Turkish Lira (TRY) Crashes 15% in a Single Day; Bitcoin (BTC) Starts A Green Week Above $58k

This big fall in Turkish Lira against USD to nearly record low from November has the country’s people curious and searching about Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin is on the rise today, going above $58,000 after a drop to just under $55,500 over the weekend.

While it has been a bad weekend for the Bitcoin longs, trader and economist Alex Kruger says, “we are up for a strong week.” From cryptocurrencies, stocks, bonds, to metals, everything will be up while the dollar makes its way down.

His reason for a risk-on week is the stimulus checks that Americans have been receiving since last week. Also, because bonds rallied on Friday’s major negative news, the Federal Reserve declined to extend its Covid-19 capital break-in, which is “very positive for tech, which dominates risk sentiment.”

The Fed said it would allow a change to the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) to expire March 31, when announced in April 2020; this allowed banks to exclude Treasury and deposits with Fed banks from the calculation of the leverage ratio.

According to some, it could be a signal that the central bank won’t buy $120 billion of bonds a month indefinitely.

However, Kruger said, the concerns in the form of portfolio rebalancing outflows for equities, crypto regulatory FUD re-emerging, and that the crypto curve steepens too fast can hurt the bulls.

Aggressive Moves

The gains to mark the start of the week are coming as the US dollar eases down after surging past 92 level, aiming for an early March level of 92.5, which was seen in late November before that, on Sunday. The greenback rallied on the back of higher Treasury yields following the Fed’s pushback against speculation over interest rate spikes but is having a slight red start of the week.

The US economy is heading for its strongest growth in about 40 years, with inflation expected to jump to 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target as policymakers pledge to keep on supplying aid, said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

According to BofA, US 10-year Treasury yields could rise to 2.15% by year-end, having revised its target citing “much more aggressive” US fiscal stimulus impulse and rapid vaccinations in the US.

Amidst all this, the Turkish Lira (TRY) crashed 15% on Monday, approaching its record low from November, and dollar bonds sold off following President Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to oust a central bank governor.

Turkish stock index also slipped 9% to a three-month low after the appointment of Sahap Kavcioglu, a former banker and ruling party lawmaker, which sparked fears of a reversal of recent rate hikes. Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX at Commerzbank said,

“It may well be that interest rate hikes are once again permitted by Erdogan in a phase of crisis-like lira depreciation, but the recent developments should have shown currency traders that even then a sustainable monetary policy regime change is not to be expected.”

“The calming effect of interest rate hikes has probably been largely destroyed.”

The South African rand has also slipped ahead of the central bank meeting, where the South Africa Reserve Bank is expected to keep the rates unchanged. Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation noted,

“A nation of 82 million sees its currency crash 15% in a single day. No coincidence that Turkey has some of the highest per-capita Bitcoin usage in the world. A growing number of Turks are peacefully choosing a different monetary system that their oppressors can’t control.”

Interestingly, the fall in Turkey’s fiat currency coincides with a surge in Google searches for the term “Bitcoin.” Ever since October, it has been on an uptrend and took a big jump today before normalizing.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

The stablecoin is built on Ethereum leveraging Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs frameworks. Audit reports on the reserves will be released quarterly, the report states.

Techemynt, a digital asset transaction service, announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin, $NZD.

Auckland-born digital asset service provider, Techemynt announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin. The Ethereum-based token is fully backed 1:1 with cash and cash equivalents in the firm’s treasury (denominated in New Zealand Dollars).

According to the report, the stablecoin will provide an avenue to digital payments, remittance, arbitrage opportunities across the country. Additionally, $NZD aims to strengthen and stabilize the New Zealand dollar in order to make it “a prominent participant in the global digital asset economy,” it further reads.

Fran Strajnar, Executive Director of Techemynt, said the company partnered with top teams in crypto such as Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs to successfully deploy $NZD on Ethereum. This will be the first compliant New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin and will continue to be built “adhering to NZ legal requirements,” he added.

“After nearly a year of development, $NZDs is now first to fully execute and deliver on the promise of bringing a New Zealand Dollar stablecoin to the world.”

To ensure transparency and accountability in issuing the $NZD stablecoins, Techemynt will employ the services of a “leading accounting firm” to provide quarterly audit reports on the state of the reverses to $NZDs issued.

Starting today, the Techemynt $NZD tokens will be distributed directly to customers who wish to acquire $100,000 NZD or more worth of tokens (~$71,300). Users can also acquire coins in the secondary markets through Bittrex owned exchange, Dassetx.com.

However, this is not the first time a New Zealand stablecoin has launched in the markets. Back in 2017, now-defunct crypto exchange, Cryptopia launched its NZDT stablecoin, reported to be backed 1:1 to the New Zealand dollar.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Singapore Government Bankrolls $9 Million Blockchain Innovation Program

Singapore is well-known as a crypto-friendly destination. Now, the government is investing even more in the country’s blockchain ecosystem as it looks to leverage the technology’s unique capabilities.

Bolstering Trade and Expanding Blockchain’s Use

Earlier today, the Straits Times reported that several parties had come together to launch the Singapore Blockchain Innovation Program, an initiative seeking to consolidate blockchain development across companies and industries.

The program was reportedly launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and National Research Foundation (NRF). The ESG, a department in the Prime Minister’s Office, will bankroll the effort, which is expected to cost the government $12 million ($9M USD).

The program will engage about 75 local firms to conceptualize multiple blockchain projects within the next three years. The project will focus primarily on the trade and logistics sector, although developers will need input from companies in the information technology sector as well.

Along with the project development, the program will also focus on improving blockchain adoption in sectors with high transaction rates.

Peter Ong, the Chairman of Enterprise Singapore, explained that the coronavirus had emphasized the need for companies to transition much faster into the digital world. With blockchain, companies can trust applications, thus improving efficiency in areas like logistics, supply chains, and digital identities.

Blockchain’s Increasing Use in Singapore

Lew Chuen Hong, the chief executive of IMDA, also explained that Singapore had primarily seen significant success with applying blockchain to the traditional finance sector. Last month, HSBC Bangladesh successfully issued letters of credit on the Contour blockchain platform following a purchase of 20,000 tons from United Mymensingh Power, the United Group’s Singapore subsidiary.

Md Mahbub ur Rahman, HSBC Bangladesh’s chief executive, described the transaction as a showcase of the firm’s commitment to using cutting-edge technology for supporting cross-border trade.

“I believe this will usher in a new era of routing international trade transactions as businesses and governments recognize transparency, security, and swiftness in performing tasks using blockchain technology,” he added.

As for expanding blockchain applications, Singapore has a blockchain-based payment network running. The network, known as “Project Ubin,” was developed in July by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in collaboration with JPMorgan and investment giant Temasek.

Ubin will focus on improving international payment settlements. It can provide settlements in several currencies, conduct foreign exchange transactions, and settle foreign currency-denominated securities.

Ubin is in its fifth and final development stage, and a final product is expected soon.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Ukraine’s Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Received 67% Approval In its First Parliamentary Hearing

Ukraine has marked another milestone towards the path of crypto regulation, with the country’s proposed draft bill passing its first parliamentary hearing this week. This was the document’s initial debut in the Verkhovna Rada parliament and was passed by an overwhelming 240 votes out of the possible 340. It is now set for a second hearing before the final one, after which it may be adopted as law.

Notably, Ukraine has been making significant efforts to support its growing crypto industry. The country might soon join a short-list of jurisdictions that have already implemented crypto regulations. Unsurprisingly, this Eastern European country was named by crypto intelligence firm Chainalysis as one of the leading countries in crypto adoption.

Ukraine’s Proposed Crypto Draft Bill

This proposed crypto legislation expounds on fundamental operational pillars within the nascent industry; it also presents an oversight approach by its Ministry of Digital Transformation.

For starters, the draft bill seeks to recognize crypto assets as ‘a set of data in electronic form that can be an independent object of civil transactions, as well as certify property or non-property rights.’ Ideally, virtual assets will not be considered as legal tender in Ukraine if the bill is adopted into law.

Other than the detailed definitions to distinguish virtual assets, the bill further singles out digital assets backed by other goods or services. According to the draft bill, this particular class of crypto assets must be taken out of circulation when the underlying ceases to exist.

On the issue of ownership, virtual assets will be deemed to belong to the party that holds the private keys, except for custodial situations and illegal proceeds or those forfeited through a judicial process. Virtual Asset providers also have to be registered and comply with Ukraine’s KYC/AML & data protection stipulations.

A Reprieve for Ukraine’s Crypto Community?

While some stakeholders believe that crypto should not be regulated, Ukraine’s move to join the legally advanced crypto jurisdictions might be a reprieve for its locals. The country has previously been a victim of sudden crypto service halts by big players like Bittrex, who cited uncertain regulatory conditions. Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation is optimistic that clear regulatory frameworks will encourage crypto growth both locally and internationally.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

Lebanon to Launch a CBDC in 2021 to Boost Confidence In the Country’s Banking Sector

According to the country’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, Lebanon is set to debut its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2021. Bloomberg, which reported on this development, cited a Lebanese state-run News Agency, noting that the Mediterranean island plans to make the paradigm shift due to transitioning to cashless networks and restoring confidence in the banking sector.

This comes as more jurisdictions begin to pay closer attention to CBDCs and the possibility of launching country-specific projects to support digital ecosystems. In fact, recent months have seen a spike in CBDC activity by local banks such as the PBoC and international bodies like the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The latter published its first CBDC series report in collaboration with 7 major central banks.

With Lebanon set to join this bandwagon, Salameh emphasized the need to prepare for a Lebanese CBDC, per the global trends but mainly as a confidence boost to the country’s banking ecosystem. According to the central banker, implementing a CBDC will help increase cash flow efficiency both locally and internationally. Currently, this remains a challenge despite a good chunk of Lebanon’s GDP being complemented by remittances.

Salameh also highlighted that a cool $10 billion is held by Lebanese in their homes, an issue that could be attributed to the volatility of the country’s fiat currency ‘Lira.’ Earlier this year, Lebanese citizens found themselves in limbo after the currency devalued by almost 50% times compared to the dollar. At the time, they took to the streets with the sophisticated citizens opting to hedge against the Lira volatility by buying Bitcoin.

Notably, Lebanon began CBDC talks as early as 2018 but now seems to be in a more urgent position than in previous years. The country’s economy took a great hit this year, forcing local banks to cap withdrawals and increase foreign currency cash flows’ limitations. Previously, the main CBDC motivation was to curb terror financing and money laundering; this later shifted to making payment networks efficient, but now the urge seems to be a confidence boost in Lebanon’s banking sector.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

Australian Senate Sees Blockchain Technology As The Future Of FinTech And RegTech

Australian Senate releases a report on the impact of blockchain technology on the country’s economy, technology status, and regulation technology. Released earlier this month, the 281-page interim report, “Select Committee on Financial Technology (FinTech) and Regulatory Technology (RegTech)”, focused on innovative technologies, laying out the benefits of implementing blockchain technology across the economy.

The interim report further mentioned the myriad of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the benefits it could bring despite the wave seeming to have already passed.

The potential of blockchain is immense

In a full section dedicated to blockchain technology and associated cryptocurrencies, the interim report mentioned the benefits of the innovative currencies in shaping the future of the Australian economy. The Senate highlighted the potential of the blockchain in growing economic value and benefited a range of industries – financial and insurance services, scientific and medical research, technical and service industries.

“Other areas include healthcare and social assistance, agriculture as well as real estate services.”

The benefits of blockchain technology are expected to translate into financial growth for these industries, the report stated. In the next five years, blockchain technology will help raise an estimated $175 billion annually with a $3 trillion target in the next decade.

Further supporting integration and building on blockchains is Michael Bacina, Partner at Piper Alderman, a fintech and blockchain firm, stated,

“Most fintech and regulation technology projects will either be built predominantly on distributed ledger technology or blockchain or heavily using that within the next 10 years”

A closer look on initial token offerings

The ICO wave seems to have passed with newer and more decentralized methods of raising capital using crypto emerging by the day (tsk, DeFi). However, the report mentioned the ICO ecosystem asking why Australians are not yielding from them anymore.

Highlighting the disparity between Australian and the global ICO ecosystem, Power Ledger’s co-founder and Executive Chairman, Dr. Jemma Green, stated the continental state only contributed to less than 1% of the $26 billion raised in public token offerings. Dr. Green said,

“And so I think there’s a bigger play around capturing the value for those markets in the Australian economy, as opposed to them being based outside Australia. It’s stimulating the fintech sector, providing employment opportunities, and delivering better quality services to the Australian people.”

According to Green, ICOs provides a potentially large industry that would help build job opportunities for thousands of Australians. However, regulations need to be set in place to promote the growth of decentralized capital raises, the report further explained.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Russia’s New Amendment On Crypto Laws Could See Bitcoin Miners Lose All Their Rewards

  • New reports from Russia confirm amendments in the country’s crypto laws that could ban Bitcoin (BTC) miners from receiving mining rewards.
  • The amendment is yet to be finalized, but experts argue if the law is passed, it could have a drastic impact on the overall use of crypto assets in the country.

As first reported by a Russian news outlet, Izvestia, the Ministry of Finance in Russia, is proposing an amendment to the federal law on digital financial assets (DFA) that could see Bitcoin miners receive no rewards on their efforts. According to the letter, the amendment allows Bitcoin mining using Russian infrastructure, but miners are not allowed to receive rewards in crypto.

The amendment further bans all transactions using virtual currencies in the country with three main exceptions. However, the amendment to DFA is yet to be finalized. The letter has been sent out for interdepartmental coordination and approval across different government departments.

A Closed Mining Cycle

The new amendment raises several questions on the implementation and wording of the document. As stated above, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other crypto miners will be allowed to mine their tokens but will be stripped of its financial value as miners cannot receive BTC or ETH.

Several experts have since condemned the amendment as a “revenue loss” for the country, calling for revisions on the bill. Speaking on the issue, Dmitry Zakharov, CEO of Moscow Digital School, stated the “wording does not bode well for miners” as no other alternative has been offered on how to receive mining rewards. He added,

“Perhaps experts will try to come up with some interesting legal constructions, but all of them will be fraught with significant risks of bringing to administrative and criminal liability.”

If the amendment passes, then Russia could lose a share of its revenues, another expert on the matter said. According to Anton Babenko, partner of the Padva and Epstein law office, prohibiting receiving crypto could lead to more people not reporting their revenues, leading to tax losses.

A Leeway? Or Not?

Russia implemented a total crypto ban last year causing a public outcry that caused the parliament to shut down the ban. The latest amendments stipulate a similar ban – prohibiting any individuals, companies, or entrepreneurs from performing any transactions with virtual money. However, the amendments stipulate three exceptions to the rule – an inheritance of crypto assets, enforcement proceedings, and if a debtor goes bankrupt.

Any use of crypto in the country could lead to legal and criminal liability on the user with a 100 thousand rubles fine on individuals or five to seven years prison time and up to 1 million in fines for legal entities.

The new rules aim at tightening the use of cryptocurrencies in Russia in a bid to stop illicit items and illegal activities using Bitcoin and crypto in Russia. According to a law expert, the new amendment constitutes a “total ban on cryptocurrencies” which could have a severe impact on the countries crypto space.

The country’s policies on crypto could be a missed opportunity for the country, economist, Vladislav Ginko said earlier this month even as Russia extends its efforts in hoarding physical gold.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Brazil Fast Tracks CBDC Launch; Central Bank President Calls for Roll Out In Next Two Years

  • Brazil’s central bank president, Roberto Campos Neto, announced the country’s plan to launch its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) by the end of 2022.

Speaking at a Bloomberg-sponsored event, Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Banco Central, praised digital currency payment systems as the future of financial systems claiming the country is in the pipeline of launching their CBDC in the coming two years.

Despite starting their research on its digital payments systems and CBDC recently, Brazil aims to accelerate its efforts in the field to provide a stable and working platform by 2023. According to Neto, Brazil’s CBDC will be built on an instant payment system allowing efficient, open, and interoperable transactions across similar systems in a bid to improve the financial system.

Neto stated Brazil is ready to launch its CBDC given it has “all the ingredients” to start its CBDC project and complete it by 2022. He said,

“To have a digital currency, you need an instant payment system that is efficient and interoperable; an open system, where you can create competition; and a currency that has credibility, is convertible and international. After that, I think you have all the ingredients to have digital currency. We think we will have it in 2022.”

Additionally, the central bank has been working on its banking infrastructure in a bit to provide instantaneous banking settlements between peer banks. The new infrastructure, PIX, will be launched in November, allowing peer-to-peer open banking transactions that can be settled in a matter of seconds.

Neto, however, did not mention the role that the CBDC will play in its new PIX infrastructure. It is expected to be complementary to the latter. He further clarified the role of a CBDC as:

“A CBDC distinguishes itself from cryptocurrencies without national trust, like Bitcoin, because it is just a new form of representation of the currency already issued by the national monetary authority, that is, it is part of the monetary policy of the issuing country.”

With the launch of its own CBDC project, Brazil joins several countries already working on CBDC’s, including China, Japan, and Canada.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Venezuela Signs In New Taxation Agreement That Will ‘Accept’ Petro Crypto Payments

  • Venezuela to start using petro cryptocurrency in its tax system
  • The country’s crypto will be used to calculate taxes within the country.
  • Could this be a navigation point against sanctions for the President Maduro-led government?

The Bolivian Council of Mayors signed the “National Tax Harmonization Agreement” on Aug. 12, paving the way to a new system to optimize taxation in the country. According to reports, the new laws will integrate the country’s sovereign crypto, Petro, as one of the tools in the new system.

According to reports, of the 335 municipal mayors present in the council, 305 mayors (all from the left-wing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) led by Maduro) are in favor of switching the tax system to a crypto-based system. At the same time, the rest still want collection in fiat currency.

Speaking on the issue to the local press, the vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, who is championing the switch to Petro cryptocurrency, said,

“It is the simplification of procedures, making the State’s administrative activity at the service of the people more efficient, of the economic sectors that stimulate economic activity in the productive and commercial areas.”

However, with no official document stating the switch to payment of taxes in Petro, reports have emerged that the crypto is more likely to be used as a peg to calculate taxes rather than the actual payment method.

An ‘incognito’ switch to the dollar?

The country’s economy is facing its worst period of hyperinflation, forcing the citizens to turn to alternative currencies, the U.S. dollar being the most prominent. This has seen the country increasingly price their goods and services in dollars despite most of the people earning the ever-worthless Venezuelan bolivars.

Given the high proportion of Venezuelans holding bolivars, the government cannot price their taxes in dollarized form hence the need to switch to the Petro cryptocurrency. Petro is a crypto-backed by goods priced in dollars, which gives it a better fighting chance of inflation than the bolivar currency. This allows the government to preserve its “dollarized” taxes, even if indirectly.

However, the government does not want to deal with Petros, but rather fiat hence them pricing the taxes in petro but actually not accepting them as a tax. The sovereign crypto-only offers a middleman service between the worthless Bolivian currency and the unwanted US dollars.

The Venezuelan government will keep on pushing the adoption of Petro to its people, and the latest tax use could push adoption further. President Maduro authorized the use of PTR token during the opening of an International Casino in a luxurious hotel, in the city of Caracas this April.

A month later, fuel across the country was subsidized for users who used PTR as a payment option.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Singapore’s Financial Regulator, MAS, Wants More Power to Push Stringent Rules For Crypto

Singapore’s financial regulator, which also serves as the country’s central bank, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is seeking to introduce stricter rules for the crypto industry to adhere to the new Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.

The financial watchdog is seeking to have more powers that will help in prohibiting any unsuitable enterprise from doing any business within the country. The financial overseer is also seeking powers to oversee, license, and regulate all crypto businesses which offer services in other countries but are based in Singapore.

As per the proposal, the country’s financial authority is seeking to expand the provisions of the Payment Services Act (PSA), which came into effect in January this year. If the proposal is adopted, Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) will be required to conduct their operations in other countries using the same standards and regulations in their country of origin, Singapore. Although the MAS, back in March, already exempted a few of the top crypto companies: Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, and Ripple.

The regulator has already published a consultation paper seeking public input and feedback in regards to the expanded powers of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The regulator argues that the new proposal will put a halt to regulatory arbitrage where multinational VASPs choose the regulations to adhere to if they suit their mode of business.

The VASPs that will be significantly affected by these proposals are the ones that work abroad but maintain a “meaningful presence” in the city-state; that is, their directors and offices are located within Singapore. Corporations registered in Singapore, partnerships, as well as limited liability partnerships created in the country, will also be affected by the new legislation.

The financial regulator also explains that the regulations will help Singapore to adhere to the set anti-money laundering (AML) standards that were set late last year by the global financial watchdog FATF.

The public has until August 20 to send their views and opinions.

Asia’s most preferred countries, is Singapore, for the crypto industry, because of its friendly crypto environment. There are more than 150 crypto and blockchain-based firms headquartered in the city-state.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe