China’s Digital Yuan Trial in Full Force, DCEP Lottery Winners Using Digital RMB at 3,300 Stores

While other countries are still busy studying the opportunities and risks associated with central bank digital currencies (CBDC), like the US, China’s digital yuan trial is in full force.

People have already received the DCEP and started using it at convenience stores. Shenzhen metro ticket machine also has features to top-up metro cards with the digital yuan along with “DCEP accepted here” signs.

According to BlockBeat, nearly 2 million people in Shenzhen applied for the “Luohu Digital RMB Red Packet” lottery on the blockchain-based public services app operated by the Shenzhen government.

However, the lottery’s winning rate has been only 2.61%, as only 50,000 received 200 RMB ($30) from the government through the lottery, which brings the total DC/EP giveaway to RMB 10 million ($1.47 million).

The red envelope is basically the “digital renminbi,” which is under development. The wallet, meanwhile, has been already launched by China Construction bank at the end of August.

The idea here is to promote the demand for the new digital yuan as Dan Wang, the chief economist at Hang Seng Bank, told the South China Morning Post, the program is predicted to generate 50 million yuan in total demand.

These DC/EP will be spendable at 3,389 designated shops in Luohu this week, from 12th to 18th October 2020.

“China is doing blockchain airdrops using central bank digital currency. Technology moves forward. Don’t get left behind,” tweeted Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

According to him, although “Nothing beats bitcoin in terms of decentralization,” despite the being “fairly restrictive/centralized,” these CBDCs will “get the masses exposed to and comfortable with blockchain technologies.”

However, these centralized digital versions of fiat cryptos only give governments more power and control over their citizens.

While for cashless societies, the latest change of payment channel is just another way to move money around, what they miss is targeted stimulus policy, and helicopter money will be at a “much more granular level” in the future, said Dovey Wan of Primitive Crypto.

This further means easy seizure of personal wealth, all with just a few lines of codes.

“When retail has been so spoiled by the convenience of digitalization of fiat, and now into digital fiat, they can easily trade self-sovereignty and enslaved by the ultimate efficiency those central servers offer It’s more critical than ever for everyone to really own their keys,” she added.

Amidst this, the Ministry of Public Security of China has announced a nationwide “Card Breaking Campaign,” that could affect Chinese crypto OTC because while criminals in China use crypto to launder money, merchants also borrow and buy bank cards.

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Author: AnTy

European Countries Support EU Stablecoin Regulation

European countries are in favor of regulating fiat-backed cryptos, stablecoins.

Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands backed the European Commission’s goal to regulate stablecoins.

Until the regulatory, legal, and oversight challenges have been addressed, the five countries said on Friday that stablecoins should not be allowed to operate in the EU.

According to European countries, the regulatory framework of the EU for these coins should address risks to monetary policy and protect customers while maintaining their monetary sovereignty.

All stablecoins should be pegged 1:1 with fiat currency and the reserved assets denominated in the euro or any other currency of EU member states deposited in an EU-approved institution, they said.

Much like the Bank of England Governor said last week, the draft joint statement from these countries seen by Reuters, also wants the entities operating these stablecoins to be registered in the EU.

Facebook’s Libra has pushed stablecoins on policymakers’ agenda. Given that its governance body Libra Association is based in Geneva, it can impact their plans to issue its stablecoin.

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Author: AnTy

Indian Think Tank Founder Says Bitcoin Should Not Be Legalized As A Private Currency

Indian entrepreneur and founder of BEGIN Think Tank, Deepak Kapoor, calls on the countries’ financial authorities and government to implement regulations on the cryptocurrency space in a bid to prevent the illicit use of the “innovative technology.”

Speaking to BusinessWorld on Monday, in a panel shared by Ratan Sharda, noted Author, Editor, and TV Panelist, Kapoor further said cryptocurrencies should be treated in a similar bracket to company securities or stocks.

India’s total ban on cryptocurrency, stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India, was quashed earlier this year as the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Ratan echoed the Supreme Court decision as final, stating the current bill in parliament looking to affect the total ban “will not work” in its current state.

“Just like you cannot ban porn, you cannot ban cryptocurrency.”

A better view would be to place controls on the market and ecosystem, the author stated.

Nonetheless, the privatization of Bitcoin (and similar cryptocurrencies) will not be accepted by governments any time soon, Kapoor shared. Controls will only effect a smooth transition into digital payments, but acceptance of private cryptocurrencies could generally collapse economies, he explained.

“Globally, everyone wants to make bitcoin into a private currency, which will not be allowed because it will lead to the collapse of the economies.”

Kapoor praised cryptocurrencies as a technology that cannot be hacked but warned legalizing Bitcoin and private currencies “might put the entire economy of the country at risk.”

How should the government control and regulate these new innovative digital assets?

According to the think tank CEO, Bitcoin should be treated similarly as stocks or company securities. He further stated,

“That is the only legal status that it can get, and it should get this status. This could be the most secure technology cryptographically that we have ever seen in our lifetimes.”

India’s monumental Supreme Court decision to destroy the blanket ban on crypto opened up the country to a new wave of interest in these digital assets. However, Kapoor believes the country should be doing more on the regulation side of things to curb cybercrime using Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

“We do not even have cryptocurrency crimes as a category of crimes registered in the country. Let us start acknowledging that first,” he said. “I would want senior people from investigative and law enforcement agencies to first at least know about it and to know what the world is moving towards.”

He called on the government to introduce a body specifically looking into virtual assets or give the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the mandate over these assets.

India’s regulation on cryptocurrencies is still miles off peer countries. Since February’s ruling on the lift on the total crypto ban, the RBI has given contradictory statements on what is legal and what isn’t. In May, the central bank announced it had not prohibited any banking services from conducting business with crypto service providers despite reports it had done so.

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Author: Lujan Odera

DASH Usage Doubles In Q1 Across Latin America As Privacy Concerns Build

The privacy-enabled cryptocurrency, Dash, is seeing widespread adoption across the globe with countries in the Latin American (LATAM) region leading the charge. A Q1 2020 report from Dash Core Group (DCG), a non-profit organization leading the development of the blockchain, shows that overall commercial payments using DASH across the LATAM region spiked 104% in this quarter.

DASH adoption blooms in LATAM region

One of the most impressive adoption rates has been in Venezuela, where Burger King started to accept the cryptocurrency, in light of the country’s hyperinflation. Speaking to Finance Magnates, the CEO of DCG, Ryan Taylor said,

“Probably our greatest success story has been in Venezuela, where we have thousands of merchants that accept it, and they see users walking in the door and using it.”

The number of DASH wallets on mobile devices has also explosively grown over the past year – recording a 210% increase from May 2019 to 101,747 wallets on mobile devices. DASH’s price against the dollar has also witnessed a healthy rise year to date spiking over 60% to trade at $77.25 on major exchanges.

The crypto is silently gaining widespread adoption in the real world allowing overstressed economies to privately and instantly send and transact funds. Ryan said the DASH adoption curve extends to other continents and regions including countries in Asia and in Africa. Notwithstanding, the crypto is gaining ground in the gaming industry as well. He added,

“We’ve seen some usage within certain verticals: one of those is gaming. We’ve recently been integrated into a platform called ReadyRaider.”

The positives in the LATAM market are however masked by the exit of one of the biggest promoters of DASH in October last year – Latam, which operated in 8 countries and 20 cities in the region.

The privacy question?

The privacy of DASH, however, is being brought to question following the addition of DASH and Zcash (ZEC) to Chainalysis, a blockchain compliance monitoring analytics firm. In the statement released by Chainalysis, the DASH PrivateSend feature was compared to a simple iteration of Bitcoin’s coin mixers stating over 99% of transactions on the blockchain is not private.

However, Ryan explained that the mixing feature enhances the overall security and privacy of the users. He further believes that Chainalysis will bring safer transactions to DASH.

“Ultimately, both [Dash and Chainalysis] promote the safe use of cryptocurrencies, while ensuring access to legacy financial markets, so I’m pleased that Chainalysis has chosen to implement Dash into their platform.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Russia to Prohibit Crypto Circulation, Mining, and Ads Under New Draft Law For Digital Assets

Cryptocurrency regulations are quite tricky and up until now, only a few countries can boast of finding the right mix of existing new laws to regulate digital assets fairly.

Russia is definitely not among the few of those countries as it always had a passive stance towards privately issued or decentralized cryptocurrencies.

After months of rumors and speculation over Russia’s regulatory policy towards crypto assets, the government has finally submitted a new draft law on its official website for public comment on Monday. This new set of regulations, along with additional documents uploaded on the website, suggested that the government does not approve of cryptocurrencies as a legal asset.

Breaking these newly formed regulations also come with legal penalties. The new set of rules, if implemented, would prohibit the circulation of any privately issued cryptocurrencies as well as mining them. The advertisement related to these crypto-assets would also invite hefty penalties for the advertisers.

However, these regulations do not mean that crypto is illegal to own in Russia, as the central bank has neither formulated any laws around it nor they have classified crypto as security under Russian laws.

One of the members of the State Duma, Anatoly Aksakov, confirmed that these drafted laws would not go into effect until next summer. Last week, Aksakov also cleared any doubts on crypto ownership in Russia, saying people can still buy and own crypto as long as they declare it while filing their taxes. This would allow them to get legal protection as the state would consider it as property.

The New Digital Asset Law Could Force Crypto Service Providers To Close Down or Relocate

Crypto owners won’t be as impacted by these laws as the crypto service providers in Russia. Anti Danilevski, CEO of the new KickEX cryptocurrency exchange commented on the recently introduced draft laws and said:

“We were initially regulated in the European Union, not in Russia because we anticipated this. It’s a pity that cool technology startups are forced to leave the country and cannot operate in their homeland. We will transfer our team to the EU now. It’s painful for me to see that in the field of cryptocurrencies and digitalization, my country is moving backwards while the whole world is moving forward.”

If these laws are implemented without any amendments, then it would many many crypto service providers in the country especially crypto exchanges would either have to shut their operations or relocate.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

FBI Issues Warning to Crypto Holders About Increasing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has brought the whole world to a standstill, with the majority of countries worldwide placed under strict lockdown measures to contain the spread.

The crypto community remains enthusiastic, despite the ongoing crisis, with the upcoming Bitcoin Halving just a month away. However, this enthusiasm has also made them vulnerable to scams.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a warning on Monday specifically for crypto holders, suggesting they be prepared for a surge of coronavirus-centred crypto scams in the coming weeks.

Cryptocurrencies have turned out to be a lucrative investment in the past couple of years, which has drawn the interest and investments from people of all kinds, be it institutional investors, small-time traders, young or old. This rapid rise in interest has also given way for scammers to lure many into Ponzi schemes, promising high returns in a short period of time.

However, the risk of scammers has risen significantly in these troubled times where a majority of the population are uncertain of their financial future, as most of the financial markets hit record lows and scarce investment opportunities.

The FBI believes scammers are praying on these insecurities to steal people’s hard-earned money, and launder it through the complex ecosystem of decentralized coin exchanges. While entities like Huobi have taken steps to prevent these activities, buyers beware.

FBI Believe Scammers May use Humanitarian Aid as Cover for Scams

The FBI warning noted that the scammers might use a number of methods and curtail their pitches on emotion quotient in the ongoing situation, where they might pretend to be from organizations looking for donations to help the needy.

The FBI also believes blackmail could also be a scamming avenue for making money. Where the scammers may threaten to infect the victim’s family with the Coronavirus.

The FBI has also urged people to be cautious and, use common sense and not let their emotions get better of them.

The agency has also stated that people should refrain from donating to anyone before verifying the credibility of the source, and report any suspicious website/s or person/s asking for donations.

While there is no clarity on why the agency suddenly issued such a specific warning, it seems there have been many COVID-19-themed scams in the past couple of weeks, prompting the authorities to issue the warning.

In one instance, scammers managed to collect $2 million from PPE seekers in Asia. A few scammers in the UK and USA were found sending malicious texts which drew attention from financial regulators.

A Chainalysis report has revealed that the ongoing pandemic has brought down funding of these scams by one third. This, however, hasn’t discouraged scammers from trying to phish people as their number of attempts have remained constant.

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Author: James W

MENA’s Unbanked to Drive Crypto Adoption While China’s 5G SIM Cards to Enable Digital Payments

  • In MENA region, two-thirds of people unbanked but over half of the countries have 70% mobile subscriber penetration rate
  • China Telecom working on huge blockchain projects with superior safety features

In the next five years, half of the smartphone owners who don’t have a bank account will use a mobile-accessible cryptocurrency account, said Miriam Burt, managing VP at Gartner while delivering his Keynote presentation titled: “Gartner’s Strategic Predictions for 2020 and Beyond,” at Oracle OpenWorld 2020.

Financial leaders will have to anticipate the future of consumer payments in order to remain competitive and optimize customer satisfaction, said Burt. And as the digital currency space matures, the future of payments will be centered around cryptocurrency that will target the unbanked.

“In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, two-thirds of people have no bank accounts; however, more than half of the countries have a mobile subscriber penetration rate of 70% of the population. This means we have more people who have phones than bank accounts. An estimated 23% of these people are under-banked, so they have access to smartphones, but don’t have access to traditional financial services.”

Under and unbanked will offer cryptocurrencies a huge opportunity to be at the center of digital wallets and mobile payments. It will also increase financial inclusion initiatives globally, she said.

China’s 5G SIM cards to trade in Cryptocurrency

At the forefront of this, Burt predicts, would be China which is ready to become the first central bank to launch its own digital currency. Burt said:

“China Telecom is one of the largest operators in China and they are working on huge blockchain projects which use 5G SIM cards to trade in crypto-currency. If they pull this off, the platform is going to be the largest in the world.”

“This will have superior safety features which will become standard, such as digital authentication and decentralized authentication, to enable these kinds of crypto unit transactions.”

Africa to Lead the Crypto Adoption

Released in Oct. 2019, the report stated that as marketplaces and social media platforms start supporting crypto payments, the world will shift to mobile-accessible crypto accounts, with Africa expected to have the highest growth rate. It will also drive e-commerce as trading partners that previously were unable to access capital markets will emerge in the sector.

72% of e-commerce sales are expected to take place on mobile devices by 2021, as per research firm Statista. The blockchain meanwhile will be used to authenticate 30% of world news and video content by 2023, countering deep fake technology, it predicted.

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Author: AnTy

Despite Regulatory Impediments, Facebook’s Libra Proclaims It Is “Growing Strong”

  • Many countries around the world are looking to block the launch of the Libra cryptocurrency.
  • TechCrunch’s critical article on the recent Libra summit inspired a statement to be released by the project.

The announcement of Facebook’s upcoming digital asset, Libra, has come with its fair amount of controversy and upset across the globe. Even while some countries are refusing to allow for its use at all, the Libra Association doesn’t appear to be the least bit bothered. In fact, in a post regarding the technical infrastructure, it states that Libra is “5 months and growing strong,” completely ignoring the backlash.

Libra recently launched its blockchain testnet, which has already performed 51,000 mock transactions through the last two months. There have already been 40 wallets, tools, and block explorers that are built on the blockchain testnet, as well as 1,700 GitHub commits. Coinbase, Uber, BisonTrails, Iliad, Xapo, Anchorage, and Facebook’s Calibra are presently running Libra nodes to process transactions. There are still six more nodes that the company aims to establish, and eight more to be set up by members.

Despite the update on the backend of Libra, there still seems to be a lack of plan to reach the goal of 100 members and nodes by next year, considering that there are presently only 21 members with nodes. After all, the launch is next year, and there’s still many regulators in the US and globally that won’t allow this to happen, which isn’t addressed at all.

Facebook is mostly focusing on fintech at the moment, since it isn’t dealing with any of the concerns about Libra. The platform launched Facebook Pay this week, allowing members of their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram platforms to use a single payment method for paying merchants, friends, and charities. The new payment system could push for users to make more purchases on the platform, giving them a better idea of the transactions occurring on the platform while attracting merchants to spend more on their advertisements. Apart from financial inclusion, these goals are primarily what Facebook was trying to establish with their new cryptocurrency.

Many of the concerns from lawmakers stem from the way that Libra could potentially be a way for criminals to launder money, putting users’ assets at risk. It also puts a lot of power in the hands of Facebook, especially considering the ongoing antitrust investigations.

While the announcements from Libra could’ve been an opportunity to show how the project aims to deal with fraud and security issues, the Libra Association instead chose to talk code. Fixing policy was left off and almost completely ignored. Though TechCrunch submitted questions to the Libra Association for further clarification, a response was not provided before their article was published.

However, a later update of this article showed that a spokesperson from Libra responded to the criticism. The statement from the spokesperson explained that the Libra Core Summit was created as an effort to support members and educate them, regarding how to run a Libra node, build a Libra wallet, and more.

The spokesperson, Michael Engle, added,

“For those organizations without a technical team to implement a node, the Libra Association is working on a strategy to support deployment in 2020, when the Libra Core feature set is complete. The Libra Association intends to deploy 100 nodes on the mainnet, representing a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted infrastructure.”

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Author: Krystle M

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bittrex to Halt Trading Service for 31 Countries Starting Oct. 29

Bittrex International will no longer serve a long list of countries, announced the exchange on October 18.

The company cited limited regulatory uncertainty the reason behind customers residing in certain countries not able to trade on Bittrex, starting at the end of this month.

All trading and account access will be halted on Tuesday, October 29 at 19:00 UTC/21:00 CEST.

This long list of countries include Afghanistan, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Botswana, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

All of the impacted customers are required to withdraw their coins and tokens by Oct. 29 19:00 UTC/21:00 CEST only.

To withdraw the tokens, the user needs to log into the Bittrex International website and then click on Holdings. From there, you have to search for the wallet and click the withdraw button to open the withdraw dialog. Now, you’ll be able to withdraw your balance.

However, having a balance below the minimum withdrawal amount means you can’t withdraw it. The minimum withdrawal for all coins on Bittrex International must be 3 times the fee. For instance, for Bitcoin, the balance must be .00150001 or greater as the fee is .0005.

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Author: AnTy

Nearly 15 Governments to Cooperate in Creating a Worldwide Crypto Monitoring System To Fight Money Laundering

Governments of about 15 countries seek to establish a new system of cooperation that would enable them to collect and share with each other personal information on people who transact in cryptocurrencies, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Among the countries that will develop the new system include the Group of 7 (G7) members, Australia and Singapore. The system is to be designed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that consists of 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations.

According to the report, the plan is for the detailed measures to be drawn up by 2020, and a few years later, the system should be in operation, which would then be managed by the private sector.

The goal of this effort is to prevent the laundering of money, which is then used for a host of illegal purposes, including funding terrorist organizations.

Given that many countries do not have a regulatory framework for crypto, and that a number of them are working on establishing clear rules for cryptocurrencies, it is generally very difficult to establish a global set of rules or a system by which most, if not all, countries will be guided, but this effort might bring all of them closer and faster to their legal goals.

In June, the FATF agreed to implement their previous recommendations that would force governments to tighten oversight of the crypto business.

In other related news, just recently the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, issued the Final Guidance on crypto assets, while the G7 attendees at a summit of ministers and central bankers expressed concern about Facebook’s Libra and crypto-related matters and promised action.

The crypto industry has witnessed numerous regulatory announcements in the recent past, especially after the announcement of Facebook’s Libra project and the crypto enthusiasts can expect a lot more to come.

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Author: Joseph Kibe