JPMorgan Piloting Blockchain-based Payment Solution in Asia

American investment bank and financial services provider JPMorgan, on Monday, April 12, launched ‘Confirm,’ a blockchain solution to reduce the number of rejected or returned payments.

‘Confirm’ Validates Transactions In ‘Near Real-time’

Following the launch, the US bank is now test-running the blockchain solution with 12 banks in Taiwan. The financial institutions include CTBC Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, and First Commercial Bank.

As part of the test run, the banks were required to transfer money to Indonesia, using JPMorgan’s clearing solution – ‘PayDirect.’

Disclosing this development to the investing public, the banks which were used as case studies, according to JPMorgan, were able to request and receive confirmation of beneficiaries’ account information in ‘near-real-time.’

According to the US banking giant, there are numerous risks attached to transaction failures in the blockchain market, some of which are -a heightened risk of fraud, increment in cost from payment returns, and poor customer experience because of delays in processing payments.

Why this solution is timely for digital asset holders

In the blockchain industry, transactions are mostly seamless as cryptocurrency transactions are often done without problems. But there are instances where unsuccessful and failed transactions are recorded. In situations where failed transactions occur, one of the most common reasons is ‘fees.’

It is pertinent to note that the fees asset holders input in their transactions is collected by miners, who are shouldered with the responsibility of confirming transactions on the network.

These fees are used to determine the priority of each transaction as far as blockchain is concerned. Meaning that the higher the fee, the higher the level of importance placed on a transaction, and vice-versa. So, if the price an asset holder includes is too low, there are chances that miners will not consider such a transaction worthwhile to validate. And the most common consequence of this is rejection.

While no data is accessible at press time to confirm the rate at which traders experience failure in their transactions, there are indications most of the transactions that suffered rejection were because of the injected fee. More so, when a low price is used during the period that a network is experiencing congestion, there is a likelihood that it will not be successful. Due to how the blockchain is designed, miners are the only ones that determine every transaction’s status.

However, with ‘Confirm,’ JPMorgan brings a solution aiming to reduce failed transactions and increase successful ones.

Through a secure peer-to-peer network in the blockchain industry, trading entities can request an account’s validation before payment initiation. They can also respond to requests for account owner and status or participate as both a requestor and a responder.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Swedish Central Bank Finishes Phase One Of the e-Krona Digital Currency Test Pilot

Swedish Central Bank Finishes Phase One Of the e-Krona Digital Currency Test Pilot

  • Riksbank has revealed the finalization of the first phase of its digital currency project.

Today, the Swedes learned that they might have to wait a little longer to use an e-krona for their daily uses after the Swedish central bank realized that there are minor issues that need addressing after the first phase of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project.

The Riksbank released a study that details the results of the first phase of its CBDC project that will run on the Corda blockchain.

The central bank tested several core issues of a future CBDC system, such as liquidity supply using its own settlement system dubbed RIX with the network membership being used as the e-kronor distributors. Other aspects tested were payment networks such as mobile apps, participants, and end-users.

The main challenge identified with the system was scalability, with the central bank saying further modifications were needed. The report says,

“The solution tested in phase one of the e-krona pilot has met the performance requirements made in the public procurement. But this has taken place in a limited test environment, and the new technology’s capacity to manage retail payments on a large scale needs to be investigated and tested further.”

The Riksbank also indicated that there were challenges in information privacy, stating a need to check if it meets the banking secrecy laws and whether the system protected personal data.

Swedish central bank had indicated that it would be ready to launch the CBDC system in 2018 but has postponed the launch date for years. The Riksbank now says the second phase of the project might not be piloted until next year and gives itself until 2026 to be fully ready.

The head of Riksbank’s unit in charge of the project insisted that it is not right to settle on the system before knowing the digital currency’s exact work. The Riksbank has also made it clear the project will not replace its fiat any time soon.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe

We’re Not A Bank & Don’t Want To Compete: Microsoft Pres. On Fintech Companies Issuing Currencies

We’re Not A Bank & Don’t Want To Compete With Them: Microsoft President On Fintech Companies Issuing Currencies

Brad Smith says governments are best placed for that role. Meanwhile, the company is asking its Xbox customers about Bitcoin as a payment method.

Microsoft President Brad Smith is not in favor of financial technology companies issuing currencies. According to him, governments are still best-placed for that.

“I’m not a big fan myself of encouraging or asking or wanting us to participate in the issuing of currency,” said Smith at an online conference hosted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He added,

“The money supply almost uniquely needs to be managed by an entity that is responsible to the public and thinks really only about the public interest, and that means governments.”

The world has been seeing a shift to digital payments accelerated by the pandemic. The massive amount of money printing as financial aid to help the economy recover has further fueled the interest in cryptos and Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation.

This has raised concerns among policymakers while central banks around the globe study issuing their own digital currencies. Smith said,

“I think the world has been better served by what has been a movement over centuries to put that in the hands of governments.”

“We’re not a bank, and we don’t want to become a bank, and we don’t want to compete with our customers who are banks.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft is asking its Xbox users about Bitcoin as a payment option.

The survey is part of the Xbox Insider Program for beta testing OS Updates. It asks a couple of questions, including your current payment method, your views on the several payment methods supported on Xbox, which other should be added, and if the lack of your preferred method prompted you not to purchase something from Xbox.

Back in 2014, Microsoft allowed its users to pay for Xbox games with BTC, but the feature has been no longer available.

Just yesterday, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced that the electric car maker accepts Bitcoin. He further said they wouldn’t be converting any BTC received in payment in fiat currency either, preferring to hold the cryptocurrency.

Tesla also divulged last month that it had invested $1.5 billion into Bitcoin, following which Smith said Microsoft didn’t have any investment in the cryptocurrency.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Norway Central Bank Governor: Bitcoin is ‘Too Costly’ to be Used and Doesn’t Preserve Stability

Norway Central Bank Governor: Bitcoin is ‘Too Costly’ to be Used and Doesn’t Preserve Stability

The world’s most cashless country doesn’t want its people to use Bitcoin as an alternative.

Norway has been steadily moving towards a cashless society, but the country’s central bank governor says people shouldn’t turn to Bitcoin as an alternative.

Oystein Olsen, the governor of Norges Bank in Oslo, says it’s inconceivable that Bitcoin will replace the fiat currency controlled by central banks, adding that while people like to talk about it, Bitcoin won’t be a threat to central banks.

Bitcoin is “far too resource-intensive, far too costly, and most importantly, it doesn’t preserve stability,” Olsen said in a phone interview.

“I mean, the basic property and task for a central bank and central-bank currency is to provide stability in the value of money and in the system, and that is not done by Bitcoin.”

Recently, Kjell Inge Rokke, one of Norway’s most prominent businessmen, endorsed Bitcoin, saying it will ultimately be on the right side of monetary history. His Aker ASA also invested $58.6 million in Bitcoin and set up a new unit to establish Bitcoin mining operations and to invest throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Trading above $54k, the leading cryptocurrency has become a trillion-dollar asset this year. According to Kjell, BTC price might one day even be “worth millions of dollars.”

The crypto asset hit a new ATH at nearly $62k earlier this month, surging more than 15x from its March low as institutions, hedge funds, high-net-worth individuals, pension funds, and insurance firms increasingly join the crypto market and invest in Bitcoin.

CBDC Won’t Disrupt The Private Sector

Amidst the growing interest and adoption of crypto assets, central banks from China, Sweden, Japan, and the US are developing their own digital versions of fiat currencies.

While Norway has become the world’s most cashless country, with only 4% of all payments conducted with coins and banknotes, as shared by Norges Bank Deputy Governor Ida Wolden Bache last November, the country isn’t leading in central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

Norges Bank, however, is due to publish a report on its CBDC project next month, which the officials affirm “will not change private sector credit intermediation.”

Earlier this month, Wolden Bache said the goal is that users “must be able to pay efficiently and securely in” Norwegian kroner.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Central Bank of Nigeria Never Banned Cryptocurrency Trading, Clarifies Governor

Central Bank of Nigeria Never Banned Cryptocurrency Trading, Clarifies Governor

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said they never banned the use of cryptocurrencies in the country, and they are not discouraging people from trading with crypto assets either.

The clarification came from Godwin Emefiele, deputy governor Adamu Lamtek, on behalf of Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the central bank, at the 30th seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors organized by the bank.

According to him, the bank wants to remind the banking sector and protect it from crypto activities.

Last month, the CBN issued an order that directed financial institutions to shut down all accounts associated with crypto trading. “Dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited,” said CBN at the time. It further told institutions to “identify persons and/or entities” transacting with cryptos or operating crypto exchanges.

This led the Bitcoin users and proponents to voice their objection to the bank’s order on social media.

In response, the bank issued a five-page statement clarifying that the letter was only a reminder that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Nigeria, reiterating a position the bank has held since 2017 and nothing new.

It further said that the central bank would continue to educate Nigerians to “desist from its use and protect our financial system from activities of fraudsters and speculators.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

A Petition Calls for the Central Bank of France to Buy Bitcoin and Other Crypto Assets

A Petition Calls for the Central Bank of France to Buy Bitcoin and Other Crypto Assets

A lawmaker signed the petition, which says, “France cannot decently remain as an observer of a race which has already started” as “not owning Bitcoin will put it in a financially weak position.”

A petition calls for an amendment to the monetary and financial code to authorize the central bank, Banque de France, to buy bitcoin and other crypto-assets.

A lawmaker in France is already in support as Jean-Michel Mis, a member of the National Assembly since 2017 who serves on the Committee of Legal Affairs, signed the petition. So, far it has received 450 signatures but requires at least 100,000 signatures within 6 months to be forwarded to the Conference of Presidents.

As such, the petition will remain active until Sept. 5, 2021.

Francois Thoorens, the co-founder of the blockchain development platform ARK Ecosystem, was the one who started the petition. It has already been sent to the Senate for validation, and only after that was, it published on its petition site.

The petition calls it “vital” for the country to adopt a strategic law that can anticipate the changes to come in the field of virtual values. It further points to companies like Tesla and MicroStrategy, who have acquired large sums of Bitcoin on the ground of a weak dollar destroying medium-term financing capacities.

Public entities like the mayor of Miami are also positioning themselves as investors of Bitcoin, the petition said, central banks are also buying with the objective to strengthen their independence. It said,

“France cannot decently remain as an observer of a race which has already started. Not owning Bitcoin will put it in a financially weak position within 5-10 years. It is urgent to take up the problem.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Leads Digital Asset Bank Anchorage’s $80M Series C Round

Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Leads Digital Asset Bank Anchorage’s $80M Series C Round

Anchorage has raised $80 million in a Series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from a16z, Blockchain Capital, Lux, and Indico.

“Largest sovereign wealth funds leading rounds in global crypto-asset custodians,” commented Su Zhu, chief executive officer, and chief investment officer at Three Arrows Capital.

Earlier this year, Anchorage received a national trust charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), making it the first federally chartered digital asset bank in history.

“Anchorage has gone through a brilliant metamorphosis — from a world-class custody solution to the standard-bearer for crypto banking,” said W. Bradford Stephens, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Blockchain Capital.

“In just a few short years, they’ve already been a powerful, catalytic force for institutional adoption, regulatory confidence, and overall maturation of the space.”

Now it is raising funds to expand its digital bank services with a focus on enabling institutions to participate in the digital asset space.

The firm laid down its five key goals for the year ahead, including offering at-launch support for new protocols. It will also continue to invest in broad asset support, just as with Filecoin, Oasis Protocol, and Celo.

Anchorage has already been seeing an “influx of interest” ever since it obtained the charter and helping organizations participate in digital assets through corporate treasuries and endowments.

As a bank, the focus is also to make crypto lending even more seamless and secure, and they further plan to scale its lending products and operations.

Besides partnering with neo banks, challenger banks, and traditional banks, the idea is to make institutional DeFi participation accessible.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Canadian Financial Institution Launches World’s First Stablecoin Backed by Bank Deposits

Canadian Financial Institution Launches World’s First Stablecoin Backed by Bank Deposits

  • Canadian-based bank, VersaBank, announced the launch of its digital stablecoin, VCAD, which is backed 1:1 by Canadian dollar bank deposits by the bank.

VersaBank, a North American banking leader in B2B digital payment solutions, announced its plans to launch VCAD, the “world’s first digital currency backed by a North American bank deposits”. The stablecoin aims to offer users a channel of commerce while offering the highest levels of stability and security on its system.

The VCAD stablecoin is as a result of a partnership between VersaBank and Stablecorp, a joint venture between crypto asset manager, 3iQ and Mavenet, a blockchain development firm, both Canadian firms too. The partnership will ensure the commercial launch of VCAD, with VersaVault, a digital bank vault under VersaBank’s cybersecurity subsidiary, DRT Cyber Inc., securely managing the stablecoin.

The VCAD project is expected to launch in the coming months, a statement from the team further stated.

VCAD allows consumers and businesses to leverage the benefits of stable tokens such as removing the wild volatility experienced across the crypto market or fiat currencies. Moreover, users will also enjoy the security of a fully-backed stablecoin through the bank deposits, David Taylor, President of VersaBank and DRT Cyber Inc. said in a statement.

“Consumers and businesses purchasing products and services with VCAD will finally know the precise value of their digital currency when executing these transactions.”

At launch, VCAD will be issued to financial intermediaries working with VersaBank in exchange for Canadian dollar deposits. These partners and intermediaries will then offer the stablecoin directly to users and businesses allowing them to redeem for Canadian dollars and payment purposes at any time. Jean Desgagne, CEO, Stablecorp said,

“VCAD provides consumers with not only the security afforded by an underlying deposit with a Canadian chartered bank but also the comfort of knowing that each VCAD issued or redeemed will always have one-to-one value with the Canadian dollar.”

Stablecoins are rapidly gaining acceptance across Canada as a bank of Canada official, Deputy Governor Tim Lane, praised the innovation over “flawed Bitcoin” as a payment channel.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Largest African Bank Partners with Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR)

Largest African Bank Partners with Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR)

Standard Bank Group, the largest African bank by asset management, has partnered with Hedera Hashgraph, an enterprise-grade distributed public ledger. Hedera, a decentralized enterprise-grade public network, allows anyone to build applications and is owned and governed by a governing council.

In response to the news and in line with the recovery across the crypto market, the price of HBAR has jumped more than 20% to $0.129.

The bank, which has a 156-year history in South Africa, has established Africa’s first Hedera network node to solve the issues such as lack of transparency, lengthy settlement periods, and information asymmetry in cross-border trade.

The bank is already using blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for several use cases, including foreign exchange (FX) payments and settlements. Adrian Vermooten, bank’s Chief Innovation Officer said,

“As an organization, we have established that blockchain technology can track and leapfrog legacy issues that prevent a seamless and transparent payment experience for the customer, which ultimately enables cost savings for all stakeholders.”

While domestic payments are already instant, cheap, and transparent, the banks note that cross-border transactions are subject to several complications like dependency on banking networks.

With the help of stablecoins and digital currencies, instant settlement with high liquidity and visibility can be achieved. Ian Putter, Head of DLT/Blockchain at Standard Bank Group said,

“As we see increasing interest in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), tokenization of assets, and utilization of stablecoins, it has become increasingly clear that digitization of assets will impact all facets of our business, and we must strategically plan for these pieces to work seamlessly together.”

The bank is also joining the Hedera Governing Council and will be responsible for running the initial nodes just like its other members, including Boeing, Dentons, Deutsche Telekom, Google, IBM, LG Electronics, Magalu, Nomura, Tata Communications, University College London (UCL), Wipro, and many others.

The members guide both strategy and software development, ensure stability, and maintain its decentralization with a governance model that eliminates the risk of forks and preserves the integrity of the network.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in India, has announced a partnership with US bank JPMorgan to use its blockchain-based technology to enhance international transactions.

The government-owned bank explained that the partnership would help reduce transaction costs and time to execute customers’ payments. The bank stated that it would take hours to execute international payments and not the usual two weeks. The bank also stated that beneficiaries will now get their payments faster as it will involve fewer steps.

Venkat Nageswar, SBI deputy managing director, explained that the bank has been undertaking various digital transformations in the recent past and is keen to add more to enhance their daily operations. Nageswar told India’s Economic Times,

“We are excited to be the first bank in India to go live on the network and look forward to a closer partnership with JP Morgan on implementation and exploring applications as part of the network to better serve our clients.”

JPMorgan’s blockchain-based network, dubbed Liink, is a decentralized network where numerous financial firms, fintech firms, and other corporations can subscribe. The network enables the users to conduct secure and peer-to-peer data interchanges at fast speeds. It was started in 2017 being dubbed Interbank Information Network, but it rebranded to Liink in October last year.

Currently, over 400 financial-based institutions and corporates have subscribed to Liink from 78 nations. The enlisted firms include 27 of the globe’s top-ranking 50 banks. The network boasts of about 100 live banks consisting of private and government-owned institutions.

JPMorgan Chase India managing director, Prabdev Singh, explained that the recent deal with SBI is in tandem with its program to enhance its blockchain presence within India and the region. Singh stated that the firm is continually exploring how the new technologies can change customers’ experiences positively.

Apart from changing its name to Liink, JPMorgan also rolled out its own stablecoin dubbed JPM Coin last year. The stablecoin was launched to enhance international payments.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe