Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (11/30/2020)

Beijing preps for digital yuan trial expansion for trade

Beijing municipality, which was not one of the five regions that were part of the first round of trials for China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), is reportedly preparing to create a digital yuan pilot program and explore cross border data flow. One of the first five initial test regions, Xiong’an New Area, reportedly already has plans to use the digital renminbi for cross-border trade. The Ministry of Commerce had previously outlined such an expansion as part of a three-year plan, but the timing was unclear. Also, the digital currency is the responsibility of the central bank rather than the Commerce Ministry.  

Singapore’s Non-Bank Financial Institutions to have Access to FAST and PayNow

The Monetary Authority of Singapore opened up direct access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure to eligible non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) from February 2021. NFIs that are licenced as major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act will be allowed to connect directly to Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST) and PayNow. This will enable users of NFI e-wallets to make real-time funds transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets as well as across different e-wallets. Currently, most e-wallets require the use of debit or credit cards to top-up funds, and funds transfers between e-wallets are not possible. 

TransferWise wins restricted banking licence in Australia

Australia’s Prudential Regulatory Authority granted UK-based currency transfer company TransferWise a “limited authorised deposit-taking institution” licence to gain direct access to Australia’s real-time payment system. They are the second nonbank to obtain such a license, after PayPal. TransferWise now intends to apply for a settlement account with the Reserve Bank of Australia. 

Russia to Recognize Bitcoin as Property With Legal Protection

The Russian prime minister outlined the government’s plans to amend existing laws to recognize crypto-assets as property so hodlers will have the legal rights to defend and recoup their crypto-assets in court. A new crypto bill passed into law in August but Russian lawmakers are still trying to add to the bill. For example, the Ministry of Finance recently introduced new rules and penalties for unreported and underreported crypto-assets. 

Basis Cash’ Launch Brings Defunct Stablecoin Into the DeFi Era

Basis Cash (BAC) is based on the stablecoin Basis that had $133 million in funding before U.S. securities regulators stepped in and the team behind it returned everything in late 2018. Like most stablecoins, BAC is pegged to the U.S. dollar, so one BAC should be equal to the crypto equivalent of one USD. Basis Cash’s price will be managed by two other crypto assets: Basis Bonds and Basis Shares. 50,000 BAC will be distributed over a five-day period (10,000 per day) to folks that deposit DAI, yCRV, USDT, SUSD and/or USD into its smart contract. 

Delaying the inevitable by regulating self-custody wallets

Coinbase CEO Tim Armstrong claimed that the U.S. Treasury is rumored to be working on a law to regulate self-hosted crypto wallets. The proposed law will require exchanges to verify the identity of users who use self-hosted wallets, before a withdrawal could be sent to their self-hosted wallet.  

The Blockchain Association published a report for policymakers that explains the fundamental role of self-hosted wallets in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and why they are important to the future of free societies. The report is divided into two sections: The first section describes what self-hosted wallets are, their role in the digital asset ecosystem, and the current regulatory framework for managing digital asset transactions involving self-hosted wallets. The second section argues that imposing restrictions on individuals’ ability to use self-hosted wallets would be misguided. 

Saudi, UAE central banks share cross border digital currency trial results

BTW the Aber pilot benefits greatly from the fact that both the Saudi Riyal and UAE Dirham are pegged to the U.S. dollar at the same exchange rate, so there’s no need to make the CBDC basket currency-based.