Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (10/14/2020)

Retail Central Bank Digital Currency: Design Considerations and Rationales

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s view is that the public policy case for issuing a general purpose or retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Australia is still to be made. However, consistent with the Bank’s mandate to promote competition and efficiency in the payments system and contribute to the stability of the financial system, it will be continuing to consider the case for a CBDC, including how it might be designed, the potential benefits and policy implications, and the conditions in which significant demand for a CBDC might emerge.  

32% of Transferwise remittances are now instant

32% of Transferwise cross-border payments now take less than 20 seconds, and half of all payments arrive within an hour. They significantly sped up Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments from the U.S. by starting ACH transfers immediately after user authorisation, and now 17% of ACH transfers from the U.S. are instant. They also completed an integration with the Malaysiaon Financial Process Exchange which speeds up payments from Malaysia. They also integrated directly with Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the second such central bank integration. The average price for using TransferWise decreased this quarter from 0.75% to 0.74%. 

Brainwallets: The Bitcoin Wallet You Probably Shouldn’t Use (Unless You Have To)

A brainwallet is a private key that is stored in the user’s memory either in the form of a seed phrase or a password. Once you have the private key memorized, the user can access her crypto wallet from anywhere in the world, as long as she has internet access. As an experiment eight Bitcoin private keys were created, using passphrases from popular works of fiction and other media. All the funds were swept away in a short amount of time and in one case, remarkably, the funds were taken in around 0.67 seconds. The report concludes by arguing that brainwallets may not be a safe way to store coins, certainly not by using popular phrases in published works.  

Afterpay introduces instore BNPL in the US

Shoppers can use Afterpay to buy items in select U.S. retail stores using their Afterpay card, a virtual, contactless card stored in their digital wallet. Just like using Afterpay online, customers can pay for their in-store purchases in four installment payments, without the need to take out a traditional loan or pay upfront fees or interest. Afterpay first introduced its in-store solution in 2016 in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and became one of the only online payment companies to successfully offer its buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service in physical stores. 

Around 100 Italian Banks Are Officially on a Blockchain

According to the Italian Banking Association (ABI) about 100 Italian banks are operating on the country’s Spunta banking blockchain network, built on R3’s Corda. Spunta is a project created by ABI Labs, which began trialing interbank transfers on Corda as early as 2018.