Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (06/17/2021)*

World Bank rejects El Salvador request for help on bitcoin implementation

The World Bank reportedly has said it could not assist El Salvador’s bitcoin implementation. “We are committed to helping El Salvador in numerous ways including for currency transparency and regulatory processes,” said a World Bank spokesperson via email to Reuters. “While the government did approach us for assistance on bitcoin, this is not something the World Bank can support given the environmental and transparency shortcomings.” 

AFIN Collaborates with R3 to Drive Central Bank Digital Currency Innovation

The ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), a not-for-profit entity jointly formed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the ASEAN Bankers Association, has partnered with R3 to enable banks and FinTechs to build and test central bank digital currency (CBDC) applications. The R3 Sandbox for Digital Currencies is underpinned by Corda, and provides an environment for central banks, commercial banks, exchanges, payment providers, FinTechs and more to collaborate and evaluate CBDC use cases, as well as to learn, transact, and test roll-out strategies. 

SEC Delays VanEck Bitcoin ETF Application—Again

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its decision on VanEck’s VanEck Bitcoin Trust exchange-traded fund (ETF). On June 15, the SEC also postponed its decision on Kryptoin’s ETF filing. The SEC has yet to approve any Bitcoin ETF, with chairpeople frequently citing manipulation and a lack of transparency in the crypto market as key reasons.  

Dinero Electrónico: The rise and fall of Ecuador’s central bank digital currency

Dinero Electrónico was a mobile payment system developed by the Banco Central del Ecuador that allowed citizens to transfer USD balances in real-time from person to person using basic cell phones. The program operated between 2014 and 2018. Key drivers of the program were increasing financial inclusion and reducing the need for the central bank to hold and distribute large quantities of USD notes. This paper discusses reasons why the program was ultimately discontinued, including opposition to the program from private banks, and outline lessons learned. 

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