Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (08/11/2021)*

Coinbase removes ‘backed by US dollars’ claim for USDC stablecoin

The Coinbase website now states that USD Coin is “backed by fully reserved assets,” contrary to the now-removed claim of “backed by U.S. dollars in a bank account.” More specifically, “each USDC is backed by one dollar or asset with equivalent fair value, which is held in accounts with US regulated financial institutions.” Bloomberg News took screenshots of Coinbase’s USDC website on August 5 (left) and August 10 (right) and highlighted the section that changed in yellow:

Ghana to Pilot CBDC With German Banknote Printer Giesecke+Devrient

The Bank of Ghana plans to test a general purpose central bank digital currency (CBDC) in partnership with German banknote printer Giesecke+Devrient (G+D). G+D is providing the technology and will adapt their Filia CBDC solution adapted to Ghana’s requirements, which will be tested in a pilot with banks, payment service providers, merchants, consumers and other relevant stakeholders. Filia enables secure, consecutive offline payments in case no network connection is available.

Nigeria’s E-Nairu Central Bank Digital Currency Details Leaked

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will reportedly launch a pilot of its e-nairu on October 1 that will be run on the “two-tier” model whereby the central bank designs and distributes the CBDC and regulated financial institutions provide it to individuals and businesses. The CBN hopes that this strategy will help it “address interoperability risks that might be associated with the implementation.” The CBN reckons the risk of financial disintermediation can be addressed via the imposition of limits on e-naira holdings.

National Bank of Cambodia, Maybank launch real-time funds transfer service

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Malaysia’s Maybank Group reportedly launched the Maybank-Bakong Cross Border Funds Transfer — a real-time funds transfer service between Malaysia and Cambodia through the NBC’s Bakong e-wallet and Maybank’s MAE app. In the first phase, customers will be able to transfer funds from Malaysia to Cambodia, while transfers from Cambodia to Malaysia will be rolled out at a later date. There is a minimal service fee. Maybank customers can transfer funds up to US$2,500 (or RM10,000 equivalent) daily via their mobile devices.

Poly Network attacker starts returning the $611 million in stolen cryptocurrency

“The attacker of the $611 million Poly Network exploit has started returning the stolen crypto assets. The attacker’s move came less than a day after the initial exploit, which was the largest DeFi hack to date. But hours after the heist, blockchain security firm Slowmist claimed that they already tracked down the attacker’s IP and email information while the investigation on other ID intel relating to the attacker continued. Slowmist suggested that the attacker used a little known Chinese crypto exchange Hoo when putting together the funds for the attack, hinting at how their digital footprint was trailed at the beginning. Other crypto sleuths also found details relating to other exchanges that may help to identify them.”

Venmo enables users to automatically buy crypto with ‘cash back’ rewards

Venmo announced Cash Back to Crypto, a new way for Venmo Credit Card customers to automatically purchase cryptocurrency from their Venmo account using cash back earned from their card purchases. The new feature will not have any transaction fee associated with the purchase, with a cryptocurrency conversion spread built into each monthly transaction. 

BitMEX Settles Civil Charges With CFTC, FinCEN for $100 Million

BitMEX has reached a $100 million settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for illegally operating a cryptocurrency trading platform and anti-money laundering violations. In addition, the company will be required to hire an independent consultant to conduct a historical analysis of its transactions to determine if it failed to properly report suspicious activity. The consent order bars BitMEX from selling certain types of crypto investment contracts in the U.S. without registering with the CFTC.  

What Is and Isn’t a *Wholesale* Central Bank Digital Currency?

In previous posts I’ve discussed what is and isn’t a retail CBDC and in this post I extend the discussion to wholesale CBDC and launch a new tabulation of wCBDC experiments. Basically I conclude that when people say “wholesale CBDC” they really mean “distributed ledger technology (DLT) based wholesale CBDC, because wholesale CBDC itself is no novelty. 

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