India’s Reliance Retail has teamed up with Icici Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Innoviti Technologies to roll out central bank digital currency (CBDC) acceptance at its Freshpik stores. The rest of its locations will follow. Customers that want to pay with the digital rupee, will be given a dynamic digital rupee acceptance QR code that is scanned at checkout. Also Kotak Mahindra Bank rolled out a digital rupee pilot to select customers in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, who will be sent an email/SMS invite to download the digital rupee Android app. [Read more at Finextra and LiveMint]
The Australian government released a token mapping consultation paper seeking responses from stakeholders by March 3, 2023. It identifies the key activities and functions of products in the crypto ecosystem and maps them against existing regulatory frameworks. This will inform a (separate) consultation paper to be published in mid-2023 that will propose a licensing and custody framework for crypto asset service providers. [Read more at the Australian Treasury]
Twitter is reportedly working to introduce payments to its platform, and hopes to complete US licensing within a year before working on global licenses. Twitter aims to offer services such as peer-to-peer transactions, savings accounts and debit cards, as part of a plan to launch an “everything app” that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce. It would use fiat currencies at first, but may add crypto functionality later. [Read more at the Financial Times]
US prosecutors in the Justice Department’s fraud unit are reportedly looking into Silvergate’s dealings with fallen crypto giants FTX and Alameda Research. The criminal investigation is examining Silvergate’s hosting of accounts tied to Sam Bankman-Fried’s businesses. The review adds to mounting scrutiny of the La Jolla, California-based crypto-friendly bank, which has also drawn the attention of lawmakers. [Read more at Bloomberg]
Coinbase won dismissal of a lawsuit by consumers alleging the crypto exchange facilitated the sale of unregistered securities on its platform. The proposed class-action suit, filed in October 2021, seeks damages arising from the sale or soliciting of 79 digital assets that the consumers say amounted to illegal contracts because the platform is not registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. [Read more at Bloomberg]
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]
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]