions with bots is serious. The average turnover rate of the top three overseas crypto currency exchanges is much higher than that of foreign licensed exchanges. Second, market manipulation exists in these exchanges where forced leveraged trading eventually causes the exchanges to explode. Third, money laundering is a big issue.”

The post also cautioned the public that the saying that Bitcoin is a safe haven when it comes to investments, stating that this is false as the king coin is highly volatile and can lead to huge losses. The central bank urged the public to avoid following the crowd and keep away from any crypto investments.

The post comes at a time when the financial markets are experiencing tough times and people have been exploring the crypto space as an alternative to the traditional money markets. This post aims at stemming the increasing interest on cryptocurrencies in China despite massive crackdown on crypto-based businesses by government authorities.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Citi Increases Its Equity In Ethereum-based Platform Komgo Specializing In Trade Finance

Citi bank, a founder & investor at Komgo has reportedly increased its stake ownership of the project. The bank is on course with integrating Komgo’s Blockchain Solution with its own trade processing systems. The current scope of the project set to expand in the foreseeable future to include inventory financing and auto-matching of electronic documents.

Komgo, a blockchain-oriented startup, launched in 2018 has been developing an Ethereum based enterprise Blockchain for trading finance. Their platform allows equities traders to maximize on Distributed Ledger Tech by establishing an ecosystem where they can interact with financial intermediaries as well.

Notably, during the unveiling of the project other founder investors were present; they include, Societe Generale, ING Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

The global head of commodity trade finance at Citi, Kris van Broekhoven has highlighted that this would be revolutionary as for almost the last century banking systems have been reliant on manual passing and processing of paper documents. The Blockchain solution offering a unique opportunity of digitalizing the whole industry.

“Now Blockchain technology serves as a catalyst to disrupt the industry towards the processing of electronic data”

According to Kris van Broekhoven, the most appealing part of the venture is that it has incorporated both bank and corporate players in comparison to other Blockchain solutions. The input from all these players then helps Komgo uniquely tailor the Blockchain solution to look out for everyone’s needs, not just the banks.

“It is one of the only consortiums that combines banks and corporates as founders”

Citi has strategically positioned itself to leverage the platform by integrating it with its own systems in a bid to reduce its processing and waiting time. Having bolstered their security, Citi is keen to analyze their investment overheads to make sure the project is working as per requirements.

Komgo set to expand the scope of their Blockchain platform

Currently, the scope of the project has prioritized letters of credit, account receivables financing, and KYC. This is expected to change as they are set to increase the business to include support of inventory financing and auto-matching of electronic documents according to Kris van Broekhoven.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Central Bank Survey: 80% of Australians Are Aware of Crypto But Only 1% Are Actually Using

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) states that Less than 1% of people in Australia have paid for goods using cryptocurrency, according to a study conducted yesterday.

The findings were revealed in the triennial Consumer Payments Survey (CPS) released by the RBA. They came from around 1,100 respondents and shown that while consumers in the country prefer digital or alternative methods of payment, they’re still not that into crypto. The survey was conducted last year, in October and November.

Many Study Respondents Aware of Crypto

In spite of the fact that many study respondents said they’re aware of crypto’s and that they can be used for services, but only a low number of the people participating in the study reported to have used crypto.

More than 80% of those questioned said they’ve heard of it, which means crypto occupies the third position among the most recognized alternative methods of payment. Tap and go payments with mobile devices and buy now pay later services are on the first two positions.

WeChat and AliPay Users Uninterested in Crypto

The respondents using WeChat Pay, AliPay, the bank-provided Beem It and PayID services, or other in-app mobile payment solutions said they were not using crypto at all. The survey shows that crypto’s usage-to-awareness ratio is the lowest. Here’s RBA’s opinion on the matter:

“Although many respondents had heard of ‘cryptocurrencies’, very few had used a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to actually make a consumer payment over the past year.”

RBA’s First CPS Survey on Crypto

The RBA has previously had doubts about the potential of crypto ever replacing the existing payment methods. The central bank’s CPS use of cryptocurrencies survey on the matter was the first survey done, having a total of 5 of them conducted in the past. It seems Australians were using less cash in 2019, especially those respondents who haven’t yet reached the age of 40.

As a matter of fact, this specific group of people used cash for only 15% of the transactions they made. More than this, the survey discovered that even the seniors are no longer using cash either, although it’s their most popular payment method. The most used payment methods now are mobile ones, especially in the young demographics age group.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Central Bank of Sweden, Riksbank, Seeks to Host BIS Digital Currencies Research Hub

Riksbank, which is the central bank of Sweden, has already started to test its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) ever since February, and now would like to host the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) digital currency innovation hub.

The announcement was made on March 6. If Riksbank is sure to host the innovation hub, it should co-finance the event and have it taking place in Sweden. As a result, it has proposed the Sveriges Riksbank Act in which it asks Riksdag, the parliament of Sweden, to approve its financing for international organizations activities.

$3.1 Million per Year if the Hub Is Established in Sweden

A permission for Riksbank to co-finance international organizations activities has been forwarded by Riksbank to the parliament. The cost of this would be 30 million Swedish kronas (about $3.1 million) a year, but only if the BIS decides to have a hub in the country of Sweden. In January 23, the central bank had an amendment referral proposal circulating, proposal that says most of the referral bodies such as stakeholders, organizations and authorities should support or object the proposal.

Other Hub Locations Are in Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong

All through 2019, the BIS has played an active role in determining where the BIS Innovation Hub should take place so that central banks from all over the world bolster the financial and global payment system. Some some of the Hubs are located in Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Switzerland is known for actively performing research on CBDCs and the hub’s distributed ledger technology (DLT). Sweden wants to host the BIS innovation hub seeing the payment services’ digitization has increased in the country.

Riksbank Making Progress When It Comes to Issuing Its Own CBDC

The more the Riksbank is progressing to issue its own CBDC, the more being included in the BIS innovation hub becomes important because it brings an advantage when a comparison between it and some other central banks is being made. The e-krona’s pilot platform started working back in December 2019. For it to run, Riksbank collaborated with the Ireland-based firm Accenture.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Drafting Policy Framework to Regulate Digital Currencies

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is interested in regulating digital currencies and has already started drafting a policy framework.

This move came weeks after India curbed the ban imposed by the reserve bank of India on banks and financial institutions preventing them from dealing with individuals and businesses dealing with cryptos.

Bitcoin has also been recently recognized as money in Germany and France while being officially made legal in South Korea.

Now, Zimbabwe is gearing up to regulate cryptocurrencies. Although the central bank has warned residents of deceitful actions while trading cryptos when using unregulated exchanges in the past, it has conceded that the reality is, this is becoming a trend and there is a need to regulate the space in the country, as per local media reports.

A Regulatory Sandbox

Zimbabwe has been recently witnessing a surge in demand for bitcoin and fintech growth in trading, payments, and insurance. Now, with regulations, the country’s officials want to ensure crypto companies are vetted. RBZ deputy director financial markets and national payment systems, Mr. Josephat Mutepfa, during a Sound Prosperity Economic Forum in Bulawayo on Friday said,

“We have already started to come up with a fintech framework because in regulation everything should be well structured. The framework, which is a regulatory sandbox, will be assessing the crypto-currency companies as to how they are going to operate.”

The sandbox he explained will be an “experimenting zone,” which will involve an application criterion. Entering the sandbox means the company will exist as a legitimate product or will be guided in forming a partnership with a bank, mobile money platform or will need to be licensed.

Helping Fintech Grow

The idea behind establishing the sandbox is the capital challenge the crypto market is facing. Mutepfa said,

“The crypto-currency market is largely tapped by the young generation and in most cases, they are facing challenges of having capital. The challenge is that in the past the currency was a prerogative of central banks although it has been taken over by the digital currency who also operate within the currency of the country, which, therefore, minimises loans coming forward.”

Meanwhile, the government has to deal with the,

“Interpretation of the monetary policy into all the official languages in order for the financial sector to blossom.”

This new development is a positive movement in the current fearful market running red with price losses and fear. These regulations, Brian Maseva, a business advisor at, local crypto-based trading consortium SPURT which has about 50,000 users said will help the crypto market grow. Maseva said,

“Meeting with the central bank will help us grow and attract the public to join the digital currency, which is fast taking over the financial sector. We are now aware that there is a policy, which elaborates more on fintech guidelines that we need to follow.”

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Author: AnTy

BoE Governor: A CBDC Would Need to Be ‘Very Carefully Designed’ to Overcome Challenges

The outgoing Bank of England (UK Central Bank) governor Mark Carney has reiterated his sentiments regarding a Central Bank Digital Currency. This was after the UK Central bank released a dossier touching on the CBDC that is supposed to store value and facilitate payments for both domestic and commercial transactions.

The Outgoing Canadian is on the move as he was recently offered a lucrative U.N. special envoy on climate action and climate finance post. He is set to be replaced by Andrew Bailey who is currently serving as the head of Financial Conduct Authority. In the discussion paper, Governor Carney said,

“While CBDC (central bank digital currency) poses a number of opportunities, it could raise significant challenges for maintaining monetary and financial stability … and would need to be very carefully designed if it were to be introduced.”

Notably, a CBDC will come in handy as the use of banknotes, the most widely accepted form of currency is in decline with technological breakthroughs paving the way. However, CBDC’s will now present a unique challenge as the Central Bank has predicted that significant deposits moving to CBDC instead of the banks could skew the balance sheets for both commercial banks and the BoE.

This could affect the portion of credit that would be availed to banks, which could fundamentally change how the banks will enforce their policies.

CBDC should work alongside not replace Traditional methods

They have further insisted that the CBDC could only be implemented to supplement the current traditional deposits rather than replace them. The CBDC would be quantified equivalently to the Sterling pound.

“It would be denominated in pounds sterling, so £10 of CBDC would always be worth the same as a £10 banknote.”

Conversations around the CBDC are still ongoing as Mark Carney has explained that the paper lays the groundwork and would be an ice breaker for the CBDC dialogue in UK. They have given a 12th June deadline for those with input regarding the issue.

Collaboration with other central banks

The Bank of England has collaborated with other global central banks the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden) and the Swiss National Bank to look into the feasibility of CBDC.

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Author: Lujan Odera

PBoC Secures $4.7M Funding for its Blockchain Trade Finance Platform From Chinese Govt

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has secured a funding of 32.5 million yuan ($4.7 million) for its blockchain trade finance platform for key research and development projects.

The country’s central bank has been spearheading this platform that was launched in Sept. 2018 in South China’s Guangdong Province. Now, it has acquired the funding that will be injected throughout the following 3 years, reported the Global Times Monday.

The funding will help the platform improve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so they can use a broader field of finance tools.

Currently, more than 40 banks and nearly 1900 companies are part of this platform which processed a total of 90 billion yuan ($12.5 billion) worth of transactions by December 2019.

The blockchain trade finance platform of PBoC is overseen by the central bank’s Digital Currency Research Lab, local banks, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and major Chinese universities like Tsinghua University, per the media reports.

In November, in order to expand its trade finance business, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority signed an agreement with the central bank to connect its blockchain-based trade finance platform eTrade Connect with PBoC’s.

The platform has also reportedly improved the productivity of SME loan authorizations significantly while the time needed to prepare trade financing has been reduced from ten days to just about 20 minutes. Additionally, corporate financing expenditures have also declined to below 6%.

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Author: AnTy

Market Is Already Pricing In Another Fed Rate Cut, Should You Be Long On Gold, Bitcoin?

  • Stock market plunges today as well, Deutsche Bank says it “has further to go”
  • As fear of global covid-19 pandemic continues to grip the world, the 10-year Treasury drops to record low to 0.667%
  • “Everything is on the table and we are willing to do more,” – St Louis Federal bank president James Bullard
  • Global stocks are extending their slump on Friday

The fear of a global recession triggered by coronavirus has sent stocks plunging yet again with the Dow Jones down 2.3%, the S&P 500 losing 3%, and Nasdaq sliding by 3.3%.

However, according to Deutsche Bank, there is no rest for the exhausted investors as today the bank released a grim analysis where it states that the S&P 500 has already lost 13% to last Friday’s closing low “has further to go.” The bank said,

“Our baseline view is for a total sell off from the last peak of 15-20%, with a bottom some time in Q2. We do view the impacts on macro and earnings growth as being relatively short-lived and the market eventually looking through them and maintaining our year-end target of 3250 for the S&P 500.”

Treasuries yield hits record low

The investors are meanwhile propping up gold prices amidst a flight to safety move. Gold is up 1.03% at $1,685.20 an ounce. Another traditional safe-haven asset Treasury is seeing the demand which led the yield, on 10-year Treasury to drop to its yet another low 0.667% at one point today.

As fears of global covid-19 pandemic grips the world, the benchmark 10-year notes hit an all-time low after the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut sent it below 1% for the first time ever. John Taylor, a money manager at AllianceBernstein said,

“What we are seeing is symptomatic of not enough positive yielding, defensive assets within global fixed income.”

“Central banks are doing everything they can to provide stimulus, which can add fuel to the flames of the bond rally.”

The five-year Treasury yield also dropped to a record low 0.5339%, breaching the 2012 low. The 30-year rate has plunged to 1.2742%, also a record low.

Get ready for more stimulus

The market is now again pricing in for another rate cut. Chris Jeffery, head of rates and inflation at Legal & General Investment Management said,

“The market’s focus is squarely on the growing likelihood of the Fed once again hitting the zero lower bound on short-term interest rates and restarting quantitative easing.”

“With the number of coronavirus cases spiraling higher every day, it’s a brave investor who stands in front of that trend.”

Commenting on Fed’s monetary policy actions against the deadly virus, St Louis Federal bank president James Bullard said, “everything is on the table and we are willing to do more.”

And once the rate goes below zero which isn’t too far off, the central bank would turn to more QE and printing where “the poor will pay a far greater price than the rich,” said trader Scott Melker. Crypto trader Joe McCann said,

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Author: AnTy

Zabo Raises $2.5M From Moonshots Capital, Tezos To Bring Crypto Into The Mainstream

The crypto software company Zabo, which claims to directly connect bank accounts and crypto wallets, has just raised $2.5 million in funding so that it can start adding new customers and building its engineering team.

Based in Dallas, Zabo announced on Thursday that its funding round is complete and that it hosted participants like the Tezos Foundation, Digital Currency Group (DCG), Castle Island Ventures and CoinShares. Moonshots Capital led the round and is known as an early-stage investor that also led the funding for the Slack messaging platform.

Zabo Connects Bank Accounts to Crypto Wallets

Zabo claims it can directly connect bank accounts to crypto wallets by using code. The software company will use the new funding to improve its engineering capabilities and to gain more customers. It claims its technology went through tests and has been used with many apps, personal finance management tools, tax software and decentralized finance platforms included. Here’s what the general partner of Moonshots Capital, Craig Cummings, had to say about Zabo:

“[Zabo] built an incredibly important piece of technical infrastructure that will enable cryptocurrency financial services to touch billions of people.”

The Process that Connects Banks and Wallets Simplified

The co-founder of Zabo, Christopher Brown, made a statement in which he says his company’s success has grown as a result of the simplified solution for connecting banks and wallets it offers. It’s a well-known fact that many of the other attempts of connecting crypto to traditional finance are technologically complicated, so Brown says that:

“Zabo solves this by dramatically reducing the complexity. We enable leading financial services companies to swiftly and easily integrate into hundreds of leading cryptocurrency wallets with just a few lines of code.”

Another $1 Million From Ken Seiff’s Blockchange Ventures in 2018

The other co-founder and Zabo’s president, Alex Treece, said his company helps traditional financial entities deal with cryptocurrencies, making it possible for more compelling products to be built, in order for the new generation of clients to be served. The software startup has also raised $1 million from Ken Seiff’s Blockchange Ventures in a pre-seed round from 2018.

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Author: Oana Ularu