Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain

Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain

Besides working on a central bank digital currency, Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) will also help with the development of digital assets and regulation of stablecoins in the country.

The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) on Dec. 28.

SDF announced on Monday, this week, that as per the memorandum they will work on the development of virtual assets in Ukraine.

In response, XLM recorded gains, going to nearly $0.17 XLM 20.28% Stellar / USD XLMUSD $ 0.19
$0.04 20.28%
Volume 2.57 b Change $0.04 Open $0.19 Circulating 21.95 b Market Cap 4.28 b
2 h Ukraine’s CBDC, the Digital Hryvina, Will Run on Stellar’s Blockchain 2 w Stellar Invests $3 Million in Digital Assets Settlement Network Across LATAM 3 w XLM Records Impressive Volume; Co-founder says Team Is Making Stellar ‘Useful for Real People’
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The latest efforts align with the country working on creating a legal environment for the development of digital assets in Ukraine and enhancing its status as an innovative digital country in the financial market in Eastern Europe.

“Another important aspect of this cooperation is contributing to the development of the infrastructure for a Ukrainian national digital currency,” said Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development.

The National Bank of Ukraine has been researching the possibility of CBDC implementation since 2017, Bornyakov said.

As per the memorandum, both will cooperate on the development of the virtual assets market in Ukraine, supporting projects related to virtual assets; implementation and regulation of stablecoin circulation in the country; and development of the digital currency of the Central Bank (CBDC) in Ukraine.

“We look forward to working with the Ministry and other stakeholders to digitize the hryvnia, to bring Stellar-based tools and services to the people and businesses of Ukraine, and to introduce new partnership opportunities in Ukraine to businesses in the Stellar ecosystem.”

Denelle Dixon CEO: Stellar Development Foundation

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Is Ready to Welcome The New Year With Blast; Chance Of A Pullback?

Several factors point to an upcoming correction, what will be instructive for next year’s flows would be whether institutions “buy on a potential dip.”

Bitcoin vaulted above $29,000 to hit yet another record high with just one day left to end 2020. But it is showing no signs of slowing down its crazy December rally that has it up over 50% this month.

The digital asset climbed as high as $29,275 before pulling back to $28,045 but is now just above $28k.

And with these gains came over $540 billion market cap which helped Bitcoin flip its skeptic Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and become the 10th largest asset by market capitalization.

Interestingly, while volume on Wall Street is winding down due to the holidays, crypto volumes are seeing record-breaking levels.

As Paul Vigna, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal noted, in his 3-decade experience covering financial markets, he has “never seen a group of people so insanely bullish on a specific asset class.”

This latest uptick in BTC price coincided with increased stablecoin deposits on crypto exchanges. However, such transactions are now decreasing.

A Potential Dip

Bitcoin has been going strong ever since the March sell-off and since then we have yet to see any meaningful pullback.

“BTC would have a correction when the spot inflow of institutional investors slows down,” says Ki-Young Jo, CEO of data provider CryptoQuant. He noted that Grayscale hasn’t purchased any BTC since Dec. 25. Also, we haven’t had significant Coinbase outflows since last week.

The relative strength indicator is also flashing red, putting the digital asset into overbought territory, suggesting the coin is “close to a top.”

“Key to this rally is that it has been sustained over several weeks,” said Matt Long, head of distribution and prime products with crypto brokerage OSL in Hong Kong. “If we do see a break to the downside, it will be instructive on the direction of first-quarter flows whether we see institutions continue to buy on a potential dip.”

The market has long been anticipating a correction that is yet to be seen. In the light of strong demand for Bitcoin, experts believe it won’t be as deep, 30% to 40%, as we saw during the 2017 bull run but less than half of that and even that would be quickly scooped off.

“My sense is we’re very close to a top — we could hit $30,000 though,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. “We should definitely see a pullback, but the magnitude is probably lesser. We might only see 10% to 15% drops.”

According to Ayyar, a lot of things have been validated this year, and “Bitcoin is now a real alternative.”

Regulatory Worries

Regulators are also keeping things slightly uncertain. After the SEC sued Ripple Labs and its top executives for allegedly selling unregistered security XRP, it has been speculated that they are “sniffing around a number of projects and companies.”

The market can see the biggest hit if a stablecoin like the dominant USDT gets targeted. And although some may feel so, “Tether is registered and regulated under FinCEN as all the centralized competitors. Strict KYC/AML is applied to all Tether direct users, as the other main issuers are doing. Less regulated is just FUD,” clarified Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and Bitfinex.

When it comes to Tether, the “SEC isn’t the agency to be worried about,” said Jake Chaervinksy, General Counsel at Compound Finance. The NYAG is already pursuing Tether in a Martin Act investigation, He said earlier this week that the handover of loan documents will be completed in “the coming weeks.”

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Author: AnTy

Greenpro Capital to Invest $100M in Bitcoin; Will Replace Cash With BTC on Balance Sheet in Q1

Greenpro Capital to Invest $100M in Bitcoin; Will Replace Cash With BTC on Balance Sheet in Q1

Greenpro “fully believe in BTC as a store of value” and sees other crypto-assets like ETH as a better return option. Bitcoin investments have become the way to pump the company shares in 2020.

The Kuala Lumpur headquartered Nevada corporation, Greenpro, has announced its intention to set up a Bitcoin Fund for investment. The company will use its subsidiary, cryptocurrency exchange CryptoSX, to acquire its BTC stake.

The decision to launch a Bitcoin fund has been made in the light of the ongoing mass adoption of BTC by banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, and institutions, said the company in its official announcement.

Greenpro also believes that Bitcoin, the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a reliable store of value as such the company’s crypto strategy will produce significant value to the company.

The company not only has a belief in BTC but also other cryptos like Ethereum which by providing better returns, preserve the value of their capital as such a better option than holding cash in their balance sheet.

This year first MicroStrategy, which has invested more than a billion-dollar in BTC as a reserve asset, and then Square with its $50 million investment has given value to BTC as a replacement to cash as a reserve asset. Greenpro CEO CK Lee, who recently received an Honorary Ph.D. in Finance and Cryptocurrencies from Rivera University located in France said,

“We fully believe in BTC as a store of value. I’ve instructed our investment bankers to raise debt in Q1, 2021 of up to US$100 million to invest in BTC. The Company will also invest its own cash into BTC.”

In response to the news of Bitcoin investment, the shares of Greenpro Capital jumped 133% in pre-market on Monday. After going as high as $2.41, a price level that was last seen in October of this year, GRNQ shares have settled around $1.87 for now.

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Author: AnTy

Germany Passes Law to Allow Electronic Securities on Blockchain

Germany, the largest economy in Europe, has passed a law that will allow all-electronic securities to be recorded and traded based on blockchain technology. According to Reuters’ report, this is part of a more effective strategy by the country’s Finance Ministry to integrate existing ecosystems with blockchain.

The newly passed legislation does away with paper certificate requirements for selling securities within Germany’s financial markets. Stakeholders who pivoted towards this shift cited lengthy administrative processes that have often been a barrier.

While the paper certificate may have acquired sentimental value, the future belongs to an electronic version, according to Olaf Scholtz, Germany’s Minister of Finance. Scholtz said that,

“The paper certificate may be dear to some for nostalgic reasons, but the future belongs to its electronic version.”

Meanwhile, Germany is still making significant strides in the nascent crypto industry has released new guidelines that recognize crypto assets as financial instruments earlier this year. Its second-largest stock exchange, Börse Stuttgart, is also working to integrate security tokens to shift to virtual assets.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Kraken to Integrate Lightning Network in 2021 for Faster & Cheaper Bitcoin Transactions

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will be integrating the Lightning Network next year.

The day Bitcoin smashed through $20,000 to reach nearly $20,900, the same day Kraken announced that it would help its clients deposit and withdraw Bitcoin on Lightning Network, which is expected to be done by the first half of 2021.

This means instantly transferable Bitcoin at the lowest fees.

With the help of this integration, the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to scale to process millions of transactions per second,

“a leap forward enabling trades to be completed at a lower cost and with greater speed.”

However, Kraken says these features are just the beginning as it works towards shaping the “future of programmable payments with digital money.”

For the integration of the second layer of Bitcoin, Kraken will be hiring a team that will specifically focus on the Lightning Network, as part of the exchange’s “continuing effort to deliver the best possible experience for traders and investors.”

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Author: AnTy

Fidelity Digital to Custody BTC as Collateral for BlockFi’s USD Loans to Institutions

Fidelity Digital Assets will now allow its institutional customers to use their Bitcoin as collateral against cash loans.

This new offering has been introduced in partnership with blockchain startup BlockFi, which announced on Wednesday that it is “thrilled” to support “Fidelity’s entrance into the digital asset financing space.”

“Having an ability to finance positions is a critical component of financial services infrastructure, and this collaboration reflects an exciting development for the digital asset ecosystem,” said Zac Prince, CEO and founder of BlockFi.

BlockFi will be offering US dollar loans to institutional clients holding BTC as collateral in custody accounts at Fidelity Digital Assets (FDA), the unit of Boston-based asset manager Fidelity Investments. Christine Sandler, Head of Sales and Marketing for FDA said,

“We continue to see demand for increased capital efficiency from institutions that maintain long bitcoin positions, and with this collateral agent capability, our customers seeking that efficiency can access more opportunity with the capital that they trust us to keep safe.”

Cash will be offered worth 60% of loans backed by the digital asset with “room for client-level customization” and even adjusted to meet large firms’ needs, said Prince.

Combining risk-managed loan agreement with custody furthers the opportunity for institutions in the digital asset space. Sandler said,

“The business and market momentum we’ve seen this year have reinforced our belief that institutional investors are looking for a more comprehensive offering in the digital assets space.”

With this new offering, FDA is entering into the “thriving lending market” of digital assets that target those Bitcoin investors who want to turn their cryptocurrency into cash without selling.

Hedge funds, crypto miners, and over-the-counter trading desks are the potential customers, Tom Jessop, president of FDA, said in an interview with Bloomberg. He sees the loans to be longer-term than the typical repo trade.

According to him, holding BTC to back loans is “a foundational capability,” and “as the markets grow, we’d expect that this becomes a fairly important part of the ecosystem.”

Right now, BlockFi offers 8.6% APY for users that HOLD BTC on their platform.

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Author: AnTy

Standard Chartered Bank CEO: Digital Currencies Will ‘Inevitably’ Become Mainstream

Standard Chartered CEO, Bill Winters, has said that digital currencies will soon become mainstream as more people adopt this new tech. Winters shared his sentiments during the Singapore FinTech Festival, where he signaled that the bank would soon be announcing some exciting developments in this field.

Speaking at the virtual conference, the Standard Chartered Bank CEO touched on matters CBDC and private stablecoins. Winters’s approach on both digital asset classes as relaxed as opposed to recent takes by monetary authorities to phase out private stablecoins like Tether (USDt).

According to the initial reporting by CNBC, Winters particularly highlighted that,

“I think there is absolutely a role for central bank digital currencies as well as non-central bank-sponsored digital currencies.”

Giving an example of the voluntary carbon market, Winters noted that the concept of having crypto assets to represent an underlying is more intriguing to him,

“The exciting development for me is to have currencies that don’t match a currency in and of itself but are intended to capture either a superset of a subset.”

Despite being bullish on the fundamentals, the CEO was also keen to highlight the existing gap in merging the world of traditional finance and crypto. Per Winter’s view, the two industries can only merge if organizations embrace critical fundamental cultural shifts. He also hinted at they may be developing their own digital currency, stating, “I think there is a whole new world that’s opening up for us.”

Standard Chartered & UnionBank $187 Million Tokenized Bond

Meanwhile, the bank is still making strides through blockchain tech itself; an update yesterday by both Standard Chartered and UnionBank revealed that the two completed a PoC bond issuance worth 9 billion Philippines pesos ($187 million). This bond targeted retail investors and was issued within a blockchain ecosystem to make it more accessible.

Standard Chartered head of capital markets ASEAN, Aaron Gwak, said that this innovation changes the bonds market dynamics, where institutional investors dominate the game.

“The bond infrastructure around the world has been designed primarily for institutional investors and involves several intermediaries to buy and subsequently trade bonds, making it less accessible to retail investors.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Argentina Passes the ‘Solidarity’ Law to Confiscate Wealth

Argentina has approved the wealth tax that will impose a tariff on people with large fortunes in an attempt to boost its revenue. The third-largest economy in Latin America struggling with high inflation and an increase in poverty is heading into its third year of recession.

The “Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation” Bill was already passed by the lower house and late on Friday, Senators also gave its nod with 42 votes in favor and 26 against.

“This law will allow Argentina to move forward because the situation is really serious,” the Committee on Budget and Finance president Carlos Caserio said. “The emergency declaration is the way to get out of this problem quickly.”

It involves a one-time tax of at least 2% on individuals with assets of more than 200 million pesos ($2.45 million), through which the government aims to collect about $3.7 billion.

“We must find points of connection between those who have the most to contribute and those who are in need,” said ruling party Senator Anabel Fernandez Sagasti on Twitter.

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“When QE is no more sufficient, seize it directly from the people. All in the name of Covid,” wrote one Bitcoiner on Twitter.

The proceeds from the tax will be used for medical supplies (20%), SMEs (20%), “social developments” (15%), student scholarships (20%), and natural gas development programs (25%).

“Bitcoin is the only exit door from this nonsense,” added the crypto enthusiast.

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Author: AnTy

Tesla, Amazon, Netflix, & Pfizer Now Tradeable on Bittrex Against USD, USDT, & BTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex announced on Monday that it will now allow its users to trade popular stocks.

After derivatives platform FTX, Bittrex is the latest one to list the tokenized stocks on its exchange. This is made possible through its partnership with Digital Assets.AG.

Digital Assets.AG is a Swiss-based company that facilitates the tokenization of traditional financial assets. This will allow investors and traders to directly access the listed companies without an external broker or additional fees.

The popular stocks available to purchase and trade on Bittrex include Tesla (TSLA), Alibaba (BABA), SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), Beyond Meat Inc (BYND), Pfizer (PFE), Apple (AAPL), BioNTech (BNTX), Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Bilibili (BILI).

These stocks will be tradeable against US dollars (USD), Tether (USDT), and Bitcoin (BTC).

“The traditional stock exchanges of the world’s financial capitals have for centuries set the terms for engagement and trading,” said Tom Albright, the chief executive of Bittrex Global adding that the decade-old inefficient, complex, and expensive infrastructure is “totally unnecessary.” He said,

“Blockchain technology has the potential to radically broaden access to financial services, and Bittrex Global is very proud to provide people with a portal to build their capital and private wealth in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago.”

Unlike the traditional stock market, Bittrex will allow people to trade twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, users can purchase a fraction of stock instead of entire shares. Even the countries where access to US stocks though traditional finance is not possible will now be able to trade them.

This is just the beginning as the exchange plans to “quickly increase their offerings by giving its customers exposure to ETFs, indices, and additional asset classes.”

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Author: AnTy

Chinese e-Commerce Giant JD.com to Accept Digital Yuan in the 2nd Round of Public Trial

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said on Saturday that its fintech arm, JD Digits will accept digital yuan as payment for some products.

JD.com is China’s first virtual platform to accept the central bank digital currency, as part of an experimental giveaway of digital yuan to the citizens of Suzhou, according to the company’s post on its official WeChat account.

Under the trial, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the municipal government will issue a total of 20 million yuan ($3 million). 100,000 consumers selected through a lottery will be receiving 200 digital yuan “red envelopes”.

This will be the second such program after the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 selected customers in Shenzhen in October, South China’s Guangdong Province. It was the first time the trail of digital yuan went public after a series of internal tests.

Last month, PBOC Governor Yi Gang said over 2 billion yuan had been spent using the DCEP so far in 4 million transactions.

The new round of public trials of the central bank-backed sovereign digital currency involves a wider range of consumer and application scenarios compared to the first test.

Booming Digital Industry

As we reported, the central bank of China is also discussing the technical pilot testing of digital yuan for cross-border payments with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). The exact date of the launch is unknown but it will offer an additional payment option, said Eddie Yue, chief executive of HKMA. Yue said  on Friday,

“As the yuan is already in use in Hong Kong and the status of digital yuan is the same as cash in circulation, it will bring even greater convenience to Hong Kong residents and tourists from the Chinese mainland.”

The central bank governor also said on Monday that China will push forward the R&D of the digital yuan in a steady manner, launch pilot tests in an orderly manner, and improve its legal framework.

According to Pan Helin, executive director of the Digital Economy Research Institute at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, 2021 will usher in an important period for the digital industry as the technologies have become more mature after several years of development. Pan told the Global Times,

“In recent years, China’s digital industry has been booming, and new technologies such as big data, cloud computing, 5G, artificial intelligence and blockchain have been rapidly developed and widely applied in various fields of social economy, laying a good foundation for the development and application of digital currency.”

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Author: AnTy