Digital Currency Project Report by Thailand and Hong Kong Is Due to Release in Q1 2020

  • Thailand and Hong Kong have both been researching the potential use of digital currency by their central banks.
  • Senior executive director Edmond Lau of HKMA stated that there presently isn’t a need to issue digital currency for retail use.

Digital currency has been a topic of interest since the industry began, but the concept of implementing national versions of these currencies is becoming more and more appealing. Hong Kong and Thailand have expressed interest in establishing their own digital currency as well, controlled by their central banks. According to reports from The Block, we can expect a combined report from the two countries within the first 3 months of 2020.

The news was announced just this week by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), according to a local media outlet called EJ Insight. This was set up between the two giants in May 2019, allowing them to collectively research the risks and also the benefits of starting their own central bank digital currencies. Previously, the central banks had separately been researching CBDC’s through the LionRock and Inthanon projects.

By joining forces, the banks have been able to research the use of payment-versus-payment (PvP) settlement among the Hong Kong and Thailand banks, using a wholesale CBDC. The EJ Insight report stated that the HKMA has collaborated with the People’s Bank of China in several projects, using their digital currency research institute.

A senior CEO at HKMA, Edmond Lau, noted that the goal of the central bank is to concentrate more on the governmental side, and that there doesn’t appear to be a need for the issuance of this currency for retail users. As The Block summarizes, it also appears that the HKMA is going to use digital currency for their domestic interbank payments, wholesale-level corporate payments, and also securities settlement.

The Inthanon project has been an effort of the BoT since late summer of last year, while the HKMA has continued working on LionRock for the past 2 years.

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Author: Krystle M

New Blockchain Alliance By Chinese Authorities Aims to Improve Trade Finance

  • China is almost ready to release their national digital currency, which has been in development for five years.
  • Chinese President Jinping has voiced public support for the progress of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is continually finding itself in different use cases, and the municipal Shanghai government is setting out to improve the use of this fintech for global trade. The collaboration is between the authorities and financial institutions, establishing an alliance that will improve the operations for trade finance. According to reports by The Block and Global Times, the members of the alliance presently include (but are not limited to) the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Shanghai Customs, the People’s Bank of China, and the Bank of Communications.

Ye Jian, a general administration official at Shanghai Customs, stated,

“This is the first blockchain application project in customs. China upholds multilateral trade and constantly improves its business environment by seeking technological innovation.”

There are already multiple free trade zones in China that have applied blockchain technology, allowing them to reduce the cost and speed of operations, while offering digital trading options.

In China, blockchain has been a popular technology, especially considering the public support from President Xi Jinping for it. Jinping stated China should be taking on a leading position in its ongoing development. Following five years of ongoing research and development, China is almost prepared to launch their own government-based digital currency.

As far as blockchain technology, Qi Hong of the China Construction Bank Shanghai branch says that the tech is still in an early phase of experimentation.

He added,

“We now use blockchain in sporadic financial products instead of the whole finance industry chain, and the public doesn’t have a sound understanding of the technology when it comes to financing. But I think the government’s call for blockchain construction will help push the technology’s application in a more comprehensive way.”

Yesterday, Hong Kong established a partnership with mainland China for a blockchain project that will help with trade finance operations.

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Author: Krystle M

EU Will Opt Against Issuing Stablecoins, Instead Choosing to Regulate Existing Stablecoins

  • Stablecoins are digital assets that are pegged directly to a currency or commodity.
  • The EU is expected to approve the new declaration on stablecoins by December 5th.

Stablecoins are one of the most consistent assets of the cryptocurrency industry, and there have already been many countries and companies to come out with their own versions. While the idea of having an asset pegged to an asset is appealing to some, the European Union is notably setting themselves apart. While the EU isn’t launching their own stablecoin, they have decided to look at how to regulate these assets.

A group of individuals within the EU presidency is working to develop their own guidance on regulating stablecoins, according to someone familiar with the matter who spoke with CoinDesk. The story was originally reported by Reuters, and the declaration will specifically state that the EU should regulate stablecoins.

The source told CoinDesk, “This is a rather short declaration that is about the EU position on how to handle those new types of cryptocurrencies,” the source told CoinDesk. “The focus is on how those cryptocurrencies should be regulated.”

This declaration is meant to come in response to the launch of Libra by Facebook. Even with many regulatory concerns, Libra hasn’t slowed or stopped the progress on their goal of launching next year. The governing council for the asset formally signing onto the project in October. While the declaration expresses the need to regulate stablecoins, it doesn’t state that the EU should create its own cryptocurrency in response. Instead, according to the source, the idea of launching a stablecoin is more of an idea that “should be explored,” though there’s no indication right now that the EU is going to explore it.

The source added, “The statement is to highlight the need for a proper regulatory framework for those stablecoins and as a consequence, different ideas should be explored. One of them is the possibility of having something that is managed by the ECB [European Central Bank] and other central banks.”

At this point, a summary on what the final declaration will say isn’t something that the source feels confident in speaking to. However, on November 8th, the statement will be officially finalized before being presented to the finance ministers of the EU. However, the EU is expected to adopt the declaration on December 5th, which is the next meeting of the finance ministers, says the source.

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Author: Krystle M

IBM Research: A Central Bank Will Issue a CBDC Virtual Currency In 5 Years

There is a high chance that a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will be released before five years are over. A new research conducted by IBM in conjunction with OMFIF (an institute that supports central banks) shows that policy makers from various major central banks in the world are seriously considering to develop a CBDC, a report by Cointelegraph says.

The research shows that central banks see consumer-ready CBDCs as a viable alternative for fiat money.

The study concludes:

“Central banks are responding to the reality that digital currencies, either privately or publicly issued, will soon be part of the global monetary system, and that it is in their interest to ensure they are neither left behind nor displaced.”

The IBM OMFIF research involved a survey of 23 central banks from both advanced and emerging economies. The findings indicate that 73% of central banks favor the use of CBDC to address retail issues where fiat money can be easily used.

The findings also show that at least half of the respondents were wary that private projects such as Libra pose a threat to monetary sovereignty. Without proper regulations, private digital currencies have the power to undermine central banks’ monetary sovereignty as well as becoming a threat to financial stability. Central banks increasingly acknowledge that understanding and are working closely with the developers of the private digital currencies so they may boost their fiscal regulatory role.

Indeed, Libra has been a thorn to many regulators, especially in Europe where both French and Germany Finance ministers have vowed to never let the cryptocurrency operate within the Eurozone.

The report which was published on Mon 29, Oct. states that the majority of central banks are addressing the reality that digital currencies are here to stay and it is in their own interest to ensure they stay relevant or risk being displaced.

The report notes that 82% of the respondents stated that the main fiscal stability concern in terms of implementing the CBDC was the issue of digital banks which will be faster and could spoil stability as well as confidence.

Gauging on the analysis of the findings, the researchers thus concluded that the maiden CBDC will possibly be functional in a span of five years and will be an alternative to that country’s fiat currency. Interestingly, the report says that this will not come from major economies.

The report reads:

“The principal conclusion is that we are likely to witness the introduction of a central bank — that is fiat — retail digital currency within the next five years, either as a complement to or as a substitute for notes and coins.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

China’s Central Bank Affirms That National Digital Currency Has No Timeframe For Launch

China has confirmed its plans to launch its own central bank-based digital currency but does not have a timeframe right now. This is what the local media outlet Global Times revealed after the local central bank, the People’s Bank of China, commented on the situation of the project.

The governor Yi Gang was quoted by the media outlet affirming that the bank still needs to evaluate some of the risks and to make more tests before the asset will be available for the population. According to him, the development of the national currency has moved quite a lot until now, but the country doesn’t have any timeframe for the launch at the moment.

Another deputy director of the bank, Mu Changchun, affirmed last month that the token was ready for launch, so the information is contradictory, to say the least. When we consider that the bank even denied the claims that the project existed some time ago, it is hard to say with some certainty how the project is faring.

Who Will Launch Its Crypto First? Facebook or China?

There is a lot of speculation going around right now on whether Facebook or China will release their token first. Libra has its launch scheduled for the end of 2020, but it is facing a lot of regulatory issues. China, on the other hand, would not face regulatory issues, but we are unsure about how complete the asset actually is.

Whoever takes the lead will have an important headstart in dictating how the world of centralized digital assets will work, despite the fact that Facebook and China will act on very distinct places.

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Author: Daniel W

Qu Capital, a Quant Investment Company, Acquired by Genesis Trading

Genesis Trading, a digital lender and currency trader has expanded its research and trading capabilities. The expansion has been made possible by its acquisition of Qu Capital, a New York-based quantitative investment company.

Michael Moro, the Genesis CEO recently held an interview with CoinDesk. In the interview, he noted that Qu Capital made the initial approach to Genesis Trading at the start of the year. The company was interested in using the lending and trading services provided by the latter.

After the approach was made, Genesis Trading made an investment decision that saw the company acquire Qu Capital. The acquisition was intended to make it possible for it to integrate its existing team as well as aid in its expansion in the trading and lending sector.

Acquisition Terms

Moro politely declined to divulge details pertaining to the acquisition of Qu Capital.

According to Moro, Qu Capital uses some technologies that can greatly benefit Genesis and assist it to create its internal team. For instance, it acquired a patented product referred to as a smart order routing system. This is a system that can be used to facilitate transactions between investors and crypto exchange platforms.

After the acquisition was completed, Genesis went on to hire 2/3 of the Qu Capital founders. This included Edward Yu, Lucan Schuermann, and a junior staff member. This was one of the six-member team that had been employed by the investment company.

Moro went on to add that Genesis Trading had been greatly impressed by the professionalism and expertise possessed by the Qu Capital team. He was, therefore, hopeful that the team would be able to aid the company to grow by providing essential tech enhancements. These are enhancements that will go a long way towards benefitting their lending and trading clients.

The acquisition deal was struck at a time when Genesis Trading had noted increased growth in its lending platform. By the second quarter, the company had lent out more than $747 million to its customers. This means that since its March 2018 launch, the company had increased its overall originations to a total of $2.3 billion.

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Author: Daniel W

Canadian Crypto Owner Duped Out Of $240,000 In An Employment Scam

Canadian Crypto Owner Duped Out Of $240,000 In An Employment Scam

Crypto scams again seem to be on the rise in 2019 as the currency its use cases and adaptability increases. There seems to be news of a new scam victim in Canada. Scammers stole over $240,000 from the residents of Edmonton.

748 people across Canada lost more than $17 million to online dating scams in 2016, up from $16.7 million in 2015. In Edmonton, city police investigated two high-profile cases in the past year. One of the local victims lost more than $50,000, the second more than $90,000.

Of all the frauds that use romance as a pawn, “catfishing” is the most common. In these cases, the con artist uses a fake identity to charm victims into an online relationship and soon after, begins asking for large sums of money. They use fake profiles and usually come up with elaborate excuses as to why they can never meet in person.

Linda Herczeg, an Edmonton police detective says:

“The use of the internet to do any type of frauds or scams is increasing exponentially because of the ease of it and because of the ability to social engineer.”

Cybercriminals thrive on the buzz. Bitcoin prices reaching new highs make the currency more tempting both for scammers and for their new potential victims. The scams tend to be fairly unsophisticated, either tricking users into installing malicious apps or promising free money in exchange for an initial payment. In the end Bitcoin, just like social media, depends on community-based trust. When certain members of these communities violate that trust, it can ruin a good thing for everyone.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Japan Analyses Libra’s Economic Influence And How It Can Affects Financial Stability as G7 Approaches

  • Japan analyses Libra influence on the economy and the impact it can have on the economy
  • The virtual currency was announced by Facebook on June 18

Japan is analyzing the effects that the recently announced Libra stablecoin would have on the financial markets and the economy. This is according to a recent report released by Cointelegraph Japan on July 12. There are many other jurisdictions around the world that are also worried about the negative impact that Libra could have on the economy.

Japanese Regulators Want To Know More About Libra

On July 13, Reuters released a report in which they informed that Japan has set up a working group to discuss the impact of Facebook’s proposed Libra digital asset. The decision comes a few days before a G7 finance leaders’ meeting in which the topic will be an important topic on the agenda.

The new working group consists of the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Finance and also the Financial Services Agency (FSA). These agencies will be meeting this week and coordinate different policies to better understand the impact of Facebook’s virtual currency on the market.

This is not the first G7 country that created a special task force to address the new challenges proposed by Libra Indeed, France has also created a G7 taskforce to examine the role central banks will have in order to regulate Libra and other digital assets. Officials expect that other regulators will join the group due to the impact that Facebook’s project can have on the market.

In addition to it, the European Central Bank policymaker Benoit Coeure is also expected to deliver a report on the matter ahead of the G7 meeting that will be taking place in Chantilly.

Facebook released the Libra digital asset on June 18 with the intention of making transfers easier for users around the world. With this new virtual currency, it would be possible for individuals to have access to financial services when before they were not able.

Other regulatory agencies in countries such as the United Kingdom, the U.S. or Singapore are also considering new regulations for Libra. The U.S. President Donald Trump commented that if Facebook wants to offer banking services it would also have to follow banking regulations as many other companies.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Carl T

Philippines’ Central Bank Abandons Plans of Launching Own Cryptocurrency

Philippines’ Central Bank Abandons Plans of Launching Own Cryptocurrency

Philippines’ Central Bank is reportedly ready to halt its planned launch of a digital currency and wait for at least five years. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, according to Phillstar Global, a local news outlet, is rethinking issuing its own digital currency as it monitors the global crypto space.

Benjamin Diokno, the bank’s governor, spoke about it, saying they chose to halt it after a meeting with experts from Switzerland’s Bank for International Settlements (BIS) last month. The outlet reported that he revealed the unexpected turn of events after consulting his Swiss counterparts.

The bank is reported to have shelved the decision even as it keeps its eyes on Bitcoin as well as the other Altcoins’ susceptibility to promoting illicit activities, including terrorism. Diokno, aware of the rampant volatility of these coins, seemingly knows that it could seriously hamper the bank’s native coin’s value once it’s launched.

According to him, even though the bank is open to innovations, it must remain responsible for the sake of the Filipinos. He, however, said they would wait for five years.

Spoke about Libra

The governor, however, gave his thoughts on the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, Libra, and the divided opinion it has initiated across the world. Libra, although it is yet to be released, has created jitters among mainstream financial institutions, with its proponents backing it as an agent of revolution in the lucrative remittance market.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ department tasked with technology risk and innovation supervision has been closely monitoring the latest happenings in the crypto industry. It has in the past reported a more than double growth in the volume of transactions, rising from 2017’s $189.18 million to hit $390.37 million in 2018.

But it’s still interested in establishing a crypto economy

But even as the bank won’t be launching a native cryptocurrency, its participation in activities related to digital currencies in Philippines is still evident. It is only recently that the bank released a regulatory framework intended to manage all crypto-related activities in the country.

The circular stated that all ICOs would need to first seek permissions from the institution before operating.

A week ago, the bank also gave 11 crypto assets a go-ahead to operate in Philippines after Economic Zone Authority Cagayan had allowed 37 others to also operate. CEZA, as it is known, is a government-approved organization for tech-based organizations.

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Author: Lillian Peter

LocalBitcoins Witnesses Surge in Trading Volumes in RUB Amid Cash-Trade Ban


LocalBitcoins will no longer accept transactions involving Finnish currency, according to the latest news in the crypto industry. The famous Peer-to-Peer cryptocurrency exchange based in Finland, announced this latest development early in the month, a decision which many local crypto enthusiasts believe will dent the country’s image.

Finland isn’t among the largest countries embracing digital assets in Europe. But with LocalBitcoins discontinuing use of the national fiat, many believe that this will hurt its reputation in the crypto world.

Yet, barely a month is gone, but a particular pattern is starting to form. According to CoinDance, the crypto exchange’s weekly chart has started to show the effect of the ban, with the Russian Ruble (RUB) showing growing volumes. The exodus started in June 1st, though it is still likely that the volume will drop.

Many leading companies are already seeing the pattern describing the fast plummet, although Russia’s capital is the most conspicuous. During the first week of the month alone, trades registered a record high of RUB 1,174 million in volume, before it fell to RUB 1,104 million by the end of the second week.

But the surge resumed soon after, with the volumes going back to the May 2019 highs. The fourth week of June finally recorded an incredible RUB 1,188 million in volume. The graph detailing the change effectively painted Russia as a hot market for LocalBitcoins.

For a while now, LocalBitcoins has been maintaining impressive records in South America. The exchange’s weekly volumes across Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, and Argentina have always remained high. But the announcement also had an impact in the trading volumes.

In Buenos Aries, its weekly volumes from the start of the month to mid-June reduced from $13.71 million to $10.53 million. The cash-removal directive also affected the exchange’s performance in Columbia where the volume traded reduced from May’s $9.98 billion to $7.16 billion recorded, during the first week of June. The amount has, however, stabilized at $9.2 billion.

It should be remembered that the decision to ban fiat trades wasn’t arrived at overnight. It is something which LocalBitcoins had been pondering about ever since the local financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Authority [FSA] was introduced.

The body came into existence in March 2019, but even with its existence, the law is expected to fully come into effect later in November 2019. The law will classify cryptos as legal assets, identified by the Finnish law. Other changes to the law include amendments on the Anti-Money Laundering laws as well as the Countering Financial Terrorism Act.

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Author: Lillian Peter