Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (05/20/2021)*

What is going on with USDC?

The USDC stablecoin seems to be following USDT into murky waters. USDC lists monthly attestation reports by Grant Thornton LLP, but where is the missing September 2020 USDC attestation? Why are there long irregular delays in the release of the attestation reports since September 2020? Where are March/April 2021 reports? 

Also JP Koning pointed out how Circle’s boilerplate USDC reserves investment disclosure changed between Feb 28 and March 31, 2020 (see below). With interest rates crashing that month, Circle added the phrase “and in approved investments.” Reaching for yield? More risk for USDC holders? Circle doesn’t disclose its investment guidelines in its user agreement, but as JP pointed out, they are probably guided by US state money transmitter regulations, although they are all over the place in terms of their restrictiveness, Texas‘s being quite strict, and Montana doesn’t seem to have any!

OCC, Fed, FDIC Mulling Forming an Interagency Policy Team on Crypto

Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu told a US House Financial Services Committee hearing that he had spoken with fellow regulators Randal Quarles, vice chair at the Federal Reserve, and Jelena McWilliams, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), about forming a “sprint team” around crypto. 

CBDC Workshop for Caribbean and Central American Central Banks

The CBDC Think Tank is offering a free intensive and hands-on central bank digital currency (CBDC) course exclusively for Caribbean and Central American central bankers looking to understand and position for CBDCs. The course runs over three consecutive Tuesday mornings starting June 15 at 10am (ET). The workshop is a mix of lectures from CBDC experts and hands-on exercises. Scheduled lecturers include me, Ashley Lannquist (World Economic Forum), David Andolfatto (St. Louis Fed), Jamiel Sheikh (Columbia University), Sonja Davidovic (IMF), Arthur Rossi (IMF) and Jacques Francoeur (Security Inclusion Now). If you’re interested, register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cbdc-workshop-tickets-152572742179

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Privacy and Transparency: Not So Black and White

Don’t forget to check out the blog post I wrote with Sonja Davidovic on the nuances of managing privacy trade-offs in central bank digital currency (CBDC) design. It’s not so black and white! For example, the recent digital euro public consultation found that, although potential users place a high value on transaction privacy, they don’t support full anonymity. Ultimate design choices will depend on the motivation for CBDC issuance, country specific circumstances and user preferences. 

*For those interested in intra-day updates and news that didn’t make the Daily Digest cut, please check out my Diigo fintech bookmarks: https://www.diigo.com/user/kiffmeister/Fintech