The digital euro: a solution seeking a problem?
A Financial Times (FT) article documented rising public opposition to a digital euro, as the European Central Bank (ECB) struggles to communicate convincing arguments for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. The ECB says a digital euro would modernize European payments by giving people an electronic alternative to cash that is riskless and universally accepted. However, detractors don’t see any big market failures that require the public sector to step in, and given that the eurozone’s payment options are already reliable and innovative. There has also been CBDC pushback in other jurisdictions, most notably in the United States, where it has become a political issue on account of potential threats to privacy and self control. [Read more at the FT]
EU’s MiCA gets unanimous nod from European Council
The European Union’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legal framework received unanimous approval from the European Council (comprised of the finance ministers from all 27 EU member states) on May 16, 2023. It will require crypto-asset firms to seek a license to operate across the bloc, and for stablecoin issuers to hold suitable reserves. Although it does not encompass every aspect of digital assets, leaving out areas like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi), they are expected to be included in subsequent versions of the law. [Read more at the European Council]
Coinbase hasn’t proven SEC needs to create crypto-specific rules, regulator says
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told an appeals court that crypto exchange Coinbase hadn’t proven the regulator needs to create a new regulatory framework for the digital asset industry. The federal regulator asked the court to reject a Coinbase petition asking for additional regulatory guidance specifically tailored to the digital asset industry. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has argued (got to about the 25:00 mark in the video) that most crypto-assets, apart from Bitcoin, fall under the SEC’s definition of “securities” and the SEC has well established rules and regulations for securities firms. [Read the SEC filing here]
*For those interested in intra-day updates, check out my searchable Diigo Fintech developments database, which is also a good place to go to query for past developments: https://www.diigo.com/user/kiffmeister/ART.Upcoming conferences, webinars and speaking engagements:
- I’ll be moderating a panel on “what happens when the lights go out…different schemes for offline functionality” at the in-person Digital Currency Conference (DCC) in Mexico City on May 18. [Register here]
- I’ll be participating in Currency Research’s in-person Central Bank Payments Conference and Global Payments Summit in Cape Town from June 26 to 30. [Register here and here respectively]
- I’ll be lecturing at the Digital Euro Association (DEA) Digital Money Academy on July 27, 2023. [Register here]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com).
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]