French Multinational Bank to Launch a Digital Euro Pilot Using Tezos Blockchain

Blockchain firm Tezos has been selected to spearhead the French central bank’s digital currency pilot program, one of a kind in Europe.

Societe Generale – Forge, a tech startup founded by French investment bank giant Societe Generale, has opted for Tezos to spearhead the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program.

The French central bank Banque de France selected Societe Generale – Forge in July after a successful review of applicants in development of a CBDC to ease interbank settlements. France is carrying out an experiment to become the first European country to launch a digital Euro.

Tezos is a peer-to-peer public blockchain that has features such as on-chain governance, capacity to verify smart contracts as well as consensus algorithm that is primed on proof of stake. The blockchain platform comes with a vibrant ecosystem inclusive of research and development offshoot dubbed Nomadic Labs that is located in Paris and will play a vital role for the CBDC piloting. Nomadic Labs President, Michel Mauny explained about the deal:

“The Tezos project, strengthened by its technical capabilities, its adaptability, and its strong community, is already present in various projects, both in France and abroad. We are especially pleased to see this technology selected by Societe Generale – Forge, and to reaffirm, once again, that the quality and expertise of our engineering is rewarded.”

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Banque de France’s governor, in December last year said that he was optimistic that France will be the inaugural European country to offer digital currency. The governor explained that the central bank is exploring how technology can be leveraged in enhancement of the financial markets more so when it comes to interbank regulations.

Although France seems to be on the forefront in development of a CBDC, other European countries such as Italy, Netherlands and Lithuania are also exploring the idea of CBDC. Additionally, the European Central Bank is also working on trials although details remain scanty.

Currently, Tezos is only one of the handful public blockchain platforms participating in development of a CBDC that could culminate to a digital euro.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

French Central Bank Publishes List of 8 Applicants To Run Tests on A Digital Euro

On July 20, French central bank, Banque De France, announced it had settled on eight candidates in its efforts to experiment digital currency solutions.

As per the press statement, the central bank stated that the experiment trials will cover a wide range of areas, but notably not in the crypto-asset transfer sphere, and will start “in the coming days.”

The selected candidates comprise renowned names in the banking and fintech industries such as HSBC, Accenture, Societe Generale, Seba Bank, LiquidShareEuroclear, Iznes and ProsperUS.

The announcement comes months after the central bank called for applications from reputable firms to experiment the utilization of digital euros that was advertised in March. During the advertisement stage, the central bank stated it was going to pick maximumly 10-CBDC-related apps with the main selection criteria being “innovative nature.”

The institution stated that it will work with individual players to experiment their proposals in efforts to examine “fresh methods of exchanging financial instruments.” In addition, the trial phase will also seek to explore the best ways of distributing CBDC as well as how they can be used for international payments.

Notably, the central bank seems to be interested in the wholesale use of CBDC as opposed to retail usage for the digital euro which means that the CBDC might be created for “interbank regulations as opposed for consumer use.

France has been pushing for the use of digital euro in Europe and in May, it launched a successful digital euro use on the blockchain in partnership with Societe Generale.

Although the bank clarified that the proposals are exclusively experimental, it however explained that the findings will be helpful to similar CBDC experimentations within the larger eurozone which will form the basics for a digital euro.

Although France seems to be at the forefront in pushing a digital euro, other countries in Europe are also at advanced stages to come up with a digital euro as well. For instance, the Italian Banking Association (ABI) has created guidelines to guide the development of a CBDC while the Dutch central bank has said it is willing to be the testing ground for a digital euro.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Leading French Bank, BNP Paribas, is Blocking Transfers to Coinbase Crypto Exchange

International French banking giant, BNP Paribas, is allegedly blocking funds transferred to Coinbase crypto exchange. According to one of the bank’s clients, this action began just recently given they could use BNP Paribas as an intermediary at the beginning of March.

Speaking to news site Cointelegraph, the client preferred to stay anonymous but shed light on this development in detail. Most notably, was a response they got from the BNP Paribas customer service in regards to Coinbase’s transfer issue. The bank, through one of its representatives, said that it was considered an illegal operation. It further cited privacy coin, Monero, crypto scams, and malware as the reasons for cutting financial interactions with Coinbase.

Reports, however, indicate that Coinbase is the only crypto exchange suffering the BNP Paribas wrath. The anonymous client also highlighted that they did not receive any prior warnings from the bank relating to the matter.

The move by BNP is not an unprecedented one within the volatile crypto market. Popular banks like JP Morgan and Citi have in the past implemented limits to crypto operations; the most significant one yet is the credit card ban for digital asset purchases back in 2018.

Bulgarian banks also took similar measures during the 2017 bull run which saw Bitcoin hit the highs of $20,000. They basically terminated some accounts that were run by crypto exchanges.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

French Finance Minister: Libra Will Take Away State’s Power To Control Currency

French Economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire attacks Libra again this time claiming that Facebook’s led stablecoin will intrude on one of the most important national government mandates, issuance of currency.

In an op-ed to Financial Times, Le Maire stated if Libra was allowed to take off it will take away the sovereign power of states to issue and control their own currencies which will have unprecedented repercussions to the world’s economy and financial system.

Le Maire’s opinions are similar to his German counterpart, Olaf Scholz who has maintained that Libra should not be allowed in Europe as it will infringe on the sovereignty of the countries.

Le Maire stated that he can’t imagine one of the most powerful tools of a state, monetary control, and policy, being taken over by private companies that are not subjected to any democratic control.

The finance minister explained that after the creation of the euro in 1999, the EU member states gave up some aspects of their sovereignty to a more powerful European project. He pondered whether states are ready to allow Facebook together with other members of the Libra Association to provide private currency and undermine the effort made by EU member states.

Le Maire reiterated his sentiments in a tweet claiming that sovereignty, both political and monetary, can never be shared with private companies.

France has been one of the harshest critics of Libra which is facing intense pressure from policymakers around the globe. Politicians and regulators have been raising concerns with the Libra project fearing that Facebook will have immense power on money issues around the world.

In the past, Le Maire has categorically stated that France will never allow Libra to operate in the country as it is a threat to the EU’s financial systems among other risks.

According to CoinDesk, Le Maire, the EU needs to move faster and come up with innovative cross border payment systems as well as central bank-issued digital money to counter Libra’s threat. He explained that China should not be left to be the only player in the market on the issue.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Banque De France Governor: Crypto Assets Need a ‘Same’ Global Regulatory Framework

Denis Beau, the deputy governor of the French central bank, also known as Banque de France, has called out for a more global approach to regulation for crypto assets. According to him, there is a need for more consistency in deciding how to regulate the crypto world.

Because of this, the only way to properly ensure that the standardization is happening is to really reunite and set up the guidelines.

His comments come at a time in which Facebook’s Libra project has raised several doubts in the world about how to deal with a project such as this one. Beau cited Facebook’s currency and also talked about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which haven’t been launched yet, but will certainly be soon.

Beau affirmed that he hoped that more banks would experiment with their own digital assets, as he was very bullish on the technology, especially in the long term. According to him, the financial system is still relying on several slow and cumbersome mechanisms to transfer money, so the blockchain would certainly be very important when it comes to upgrading this.

The banker affirmed that the tokens that were released so far, including Bitcoin, were simply unable to fill up the position of becoming a faster way to send money. Most cryptos, in his opinion, are extremely volatile, so they are not very attractive to everyday use or to become a real way to store value.

He also believes that these assets, if left to be the solution, can also bring many risks to financial stability, such as fragmentation and increased risks of fraud. Because of this, bankers should consider creating their own solutions.

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Author: Silvia A

Former FDIC Chair Called Out Subprime Mortgages Ahead of Issues; Now Tells FED To Look At CBDC’s

Members of the US Congress the French Hill (R-Arkansas) and Bill Foster (D-Illinois) have recommended the Federal Reserve regarding issuing a digital version of the US dollar. In a letter addressed to the Fed, they highlighted that the country’s currency is in long term danger due to the acceptance of digital fiat currency.

Sheila Bair, former president of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had recommended Fed last year to take the digital currency ‘seriously’. She had been discussing this issue for quite a while. Since she had proved in calling the Global Financial Crisis with her worry on subprime contracts, it bodes well that we start turning to her on her most recent worry for the U.S.

Bair was questioned by Senator Cortez Masto at the Senate Banking Committee on September 25th which was known as “Encouraging Faster Payments in the U.S – Why in her declaration she prescribed the Federal Reserve to investigate the central bank digital currency standards, concerning matters such as cryptographic forms of money which are recorded on distributed ledger technology that could be utilized in the end by the general population.

The former president states in return that she believes that this innovation is developing at a quick rate and it is reasonable having a distributed ledger that all banks can obtain. And that it eliminates that need of a delegate –

“You don’t need a TCH, you don’t need centralized ledger that single point of failure, the digital transfer is from the sending bank to the receiving bank.”

In the above, she refers TCH to a Clearing House, which is a private sector non-profit system that functions on RTP- a real-time payments system. The 12 largest banks aid the RTP. Because of the position she had during the Global Financial Crisis, she had taken admiration from many and earned prestige and respect for predicting the crisis, perhaps it is said that’s why she pulled off how the distributed ledger technology didn’t need the support from the centralized ledgers so effectively. Bair went on to explain her offensive for the ledger technology that most of them didn’t trust the RTP and that the financial systems could be used as a monopoly without the Clearing House and the Federal Reserve.

At the Senate hearing, Bair’s testimony proved how she is ahead of the curve again, and that is so similar to how she attempted to warn other regulators of the Global Financial Crisis.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

French Finance Minister: Develop Euro Zone Crypto Rules And Create A ‘Public Digital Currency’ For EU

Bruno Le Maire, French Finance Minister, has called on European Union member states to come up with rules and regulations that can be used in the zone as well as consider a public digital currency which is capable of rivaling Facebook’s Libra currency, Reuters reports.

Speaking at the sidelines of EU finance ministers conference in Helsinki, Le Maire disclosed to reporters that he will propose a discussion on a probable European public digital currency with other ministers in the region from next month.

Le Maire also raised his concerns about the upcoming Libra stablecoin saying that it may be a major risk to consumers, global financial wellbeing as well as the sovereignty of the European nations.

The French Finance Minister also pleaded with the EU members to expedite the implementation of the measures to reduce cross border payments costs. Reuters states that the eurozone real-time payments has been available from the start of 2017, however, only a bunch of few banks from the zones have embraced the scheme. In addition, the scheme largely deals with domestic payments.

Le Maire also urged the EU block to consider its approach when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies arguing that it needs to be done at the EU level. The minister said that Libra should not be launched at the EU states until the regulators can come up with a single common framework on how to regulate it. In the recent past, European regulators have been debating on whether cryptos should be regulated as securities, payment platforms or currencies.

Based on the legal framework confusion, European Commission spokesperson said that based on the available information about Libra, it was difficult to confidently say the type of EU regulations that would apply.

Le Maire has also ruled out the launching of the Faebook’s project among the EU members until the lingering concerns are fully addressed.

Cointelegraph reports that previously Le Maire had indicated that he will seek guarantees that Libra would not be utilized for illicit financial activities.

Meanwhile former International Monetary Fund (IMF) head, Christine Lagarde, who is poised to become the next president of European Central Bank’s (ECB) is pushing for a European digital currency and it could be a matter of time before it comes to fruition.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

France Will Not Tax Crypto to Crypto Trades, But Will Tax Gains If Converted To Cash/Fiat

The French government has finally decided how to tax crypto trading. According to the French economy minister Bruno Le Maire, all trades between cryptos are exempt from taxes but the gains will be taxed when they are converted back into fiat currency.

Le Maire affirmed that the government believes that the moment in which the conversion happens is the best time to tax the investors. Also, the Value-Added Tax (VAT) will only be charged when a crypto is used to buy something.

This approach, the minister believes, will help to properly track the transactions. It is hard to do it in crypto to crypto trading, especially when people exchange their assets in different exchanges.

Another important development in the country is that the local regulators have decided to ban Facebook’s Libra because the controversial crypto project is not completely regulated by the local laws.

According to the minister, the main problem with Libra is that it risks putting the national sovereignty of the country at risk, so the asset should not be allowed to be used on “European soil” with the current state of how it works. In case the project is improved, however, it seems that Facebook has a slight shot of having the French people using its token.

In related news, Portugal has also started to move forward on this same topic. The local tax authority has recently affirmed that cryptos will not be taxed in the country, which made the local investors quite satisfied that Portugal will follow the same path as France.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Rokkex Exchange To Enhance Crypto Asset Security By Using Ledger Vault

Rokkex, a crypto exchange based in Estonia, has recently started a new partnership with the French Ledger wallet, which is known for its popular hardware wallets. The company will now integrate its services with Ledger’s wallet for enterprises: Ledger Vault.

The vault will be used to secure the assets of the company with highly advanced security measures.

The Estonian company was created last year as a fully regulated platform, so it will have wealthy clients that will want to protect their assets. According to the founder and CEO of Rokkex, Lukas Krikstaponis, the first tests with the technology were very successful. The head of Ledger Vault, Demetrios Skalkotos, has affirmed that they can provide full transparency and protection from attacks.

By using this product, the clients will retain full access but they will have additional protections such as cold storage and other guarantees. This is important because several exchanges have been hacked recently, meaning that security is now more important than ever. Many exchanges try to secure the assets themselves and

Ledger Wallet was first launched in May 2018 to be used as a security tool that could target institutional investors.

The product has a structure that helps most companies because it works with multiple authorizations, meaning that its governance infrastructure can be used by institutions that share the assets with different investors.

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Author: Gabriel Machado