Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (01/12/2021)*

Crypto Volume on PayPal Hits Record $242 Million

PayPal processed a record $242 million of crypto-asset transactions on January 11, according to data from Nomics, versus the previous record of $129 million a week earlier. The surge in volumes happened as Bitcoin saw a heavy correction of around 20 percent from the recently achieved peak. However, it is not clear if the volumes were due to the increase in purchases during the dip, or traders were selling their holdings in a panic with the fall of prices. 

The Paypal data is derived by looking at the exchange numbers produced by the Paxos-owned itBit exchange through which PayPal buys its crypto. While it’s not certain if this surge in volume was linked to PayPal, itBit’s volume performance never climbed above $5 million in the year leading up to the PayPal announcement. Since then its numbers have grown exponentially. 

Institutional Investors Accelerate Cryptocurrency Profit Taking

According to CoinShares, the crypto-asset market attracted just $29 million fund inflows last week, a massive 97% drop from $1.09 billion inflows in the week before Christmas as institutional investors started profit-taking in 2021. Additionally, CoinShares mentioned that total crypto-assets under management now stand at around $34.4 billion as the recent price rally pushed the value of crypto investment products to a record high. Also, according to Bybt, Grayscale’s crypto-asset funds have all witnessed outflows during the last seven days, suggesting some profit taking. 

Walmart Creates Fintech Startup, Speeding Push Beyond Retail

Walmart is partnering with Ribbit Capital, an investor in stock-trading platform Robinhood, to “deliver tech-driven financial experiences tailored to Walmart’s customers and associates. Walmart, which already offers a number of financial products, including credit cards, cheque cashing, money transfers and installment financing, has yet to give any specific details on its product plans, although partnerships with other fintechs and acquisitions are written into the business blueprint. 

Pakistan’s central bank launches new instant digital payment system

The State Bank of Pakistan launched a new instant digital payment system in a bid to boost financial inclusion and government revenue in the country where only a fraction of economic transactions occur on the books. The new system, called “Raast” or “direct way”, will be rolled out in three phases culminating in early 2022. Developed through a multi-year collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and support from the World Bank, Britain and the United Nations, one goal for Raast is to boost involvement of women in the formal economy. 

E-commerce in the pandemic and beyond

According to a Bank for International Settlements (BIS) paper, e-commerce has ramped up during the pandemic around the world. The growth has differed across sectors and over different stages of the pandemic. Novel data sources can help to follow these trends. It found that the growth of e-commerce has been higher in countries where there were more stringent containment measures and where e-commerce was initially less developed. It speculates that some changes in consumers’ shopping habits and payment behaviour may be longer-lasting, and have implications for structural change and the growth of the digital economy. 

Decoding payments message standards

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), an international body which sets global and commercial standards worldwide, has defined various standards for facilitating the flow of messages related to payments/financial transactions. Over the last decade, ISO 20022 has emerged as the key global standard for developing modernised financial market infrastructures. At present, most payment systems follow the ISO 20022 standards, resulting in improved efficiency, lower costs and the avoidance of errors. ISO 20022 is fast emerging as a global benchmark for successful, real-time, high and low-value payments across domestic, regional and international flows of financial transactions. 

Applying IFRS accounting standards to cryptocurrencies

This paper addresses issues related to the recognition, evaluation and reflection of crypto-assets in accordance with  International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). There is currently no specific IFRS disclosure standard for crypto-assets. 

* The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to the International Monetary Fund, its Executive Board or its management.