Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20230124)

The December 2022 CBDCTracker.org Update on global CBDC developments

Atakan Kavuklu has provided a nice update of central bank digital currency (CBDC) developments covered in the December 2022 update to the CBDCTracker.org database. [Read it at Medium]

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) continues CBDC experimentations

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is working on a phase of a project that focuses on domestic wholesale CBDC use cases in collaboration with local banks and fintechs. SAMA stressed that although no decision has been made regarding the introduction of CBDC in the Kingdom, it continues to focus on exploring the benefits and potential risks of implementing CBDC. [Read more at SAMA]

The digital euro: our money wherever, whenever we need it

Introductory statement by Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament: “Our priority for the digital euro project… is to preserve the role of central bank money in retail payments by offering an additional option for paying with public money, including where this is not possible today, for example in e-commerce. The digital euro would not replace other electronic payment methods, or indeed cash. Rather, it would complement them. And by doing so, it would safeguard our monetary sovereignty while strengthening Europe’s strategic autonomy.” [Read the whole speech here]

Jamaica’s JAM-DEX CBDC facilitates select government wage payments

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) successfully used its JAM-DEX CBDC to pay wages to, and conduct of transactions by, select workers employed in the Christmas Work Programme from December 19 to 23, 2022. This involved  onboarding three contractors, more than 100 workers and 70 small merchants to the Lynk app within select communities. Onboarded merchants were primarily market vendors and owners of food shops, restaurants and bars. [Read more at the BOJ]

Norway government to use public blockchain to track SME stock ownership

BRØK, the Norwegian government public blockchain-based platform to track unlisted stock ownership, has moved into the sandbox phase. It is using Arbitrum, a layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum with lower transaction costs. The solution is GDPR compliant, so personal information is not stored directly on the blockchain. However, it uses the Ceramic protocol for the personal information, an open distributed database that allows for data to be deleted and corrected, as required by GDPR. [Read more at Ledger Insights]

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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221117)

I’ve updated my tabulation of retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) explorers. I still count 91 central banks that have recently issued, piloted, experimented with and/or researched retail CBDC not including two that started issuing retail CBDC and then shut the platforms down (Ecuador and Finland). [Check it out here]

Custodia Bank’s master account lawsuit against Fed advances

Judge Scott Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming denied the Federal Reserve’s motion to dismiss the master account lawsuit brought by Custodia Bank, ruling the bank had sufficiently argued that the Kansas City Fed engaged in “unreasonable delay” in processing its master account application. Custodia, which was granted a special-purpose depository institution (SPDI) license in Wyoming in 2020, has been waiting two years for the Fed to approve its application for a master account, a delay the bank has called unlawful. [Read more at Banking Dive]

ASX reassesses CHESS blockchain replacement

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) will reassess all aspects of its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) share trading software replacement project following completion of an independent review, conducted by Accenture, and its own internal assessment. The CHESS software enables ASX’s registry to manage settlement of transactions, and the exchange has strived since 2017 to replace it with Digital Asset’s blockchain-based technology in a bid to cut costs. The independent report identifies significant challenges with the solution design and its ability to meet ASX’s requirements. The CHESS replacement capitalized software will be derecognized in light of the solution uncertainty, resulting in a charge of about A$250 million pre-tax. [Read more on the ASX]

Digital Euro Association Digital Money Academy

I will be discussing global central bank digital currency (CBDC) developments at the Digital Euro Association’s Digital Money Academy on November 29. If you want to get into CBDCs, register for the Academy 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 chronicles@kiffmeister.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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221112)

FTX says it moved remaining funds to cold wallets to ‘mitigate damage’ after ‘unauthorized transactions’

Over $600 million in crypto left FTX’s wallets late Friday (November 11, 2022) and many FTX wallet holders also reported that they were seeing $0 balances in their FTX.com and FTX US wallets. The bankrupt exchange’s general counsel Ryne Miller said the exchange was “investigating abnormalities with wallet movements related to consolidation of FTX balances across exchanges — unclear facts as other movements not clear.” Shortly after that, he said that the firm had initiated precautionary steps to move all digital assets to cold storage. Also, on-chain data seems to indicate that funds are also being drained from wallets of clients of Almeda, a sister trading company of the exchange. Obviously the situation is very fluid, with all sorts of rumors floating around. For those interested in following the FTX trials and tribulations, I’m still collecting them here on my Diigo social bookmarking page.

New York Fed, several big banks testing ‘regulated liability network’

The New York Fed is reportedly poised to unveil a proof-of-concept for “regulated liability networks” — an experiment around tracking and transmitting tokenized debt issued by an array of regulated financial institutions. Citi’s Tony McLaughlin, a leader in the field of regulated liability networks. in a recent blog post on Citi’s website, wrote, “It may be possible for central banks and regulators to create a new direction for the regulated sector through a slight pivot in existing CBDC projects and the nascent tokenization of commercial bank money. They may adopt a broader view of the task at hand — not the tokenization of central bank liabilities, but the tokenization of all regulated liabilities on a common platform.” [Read more on The Block]

FTX showed the problems of centralized finance, and proved the need for DeFi

The FTX collapse was a failure of centralized finance (CeFi), not decentralized finance (DeFi). If there is a silver lining for the FTX fiasco, it is a reminder of the importance of decentralization. Like the financial institutions that collapsed in 2008, the CeFi economic incentive is to under-collateralize and take risks with user funds, play political games, and cozying up to regulators. DeFi platforms are designed to preserve the benefits introduced by Bitcoin and magnified by Ethereum: permissionless, transparency, censorship resistance and self-sovereign custody of assets. [Read the whole editorial on CoinDesk]

Binance Reserves Show Almost Half of Holdings Are in Its Own Tokens

Binance holds $74.7 billion worth of tokens of which around 40% are in its own BUSD US dollar-pegged stablecoin and its BNB native coin. Of the $74.6 billion termed as networth, about $23 billion was in BUSD and $6.4 billion in BNB. The exchange has also allocated 10.5% of its holdings in Bitcoin and 9.8% in Ether. While Binance shared details of its reserves, the dashboard does not break down how much of the assets are its own holdings, versus those of its customers. [Read more on Bloomberg]

Crypto.com Holds 20% of Its Reserves in Meme Token SHIB

Crypto.com holds 31% of its digital asset reserves in Bitcoin, 20% in the Shiba Inu token (a highly speculative “meme coin”) and 17% in Ethereum. Various other cryptocurrencies and tokens collectively account for the rest. Meme coins are cryptocurrencies and tokens that are typically inspired by internet memes, and don’t have significant functional utility. [Read more at Decrypt]

New Zealand government moves to introduce open banking to give customers a better deal

New Zealand will introduce open banking over the next two years. Minister of commerce and consumer affairs David Clark said “open banking ensures banks must share customer information if they request it, making it easier for New Zealanders to compare mortgage rates, apply for loans, and switch banks.” [Read David Clark’s statement here]

A LeVeL Paying Field: Cryptographic Solutions towards Social Accountability and Financial Inclusion

Crypto-assets rely on fixed public/private key algorithms, which are resting targets for advanced cryptanalysis. BitMint’s BitMint*LeVeL protocol allows each holder to pick their own public/private key algorithm, so that an attacker would have to compromise all the algorithms used by all previous coin owners – a substantial security upgrade relative to existing crypto-assets. LeVeL can be applied to crypto-assets and fiat currency to effectively serve as a claim check. BitMint*LeVeL can achieve decentralization via BitMint’s InterMint: Money is minted by many smoothly interchangeable mints competing for traders. [Download the paper 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 chronicles@kiffmeister.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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221105)

A Multi-Currency Exchange and Contracting Platform

The IMF published a working paper that presents a vision for a multilateral platform that could improve cross-border payments, as well as related FX transactions, risk sharing, and more generally, financial contracting. It proposes a design that centralizes payments and settlement and that integrates functionality needed for cross-border transactions: streamlining compliance, reducing the cost of FX conversion, and better managing financial risks. The paper also shows how new technologies can be leveraged to better organize payments and associated financial markets. These new technologies are ledgers with unique states, programmability that allows for smart contracts, and encryption which ensures privacy, and can alleviate the underlying obstacles to trade. These technologies allow the design of a multilateral exchange system where participants can truthfully share information with smart contracts but can retain privacy relative to other parties. [Read more at IMF.org]

Payments, money and finance in the digital era (Part 1 and Part 2)

Two recent papers by Christian Pfister examine the state of play and short- to long-term prospects for payments, money and finance in the digital era. The first paper focuses on short- to medium term developments, and two forms of public sector, intervention; regulatory and production-based. He argues that the regulatory approach should be considered against the potential costs, like the creation of barriers to entry and protection of established players, which makes it ambiguous from the point of view of competition. Production-based intervention, such as the introduction of central bank digital currency (CBDC), aiming to provide an alternative to private supply is much stronger than regulation, and has its own ambiguities. Hence, before intervening, the public authority should ensure that private initiatives are unable to meet a clearly expressed need (i.e., there must be a “market failure”), and the benefits outweigh any disadvantages. The second paper, which focuses on longer-term issues, recommends that if a CBDC were to be issued, it should be aimed to stimulate innovation and not lead, even inadvertently, to the marginalization of the private sector.

The second paper concludes with a set of recommendations, including that the central bank should continue to issue banknotes, but in order to discourage their illicit use, gradually withdraw the high-denominations. Also, if retail CBDC is issued, it should allow offline transactions. Also there should be a threshold of anonymity for very small-value transactions to facilitate its substitution for cash without facilitating illicit transactions. Above this threshold, allow transactions under pseudonyms, with the possibility for the judicial authorities to request the lifting of pseudonymity, and limit the collection of personal information to what is necessary for reporting entities to fulfil their regulatory obligations. Christian recommends not limiting individual CBDC holdings, except for a transitional period, and remunerating at an interest rate linked by a fixed spread under the monetary policy rate. In addition, he recommends the issuance of wholesale CBDC on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, and allow, but not force, payment service providers, including regulated issuers of retail stablecoins, to back their issuance with them. [Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here]

HSBC to launch Orion blockchain bond tokenization platform

HSBC is reportedly launching a distributed ledger technology (DLT) based bond tokenization platform. The European Investment Bank is currently exploring the possibility of issuing the market’s first-ever GBP tokenized bond, for registration and issuance under Luxembourg law, using HSBC Orion. [Read more at FFNews.com]

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 CBDC Think Tank is a New York-based technology- and vendor-agnostic digital currency knowledge-sharing hub for staff of central banks, international financial institutions (IFIs) and non-government organizations (NGOs). It runs webinars, workshops, and masterclasses to disseminate knowledge and facilitate communication. It also engages in advisory work, focusing on delivering impact that best aligns with the needs of its clients and the forward progress of human civilization. The CBDC Think Tank welcomes requests from central bank officials for CBDC advisory services.  [click here for more information].

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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221026)

Central Bank of Turkey plans to pilot test a CBDC in 2023

According to Turkey’s Presidential Annual Program for 2023, the Central Bank of Turkey will start piloting a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2023. Many news services are reporting that a Digital Lira will be launched in 2023, but according to Google Translate the key passage in the Annual Program Budget Rationale (“kullanım testlerine başlanacaktır”) translates to “usage tests will begin” which sounds like a pilot to me. But it does sound like several proofs of concept (PoC) have been done (the Annual Program calls them “pilots”, but if they didn’t include “usage tests” then they’re PoCs by my definition. Also, wholesale CBDCs will be the subject of research, development and testing activities that will be carried out with banks. [Read more at the Turkish Presidency of Strategy and Budget]

Project mBridge: Connecting economies through CBDC

The BIS Innovation Hub’s (BISIH’s) Hong Kong Center and its partner central banks published the results of its pilot testing of its mBridge multi-CBDC (mCBDC) multi-currency cross-border transaction platform. Over six weeks in 2022, the platform was put to the test through a pilot involving real-value transactions among 20 commercial banks from four different jurisdictions. Over $12 million was issued on the platform, facilitating over 160 payment and FX payment-versus-payment (PVP) transactions totaling more than $22 million in value. [Read more at the BIS and for a nice summary, including a discussion of some of the challenges faced, see this CoinDesk article]

Singapore lays down the law for crypto trading and stablecoins

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published two consultation papers proposing strict regulatory measures to reduce the risk to consumers from cryptocurrency trading while supporting the development of stablecoins as a credible medium of exchange. One of the papers is focused on reducing the risk to consumers from speculative trading in cryptocurrencies, requiring that digital payment token (DPT) service providers ensure proper business conduct and adequate risk disclosure. The other paper is focused on ensuring that stablecoins have a high degree of value stability, including imposing capital requirements on nonbank issuers. [Read more at the MAS]

Alipay enables transfers to WeChat users via QR codes

AntGroup’s Alipay added a feature that permits its users to transfer sums to WeChat users, bridging the two Chinese digital payments providers.  To perform a transfer, Alipay users first need to select the payment amount they would like to transfer. After that, the app generates a QR code that can be shared with counterparties via WeChat, QQ, Sina Weibo, or DingDing. The move follows the launch of anti-trust measures by the Chinese central government targeting the two payment platforms, as well as practices such as exclusive agreements with vendors and the use of big data to engage in discriminatory pricing. [Read more at the Paypers]

The macroeconomic impact of cryptocurrency and stablecoin economics

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Digital Currency Governance Consortium has published a summary of the earlier-published comprehensive analysis of the macroeconomic impact of cryptocurrency and stablecoins. The project had two objectives: (i) to project economic outcomes of crypto and stablecoins given various possible high-level regulatory paths and (ii) to arm policymakers and business leaders with the projections to inform decision-making. The rising concern around the potential spillover effects of crypto and stablecoins on the financial system was another impetus. [Read more at the WEF]

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 CBDC Think Tank is a New York-based technology- and vendor-agnostic digital currency knowledge-sharing hub for staff of central banks, international financial institutions (IFIs) and non-government organizations (NGOs). It runs webinars, workshops, and masterclasses to disseminate knowledge and facilitate communication. It also engages in advisory work, focusing on delivering impact that best aligns with the needs of its clients and the forward progress of human civilization. The CBDC Think Tank welcomes requests from central bank officials for CBDC advisory services.  [click here for more information].

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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221025)

It’s been a quiet few days, which is why I haven’t published a Digest since Friday. Perhaps this quietness is on account of the Diwali Festival of Lights? In any case, Happy Diwali to all of my Hindu followers!

Digital-Currency Plan Falters as Nigerians Defiant on Crypto

“A year after launching Africa’s first digital currency, Nigeria’s central bank is turning to the nation’s three-wheeler taxi operators to speed the adoption of the eNaira, as regulators across the world scrutinize its every move. It’s offering a 5% discount to drivers and passengers of the motorized rickshaws who use the eNaira. It’s the latest attempt to kickstart the central bank digital currency (CBDC), which has so far attracted just one in 200 Nigerians… The relatively low adoption up until this point, while not uncommon for countries in the early phases of launching a digital currency, may be caused by insufficient incentives for commercial banks or mis-targeted consumer messaging, according to John Kiff, managing director of the CBDC Think Tank.” [Read more at Bloomberg]

Wealthsimple first FinTech startup approved by Bank of Canada for direct settlement

Wealthsimple has become the first non-bank or credit union to be approved by the Bank of Canada for a direct settlement account. This means that the FinTech startup will not have to rely on a third-party financial institution to process transactions when Real-Time Rail (RTR) launches in Canada, as it will have direct access. However, for the second time, Payments Canada has delayed the RTR launch, saying it needs more time to validate and test the system’s components and end-to-end integration, and it could be a long wait. [Read more on Wealthsimple’s LinkedIn page]

BIS, UN, Hong Kong Monetary Authority concludes tokenized green bonds trial

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the United Nations Climate Change Global Innovation Hub presented the results of their Genesis 2.0 initiative. The project aims to explore the use of blockchain, smart contracts and the Internet of Things (IoT) for a global environment cause. The project resulted in two prototypes of tokenized green bonds, developed by two separate international teams, which are “de facto verified carbon credits” recognized by either international, national or other verification mechanisms. [Read more at the BIS]

Plaid’s 2022 Consumer Survey: The Fintech Effect

Plaid surveyed more than 4,000 consumers in the UK and US as part of its annual Fintech Effect report. It found that 80% use some type of digital financial tool, down from 88% last year – a decrease that Plaid attributes to adoption falling away among ‘baby boomers’, who report lower levels of fintech usage this year compared to 2021. But adoption is still significantly higher than in 2020, when 58% of consumers reported using some sort of fintech tool. [Read more at Plaid]

Sustaining digital payments growth: Winning models in emerging markets

According to McKinsey, digital payment transactions grew rapidly in emerging markets during the past two years, as the pandemic accelerated shifts to contactless payments and e-commerce. E-wallets proliferated, real-time account-to-account transfers took off, and industry players formed new partnerships to access capabilities and broaden their customer base. Some of the fastest growth occurred in Africa and Southeast Asia, where low banking penetration gives payments providers opportunities to capture untapped potential and reach underserved populations.

Margins for digital payments providers are already wafer thin and are likely to be eroded further by competitive intensity and declining fees. In many cases, payments are more a means to cross-sell other products than a profit center in their own right. Some services, such as peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, are usually offered to users for free in most markets. In Brazil, for instance, Pix is pushing margins down by offering P2P payments for free and person-to-merchant (P2M) payments at low cost. [Read more at McKinsey]

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 CBDC Think Tank is a New York-based technology- and vendor-agnostic digital currency knowledge-sharing hub for staff of central banks, international financial institutions (IFIs) and non-government organizations (NGOs). It runs webinars, workshops, and masterclasses to disseminate knowledge and facilitate communication. It also engages in advisory work, focusing on delivering impact that best aligns with the needs of its clients and the forward progress of human civilization. The CBDC Think Tank welcomes requests from central bank officials for CBDC advisory services.  [click here for more information].

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]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221021)

CBDCs Can Work With Stablecoins, Central Bank Trial Finds

A new experiment by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) shows central bank digital currency (CBDC) can work with private stablecoins, even if intermediary operators go bust. Project Aurum created a technology stack comprised of a wholesale interbank system and a retail e-wallet system, setting up two different types of tokens: intermediated CBDC and stablecoins backed by CBDC in the interbank system. While intermediated CBDC is a direct liability of the central bank, CBDC-backed stablecoins are liabilities of the issuing bank, with its backing assets held by the central bank. [Read more at the BIS]

USDC adoption is lagging outside of the United States

Coinbase says the adoption of USD Coin has been “more conservative” outside of the United States, which it believes is a result of international currency conversion fees. The U.S. exchange said there is currently three times more USDC bought with U.S. dollars as compared to other currencies. The exchange said it is aiming to “build more on-ramps for users to access USDC,” and will be waiving fees for all customers who buy or sell USDC using any fiat currency. [Read more at Coinbase]

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.

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221020)

BoE looking for help with its offline CBDC research and PoC work

The Bank of England is looking for a specialist supplier to help them with their offline central bank digital currency (CBDC) research and proof of concept (PoC) work. The process of applying is a bit wonky because thy’ve delegated it to the UK government’s digital supplier procurement system, and if you or your firm are not already on their supplier list, tough luck. And tough luck for the Bank too, because the “supply” of offline digital currency experts is rather thin, and most probably aren’t already be on the list. [Read the RFP here and the list of suppliers here]

Israeli government to trial blockchain bonds with stock exchange TASE

The Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) announced plans for a proof of concept to issue government bonds using blockchain. Protocol developer VMWare and custody provider Fireblocks will be part of this Project Eden. The blockchain system will be developed by TASE and involve live tests with local and international banks, with settlement using digital currency in an Israeli state e-wallet. [Read more at Ledger Insights]

Nubank launches its own cryptocurrency running on Polygon

Brazil’s Nubank is launching Nucoin, its own cryptocurrency on the Polygon blockchain network in the first half of 2023. It will be distributed free of charge to customers as the basis for the creation of a rewards program in Brazil. Polygon is an Ethereum scaling blockchain that enhances the functionality of Ethereum while retaining the base layer’s security and decentralization. [Read more at Nubank]

UK to introduce legislation conferring legality on digital documents on blockchain

The UK government has introduced has introduced a new bill into Parliament that bestows legal status on paperless documentation used in international trade. Under the Electronic Trade Documents Bill, digital trade documents will be put on the same legal footing as their paper-based equivalents to give UK business more choice and flexibility in how they trade. The Bill will reduce admin costs, make it easier for British firms to buy and sell internationally, and cut processing times for electronic documents to 20 seconds. [Read more on the UK government website]

API standards for data-sharing (account aggregator)

This BIS Consultative Group on Innovation and the Digital Economy (CGIDE) report presents three models for data sharing: centralised, decentralised and trust – and develops the user interactions and their data flows. Additionally, the report presents account aggregator functionality and possible arrangements for implementation in the open finance ecosystem. Finally, it shows the successful implementation of a demo based on a microservices architecture that promotes high availability, scalability and resilience. [Read more at the BIS]

Tornado Cash Is not free speech. It’s a Golem

Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier argue that tying free speech arguments to the cause of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) like Tornado Cash imperils some of the important free speech victories that were won in the past. But the risks for everyone might be even greater if that argument wins. A world where democratic governments are unable to enforce their laws is not a world where civic spaces or civil liberties will thrive. [Read more at Lawfare]

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.

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221012)

My posts this week may get a bit spotty, as I’ll be in Washington DC for the Georgetown University DC Fintech Week, the CBDC Think Tank Summit, and various activities around the International Monetary Fund / World Bank Annual Meetings.

CBDC Manifesto: Design recommendations for a retail CBDC

The Digital Euro Association (DEA) and the CBDC Think Tank (CBDC TT) announced the CBDC Manifesto at the CBDC Summit 2022 in Washington DC. The document was developed by the DEA, the CBDC TT, and world-leading CBDC experts. The Manifesto proposes five major central bank digital currency (CBDC) design recommendations which can be used as a guide by central banks to devise an optimal CBDC development plan. [Read more at CBDCManifesto.com]

BIS Innovation Hub and Bank Indonesia announce winners of G20 TechSprint

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and Bank Indonesia today announced the winners of the G20 TechSprint 2022 challenge. This year’s competition was launched in April to catalyse new technologies that would better enable the development and future use of CBDC. From 21 shortlisted teams the three winners were: [Read more at the BIS]

  • Team Dragonfly Fintech Pte Ltd from Singapore won the “Effective and robust means to issue, distribute and transfer CBDCs” category for their solution End-to-End CBDC Solution, which is a proprietary blockchain ledger with unique in-built features and includes a mobile wallet and digital identity platform.
  • Team Bitt-IDEMIA from the US won the “Enabling Financial Inclusion” category for their solution Secure Offline CBDC Payment Solution, which is a platform that allows monetary authorities to launch interoperable CBDCs while also leveraging on a layer-2 solution to enable offline payments.
  • Team Partior from Singapore won the “Improving interoperability” category for their solution Project Naucratis: Enabling Connectivity & Interoperability for mCBDC, which is a blockchain-based multi-CBDC network that supports both account-based and token based CBDC models.

European Parliament Ratifies MiCA Framework in Landslide Vote

“The long-awaited Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation has just scaled through the European Parliament as MPs voted massively in favor of the bill. the bill received a 28:1 vote to scale, completing the tripartite deal needed to push the bill into its next implementation phase.” [Read more at Blockchain News]

Banque de France participates in a new wholesale central bank digital currency experiment with SWIFT

The Banque de France has joined a consortium of 14 banks and market infrastructures launched by SWIFT, to conduct a new central bank digital currency (CBDC) experiment for interbank settlement purposes. The objective of the experiment is to issue cross-border payments in a test environment to study the interoperability between different distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and existing payment systems. These payments will be made in simulated CBDC issued by the participating central banks. [Read more at the Banque de France]

SEC Rejects WisdomTree Bitcoin Spot ETF Application—Again

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected Cboe BZX Exchange’s latest application for a spot Bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) launch, on grounds similar to those cited in multiple applications before it. The decision follows two previous delays on the company’s application decision, and the denial of a former application from WisdomTree in December on the exact same grounds. [Read more at Decrypt]

Grasping De(centralized) Fi(nance) Through the Lens of Economic Theory

The Bank of Canada published a paper that uses a simple stylized model of collateralized lending to analyze the value proposition and limitations of decentralized finance (DeFi). DeFi uses a decentralized ledger to run smart contracts that automatically enforce the terms of a lending contract and safeguard the collateral. DeFi can lower the costs associated with intermediated lending and improve financial inclusion. Limitations are the volatility of the crypto collateral and stablecoins used for settlement, the possible incompleteness of smart contracts and the lack of a reliable oracle. A proper infrastructure reducing such limitations could improve the value of DeFi. [Read more at the Bank of Canada]

US Treasury Fines Bittrex Exchange $29m for Multi-Year Sanctions Violation

U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading platform, Bittrex Has been fined $29 million by the U.S. Treasury Department through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). According to the OFAC announcement, the trading platform “failed to prevent persons apparently located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria from using its platform to engage in approximately $263,451,600.13 worth of virtual currency-related transactions between March 2014 and December 2017.” [Read more at Blockchain News]

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.

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20221005)

The Book of [Blockchain, Crypto and Web3] Jargon

Latham & Watkins LLP has published a very helpful interactive glossary of acronyms, slang, and blockchain, crypto and Web3 industry terminology. [Download at Latham & Watkins LLP]

SWIFT innovation paves way for global use of CBDCs and tokenized assets

SWIFT, working with Capgemini, has shown that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and tokenized assets can move seamlessly on existing financial infrastructure. The findings, from two separate experiments, bridged transactions between different distributed ledger technology (DLT) platforms (JPMorgan Quorum and R3 Corda) and real-time gross settlement systems. However, it appears that it still uses intermediaries for cross border payments, and and intermediaries are a significant cause of friction in the payment system. Fourteen banks will be involved in further experiments to scale the system. [Read more at SWIFT]

Privacy in cross-border digital currency: A transatlantic approach

The Atlantic Council published an article illustrating how various technical design choices can affect the privacy and transparency of cross-border CBDCs. Many of the cross-border CBDC pilot studies to date have adopted the technical designs provided by enterprise DLT platforms. However, some of these designs make tradeoffs regarding privacy, efficiency, and/or security. Whether these tradeoffs are acceptable is a matter of policy, and requires coordination between different regulators and central banks. [Read more at the Atlantic Council]

Smart Contracts Could Improve Efficiency And Transparency In Financial Transactions

S&P Global has published a smart contract explainer. Using smart contracts in financial transactions can improve efficiency and reduce reliance on third parties like asset servicers and custodians, as well as make transaction resolutions faster–enhancing creditworthiness and the integrity of business dealings. However, smart contracts have had slow and limited adoption in the financial markets owing to key risks including technology issues (such as incorrect coding) and legal and regulatory ambiguities that make accountability difficult. [Read more at S&P Global]

Tickets available for CBDC Think Tank masterclass

The CBDC Think Tank, in partnership with the IMF and George Washington University, is hosting a full-day in-person CBDC Masterclass on October 12 in Washington DC for “official sector” staff and academics active in the CBDC / digital currency space only. The sessions are designed as instructional deep dives with full presentations and Q&A components.  Tickets are $99. [Register here]

Also, the CBDC Think Tank, in partnership with Georgetown University and the DC FinTech Week, is hosting a FREE (also in-person) Digital Currency Lecture Series, a set of digital currency lightning talks delivered by subject matter experts, on October 14 in Washington DC. [Request an invite 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 chronicles@kiffmeister.com.