Central Bank CBDC’s Could Enhance Cross Border Payments: BIS, IMF, World Bank at G20

Central Bank CBDC’s Could Enhance Cross Border Payments: BIS, IMF, World Bank at G20

While Central banks seem to be focusing more on the domestic use of cross-border networks of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) believes CBDCs should be used beyond borders.

CBDC Proposed At G20

In a report published alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the BIS proposed a cross-border network of CBDCs to the G20.

Although cross-border networks are usually criticized for their high cost, low speed, limited access, and insufficient transparency, the global finance triumvirate believe CBDC could change that.

The report analyzed how CBDCs could facilitate enhanced cross-border payments through integration and cooperation. This includes basic compatibility tests and finding common ground between various national efforts in order to reap the full benefits of digital currencies.

The report then dwelled on the importance of interoperability between CBDCs since various CBDCs would roll out at different paces in several jurisdictions.

“If different jurisdictions’ CBDC projects are coordinated effectively, the clean slate presented by CBDCs might be leveraged to enhance cross-border payments,” the paper explained.

While no central bank has launched a CBDC yet, most CBDC studies and development efforts from the apex banks have been largely focused on domestic use and not cross-border payments.

When central banks were asked earlier this year whether they were thinking of exploring CBDCs’ cross-border use, the majority said no.

The survey which was carried out in the first quarter of 2021 with 50 central banks as participants showed that most central banks have not yet taken a firm position on the CBDC issue.

While more than 25% were considering allowing retail CBDC use by non-residents, 14 and nearly 20% said that they are not yet considering this but may do so in the future. Only 8% of the central banks initially considered allowing cross-border retail issued CBDC, while others said they might do so in the future.

Central Banks Exploring CBDCs

Several central banks around the world are currently working on studying or developing pilot tests for digital fiat. Different countries seem to have taken different approaches to CBDCs in terms of design, research, and development efforts.

China’s digital yuan is still leading the game. The country has distributed more than 200 million yuan in digital currency as part of pilot projects across the country. It has conducted trials of its digital currency across different provinces, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, and Chengdu.

China also intends to test its digital yuan with foreign athletes and visitors during the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in 2022.

Many countries have also piloted CBDCs for cross-border use. This includes France, Switzerland, Singapore, and Bahrain among others.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Monetary Authority of Singapore Partners With World Bank and IMF to Launch Global CBDC Challenge

Monetary Authority of Singapore Partners With World Bank and IMF to Launch Global CBDC Challenge

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a global challenge for financial institutions to submit ideas and solutions relating to retail Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The apex bank unveiled the challenge in partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Global Challenge To Seek Solutions For CBDC

The Global CBDC competition seeks innovative retail CBDC solutions to enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion.

Financial technology (FinTech) companies and financial establishments around the world have been invited to contest this challenge.

According to the bank, the competition would see participants submit solutions to 12 unresolved problems regarding CBDC instruments, distribution, and infrastructure.

At the end of the contest, three winners will be chosen, with each receiving S$50,000 (US$37,193) in prize money. In addition, up to 15 finalists would have the chance to receive mentorship and access to the APIX Digital Currency Sandbox.

The sandbox offers a comprehensive test and development platform, including a host of different application programming interfaces (APIs).

The chosen finalists would pitch their solutions to a global audience on Demo Day at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival. The Singapore FinTech Festival is a global festival that will be held from 8 to 12 November 2021.

Other UN agencies which MAS partnered with on this project include the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Programme, and United Nations Capital Development Fund.

The Global CBDC Challenge will also be supported by Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, payments platform Partior, blockchain software developer R3 and blockchain project Hyperledger.

Banks Around The World Working On CBDCs

Many central banks around the world are currently developing CBDCs. According to reports from Bison Trails, 80% of Central banks are studying CBDCs and making efforts to make their currencies compatible with the digital economy.

Most of these advancements are focused on wholesale CBDCs, which will promote central bank-level payments. However, some are also considering retail CBDCs, which consumers and businesses will be able to use like cash.

China still has the lead in developing and deploying CBDCs. The country is currently testing a digital Yuan version, where customers can transact payments over their mobile phones.

The US kicked off a Digital Dollar Project last month to test how a Federal Reserve-issued CBDC would operate.

The project, which consists of five pilot projects, is aimed at evaluating how the digital dollar can benefit people who are unbanked or underbanked as well as individuals who do have access to banking services and small businesses.

Meanwhile, unlike other countries, El Salvador took a more radical approach as opposed to having a CBDC. The country recently became the first to make Bitcoin a legal tender.

El Salvador is also considering mining Bitcoin using geothermal energy derived from volcanoes.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Coinbase Enables its Over A Million Wallet Users to Use DeFi — DEXs, NFTs, & More

The exchange is all set to allow its users to “engage in the exciting world of dapps” while preparing to “accelerate asset addition,” starting with Dogecoin and proposing a private offering of $1.4 billion of convertible senior notes to make acquisitions.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced a new Coinbase Wallet extension to allow its users to connect to dapps and DeFi on the desktop more easily and securely.

Coinbase Wallet is non-custodial, meaning it is user-controlled, and with the new extension, its private keys are encrypted using the secure enclave or keystore of the mobile device.

“We want to empower millions of more customers to engage in the exciting world of dapps and the larger crypto ecosystem,” said Sid Coelho-Prabhu, Coinbase Wallet lead.

With this latest development, Coinbase allows its more than 150 million users access to the world of decentralized finance (DeFi) — trading thousands of cryptos on decentralized exchanges (DEX), earning interest, and collecting NFTs.

“More than a million Coinbase Wallet customers regularly use dapps like Uniswap and Compound.”

Users can also link their Coinbase account to the Wallet and buy and transfer crypto to use in DeFi without even leaving the Wallet.

This new Wallet extension works with every Ethereum DApp, namely Uniswap, Compound, Rarible, Aave, Synthetic, Matcha, dYdX, Oasis, Instadapp, SushiSwap, Zora, ZapperFi, and OpenSea.

Accelerating Asset Addition

Recently, Coinbase had announced its Q1 2021 results, which beat Wall Street estimates and as we reported during the earnings call, company CFO Alesia Haas said that they are working on adding more crypto assets to its platform to capture the increased trading volume.

Interestingly, meme coin Dogecoin is one such crypto the company investors are particularly invested in. During the company’s earnings call on Thursday, CEO Brian Armstrong said that the company is preparing to list DOGE, which he noted: “has been getting a lot of attention recently.” DOGE -2.16% Dogecoin / USD DOGEUSD $ 0.48
-$0.01-2.16%
Volume 4.8 b Change -$0.01 Open $0.48 Circulating 129.65 b Market Cap 61.77 b
6 h FTC Data Reveals Big Jump In Crypto Investment Scams, Losses Totaling $80M 10 h Coinbase Enables its Over A Million Wallet Users to Use DeFi — DEXs, NFTs, & More 1 d “Don’t Give Me Power in Your Project,” says Ethereum Co-founder on Burning SHIB Tokens

“We plan to list DOGE in the next six to eight weeks,” he said during the call. “And then, more broadly, we’re going to be focused on how we can accelerate asset addition in the future.”

“There’s more and more assets being created in the crypto economy,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s going to be something kind of like apps in the App Store on the iPhone.”

Meanwhile, the price of COIN shares remains subdued and trades under $250, on a downtrend ever since its listing in the mid of last month when it traded briefly at $430 on its debut day, in line with the Bitcoin market.

Amidst this, Coinbase announced its intention to privately offer $1.25 billion of convertible senior notes, with an additional $187.5 million due 2026.

To be sold to qualified institutional buyers, “this capital raise represents an opportunity to bolster Coinbase’s already strong balance sheet with low-cost capital that maintains operating freedom and minimizes dilution for Coinbase’s stockholders,” it said.

The company intends to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, enter into additional capped call transactions, and make investments in and acquisitions of other companies, products, or technologies.

“Just went public… using the debt markets already… probably smart to take cash if markets/revenues are expected to decline significantly… or go through another hypergrowth cycle,” commented Gabor Gurbacs, Director at VanEck, on Coinbase’s latest move.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Camping World Partners with BitGo to Accept Cryptocurrency Payments to Purchase RV’s

Camping World Partners with BitGo to Accept Cryptocurrency Payments to Purchase RV’s

U.S. Recreational Vehicle (RV) heavyweight Camping World Holdings Inc. announces a partnership with BitPay in a move to start accepting Bitcoin payments. However, the company will immediately convert the Bitcoin to fiat currency via the crypto processing service.

Cryptocurrency adoption finally gets its roots into institutions with the latest addition to the growing list, Camping World Holdings, America’s largest recreational vehicle (RV) company. The RV Dealer announced a partnership with BitPay in a move that allows clients and customers to make RV purchases using cryptocurrencies.

Announced on Monday, Camping World will accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and a host of other top cryptocurrencies in a bid to boost innovation across the firm. Through the partnership with BitPay, the RV firm aims to attract new customers and provide maximum convenience for their existing customers through various payment methods. The release reads,

“The initiative is part of the Company’s renewed focus on accelerating innovation in the RV marketplace.”

The company, however, does not plan to hold any crypto o its balance sheet; hence every crypto purchase will be immediately converted to fiat via BitPay.

Speaking on the launch of crypto payments and partnership with BitPay, Marcus Lemonis, CEO and Chairman of Camping World, said,

“As the industry leader, we have a responsibility to adapt to new preferences and elevate the customer experience, whether through the products and services we offer or in the ways we interact and transact with the customer. Accepting cryptocurrency is simply another part of our vision to make RVing easy in an increasingly digital world.”

At launch, the service will be available to Chicago, IL, and Kenosha, WI, with the company set to expand to other regions this summer. This partnership will further fasten the company’s goal of having a “paperless experience” to users while buying an RV, the report reads.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

TIME Now Accepts Crypto as Payment for Subscriptions in the US and Canada

TIME, a global media brand with an audience of 100 million around the world, has announced that it has started accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for digital subscriptions.

As was reported previously, the company would be HODLing any BTC that they receive, much like electric car maker Tesla when it announced that they are accepting only BTC as payment soon after investing $1.5 billion in it.

This announcement follows TIME’s recent expansion into the cryptocurrency space after it offered an exclusive series of three TIME covers as NFTs at auction.

“We are thrilled to offer cryptocurrency as a payment option for our digital subscribers for the first time.”

Bharat Krish TIME Chief Technology Officer

Currently, this pay with the crypto feature is only available in the U.S. and Canada. But the company plans to roll up the global access in the next several months.

Those subscribers who pay with crypto will receive unlimited access to content across Time.com for 18 months with their one-time purchase, as well as subscriber-only events and offerings.

TIME will accept crypto through its partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com that will also offer Pay Rewards of up to 10% back for subscribers who pay with CRO, the native coin of the exchange.

“As TIME continues to innovate and find new ways to build upon our existing community of 2.3 million subscribers, we are proud to offer this new payment option through our partnership with Crypto.com.”

Keith Grossman TIME President

Last month, TIME also opened the position for CFO who has “Comfort with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

The UNI Airdrop is Now Worth Over $7k as Google Searches Rise Up & Volume Hits New Highs

The traditional investors are coming to the world of decentralization. Uniswap allows users to front-run the rest of the world amidst the ongoing censoring.

UNI, the 13th largest cryptocurrency by market cap of $5.14 billion, is the largest DeFi token. The digital asset that enjoyed an uptrend throughout last week to reach nearly $20 is up 275% YTD.

These gains made the UNI airdrop currently worth a whopping more than $7,000. The popular decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap launched its governance token UNI in September, less than five months back. UNI tokens were airdropped to all of the users who provided liquidity to the platform before Sept. 1st.

UNI tokens’ worth is increasing as more and more users are using the decentralized exchange, which gained momentum after the Robinhood fiasco. The zero-commission broker halted the trading of popular stocks like GME and has now limited the number of shares that can be purchased. The popular retail app also halted crypto trading last week.

This pushed the traditional investors to the world of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Uniswap is actually allowing traders to front-run the rest of the world as it is open for trading 24/7/365, as is the entire crypto space.

This can be seen in the Google search volumes for “Uniswap,” which is now reaching their DeFi summer levels. The search volumes gained momentum last week just as the WallStreetBets vs. Wall Street battle intensified with trading platforms and social media platforms limited the retail traders’ scope.

Google Trends for the search term “Uniswap”

Source: Google Trends “Uniswap”

Another indicator showing an increased interest in using Uniswap can be seen in its volumes.

Interestingly, throughout January, the decentralized exchange (DEX) has been recording higher than ever volumes. All four weeks of Jan. saw $5.5 billion of volume, as per Uniswap.info.

When it comes to daily volume, it kept above $700 million, and several times it went over $1 billion.

According to Dune Analytics, Uniswap did over $25 billion in volume in January, while its competitor Sushiswap did $12.17 billion, and $6.7 billion was recorded by Curve.

The total DEX volume recorded in the last 30 days was $54 billion, with Uniswap accounting for 48.4% of the share, followed by SushiSwap’s 23.5% and Curve’s 9.6%.

“The writing is on the wall. The majority of non-fiat trading will end up on decentralized, borderless, uncensorable venues,” commented Erik Voorhees, the CEO of the self-custody crypto platform ShapeShift, which is integrating with decentralized protocols and apps.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

This DeFi Blue Chip is Coming to Bitcoin with The RSK Market Proposal

“An Aave approach to the Bitcoin world” is what the DeFi Bluechip project is trying to achieve now.

The popular decentralized finance project announced this week that it is now coming to Bitcoin with a new proposal “for an RSK market on the Aave Protocol.”

“This is a huge step for expanding the DeFi ecosystem,” noted the team which launched Aave V2 last week, which saw its market size surpassing $35 million. The upgrade makes the project easier and cheaper to use, with its flash loan functionality also getting a revamp.

Following the launch of the latest version, the team proposed the ability to separately delegate proposal power and voting power —

“a major step in governance scalability as we believe the ability to assess proposals require different skills than those needed to make a smart contract proposal.”

Aave is the fourth largest DeFi project whose governance token AAVE continues to grow strong, trading at $76.28, with a whopping 4,147% year-to-date performance.

The project has $1.6 billion in TVL, with 432.5k ETH, 10k BTC, and 15.55 million DAI locked in it.

The proposal on Aave’s governance forum explains that for leveraging Bitcoin, they will be incorporating the RSK Market. This will be completely done by RSK devs, and integration has already been done with Chainlink, which will be used by Aave.

RSK’s full technology stack is built on top of Bitcoin, and its goal is to add value and functionality to the ecosystem of the largest cryptocurrency by enabling smart-contracts, near-instant payments, and higher-scalability.

Instead of a bridge, Aave proposes creating a Market, a new idea that incorporates new customers that are not using Aave. All new tokens already on RSK Marketplace natively will be brought along with the new proposal to increase the liquidity and opportunities for both companies. The team noted,

“We will bring to the table new customers that will bring new business and liquidity from the bitcoin world that look the DeFi platforms differently.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Mining: Network Congestion, Fees Uptick, China Ban, & Russian Hash Power in Play

In the world of Bitcoin mining, the hash rate of the network, the computing power used to validate BTC transactions has taken a drop following the positive difficulty adjustment of 8.8%.

The 7-day average hash rate of the network is currently at 131 EH/s, down from the all-time high of 146.8 EH/s, as per Blockchain.com.

A decline in the hash rate resulted in a sudden jump in the total number of unconfirmed transactions in the mempool to over 91.2k today only to get back down to 43k shortly.

This clogging of the network happened as the Bitcoin price broke new ATH’s yesterday. This led the crypto exchange Coinbase to experience delays in BTC withdrawals.

Before the issue was resolved less than five hours after the incident was first reported, Coinbase stated, “We are currently experiencing delays in processing BTC withdrawals due to Bitcoin network congestion.”

This, as usual, had the fees on the network jumping to $5.3, up from around $2 on Nov. 22nd. Miners are enjoying this spike in fees and price with their 7-day average revenue pushing above $18 million.

China is at it again

Amidst this came the report from China that crypto miners located in Baoshan, Yunnan have received a notice of the ban on November 30. As per the document, the power station is asked to stop supplying power to the miners.

After Sichuan and Xinjiang, Yunnan is the third-largest mining place in China.

According to Chinese publications, the attitude of Chinese local power companies continues to change towards crypto mining. It is reportedly more of a demand for economic interests than because of political pressure.

“China rolling out all the old tricks. Bull market confirmed,” commented Alistair Milne on this.

Siberia Dominates Russia’s Hash Power

According to a report by HASHR8 Inc., Russian bitcoin miners rank among the top three countries for contributing hash rate to the largest network.

It further reveals that Russia’s Siberian region accounts for the dominant portion of the country’s mining facilities. It is the “significant energy surplus from advanced hydropower infrastructure in the region” that enables the miners to “secure extremely competitive electricity rates.” The report stated,

“The estimates indicated that Russia’s share of hashrate was comparable to that within the United States. Recent estimates by industry professionals in Russian mining put Russia’s energy draw from mining at ~800 to 900 MW.”

The report mentions that the federal law passed in the country this year “clearly defines Bitcoin mining as an economic activity.”

It further noted that pooling activities must be carried out with a “foreign entity.” While the mining hardware imported is subject to a 20% tax, those imported indirectly through Kazakhstan only involve a 12% VAT charge.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

WEF Report Says Blockchain Is A Core Component in Sustainable Digital Finance

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a new report about the future of digital finance on Wednesday. The WEF report noted that blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile platforms represent a core element of digital finance’s sustainable future.

The report noted that blockchain combines coming of age technologies with a sustainable environment-conscious business model. In the report, UBS executive Karin Oertli noted that all these nascent technologies could help organizations and governments to meet their sustainability goals. Oertli wrote,

“We believe that sustainable digital finance will play an essential role in efficiently channeling this capital to fuel innovation, growth, and job creation, at the same time supporting the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.”

Currently, many European countries and top silicon tech firms’ save pledged to reduce their carbon footprint to zero in the next decade owing to the growing concern over climate change and global warming. Thus it has become even more important to bring sustainable business models to rescue the planet earth before it’s too late.

New WEF Report In Line With OECD Research

The latest sustainability report from WEF is not the first report of its kind, which has touted Blockchain as the key to sustainable future business models. It reinstates the research conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD report had made similar claims regarding blockchain and said,

“The core properties of blockchain and other DLT can enable deeper technological integration, standardization, and the possibility of new business models.”

Carbon dioxide emissions are growing significantly with each passing year. Some of the western countries have taken it upon themselves to make sure to cut their carbon footprint from now onwards.

The emergence of blockchain as key to a sustainable future comes just in time as crypto space has been battling the criticism over Bitcoin’s network electricity consumption and carbon emission.

Read Original/a>
Author: Hank Klinger

COVID-19 Accelerated Digital Payments Growth and Fintech Regulatory Innovation: Study

A joint study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) and the World Bank has revealed that COVID-19 greatly accelerated Fintech regulatory innovation developments. Dubbed Global COVID-19 Fintech Regulatory Rapid Assessment Study’, the report was released on Oct 28 as part of an effort to empirically equip regulators and central banks in the digital currency era. Notably, the study highlights that increased digital payments activity did not result in a similar spike in crypto exchange use; however, these platforms also grew by smaller percentages.

The study’s results are based on responses from 118 central banks and financial regulators in 114 jurisdictions, from both developed and developing economies. Generally, there have been increased efforts to further accelerate the current regulatory innovations and introduce new initiatives to further support the burgeoning sector. According to the study, 72% of the sample has increased or debuted digital ecosystem initiatives, while 58% have already pivoted on RegTech/SupTech focused policies. Innovation offices are also on the rise, with 56% of the respondents noting progress.

Despite the bullish outlook in digital payments adoption, the study found that developed and developing economies faired differently. As per the findings, emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) made more progress in accelerating or introducing Fintech initiatives. Most notably, EMDEs initiatives to support digital ecosystems have been focused on remittances and payments; some respondents reported waiving fees and altering transactional thresholds to mitigate the pandemic’s effects.

Crypto Exchanges Lag Behind

Although not as much as the digital payments arena that was already in place for most economies, the nascent crypto sector grew. As per stats from the study, digital payments are reported to have grown by around 60%, while activity on crypto exchanges only managed to gain 3%. Interestingly, there was a clear difference in the crypto exchange growth for developed and developing markets. The former grew by 6% while the latter saw an increase of 2% in crypto exchange usage.

Prevailing Challenges in Fintech Integration

At the core of regulators’ decision-making process is the risks associated with volatile Fintech environments, especially in upcoming markets like crypto. This study’s respondents identified cybersecurity as the top threat of digital ecosystems, followed by operational risks, consumer protection, and fraudulent activity. The report reads,

“In particular, 90 percent of surveyed regulators from advanced economies see cybersecurity as one of the top three increasing risks associated with FinTech activities.”

As for oversight, it appears that most central banks and regulators are comfortable with adopting and being resilient to innovations. Nonetheless, the respondents highlighted some shortcomings; they include the performance of core regulatory functions, access to reliable data, restriction to essential tech or information, and cooperation with local domestic agencies.

A Prospectus Future with CBDCs

This study has painted out the current status of digital payment networks globally and coincides with an increased interest in CBDC research and development. Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are now a hot topic with the latest insights from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in a collaborative report with 7 major central banks.

Developed economies have currently leaped research, while some like China has gone further and launched a pilot for its prospectus digital yuan. This initiative has been in place for some months and is a reference for most ongoing projects in the space. In 2021, South Korea and Japan are also set to pioneer their CBDC tests to prepare for the virtual currency shift.

Well, UK’s Minister for Africa at the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, James Duddridge, is optimistic that the study will complement the current approaches to Fintech policies,

 “I trust that this report will inform and inspire countries around the world, help support their FinTech regulatory strategies, and encourage greater collaboration across jurisdictions.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui