Reserve Bank of Australia Is ‘Closely Watching’ CBDC Research, Despite A ‘No Rush’ Attitude

Barely a month after saying it sees no rush in launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has confirmed that it is still following closely on the developments in this space. RBA’s head of policy payments, Tony Richards, said that the monetary authority is also considering going the ‘wholesale’ way where the CDBC would be limited to particular financial institutions.

Richards spoke at a Blockchain, Crypto, and FinTech conference held at the University of Western Australia. He highlighted some of the considerations that RBA will focus on as it continues to deliberate on the CBDC proposition,

“We will be continuing to consider the case for a CBDC, including how it might be designed, the potential benefits and policy implications, and the conditions in which significant demand for a CBDC might emerge.”

While RBA’s mid-September report was skeptical about issuing a CBDC, Richards noted that a public policy case for its issuance is yet to be made. He went on to add that the bank is currently looking at the design options that it could take if it eventually launches a CBDC. Unlike Bitcoin, whose foundation is on the blockchain, Richards anticipates that an Aussie CBDC will take the form of a centralized & permissioned digital ledger.

Other consideration factors include whether to develop the CBDC as a token-based or account-based ecosystem. The RBA is also looking at the retail case as part of its ongoing research on the policy and technological effects of launching a CBDC. Richards confirmed that they would continue to follow closely what CBDC advanced jurisdictions are doing,

“If some jurisdictions do move towards full implementations of CBDC, there will be many central banks like us who will be closely watching.”

With the current CBDC developments, it appears that these digital assets may soon become part of legal backed tenders in global circulation. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) recently released a CBDC report in collaboration with seven major central banks. Russia has also issued a consultative paper on CBDCs, while Japan’s central bank is set to pilot its digital yen in 2021.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

After SEC Scrutiny, Telegram Speaks Out To Settle TON Blockchain and GRAM Tokens Rumors

Telegram has made an announcement on its official website, saying it’s not going to launch its new blockchain platform called TON and the Grams cryptocurrency until it has the green light from the US regulators.

It has also been mentioned that, even while some websites are already offering Grams presales, the token doesn’t exist, as the company didn’t issue it yet. It seems the TON Blockchain that’s going to use the tokens is still in Beta Test and only after its launch, the Grams will become available for buying.

TON Will be a Decentralized Community of Third-Party Developers

As clearly pinpointed by Telegram, TON is going to be decentralized and maintained by third party contributors. This means others will contribute to its ecosystem by developing apps and smart contracts. More than this, the third parties will have the responsibility to both adopt and implement the apps and smart contracts they’re creating for TON however they see fit. Further on, Telegram has mentioned it may never maintain the platform, nor create any app for it.

Telegram Won’t Be in Control of TON

The TON Blockchain code is going to be open source and visible to anyone. Telegram won’t be in control of it, nor it will have any unique rights or managerial responsibilities when it comes to the platform. However, it will be possible for the company and its employees to hold Grams after TON is launched.

Grams Holders Shouldn’t Expect to Automatically Get Rich

As a third point, Telegram mentions that holding Grams doesn’t necessarily mean getting rich, nor that shares at Telegram will be owned by those who have bought the tokens. It clearly says Grams are not investment products and only meant to be used as exchange tokens in the TON ecosystem. It’s even stated that since the crypto market is quite risky at the moment, Grams can even make their holders poorer.

A Crypto Wallet Won’t Yet Be Integrated with the Messaging App

Telegram won’t yet create a crypto wallet for its instant messaging app, at least not until the US regulators will give their approval for such a service. This has also been posted on Telegram’s official website on January 6. Both announcements arrive just before the company’s CEO will make a deposition on January 7 in Dubai.

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Author: Oana Ularu

MUFG Denies Reports That It Will Develop A Digital Currency With Indeed And Glassdoor Owner Recruit

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Bank (MUFG) has released a statement saying that while it has agreed to collaborate with Recruit, the details of the joint project have not yet been made public.

MUFG is Japan’s largest bank and the 5th in the world. The rumors that it may launch a new digital currency in Japan have been denied in a statement from December 4. In the statement, MUFG is saying it hadn’t yet decided if it’s most recent business collaboration will lead to forming a digital currency.

Partnership On, Launching Digital Currency Off

The rumors that MUFG is going to launch a new digital currency were circulated by a few English-language media outlets, Japan Times included. They were saying the currency will be released in the first 6 months of 2020. This is what MUFG had to say in a statement that denies these rumors:

“These reports are not based on any announcement made by MUFG Bank. It is true that we have concluded the joint venture agreement for an establishment of a new company. No other decision has been made in this regard at this time.”

Digital Currencies Already Flooding the Japanese Market

Reportedly, the offering would have allowed users to make payments with their smartphones by using QR codes and their digital currency account that would have been linked to their bank account. Japan Times even cited sources and said MUFG would hold a minority stake when compared with the 51% owned by its partner Recruit, the provider of human resources services. Many banks are trying to front-run the demand when it comes to digital currency payments, the J-Coin Pay from Mizuho Bank gaining more and more attention in Japan.

MUFG Has Extended Blockchain Experience

Launching a digital currency wouldn’t have been MUFG’s first time doing anything in the digital currency space. In 2018, the bank launched the MUFG Coin project, which is an in-house digital currency. Also, in February, it had formed a partnership with Akamai, the content delivery network, to launch in the first 6 months of 2020 a blockchain-based payment network called Global Open Network.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Grayscale’s Q3 Report Shows Impressive Growth In New institutional Interest of Crypto Assets

Michael Sonnenshein gave an interview for CNBC on November 20, saying Grayscale’s recent Form 10 filing with US regulators would be great for the crypto industry if approved.

At the beginning of this week, the asset manager Grayscale filed a Form 10 registration statement for the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which is its Bitcoin (BTC) publicly traded fund. The registration was taken to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Trust Would Make Grayscale the First Crypto Reporting Company

If it gets through, the trust would make Grayscale the first cryptocurrency reporting company. Sonnenshein noted in his interview that the institutional interest in crypto products is increasing, adding about the third quarter of 2019:

“84% of inflows were from non-crypto hedge funds that want digital asset exposure.”

GBTC is trading since May 2015. Sonnenshein said the trading volume over the last 3 months has tripled, regardless of how Bitcoin (BTC) has performed on all spot markets. When asked about how important the SEC approval is for Grayscale’s Form 10 filing, he stated that exposure is gained by diligent companies who are regulated, adding that compliance benefits are important, but not more than having products that “look and feel” like the ones used by institutions.

Bitcoin Price Will be Determined by Halving and not Institutions

Sonnenshein further suggested that in case of Form 10 it is regarded as effective, the institutions needing SEC reporting companies would have more access to invest, while investors would gain quicker options for liquidity as they’d be able to reveal their holdings after 6, and not 12 months.

When asked about what can impact the Bitcoin price, he said institutional investors won’t have anything to do with it, and that the halving or a decrease in supply will matter the most. Grayscale’s filing with SEC comes after the trust had a record year in which it has seen $254 million in inflows for its products, only in 2019’s third quarter.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Chainalysis Report: With A ‘High Degree of Certainty,’ BitForex is Faking Its Trading Volume

Chainalysis has released on Friday a report that’s saying the crypto exchange BitForex may fake its trading volume.

The report also presents how for every Bitcoin (BTC) that has been recorded on-chain from January to November, BitForex claims trades of 40,000 Bitcoins, which is comparable to the average of major exchanges, at about 6 Bitcoins being traded to one on-chain.

BitForex Didn’t Comment on the Report. Philip Gradwell, the Chainalysis chief economist and the report’s compiler said:

“There should be a relationship with the bitcoin moving onto the exchange and how much it is traded.”

The report was shown at the New York Chainalysis Links conference and didn’t receive any response from BitForex.

New Tools for Tracking Trading Volume Suspicious Activity

The report made by Chainalysis comes after entities in the crypto world have put more pressure on exchanges suspected to fake trading volume. There are new tools and metrics to identify fakers. More than this, a report made by Bitwise Asset Management and presented in March at the Securities and Exchange Commission says that almost 95% of the reported Bitcoin trading volume doesn’t present the situation accurately. This means BitForex’s fake trading volume is only a small part of a much bigger whole.

The ratio reported by the company is very high when compared with one of 10 other exchanges, when its Bitwise 10, the leading exchanges’ metric, the volume is being analyzed. While the average ratio is 6:1, BitForex’s is 40,000:1.

Exchanges Gain More Popularity When Their Trading Volume is Ranked High

Gradwell said in an interview that exchanges become more popular and gain new users when their trading volume is highly ranked. Just like with search engine optimization (SEO), where digital strategies are being used for websites to rank higher on Google, the exchanges are increasing their visibility with a high-ranking trading volume. This is what determines them to manipulate their data. Here’s what Gradwell had to say further about the matter:

“It’s really going to degrade the trading experience. If you’re a new entrant to crypto, and you think you’re going to a popular exchange – that actually has faked volume – it’s not going to be a very liquid exchange. You’re not going to get the best prices or be able to buy or sell quickly.”

BitForex Failed 5 Out of 6 Tests Conducted by Alameda Research

Market manipulators, researchers, and investigators are choosing BitForex because it has comparably lax standards, as it practices transaction mining. The Chainalysis report is not the only one saying the company is issuing fake reports, seen in July, Alameda Research made an exchange volume report on 48 crypto exchanges, and BitForex failed 5 out of 6 of its tests. Chainalysis looked in 2018 at 12 of the exchanges suspected to fake trading volume, when it also examined Huobi and Bithumb. After the final report, the ratios in volume started to have more consistency, just like the ones of market leaders.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Is Still The Number One Choice of Crypto on the Dark Web: Europol Affirms

There is an old saying when someone is arrested for illegal activities on the dark web: he should have used Monero. Curiously, it seems that this practice is not as common as some people think.

A recent report made by the Europol has concluded that only a small fraction of people use Monero (XMR) for the dark web, as most people still prefer to use Bitcoin (BTC).

The report shows that both legal and illegal use is still mostly focused on BTC. While the use of XMR tokens was higher for a time, it seems that privacy-focused crypto is not as common as their defenders would lead us to believe.

According to Europol, the main reason for this is that Bitcoin is still very well-known. People are familiar with the token, as it is the most valuable and popular asset in the market, so they just use it, despite how easy it is for the police to track it.

The situation gets even more curious when we see that most ransomware attacks still use BTC, too, despite how high-profile these attacks often are.

Despite the surprising predominance of Bitcoin in the criminal sphere, authorities affirm that a “pronounced shift” has been happening in the crypto world and more people are slowly using privacy coins. For example, some markets have now started to operate only using Monero, something which was considered rare before.

In any case, the recipe to be protected is still the same as always, just don’t commit crimes.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Mobius Capital Investor: If It’s Man-Made, Blockchain Can Be Broken Into And Its Risky

Renowned investor, Mark Mobius, has poked holes on blockchain technology saying that it can be broken into. According to Mobius any technology developed by an individual has its weaknesses and the notion that blockchain cannot be hacked is just a lie and if the technology is broken into, it can lead to a major crisis in the world.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box ” the pioneer founder of Mobius Capital Partners said that the massive support for cryptocurrencies depend on the faith that people have with the internet as well as cryptos.

Mobius explained that blockchain is a high-risk situation and soon people will start realizing how bad it can be to the global economy. He added that it would be better if cryptos were backed by gold. He stated:

“If there is a cryptocurrency that is really backed by gold and there is a meaningful agreement and some kind of modern thing of this connection, then this could be quite interesting.”

Majority of renowned investors have raised their concerns about cryptocurrencies saying they will soon collapse. Recently Warren Buffet compared Bitcoin and cryptos to rat poison saying that he can never invest in Bitcoin. Similarly, Bill Gates has also voiced his opposition in Bitcoin and cryptos saying that the bubble will soon burst.

Many government authorities and agencies have also been raising their concerns about cryptos especially after Facebook announced its plans to enter the market through its Libra project.

Despite the bashing, the crypto space has in the last few months registered tremendous growth with Bitcoin registering a rallying run of about 200% since January to trade above the $10,000 mark.

Do you think big investors will be proven wrong with time after cryptos are adopted for mainstream transactions? Let us know in the comments section.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Max Keiser on Trump Comments About Bitcoin Showing The Importance Of This Digital Asset

  • Trump talked about Bitcoin saying it has no intrinsic value
  • He has also mentioned that the real currency is the U.S. dollar

Bitcoin (BTC), the largest digital currency in the market, has been in the media during the last days not only for the volatility that experienced but also because the U.S. president, Donald Trump, wrote a Tweet about it. The president of the U.S. said that he is not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and that they cannot be considered money.

Trump Slams Bitcoin

In a recent tweet uploaded by Mr. Trump, he said that he is not a fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and that they are not money. In addition to it, he said that their value is volatile and based on thin air. He has also attacked them by claiming that they facilitate “unlawful behavior,” such as drug trade and other illegal activities.

However, the U.S. dollar can also be used with ease to perform illegal crimes and activities. Criminals would clearly perform their crimes using different currencies, and both the U.S. dollar and the Euro help individuals perform illegal activities as well.

He went on saying that Libra, Facebook’s recently released virtual currency, will have “little standing or dependability.” He explained that if Facebook or other companies in the market want to become a bank they will have to follow banking regulations in a similar way as other banks do.

Facebook has decided to release a digital asset called Libra that would be used by individuals around the world to perform transactions and pay for goods and services. Although the virtual currency has not yet been released to the market, there is a lot of speculation about it and how countries will regulate it.

He ended the series of tweets by saying that there is only one real currency in the United States and that it is stronger than ever. Moreover, he mentioned that the U.S. dollar is the most dominant currency anywhere in the world and it will always be like that.

A few days ago, the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, commented on Bitcoin saying that in the future there might be a moment in the U.S. in which several currencies will be operating together, as it already happened in the past. He has also compared Bitcoin to gold rather than considering it as a means of payment.

On the matter, Powell mentioned during a Senate testimony:

“If we do see widespread adoption you could see a return to an era in the United States where we had many different currencies in the so-called national banking era.”

Bitcoin is starting to play an important role in geopolitics. The president of the United States talking about it a few days after the chairman of the FED considered it a “speculative store of value,” is something that should call the attention of analysts.

The cryptocurrency analyst Luke Martin, wrote on Twitter that with the tweet written by Donald Trump, another nation can publicly announce its support for the digital asset.

“From taboo, to fringe finance, to now a geopolitical chess piece that governments and central banks have to consider,” he commented.

Although Trump didn’t mention anything about it, most of the mining activities on the Bitcoin network take place in mainland China. This is why there are many individuals that claim that Bitcoin is centralized and that any decision that China takes could certainly affect the network as a whole.

Joe Kernen, the co-host of CNBC’s Squawk Box, explained that cryptocurrencies are the first money in the world that is not governed by a legal-regulatory institution but by mathematics. This is certainly real. It is something that worries many nation-states due to the fact they do not have control over it.

Furthermore, the Bitcoin bull Max Keiser believes that if Bitcoin is adopted by nations, it could help the digital currency reach $100,000 in the future.

There are different countries around the world that are trying to find a way to depend less on the U.S. dollar but that would allow them to move funds from one country to another. This is why they are also thinking about embracing Bitcoin.

At the time of writing this article, Bitcoin is being traded around $11,565 and it has a market capitalization of over $206 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Author: Carl T