Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (03/12/2021)*

Binance Probed by CFTC Over Whether U.S. Residents Made Trades

Binance is reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over concerns that it allowed Americans to buy and sell derivatives that violated U.S. rules. The CFTC considers virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ether to be commodities and claims jurisdiction over their futures and other derivatives. That means crypto platforms face strict customer protection and oversight demands if Americans are trading on them — regardless of where exchanges are based. 

Thai central bank points to DLT constraints in CBDC trials

The Bank of Thailand provided a preliminary assessment of its exploration of the use of a central bank backed digital currency (CBDC) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) for business-to-business (B2B) invoice payments. The tests demonstrated that DLT can increase payment efficiency for businesses by allowing users to set various conditions on the CBDC (programmable money) to enhance flexibility in handling business activities. However, they encountered some limitations with their DLT setyp, particularly in supporting large transaction volumes and preserving transaction privacy, but explorations will continue.  

Bitcoin Intraday Trading Pattern Emerges as Institutions Pile in

Bitcoin has shown a tendency lately to clock its intraday low in the Asian or European session, and end near daily highs in the U.S. For example, the low on Monday was after 3 a.m. New York time and the high around 4 p.m. Tuesday’s low was right at the start of the Asia session before a run higher and steadying out near $54,000. Somewhat similar patterns were evident Wednesday and Thursday. A theory has emerged that this may be due to tokens being mined and sold in Asia, and then buyers come into the market in U.S. hours. 

Grayscale Is Hiring an Entire ETF Team

Grayscale Investments has posted at least nine exchange-traded dund (ETF) related positions to LinkedIn. Though Grayscale has filed to create an ETF in the past, the firm doesn’t currently have an active filing with the SEC for a Bitcoin or crypto-related ETF. But the firm could roll its $35 billion Bitcoin Trust, the largest Bitcoin fund, into an ETF. The job postings currently listed on LinkedIn include an ETF market maker relationship manager, ETF finance reporting manager, ETF finance support manager, ETF creation and redemption specialist, ETF authorized participant relationship manager, ETF product development specialist, a compliance officer and two sales director positions. 

The soon-to-launch Fei Protocol would mint stablecoins by simply selling them directly to users

FEI is a reserve-backed stablecoin that works through a direct incentive method, in which FEI can give users bonuses or charge fees for making trades that help it maintain its dollar peg. Users can buy FEI from the protocol, and the protocol takes those assets in reserve. The asset traded belongs to the Fei protocol after the trade. The assets in reserve could even be under-collateralized, and the assets would be deployed elsewhere, such as on the secondary market or – later – in yield-generating projects. Fei’s “genesis launch” is set for March 22, when users will be able to post ETH to get FEI tokens. Early participants in the sale and in the protocol’s liquidity pools on DeFi exchange Uniswap will be incentivized with TRIBE, the project’s governance token.  

Fintech Startup Fintern Takes On The Banks With Data-Driven Loans

UK Fintech lender Fintern is targeting as many as 15 million Britons whose credit scores aren’t considered of sufficient quality by mainstream lenders; forcing them to turn to much more expensive options such as payday loans or buy now-pay later products. The U.K.’s open banking reforms enables Fintern to obtain the bank account data of any customer who wants to borrow from it, and use its analytics tools to get a detailed idea of what the borrower could afford to repay. If a loan is granted, Fintern continues to access borrowers’ bank account data to spot issues as they occur so that they can intervene before problems with the loan get out of hand. 

Grab Is in Talks to Go Public Through a SPAC Merger

Grab is in talks to go public through a merger with a SPAC that could value the Southeast Asian ride-hailing startup at as much as $40 billion, making it by far the largest such deal on record. 

Estonia Leads the E-Government Race by Digitising 99% of Its Public Services

99% of public services, including tax filings and public voting, are available digitally to Estonians, and these solutions have allowed the country to save over 800 years of working time and 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

And FYI… The most active Tron contracts are Tether, Ponzi schemes & high yield online investment programs (HYIPs)(Elipcity, MMMDefi, Rextron, Tronadz, Bankroll Flow), and unregulated betting games. h

* 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.