Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (10/04/2021)

HKMA publishes technical whitepaper on retail central bank digital currency

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released a technical whitepaper on retail e-HKD central bank digital currency (CBDC). Building on the model for retail CBDC that the HKMA is jointly investigating with the Hong Kong Centre of the BIS Innovation Hub, the Whitepaper explores potential technical design options for issuing and distributing retail CBDCs. It aims to explore technology solutions that address the problems of cross-ledger synchronization, over-issuance prevention, privacy-preserving transaction traceability, and different two-tier distributions models. [Read more]

Laos enlists Japan startup for study on digital currency

The Bank of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is reportedly employing Soramitsu to study launching a CBDC. Soramitsu is the Japanese fintech firm behind Cambodia’s Project Bakong central bank-backed retail payment system. The Laotian central bank recently also reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japan International Cooperation Agency on studying the development of a CBDC. [Read more

Venezuela slashes six zeroes off its currency

On October 1 the Central Bank of Venezuela slashed six zeroes from the currency, effectively making 1,000,000 Bolivars just 1 Bolivar now, to make payments and currency handling easier. The measure was announced in August, where the central bank announced it was changing the name of the currency to the “Digital Bolivar,” which sparked speculation about a possible issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the country. But the bank did not present any reports in this regard and instead announced the issuance of new bills to complement the redenomination plan. [Read more]   

Monzo abandons plan to acquire US banking license

Monzo has been forced to abandon its bid to acquire a US banking license following a fruitless two-year discourse with regulatory authorities. In a statement, the bank says: ‘Following recent engagement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), we’ve decided to withdraw our banking license application for our US start-up. While this isn’t the outcome we initially set out to achieve, this allows us to build and scale our early-stage product offer in the US through existing partners and invest further in the UK.’” [Read more

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October 4-6 CBDC Conference

On October 6 I’ll chairing a session on lessons learnt from CBDC (pilot) projects at the CBDC Conference. Adolfo Sarmiento (Banco Central del Uruguay), Marius Jurgilas (Lietuvos Bankas) and Johan Schmalholz (Sveriges Riksbank) will be joining me on the virtual stage. You can register for this and the full three-day (October 4-6) event here: