U.S Treasury Secretary Says the Country Will Not Shut Down Despite Second Wave COVID-19 Fears

U.S Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has ruled out the possibility of a second lockdown despite a spike in new COVID-19 cases within the United States. This comes as Wall Street and Asian markets dipped towards the end of last week in fears of possible second wave.

Mnuchin was speaking to CNBC reporter, Jim Cramer, on June 11 as he made these remarks. He went on to defend the position of keeping the economy open noting that a contrary move would cause more damage,

“We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage.”

Furthermore, many vital areas such as medical have been put on hold and ought to bounce back according to Mnuchin. The Treasury Secretary noted that they foresee a bounce back in the remaining two quarters of 2020.

The Optimistic Outlook

While the U.S remains as the highest country with active COVID-19 cases, Mnuchin signaled an optimistic future for the leading economy. He emphasized that President’s Trump approach was prudent coupled with the $3 trillion stimulus approval from the House of Reps and Senate. Notably, only about $ 1.6 trillion of the injected funds are the in U.S economy. Mnuchin has since highlighted that another $1 trillion will be pumped into the economy within the next month.

Following this progress, the U.S Treasury Secretary, said that his number one job is getting everybody to work; an initiative that is already underway in collaboration with the Trump administration. Mnuchin said,

“We have the Fed program, we have Main Street [lending program], which is going to be now up and running, and we’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker.”

Recently, another $3 trillion stimulus package was passed by the House Democrats sparking debate but is yet to be voted in the Republican-dominated Senate. The latter, however, prefer a more conservative approach towards increasing federal deficit to ease the COVID-19 economic effects.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

China’s Digital Yuan Sets the Country on Track for Tokenomics Dominance

As the world emerges from lockdown, China is already several steps ahead in the roll-out of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The Asian giant spearheaded its digital Yuan back in April and is now integrating the PBoC backed asset into China’s existing payment networks.

This Chinese digital currency has been dubbed ‘DCEP’ and speculations have it that it might challenge the US dollar supremacy. Its pilot phase was initiated by the Agricultural Bank of China within four cities; a milestone that has accelerated talks around CBDC’s across the world.

The Libra Threat

The PBoC picked up pace as recent as last year when Libra was announced. Chinese authorities saw Libra as a threat should it have sailed through as planned. This is not to say the Facebook-led project should be counted out.

As far as recent milestones are concerned, Libra added Singapore’s State Investor, Temasek, to the association. The Swiss-based organization has also appointed HSBC’s Chief Legal Officer, Stuart Levey, as its new CEO.

Despite its value proposition, Libra has faced significant regulatory hurdles coupled with an exit by its initial members like Mastercard. Going by these stats, China appears to ahead of Western economies including the U.S when it comes to digital currencies. In fact, this gap could widen if Washington proves slow to regulate and support digital currencies with the possibility of a Fed backed coin.

China’s Market Compatibility with Digital Currencies

China’s population has shifted from credit cards to mobile payment apps in recent years. This market dynamic has, in turn, created an ecosystem for digital currencies to thrive hence the case for ‘DCEP’.

Currently, over 80% of Chinese smartphone users are able to make mobile payments through Alipay and WeChat. It, therefore, makes it more seamless for the Chinese State-owned banks to issue DCEP wallets that will be used as storage for the country’s CBDC.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also favored China’s timing of the ‘DCEP’ release given that the world is moving to paperless money. Will China lead the way toward a regulated crypto space? In its ongoing NPC and PPC annual political advisory meetings, some delegates have suggested the creation of a blockchain development fund to boost the sector’s growth.

There is also a proposal to create a regional stablecoin backed by four Asian currencies; YEN, WON, HKD and YUAN. With such initiatives, China is already assuming the leadership role as we move towards digital economies.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Facebook to Create 50 New Jobs in 2020 For The Dublin-based Stablecoin Wallet Calibra

In spite of the layoffs in the private sector from all over the world as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, Facebook is looking to hire 50 new people in Ireland, for its Calibra project.

A report from the Irish Times said on April 20 that Facebook’s Dublin Calibra team is going to expand significantly this year. Furthermore, Facebook noted that its operations in Ireland are of critical importance for the company’s roadmap.

Regulators’ Cooperation is Essential

Facebook has been operating in Ireland since 2009. It employs here 5,000 people for WhatsApp and Instagram, which are both its partner firms. The Calibra project was founded last year. It’s central for the evolution of the tech giant’s Libra digital currency creation and implementation. Ever since announced, Libra has been under a lot of pressure from all the global financial regulators.

Experts in Fraud to Be Hired Among Others

Aside from its offices in Dublin, Facebook also runs an Oculus virtual reality research lab subsidiary in Cork since 2017, and a data center in Clonee. Talking about Calibra, the project’s head of operations, Laura Morgan Walsh, said:

“During this time of global uncertainty, we’re continuing to invest in our team located in Dublin. We’re actively hiring experts in fraud, compliance, workforce management and customer care to expand our operations team supporting the Calibra wallet.”

Ireland’s Central Bank Gave Facebook an E-Money License

Facebook has an e-money license that was issued by Ireland’s central bank in 2016. However, the company said that regulators’ responses will be the ones influencing the pace at which new hires are made for the Calibra project. Ever since announcing Libra, Facebook made important changes to the design of its global stablecoin. One of these changes is backing the currency by single currency stablecoins instead of a basket of fiat currencies.

The most recent update on Libra’s whitepaper says the network will be initially accessible only to regulated crypto companies. Also, wallets that aren’t hosted will have transaction and balance limits.

Important Partners Withdrew from the Libra Project

Facebook is still determined to launch Libra at the end of 2020, even if some of the project’s most notable partners such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal withdrew and central banks’ representatives from all around the world are very skeptical about how the stablecoin will influence the global financial market.

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Author: Oana Ularu