Mexico’s Central Bank to Launch its Digital Currency in Next 3 years to “Advance Financial Inclusion”

Mexico’s Central Bank to Launch its Digital Currency in Next 3 Years to “Advance Financial Inclusion,” says the Government

The central bank of Mexico will launch its own digital currency by 2024, announced the Mexican government on social media.

“Banxico reports that it will have its own digital currency in circulation by 2024,” the Mexican government wrote on its official Twitter account this week.

In its post, the central bank said it considers these new technologies and the latest payment infrastructure “very important” and “valuable options to advance financial inclusion in the country.”

Banxico, the monetary authority of Mexico, however, hasn’t confirmed the development itself. The central bank is legally independent of Mexico’s government. An anonymous senior bank official also told Reuters that the announcement was “not official.”

A couple of weeks back, Banxico said in a report that it is actually studying and working on the development of a platform for the implementation of a digital currency but gave no details on timing.

This CBDC project aims to improve financial inclusion by opening accounts for the registration of a digital currency for both banked and unbanked people, the report added.

This week, the central bank of India also said that they need to adopt a basic model for its CBDC.

“Given its dynamic impact on macroeconomic policymaking, it is necessary to adopt basic models initially and test comprehensively so that they have minimal impact on monetary policy and the banking system,” the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a report. “India’s progress in payment systems will provide a useful backbone to make a state-of-the-art CBDC available to its citizens and financial institutions,” it added.

The apex bank further said in its report ‘Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2020-21’ that the CBDC can offer myriad benefits such as liquidity, scalability, acceptance, faster settlement, and ease of transactions with anonymity to its users.

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Author: AnTy

Newly-Signed Defense Bill Calls For A Digital Strategy, Sen. Warren Slams Crypto for Wealth Concentration

Newly-Signed Defense Bill Calls For A Digital Strategy, Sen. Warren Slams Crypto for Wealth Concentration

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a crypto skeptic, again criticized cryptocurrencies, saying they are not the path to financial equality.

“The crypto industry claims that crypto is the path to financial inclusion, but bitcoin ownership is even more concentrated within the top 1% than dollars. We need real solutions to make the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy,” Warren, who represents Massachusetts, tweeted on Tuesday.

Warren’s tweet has been in response to the Wall Street Journal’s article titled “Bitcoin’s One Percent’ Controls Lion’s Share of the Cryptocurrency’s Wealth.”

Meanwhile, the newly-signed defense bill has directed the Secretary of Defense to develop a digital health strategy for emerging technologies, including distributed ledgers but little mention of crypto or blockchain.

President Joe Biden signed the $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 earlier this week after the bill passed the House and the Senate this month.

The bill directs the Department of Defense to develop a means of incorporating emerging technologies by April 2022. The distributed ledger technologies have been covered under the skills expected of “digital talent” hires. A “chief digital recruiting officer” is to be onboarded to hire those with these skills.

We’ll Get There

While Warren and many other Senators have been against crypto, there are many like Tom Emmer (R-MN), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Pat Toomey, among others who support crypto.

“There’s actually a lot of great like-minded folks very supportive of the crypto industry in Congress and within the regulated community,” said CoinList CEO Graham Jenkin in an interview with Bloomberg adding, that they have been working with the regulators to help them “think through how to approach the ecosystem.”

According to him, “everybody is still learning” about crypto, and we will get there.

“There’s definitely a lot of support within Congress. There’s obviously some challenges in terms of things being somewhat politicized. But I think in the long haul we’re going to see a lot of support.”

This week, Sam Bankman Fried (SBF), the CEO of crypto derivatives exchange FTX, also took to Twitter to share that regulation is one of the main aspects that the industry should focus on next year.

“The biggest thing here is to work collaboratively on ways to address current regulatory gaps while allowing liquidity to move onshore — to the US, and to Europe, and other jurisdictions.”

When it comes to regulation of stablecoins, SBF said, authorities must not restrict it to existing banks as that would limit the growth of an open network.

SBF further called for a “standard market oversight” — a unified regime that has similar standards for spot, futures, etc. In addition, the industry needs a disclosure, registration, and anti-fraud-based regime for token issuances. “The goal of all of this is to come out stronger” with both customer protection and regulatory clarity.

“I’m optimistic that we might get there in the next few years; that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Strikes at the SEC’s Crypto “Monopoly” by Proposing Bigger Role to CFTC

In his Digital Commodities Exchange Act, Congressman Glenn Thomson also proposes establishing a new regulatory regime for crypto exchanges at the CFTC.

Ripple Labs is calling to limit the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) role in policing cryptocurrencies.

“The SEC’s approach under the current administration has been hostile,” Stuart Alderoty, Ripple’s general counsel, said in an interview. He added that the agency is “doubling down on regulation by enforcement” rather than setting clear rules.

Ripple is currently in a court battle with the SEC regarding the sale of its token XRP, which the agency alleges to be an unregistered security offering.

The company has now released a paper that calls on regulators and lawmakers to create a framework to oversee the crypto market. The paper proposes guidelines that it says are “a real approach to cryptocurrency regulation” created following discussions with regulators and members of Congress.

These guidelines offer advantages to firms compared to SEC’s “regulation-by-enforcement approach,” said Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Ripple proposes a three-pronged approach that creates digital asset innovation sandboxes, public-private collaboration and adapts existing regulatory frameworks.

It also includes endorsements of proposed bills in Congress, including the Digital Commodity Exchange Act, which would give the CFTC authority to regulate digital assets trading.

“This rational approach to crypto regulation that we’re proposing is to basically say, ‘Look, there are other leaders in the space. The SEC does not have a monopoly on this issue,’” Alderoty told Protocol.

In his interview, he further called for creating a federal regime and giving “that responsibility that oversight to the CFTC” in his interview.

With no uniform federal regulatory regime to monitor or regulate crypto exchanges where these crypto-assets trade, including CFTC, exchanges won’t be free from regulation, but there would be a rational approach to regulating crypto, said Alderoty.

This “can allow innovation to thrive, which can allow the assets to be traded, but also guard against things like fraud, guard against market manipulation, so consumers are protected,” he added.

Amidst this, Congressman Glenn Thomson released the Digital Commodities Exchange Act, which would establish a new regulatory regime for crypto exchanges at the CFTC.

The leading Republican on the House Agriculture Committee wants some initial coin offering (ICO) that would certainly be considered securities to be left with the SEC, unlike SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who urges Congress to give the agency more power over crypto exchanges and the overall market.

In his bill, Thomas argued for CFTC to have “exclusive jurisdiction over any agreement, contract, or transaction involving a contract of sale of any digital commodity in interstate commerce which is offered, solicited, traded, executed, or otherwise dealt in on or subject to the rules of a registered entity, including the conduct of any such office or business.”

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Author: AnTy

140M People Opened ‘Wallets’ for China’s Digital Yuan and Used it for Transactions Worth $9.7B

140 Million People Opened ‘Wallets’ for China’s Digital Yuan and Used it for Transactions Worth $9.7B

While 1.55 million merchants, so far, can accept payments in e-CNY, Chinese police cracked the first case of e-CNY used to launder money.

China’s digital yuan has been used to make transactions totaling around 62 billion yuan ($9.7 billion) so far, said a senior Chinese central bank official this week. Also, about 140 million people had opened “wallets” to use China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) as of October.

Still, there is no official launch date for the digital currency, e-CNY, said Mu Changchun, the director-general of the digital currency institute of the People’s Bank of China, at Hong Kong’s “Fintech Week” conference.

Mu further said that 1.55 million merchants can accept payments using eCNY wallets, including retail, transportation, utilities, catering, and government services.

Growing Enquiry

Speaking at the same ‘Fintech Week,’ the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Julia Leung said they have received “a number” of requests from local companies in recent months to offer crypto-related ETFs to their private bank and professional clients.

The SFC director also pointed out regulatory issues involved with these products, including whether crypto ETFs should face additional restrictions compared to traditional ETFs and if retail users are allowed to access these products through online brokers.

Leung didn’t comment on the regulator’s decision on ETFs but said the agency is currently reviewing its regulatory regime for crypto to see if it is still “fit for purpose.”

Under the new regime, virtual asset service providers have to be licensed to operate in the region and can only offer their services to professional investors, those with a portfolio of over HK$8 million (US$1 million) or companies with more than $5 million in assets.

SFC-regulated fund managers can also invest up to 10% of their gross asset value in crypto, and if they wish to invest more, they can apply for a special license.

Money Laundering

In other news, Chinese police cracked the first case of e-CNY used to launder money, according to a local report. 11 suspects were detained in this case.

This was a case of telecommunications network fraud that occurred in Xinmi City, where the suspects called people to compensate them three times the original price of an item due to the product having quality problems. The victim followed the instructions and did multiple transfers, totaling more than 200,000 yuan, and then realized that he had been deceived.

The Criminal Investigation Brigade of the Public Security Bureau of Xinmi City found that payments were flowing to a specific electronic wallet, different from the previous one.

Investigators were able to apprehend the suspects after investigating the e-wallet, commercial banks, financial institutions, and third-party payment and settlement companies.

The money laundering criminal group reportedly used digital renminbi to launder money for the overseas fraud group hiding in Cambodia, said the authorities.

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Author: AnTy

Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks Continue Pro-Crypto Stance With Voyager Digital Partnership

Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks Continue Pro-Crypto Stance With Voyager Digital Partnership

The Dallas Mavericks have been the most pro-crypto team in the NBA so far.

The Mark Cuban-owned basketball franchise recently announced that it would open its doors to a crypto partnership with Voyager Digital, which just secured a strategic investment of $75 million from Alameda Research.

Voyager Becomes Brokerage Partner For The Mavericks

The crypto tide has been sweeping through most of established US entertainment and sports hubs despite regulatory uncertainty. Continuing on its pro-crypto approach, National Basketball Association (NBA) team, Dallas Mavericks, has signed a multi-year partnership with popular North American crypto broker Voyager Digital.

According to the October 27 release, Voyager is on a mission to onboard more users into the crypto space and roll out educational and community programs, global activations, and popular fan engagement promotions. Alongside this, Voyager Digital will have the exclusive naming rights to the Dallas’ home court Mavs Gaming Hub, with a future date set for the name unveiling.

The five-year partnership will see the cryptocurrency trading company become the first international brokerage partner for the Mark Cuban-owned basketball franchise.

Speaking on the broader goal of the deal, Voyager co-founder and CEO Steve Erlich said that the partnership aims to educate people on alternate means to grow their wealth to achieve financial freedom and build intergenerational wealth through digital assets.

Since following in the cue of the Sacramento Kings in accepting premier digital asset Bitcoin, Cuban’s Mavericks has spent a great deal of time interfacing with the nascent crypto space. Aside from the crypto bellwether, the Dallas Mavericks have since added popular parody coin DOGE to its list of supported cryptocurrencies.

Cuban himself has been a vocal supporter of the next generation financial solutions and is a popular backer of the decentralized applications (dApps) protocol Ethereum and layer-two protocol Polygon Network. He also has investments covering Bitcoin knock-off Dogecoin.

NBA Welcoming Crypto Partnerships

The recent surge in crypto interests globally has seen many critics reassessing their earlier positions. However, the world of sports has been the most welcoming as many centralized Bitcoin exchanges have penned multi-year partnerships with many teams.

A notable crypto exchange snapping up sports sponsorship deals is Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX derivatives crypto exchange. FTX signed a multi-year deal with Miami Heat with a reported investment cap of $135 million. The agreement, which is expected to expire in 2040, gives FTX exclusive naming rights to the home court of the NBA team.

Aside from this, FTX recently penned another partnership with Major League Basketball (MLB) in another whopping million dollar investment. The new deal will see FTX recognized as the official crypto exchange partner of the professional sports league along with a slew of other benefits.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bonfida DEX Restricts Access to US-based Users

Serum-based, Bonfida decentralized digital asset exchange (DEX) is the latest decentralized finance (DeFi) project to put the US in its restrictive region list.

According to Bonfida’s terms of use, the Bonfida DEX is not available to residents of the USA. With this, the US has joined the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

“If you intend to enter into any transactions involving derivatives, you also confirm that you are not located in, incorporated or otherwise established in, or a citizen or resident of, a Derivatives Restricted Jurisdiction,” said the exchange.

Last month, the decentralized exchange aggregator 1Inch also started geofencing US IP addresses.

As we reported, 1Inch also includes the US in its list of restricted territories and blocks people from these regions from using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the website. The platform said that it had been planning to launch a new product in the US in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

DEX dYdX has also updated its terms of service to mention that if the user is a US citizen or resident, they are required to physically settle all trades made using dYdX and fully close and physically settle all open margin positions within 28 days.

US-based users are also not permitted to access or trade any of the platform’s advanced features, including Bitcoin trading and perpetual contracts on dYdX. They are also not to use a VPN to modify your internet protocol address or otherwise circumvent or attempt to circumvent this prohibition.

Earlier last month, dYdX users celebrated a massive DYDX token airdrop worth thousands of dollars for many people. However, those who traded on the platform using an IP address within the United States were not eligible for the airdrop or to participate in its staking program.

“This has become almost standard now. People don’t need the US market to win anymore, so US regulators no longer have leverage with truly global founders. The future has already escaped their grasp,” commented Balaji Srinivasan, former CTO of Coinbase and General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

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Author: AnTy

“This Isn’t Just BTC Anymore,” It’s Digital Assets Creating an Ecosystem of New Opportunities: BofA

“This Isn’t Just Bitcoin Anymore,” It’s Digital Assets Creating an Ecosystem of New Opportunities, says Head of BofA Global Research

Bank of America has finally launched coverage of cryptocurrencies due to “growing institutional interest” and the massive appetite among retail clients.

Candace Browning, head of global research at BofA Securities, shared in an interview with Bloomberg that the number of corporates mentioning crypto on their earnings calls has increased to about 147 in the most recent quarter, from merely 17 in the last year.

“This isn’t just Bitcoin anymore, this is digital assets and it’s creating a whole ecosystem of new companies, new opportunities, and new applications.”

The bank has published its first research coverage focused on crypto titled “Digital Assets: Only the first inning” while noting that the industry has grown to over $2 trillion with more than $200 million users. The “digital asset universe is too large to ignore” now.

BofA’s cryptocurrency research coverage for which the team was appointed in July is headed by former tech analyst Alkesh Shah, the bank said.

“This is growing, this is mainstream, and it’s not just Bitcoin.”

In other news, Inuit Inc., the maker of QuickBooks and TurboTax software which recently acquired privately held email marketing firm Mailchimp for $12 billion, has launched a new venture arm to invest in emerging financial technology, including crypto.

Talking about crypto’s role in Intuit’s future and just how excited the company is about the nascent asset class, Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, told Bloomberg that “It’s important to intentionally place your bets on the future.”

He believes betting on emerging, and unproven trends is important because some will work and some won’t. Also, it gives an opportunity to pick great talent, he added.

“We believe crypto and blockchain will play an important role,” said Goodarzi, noting they are all about making sure that everything that they do is about making customers manage their cash flow, only to add, “but they (crypto) are going to play an important role.”

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Author: AnTy

Tinder Introducing Virtual Currency, “Useful For Gifting Digital Goods,” in the Dating App

Tinder Introducing Virtual Currency, “Useful For Gifting Digital Goods,” in the Dating App

Tinder, a popular dating app, is rolling out an in-app currency to encourage users to spend more time swiping, scrolling, and even spending real money on the app.

This new feature involving virtual currency will be initially available only in Australia because it’s a market that is representative of the company’s global member base.

The in-app coins will be available to users who remain active on the platform and keep their profiles up to date. It can also be bought with regular money.

The coins can be used to step up a user’s profile by buying Tinder’s perks such as Super Likes or Boosts to help increase the chances of finding a good match.

Typically run on a “freemium” model, dating apps make money when users buy a subscription or pay for extra features.

The in-app currency will be made available later this month.

It was already tested in small markets in the second quarter and was encouraged by the results, said Shar Dubey, Chief Executive Officer of Match Group, which owns Tinder, during its second-quarter earnings call in August.

Tinder expects this latest currency feature to enable more opportunities to earn money from the app. During the company’s second-quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Gary Swidler had said that Tinder users’ “propensity to pay has improved significantly.”

The company expects the coins “will play an important role as the Tinder experience evolves and becomes more immersive because virtual currency is useful in the context of gifting digital goods,” Swidler said in a statement. The virtual currency will be “particularly well received by our members in Asia, who are less used to subscription products,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Swiss-based SEBA Bank Becomes The First Firm To Receive A Digital Asset Custodian License From Regulators

Swiss-based SEBA Bank Becomes The First Firm To Receive A Digital Asset Custodian License From Regulators

Switzerland-based SEBA Bank became the first Swiss-licensed financial institution to receive a license from regulators to offer digital assets to mutual funds in the country. The cryptocurrency-focused bank will act as a custodian to the firm enabling mutual funds to get exposure to cryptocurrencies.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, announced they have granted a license, a first of its kind, to SEBA Bank, one of the leading banks dealing with digital assets in Switzerland, to offer mutual funds investments in digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The bank will act as the custodian of the funds from institutional clients enabling them to add to their alternative investments basket.

In a phone interview, SEBA Bank CEO Guido Buehler confirmed the product would first be launched to institutional clients with retail clients in plans.

“This collective investment scheme license allows institutional clients, and then later retail clients, to invest into crypto assets on a liquid basis through fund structures.”

”It means there is now the opportunity for institutions to establish their fund structures for crypto as a liquid asset, so people can subscribe today and can sell tomorrow.”

The fintech firm launched in mid-2018 promising to offer clients the “best services in digital banking” and has since introduced digital assets and cryptocurrencies in line with the company’s vision. Having received its digital asset banking license in late 2019, the bank raised $95 million (100 million CHF) in mid-2020 in a bid to enhance its services in preparation for institutional investors.

Unlike the US and China, which are setting up strict regulations on cryptocurrency, Switzerland is leading the way in offering digital asset licenses to Swiss companies. Such ease in regulations is seeing growing interest in traditional firms hoping on to the crypto train. Recently, Swiss-bank UBS was reported exploring various alternatives to offer its wealthy clients exposure to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Snoop Dogg Expands NFT Collection With $3.9 Million (1300 ETH) Digital Art Purchase

Snoop Dogg Expands NFT Collection With $3.9 Million (1300 ETH) Digital Art Purchase

Rapper and music producer Snoop Dogg purchased an NFT for $3.9 million.

Snoop – whose real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr – has been quite active in the crypto and NFT spaces recently, with this purchase marking his latest venture into the industry.

Ciao, Cozomo de’ Medici

Earlier this week, rapper and music producer Snoop Dogg purchased an NFT for $3.9 million. Snoop – whose real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr – has been quite active in the crypto and NFT spaces recently, with this purchase marking his latest venture into the industry.

The NFT in question is “Some Asshole”, – a piece of art developed by rising artist XCOPY. Snoop had purchased the token on the SuperRare marketplace, under his pseudonymous alias “Cozomo de’ Medici.” The rapper tweeted this purchase through his alias’ Twitter account, adding that it was the first character piece NFT to be published by XCOPY.

Data from SuperRare showed that the NFT has moved between owners for about a year now. It was first sold for 25 ETH (about $8,200 at the time) in September 2020, then again in March for 100 ETH – about $181,000.

The sale marks the latest for XCOPY, whose art has become quite the in thing. Just last week, data from DAppRadar showed that a customer had spent 1,000 ETH – about $2.9 million at the time – on another piece from the artist, called “All Time High in the City.”

Celebrity Endorsements Pour in for NFTs

As for Snoop, the sale further cements the artist as a collector and crypto enthusiast. Snoop revealed himself to be Cozomo de’ Medici last week, much to the excitement of industry enthusiasts. The collector’s wallet currently holds a little over $17 million worth of NFTs, showing Snoop’s appreciation for digital art.

The rapper has been making waves in the NFT space for a while now. In April, he collaborated with the artist behind the famous 2011 Nyan Cat meme for an NFT collection, netting 14,3 ETH – about $33,000 at the time – in an auction on OpenSea. Additional open-edition NFTs of the collection – called “Nyan Blunt” and “Hazy Nyan Cat” – remained on sale for 0.42 ETH on April 20th – the day set aside to celebrate marijuana consumption and legalization. In total, the tokens sold over 200 collections, bringing in 90 ETH combined.

Celebrities moving into the NFT space has become a growing trend in the industry this year. Besides Snoop, several other notable people – and even some of the world’s top brands – have either launched or purchased NFTs directly from marketplaces.

Late last month, NBA superstar and 3-time champion Stephen Curry splurged 55 ETH on a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. The athlete spent a reported $180,000 on the piece, copping it from OpenSea. Curry has since signed a partnership with top derivatives trading platform FTX, with some reports suggesting that he might even have an ownership stake in the exchange.

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Author: AnTy