Kiffmeister’s FinTech Daily Digest (05/20/2020)

Banque de France announces first successful test of a wholesale digital euro
On May 14 the Banque de France completed a test of a blockchain-based wholesale digital euro to settle a securities trade with Societe Generale. The French central bank will continue to run more experiments involving sending the digital euro between other banks.

Facebook’s Libra Adds Firepower To Its Leadership
The Libra Association announced Robert Werner as General Counsel. He adds more regulatory and financial compliance firepower to the Facebook inspired stablecoin and blockchain project. This executive change comes just after the announcement of Libra’s new CEO, Stuart Levey, who recently stepped down from HSBC Holdings as Chief Legal Officer.

Plaid launches exchange to help banks share data with fintechs
Plaid is launching a new service to help banks, especially small ones, quickly develop application programming interfaces for sharing their account data with third parties. The company already works with 3,000 other fintechs to help them access customers’ bank account data. But Plaid Exchange will enable banks to be in the driver’s seat of data-sharing efforts.

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) to Pilot Digitized National Currency
Billon and Raiffeisen Bank International are extending a successful proof-of-concept of a national currency tokenization platform into a pilot project, which will include selected RBI corporate and institutional clients. This pilot will lever a new form of national currency tokenization using Billon’s distributed ledger technology, successfully tested during RBI’s Elevator Lab acceleration program earlier this year.

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Drops by 6% In First Adjustment After Halving
The hash rate drop after the halving has significantly outrun the hashing sprint prior to it. As such, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, which measures how hard it is to compete for block rewards, decreased 6% to 15.14 Trillion at 2:00 UTC on Wednesday in the network’s first biweekly difficulty adjustment since the halving. As the halving drew closer, miners in China did a sprint run of mining, even with older generation machines, to make most of the last days of the higher block rewards.

Grayscale Buys 33% of All Bitcoin Mined in Last Three Months
Grayscale Investments bought up to 33% of all newly minted bitcoin over the last three months, as the asset manager continues to stockpile major crypto-assets. In April 2020, Grayscale reported that the it was holding about 1.7% of all of Bitcoin’s supply. Grayscale’s total assets under management hit $3.8 billion up 80% since May 2019.

Ghana launches three new policies to speed up digital payments
The government of Ghana has launched three new policy initiatives designed to deepen financial inclusion and accelerate digital payments in line with government’s vision of building a payment system that accelerates economic development.

Iran Proposes Crypto Exchange Licensing Under Existing Laws
A bill reportedly moving through the Iranian parliament would include digital currencies in the existing “currency smuggling” and foreign exchange regulations. If passed, the law would make it mandatory for crypto-asset exchanges to obtain a license from the country’s central bank.

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