Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20230110)

Mexican central bank digital currency (CBDC) update

A Mexican central bank digital currency (CBDC) is reportedly still in its initial stages of development, with the general directorate of payment systems and market infrastructures indicating that it is still determining the requirements for its issuance. Also, in response to a transparency request made by El Sol de México, Banxico said that for the fiscal year of 2022 10.22 million pesos (about $535,000) were allocated to the central bank’s CBDC project, obtained from the fees charged to financial institutions for using the Interbank Electronic Payment System. [Read more at El Sol de México]

BoE engages external experts for CBDC projects

The Bank of England (BoE) has engaged Consult Hyperion, on a pair of £100,000+ CBDC assignments. The contract award notices for Point-of-sale [PoS] proof-of-concept [PoC] consultancy services and Feasibility study service on the e-commerce of CBDC were published on the UK government’s Contracts Finder service. The website also shows that the BoE is currently working with Oliver Wyman to provide support on paper for research on digital currency and the MIT Digital Currency Initiative. Interestingly, all were awarded under nontransparent procurement processes that allow the BoE to avoid open tenders. [Read more at Global Government Fintech]

Who Owns Custodied Crypto Assets? A New Bankruptcy Court Ruling Amplifies Concerns

Crypto-assets held in custodian-controlled accounts could become the property of that custodian in the case of a bankruptcy filing. A U.S. Bankruptcy judge in New York ruled that, under the plain terms of the Terms of Service, Celsius Network owns the assets in approximately 600,000 interest-bearing customer accounts and can use those funds as the bankrupt company sees fit in its bankruptcy process. For account owners, the judge’s ruling means that rather than immediate repayment in full, they are unsecured creditors, which moves down the repayment line and very likely means they will not ever receive all their funds back. [Read more at JDSupra]

The decision will be instructive in answering similar questions raised in the Voyager, FTX, and BlockFi bankruptcies, all of which had yield-earning accounts, but it will not qualify as controlling law over the issue. The Celsius Network decision provides at least one approach—start with the terms of use in order to set out the parties’ basic ownership rights under the contract. If such terms of use are unambiguous, then the plain language of the contract will determine whether deposited digital assets are considered property of the bankrupt debtor’s estate. Meanwhile, investors should hold their  crypto-assets themselves in either “cold” or “hot” wallets—or both. [Read more at Goodwin Procter LLP]

And just a reminder that you can get the Daily #Fintech Digests emailed directly to your inbox by signing up here.

2nd Edition of DC³ Conference – From Cryptocurrencies to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will hold (virtually) the second edition of its DC3 Conference – From Cryptocurrencies to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)​ from January 24 to 27 2023. On January 27 I will be moderating two panels on offline central bank digital currency (CBDC). Also, on January 24, Jacques Francouer and I will be providing an update to our ITU Digital Currency Global Initiative digital currency ontology work. [For more event detail go to the ITU DC3 conference site]

Kiffmeister’s global central bank digital currency monthly monitor

Just a reminder that I produce a monthly digest of central bank digital currency (CBDC) developments exclusively for the official sector. So for any of you out there who work for a central bank, ministry of finance or international financial institution who would like to receive it by email on the first business day of every month, please DM me on LinkedIn or email me at chronicles@kiffmeister.com.

The Sovereign Official Digital Association (SODA) is a technology-agnostic firm offering advisory services at the intersection of central banking, digital finance and the web3 industry, aiming to make public digital money a reality. SODA believes institutions in the existing financial ecosystem should have access to the tools and resources they need to move from discussion to action. SODA offers ‘real life’ use cases to help test digital money and drive adoption as central banks and other public institutions explore the future of a more financially inclusive world powered by interoperable blockchain-based networks. SODA would love you to join us on this journey – please get in touch (chris@sodapublicmoney.org).

Satoshi Capital Advisors is a New York-based, global advisory firm that works with central banks, governments, and the private sector to architect, implement, and operate varying initiatives. Satoshi Capital Advisors’ central bank work revolves around CBDC architecture and implementation, providing advisory services from research phase through to growth phase. Utilizing a product-market fit and technology agnostic approach to CBDC architecture and implementation enables Satoshi Capital Advisors to build tailored solutions, bespoke to local financial system nuances. Satoshi Capital Advisors welcomes requests from central bank officials for virtual and in-person CBDC workshops. [Click here for more information]

WhisperCash offers the first fully offline digital currency platform that has the same properties as physical cash. It can perform secure consecutive offline payments without compromising on security, privacy or accessibility. WhisperCash allows direct person to person offline payments without any server infrastructure or internet connectivity. It comes in various form factors including the self-contained credit card-sized “Pro” that sports an eInk screen and capacitive keyboard, and lasts for two weeks between recharges assuming a few transactions per day. [Click here for more information]