Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (01/29/2022)*

I’ve made some minor updates to my tabulation of retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) explorers. For example, I’ve moved Viet Nam to confirmed explorers, and fixed a few links. Check it out here:

eNaira: Same Naira, more possibilities for innovation

The Atlantic Council published an article that provides a comprehensive on-the-ground update on Nigeria’s eNaira CBDC launch/pilot (the official press release says “pilot, but it sure looks like a launch). Currently,  only those with bank accounts are currently able to use the eNaira, but the next phase of  the launch/pilot will allow people to register for a “Speed Wallet” with just their National Identification Number (NIN). The central bank hopes to achieve this, along with offline use , through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) short codes, which would allow users without a strong internet connection and smartphones to use the CBDC. [Read more]

Caribbean Digital Currency, DCash, Remains Offline for Second Week

Meanwhile, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s DCash, the CBDC used by seven Caribbean nations, has been down since January 14 and it’s unclear when it will be back online. In an email to Bloomberg, Karina Johnson, a DCash project manager at the bank, said officials were working “around the clock” with their service provider Bitt “to re-establish full transaction capabilities.” The Nigerian Central Bank is probably watching this quite nervously, as the eNaira uses the same Bitt platform. [Read more]

4 Reasons Privacy Coins Haven’t Taken Off

Haseeb Qureshi: “The “Cypherpunk’s Manifesto” begins, “Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age.” But privacy coins have failed to take off. Monero and zcash are both worth less today than what they were worth in 2018. Even on darknet markets, where you’d expect privacy coins to thrive, bitcoin is still the asset of choice. Privacy coins have been a disappointment. Why haven’t they taken off? There are four primary reasons.” [Read more

The SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Standoff

Frances Coppola: “There seems to be a profound difference of opinion between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and those applying for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. The applicants believe the spot Bitcoin market is resistant to manipulation simply because of the nature of Bitcoin, and don’t see why they should have to provide evidence for what they consider to be self-evident. But the SEC believes the Bitcoin spot market is a hornet’s nest, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, sees no reason to change its view.” [Read more]

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Central Bank Digital Currency Workshop, Hosted by the CBDC Think Tank 

The CBDC Think Tank (CBDCTT)  is hosting an in-person CBDC Workshop in Washington DC on February 24 exclusively for central bank and finance ministry staff looking to understand and position for CBDC issuance.  [Register here]