UK Treasury-Ordered Report Calls for A 5 Point Plan; Includes FinTech Fund & Crypto Regulation

UK Treasury-Ordered Report Calls for A 5 Point Plan; Includes FinTech Fund & Crypto Regulation

Treasury report based on the U.K. fintech, concludes govt needs to run a specific regime for Crypto-asset’s regulations and control.

U.K. chancellor, Rishi Sunak, triggered that review back in March 2020, under Ron Khalifa’s supervision (former WorldPay boss). Afterward, the Treasury-ordered review points out a plan to make U.K.’s fintech a leading market in the world.

According to the report named “Khalifa Review of U.K. Fintech,” the country can play a vital role in crypto-mania and become a globally recognized center for trade, issuance, clearance, and exchange of cryptocurrencies.

Khalifa addressed the European finance’s progress after the crypto favored the proposal, MiCA (Markets in Crypto-assets), has come in force, so the U.K. also has to “act quickly” to put its fintech firms ahead of the curve. Khalifa’s Review states,

“The U.K. should aim to be at least as broad in ambition as MiCA – but should also consider whether it can develop a bespoke regime that is more innovation-driven. A bespoke regime for crypto assets should adopt a functional and technology-neutral approach, in line with the principles of the current regulatory framework, as well as the concept of ‘same risk, same regulation,’ while being tailored to the risks arising from crypto asset-related activitie.”

Also, there are no reasons to be ‘flexible’ to do with future challenges such as Decentralized Finance (DeFi), another spot that needs attention for being regulated in the state, says the report.

The review concludes that to have engagement in deploying policies and regulations for crypto-favored areas, U.K. must join the group of international regulators, Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).

The U.K. Treasury has announced a consultation worldwide that started in January to depict the regulatory experience approached digital currencies and stablecoins. The program is still accepting feedback till March 3.

U.K. commissions have been aggressive to crypto trading and investments so far. On January 6, derivatives and exchange-traded notes sale was shut down by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which alleged the products ill-suited due to the potential harm they pose.

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Author: James W

5% of Companies Plan to Hold Bitcoin as Corporate Asset This Year: Gartner Survey

5% of Companies Plan to Hold Bitcoin as Corporate Asset This Year: Gartner Survey

Some companies are worried about the extreme volatility of Bitcoin. But this is actually a feature, not a bug.

The latest survey conducted by Gartner Inc., consisting of 77 finance executives, including 50 CFOs, showed that 5% of them plan to hold bitcoin on their balance sheet this year.

84% of respondents, however, said they do not plan on ever purchasing the leading digital currency as an asset, which is nearing $52,000.

Volatility was the biggest concern of these naysayers, with 84% of respondents saying Bitcoin’s wild price swings pose a financial risk, the February survey said.

“It would be extremely difficult to mitigate the kind of price swings seen in the cryptocurrency in the last five years,” said Alexander Bant, chief of research at Gartner Finance.

According to Mike McGlone, a commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, who sees $100,000 as a longer-term target, the volatility may continue to rise in the near term “until it settles in around its next plateau.”

For the crypto market, the famed volatility is actually a feature rather than a bug. Antoni Trenchev, the co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, reminded that Bitcoin never moves up in a straight line and

“Short-term volatility is very much a feature of this bull market.”

Besides volatility, broader risk aversion, digital currency’s slow adoption as an accepted form of payment, regulatory concerns, and cyber risks were also among the concerns.

“There are a lot of unresolved issues when it comes to the use of Bitcoin as a corporate asset. It’s unlikely that adoption will increase rapidly until we get more clarity on these challenges,” Bant said.

The survey came while publicly-listed MicroStrategy shared its plan to issue another debt round of $690 million to add to its 71,079 BTC stash. Earlier this month, Elon Musk’s Tesla also bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.

“The mood, music, and momentum is impossible to ignore,” said Trenchev. “To the annoyance of many, the Bitcoin express has left the station.”

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Author: AnTy

47% of Nocoiner Brits Plan to Invest in Bitcoin This Year: Survey

47% of Nocoiner Brits Plan to Invest in Bitcoin This Year: Survey

While those invested, 74% plan to further increase. Also, 30% of coiners expect the BTC price to exceed $100,000 this year.

Brits remain bullish on Bitcoin, with 61% of respondents of the new survey saying they expect the value of BTC to rise above $60,000 this year.

The survey was conducted by uk.Investing.com with approximately 800 respondents, 58% of who invest in Bitcoin while 42% do not. 17% of the respondents believe $42,000 hit on Jan. 8 was the top of this bull cycle.

However, those who have invested in Bitcoin are particularly optimistic as the survey revealed 30% of them believe BTC price will exceed $100,000 per coin this year.

“After a record-breaking year in 2020 that saw it jump more than 300%, Bitcoin looks to stay strong in 2021 as more retail – and big-name institutional buyers – enter the market,” said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at uk.Investing.com. “For those already in, the strategy in place remains to HODL.”

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According to Cohen, besides the first-time investors, the ultra-cheap money that is being pumped into the global financial system by the central banks all over the world has found its way into Bitcoin as well.

When it comes to other cryptocurrencies, 83% of investors expect the value of Ethereum (ETH) to rise this year, followed by Litecoin (LTC) by 35%, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) by 28%, and XRP by 25%.

Among the surveyed Bitcoin investors, 74% are planning to increase their HODLings this year, with the majority of them having only entered within the last three months.

As for those who do not currently invest in the cryptocurrency, 47% of them plan to do so this year — 26% plan to make a £1-£1,000 investment while 21% planning a £1,000 – £10,000 investment, reveals the survey.

For the majority of Brits, 53%, the new regulatory restrictions is the biggest threat to Bitcoin in 2021, followed by a pullback leading to a large off, at 26%.

However, 46% of the respondents trust Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “to some extent” while 18% do so “fully.”

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Author: AnTy

Tech Firms Have an ‘Obligation’ to Solve Societal Issues: Ripple CEO Criticizing Coinbase

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse rejects the apolitical stance taken by Coinbase and has no plan to follow it.

Last month, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote a blog post where talking politics is banned in the company. US-based cryptocurrency exchange’s policy to not “debate causes or political candidates internally” or engage with issues that aren’t related to its core mission crypto caused quite a stir.

Many of its employees (5% workforce) took the severance package offered to those wanting to quit the firm over its mission and left the company.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey opposed the decision at that time. Now, Garlinghouse has shared his displeasure while Ripple offers employees paid time off to vote and volunteer in the upcoming presidential election.

“The sad reality is — and I say this as a long-time veteran of Silicon Valley — some of these (societal) problems are, at a minimum, exacerbated by the tech platforms themselves,” Garlinghouse said.

As has been seen, the manipulation of elections and political discourse on the biggest online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Brad Garlinghouse also shared that Ripple is taking YouTube to court over Google’s video-sharing platform, failing to protect users from “giveaway” scams.

“We didn’t need to do that; it doesn’t help Ripple,” he said. “But what it highlights is that platforms need to take ownership of the problems they are contributing to.”

Garlinghouse’s comments on Coinbase’s mission came soon after he said the company, which has a $10 billion valuation, is considering relocating overseas with Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, and UAE potential candidates due to lack of regulatory clarity in the US regarding its digital asset XRP.

“Ripple was once a darling of Silicon Valley & raised tons of capital from US investors. It’s pretty shocking to see them consider fleeing the country now. This isn’t a move any company takes lightly. I wonder what this says about the state of their relationship with the SEC….” said Jake Chervinksy, General Counsel at Compound Fiance, about this development.

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Author: AnTy

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.

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Author: Lujan Odera

USPS Patents A Blockchain-Based Mail-In Voting System Despite President Trump’s Critics

The United States Postal Service (USPS) might have a blockchain-based plan for the U.S mail-in voting suggestion. According to a patent made public by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office on August 13, the USPS had filled an intellectual property application for a blockchain ecosystem dubbed ‘Secure Voting System’ back in February.

Interestingly, this development coincides with President’s Trump recent sentiments towards shutting down the USPC, a move that could ultimately stall mail-in voting.

The USPS patent features blockchain as a fundamental tech that will serve as a means towards a ‘trustworthy’ 2020 election in the U.S. Ideally, this blockchain voting ecosystem should leverage the aspects of reliability and security to enhance voting logistics as well as data transmission and storage of the same. The patent notes that registered voters will receive a computer-readable code, which in turn ought to confirm their identity and ballot information. The patent reads,

“The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.”

Industry stakeholders, including Hedera Hashgraph Technical Lead, Paul Madsen, have since weighed in on the USPS blockchain-focused mail-in voting patent. In his opinion, such a move would be beneficial to everyone involved in the election process, but most importantly, to voters.

“The votes of individual voters would be recorded, either on the blockchain or effectively timestamped and then recorded elsewhere – and so both help to mitigate the risk of double voting, or vote manipulation as well as give the voter confidence through the transparency of the process.”

Successful Blockchain-Based Voting in the U.S

While the stakes are higher on U.S 2020 elections, the use of blockchain cannot be ruled out given the tech has been used in other instances. Some notable events in which stakeholders voted through blockchain include delegate selection for the Republican National Convention in the states of Utah and Arizona.

It was also used for absentee ballots in the 2018 West Virginia elections in representing the military who are overseas. Now that the USPS is looking to join this bandwagon, its Inspector General Office (OIG) has suggested other areas like supply chain, identity services, device, and financial management where it could further leverage blockchain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Trump Wants To Cut A Check Of At Least $1,000 To Every American, How Will You Spend It?

Americans could get a check for $1,000 or more in the company weeks as the government works on a plan to prevent a recession and protect people from going bankrupt.

On Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called for every American adult to receive a $1,000 check “immediately” to help people until another government aid can arrive. By Tuesday, the proposal got bipartisan support, including from President Trump.

The White House suggested that the amount could be even over $1,000, an acknowledgment of how big the current situation and economic crisis are becoming.

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, adding that Trump wants them to go out as soon as “in the next two weeks.”

“We’re going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible,” Trump added.

But still won’t avoid recession?

Giving of money isn’t unprecedented as the US has done this before twice. During the Great Recession, the fed sent every adult a $300 to $600 check plus $300 per child. Then in 2001, the same thing happened when the majority of Americans received a $300 check.

During the last recession, checks went out to about everyone who wasn’t a millionaire and filed a US tax return. Those with less than $75,000 income, for the full amount, while the wealthier people got less.

A good first step according to many as it is simple and relatively fast, however, Andrew Levin, a former special adviser to the Federal Reserve said, “I don’t see how we’re going to avoid having a recession.”

This time, the coronavirus check proposal would be a direct cash payment. Mnuchin said Tuesday that millionaires would not be getting the checks.

Multiple rounds of money needed

As per the Democratic proposal from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Ro Khanna (D. Calif.), those making $65,000 would receive at least $1,000, for which 75 percent of Americans would qualify.

Another Democratic plan from Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Sens. Michael F. Bennet of Colorado goes further with $2,000 for every American adult plus $1,500 per child in the summer and a $1,000 check in the fall if the emergency continues.

“We will need multiple rounds of money for everyone,” said Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist. One of the leading experts on recessions, Sahms forecast a deeper recession than that of 2007-2009 but might not last long if policymakers act boldly. “This recession is going to be more severe than the Great Recession,” she said.

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Author: AnTy

Huobi Crypto Exchange Makes its Debut in Blockchain Development with DeFi PlatformHuobi Collabs With Nervos On Blockchain Framework Testnet For DeFi Applications

  • Huobi announced on Feb 28th the launch of its blockchain beta testnet as part of an expansion plan to tap into the decentralized finance (DeFi) market.
  • Huobi Chain, the blockchain network designed for this, runs as an open-source where participants can leverage the platform’s features to get financial services attributed to digital assets.

The Singapore-registered crypto exchange has partnered with Nervos in this project as its technical development partner. Together, the two provide a regulatory friendly ecosystem for DeFi’s offering financial services like lending, decentralized exchange, payments and asset tokenization based on blockchain networks. Huobi’s Group VP of Global Business, Ciara Sun, was optimistic of this milestone;

“With Huobi Chain, we want to provide the decentralized framework that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, which is critical to the widespread adoption of DeFi.”

For internal blockchain regulation, Huobi chain will use the Delegated Proof of Stake Consensus (DPoS) allowing authorities to operate on the network through special nodes. Furthermore, a decentralized identifier will be used to capture personal records digitally for the purpose of AML/KYC procedures across borders.

Huobi Chain Prospects and Practicality

This platform was purposely built to serve the financial services space; third parties can easily develop apps tailored to their needs once Huobi’s chain real version goes live. The Huobi chain network design basically facilitates cross-chain linking, asset management and the high-volume trades in financial markets. Both centralized and decentralized networks can interact with the blockchain through 3rd party side chains or smart contracts.

Popular crypto coins which are supported by Huobi chain include Ether (ETH), Bitcoin and Huobi’s native token (HT). It is however notable that the latter is the only utility token that will operate on Huobi chain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

China’s Central Bank Digital Currency is “Digital Form of the Yuan” & “Not for Speculation”

  • Mu Changchun, central bank veteran in charge of the plan for virtual yuan says it will not need the backing of a basket of currencies
  • Chinese internet users unimpressed by no speculating on the virtual currency part

China’s new sovereign digital currency would not be open to speculation like other cryptocurrencies, said a Chinese central bank official on Saturday.

Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute said it would be a “digital form of the yuan” that wouldn’t need the backing of a basket of fiat currency.

“The currency is not for speculation. It is different to bitcoin or stable tokens, which can be used for speculation or require the support of a basket of currencies,” Mu said.

The central bank official said that the design, formulation, and functional research and testing of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment have been completed. The next step is to roll out the pilot programs before it is launched.

But Chinese internet users aren’t excited about the idea that there would be no speculating on the virtual currency.

“So there will be no fun in it,” one person commented. Another said on news portal Sina.com, “The digital currency is just another form of the yuan, but cryptocurrencies that use real blockchain technology can be treated like gold and silver.”

However, there is no time frame for introducing the central bank-backed digital currency as of yet.

Any Chinese bank or company hasn’t officially confirmed their participation in this digital currency plan either but earlier this month there have been reports that the big four state banks and three state-owned telecom companies are involved in the process.

Meanwhile, Beijing has been cracking down on trading of Bitcoin and other digital currencies and seeing Facebook’s stablecoin Libra as a potential challenge to its capital account control. As the bitcoin price climbs back above $7,600 just a few days before Christmas, it will be interesting to see what is on the 20/20 horizon for everything the crypto world has become in the last decade and will surely blossom and grow in the upcoming decade.

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Author: AnTy

JP Morgan is Looking Forward to Launching a New Blockchain Network Based on Quorum in Japan

JP Morgan announced its plan to launch a new cryptocurrency, JPM coin, early in 2019 and also to expand its blockchain network, Quorum, in Japan come next year. It also confirmed a new project started to speed up collateral and cash transfers.

In an attempt to achieve these plans, the bank partnered with a fintech Company, Baton Systems. JP Morgan’s launch is a clear indication of technological advancement in handling the financial crisis in the banking world.

The Network has Gained Considerable Support from Japanese Banks

Over 80 banks in Japan are responsive to the platform, which boosts efficiency in receipt screening to curb money laundering. According to a treasury officer in Tokyo, the network will help in the cooperation between banks and regulatory agencies to resolve compliance queries.

JP Morgan is using its capital scale to build an entirely digital bank for better alignment with the client’s interests. It is transforming; this is a good influence for most banks to move from offline legacy and embrace the digital age. It is preparing other banks for a future with global capitalization from cross- border payments to corporate debt issuance over the Blockchain.

How JP Morgan is Expanding Blockchain Projects with Banks

The Blockchain platform will now be used for the improvement of Interbank Information Network (IIN) to improve transaction speed. It will also deal with bank challenges, including data sharing between banks.

IIN uses digital technology to accelerate international money transfers in banks that are interested in thwarting money laundering activities. JP Morgan has now built features to allow verification of transactions sent to valid accounts. The system will enable both domestic and international payments.

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Author: Daniel W