Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (10/22/2020)

BSP says more groundwork needed before it can issue digital currency

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno reportedly said that the central bank recently completed its study on issuing central bank digital currency (CBDC). It recommended continuing research, capacity-building, and the establishment of networks with central banks and institutions that are also conducting research on this scheme. The Governor said it is unlikely than one will be introduced in the near term. The study is exploratory in nature, and is in line with BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap which aims to convert at least 50% of retail payments into digital form and that at least 70% of adult Filipinos should have a bank account by 2023. 

Unpopular Opinion: Why PayPal Enabling Bitcoin Purchases Isn’t All Positive

PayPal supporting major crypto-assets undoubtedly buoy the image of the sector and the asset class. It further strengthens the perception of Bitcoin as an established store of value and crypto-assets as recognized assets. But this comes with a catch. At least in the near term, it would not allow users that buy crypto on PayPal to transfer outside of their accounts. In the words of Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, “2 steps forward, 1 step back… Great to see a payment pioneer leaning in, BUT disappointing some fundamental tenets / benefits of crypto are spurned. I suspect PayPal is concerned about the regulatory uncertainty, impacting its roll-out on a number of levels”. 

Accelerating the BitMEX User Verification Programme

Bitmex is fast-tracking its user verification program in order to comply with regulatory requirements. Users must now be fully verified by November 5, 2020 to continue trading on the platform. The original deadline was February 21, 2021. Unverified users will not be able to open new positions after this date. They will also“not be able to withdraw funds from their Bitmex account without completing verification beginning December 4, 2020. 

Sales soar at Klarna rival Laybuy as buy-now-pay-later sector hots up

New Zealand-based buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform Laybuy has seen a 162 per cent increase in the total amount spent through its platform over the past year. Laybuy’s customers have spent over NZ$508m (~£238m) through its platform and the BNPL fintech has also seen a 48 per cent increase in the number of active merchants using its financing options since the end of September last year. 

HSBC installs contactless poppy boxes across Canadian branch network

Another chapter in the death of physical cash… “HSBC is to install contactless donation boxes in all of its 250 bank branches across Canada to honour veterans in the run up to Remembrance Day. The Pay Tribute Poppy Box enables HSBC customers to tap their card of phone against a glowing poppy motif to make a $2 donation and take a badge to pin to their lapel.” 

On the edge of a new frontier: European payments in the digital age

The Eurosystem is pursuing a new strategy to respond to the rapid digitalisation of the eurozone’s payments market, partly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fabio Panetta, of the European Central Bank’s executive board, said the strategy would increase the provision of cash and instant payments. It would also include new supervisory methods and work on the digital euro. He said that European authorities must ensure that digital payments are underpinned by a competitive and innovative market capable of meeting consumer demand, while preserving European sovereignty.