Kiffmeister’s FinTech Daily Digest (07/23/2020)

The IMF’s @Kiffmeister charted a technology path for central bank digital currencies in a recent webinar hosted by The Block.

Senate Hearing Sees Digital Dollar as a Tool for Economic Supremacy
The U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy conducted a hearing on “Winning the Economic Competition” with China. Former CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo, a longtime advocate for a digital dollar and one of the witnesses, once again called for the U.S. to begin conducting tokenized dollar pilots. He said that maintaining the dollar’s supremacy is an economic and critical strategic matter, for example, in allowing the U.S. to enforce sanction regimes around the world.

Bank of Lithuania issues LBCOIN – the world’s first digital collector coin
The Bank of Lithuania issued its blockchain-based digital collector coin LBCOIN, each of the 4,000 LBCOINs equaling six digital tokens and one physical collector coin. One of the points of the excercise is to test new payment technologies in a safe environment, e.g., go through all authentication procedures remotely, open an e-wallet, swap digital tokens with other collectors or transfer them to the public NEM network. It also allows the Bank to get the know‑how to potentially issue central bank digital currency.

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?
This Gates Foundation note explores five open questions about whether stablecoins could promote financial inclusion in lower- and middle-income countries. The questions cover two practical issues concerning processing speed and technology available to the poor; costs to users; regulatory issues, especially compliance with existing customer funds protection rules; and implications for financial systems with limited foreign exchange reserves.

Kenya is doubling down on regulating mobile loan apps to combat predatory lending
Kenya’s central bank is reportedly proposing new laws to regulate monthly interest rates levied on loans by digital lenders in a bid to stamp out what it deems predatory practices. If approved, digital lenders will require approval from the central bank to increase lending rates or launch new products. /

South Korean COVID-19 relief payouts 92 percent complete
Gesell money! “More than 92 percent of South Korean households have received their emergency disaster relief funds from the government, three weeks after the payouts began. Households were able to choose to receive their share in the form of credit or debit card points, prepaid cards, cash points or gift certificates. The card points, gift certificates and prepaid cards cannot be used online, at large supermarkets or at entertainment venues. Any relief funds not claimed or spent by the Aug. 31 deadline will be regarded as donations to the state.”

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Designates Zimswitch As National Payment System
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe directed all mobile money service providers to cross over to Zimswitch Technologies as their national payments switch by August 15. It remains to be seen whether Econet, which enjoys a lion’s share of the mobile money market and is locked in endless tussles with the authorities, will abide by the directive or challenge it in court.

Blockchain Application for Central Banks: A Systematic Mapping Study
This paper analyzed and mapped trends in peer-reviewed research contributions through thematic categorisation of academic literature on distributed ledger technology use-cases for central bank services, operations and functions. Furthermore, this paper provides summaries of opportunities and challenges for central banks arising from blockchain adaptation to each of those use-case. It found that the most research intensive use-cases are those for: 1) central bank digital currency, 2) regulatory compliance and 3) payment clearing and settlement systems.

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