Kiffmeister’s FinTech Daily Digest (06/16/2020)

Bank of Canada is Looking for a CBDC Project Manager
The Bank of Canada has posted an opening for a CBDC Project Manager, saying that is “embarking on a program to design a contingent system for a CBDC… It will take into consideration a wide variety of factors, including policy considerations, diverse stakeholder needs, difficult technical challenges and the development of a technical architecture to realize a CBDC pilot system. 

Thailand’s government to issue savings bonds to the public via blockchain
Thailand’s public debt management office (PDMO) is reportedly set to issue savings bonds to the general public via blockchain. PDMO will use state-owned Krung Thai Bank’s (KTB) blockchain platform and e-wallet to distribute bonds. It will enable people and investors to buy the bonds without coming down to the banks’ branch offices or using ATM machines. All they will need are a KTB account and credit in their e-wallet.

Researcher Refutes ‘Blackmail’ Theory Behind Mysterious Ether Transactions
Last week, the crypto community spotted transaction fees of up to $2.6 million featured in several transactions on the Ether (ETH) network. Vitalik Buterin has since suggested that the abnormous fees “may actually be blackmail,” but some researchers have now challenged that claim. Alex Manuskin, blockchain researcher at Tel Aviv-based cryptocurrency wallet company ZenGo, said the blackmail theory “takes some very peculiar circumstances for it to be possible”.

Stellar to vote on protocol upgrade
The Stellar project released the 13th version of its core protocol on June 13th. Network validators will vote on whether to upgrade the network on June 18th. Like XRP, Stellar does not use Proof-of-work or Proof-of-Stake but uses its own unique approach to solve the Byzantine generals problem called the Federated Byzantine Agreement. The protocol changes focus on three key Core Advancement Protocols, Fee bumps, Fine-grained control of asset authorization, and First-class multiplexed accounts.

Atari’s gaming token will be used for sports and esports betting
Atari has partnered with Unikrn, an online betting platform that lets users wager on professional sports and esports matches, as well as on their own performance in select head-to-head online video games. Atari Token holders will be able to use the cryptocurrency on the Unikrn platform, which also sells things like loot boxes and game keys. The Atari Token is a crypto-asset built using the Ethereum protocol (ERC20).

Digital Transformation: Only 40% of U.S. Consumers Expect to Visit Physical Bank Branches After COVID-19
The number of new U.S. mobile banking registrations month increased 200% in April 2020, and mobile banking traffic increased by 85%, according to data from Fidelity National Information Services. Only around 40% of people noted that they plan or expect to return to physical bank branches after the pandemic has passed according to a recent survey conducted by Novantas . This suggests that the ongoing and increasing shift towards digital or online banking platforms could be permanent for many consumers.

SafeCharge and Visa introduce new digital payment options for small U.K. businesses
U.K.-based SafeCharge launched a new solution offering small businesses alternative ways to accept digital payments in response to the COVID-19 crisis. SafeCharge Local, supported by Visa, enables consumers to make payments online and over the phone whilst also providing a better consumer experience in store by reducing queues and limiting the need for close customer contact at the point of sale. At the heart of SafeCharge Local is a digital payment solution called Paylink, which enables businesses to receive payments through the use of QR codes and secure payment links without the need for a physical point of sale terminal or an online shop.

Bank of England on payments after the Covid crisis – emerging issues and challenges
Changes in the way we pay and the challenges we’ve seen over the past several months pose two important and interrelated questions for central banks and regulators. First, how do we ensure that we have legislative and supervisory frameworks in place to support development of safe private sector innovation that could respond to these challenges? Here, it is clear that we need to ensure that new ways to pay and new forms of electronic money are offer equivalent protections to existing ones. And second, what is the right role for central banks in provision of the money we use to transact? I’m looking forward to the discussion.

Mobile money-enabled remittances: Building resilience in times of crisis
Mobile money remains the cheapest method of sending international remittances; the average cost of sending $200 using mobile money is well below the UN’s SDG 10.c target. With over a billion registered mobile money accounts globally and close to $2 billion in daily transactions, the mobile money industry will continue to play its vital role in increasing digitisation and building resilience of those for whom remittances are a crucial financial lifeline during a crisis and enabling migrants and their families to attain their own Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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