Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal makes the same point I’ve been making for many months. “Basically [crypto-assets are] just tech stocks. Not only are the coins trading in line with each other still, they’re still basically trading in line with the Nasdaq 100… What does this all mean? One possibility is that the marginal crypto-asset buyers just doesn’t care about any of this stuff. Proof-of-work? Proof-of-stake? The merge? Inflation hedging? The halving? Deflationary monetary policy? What’s all that stuff? In other words, it’s possible that there’s a small coterie of people paying attention to any of this. And that what’s really driving price is just the animal spirits of a much larger group of speculators, who are also moving the price of Zoom or Tesla or Meta or whatever else. [Read more on Twitter]
Decentralized finance (DeFi) is expanding into the world of interest rate swaps (IRS), a derivative instrument for exchanging fixed and variable interest rates. DeFi firm Voltz Labs has launched a non-custodial automated market making (AMM) IRS trading platform based on the Aave and Compound DeFi USDT, USDC, DAI and ETH lending markets. However, IRS AMMs are challenged by DeFi markets’ lack of fixed-rate products off which to price swaps. (Traditional markets offer variable- and fixed-rate products off which to arbitrage each other.) [Read more about the Voltz protocol here]
Ghana introduced a 1.5% tax (“E-levy”) on mobile money transactions in May 2022, in a country where 40% of the population aged 15 and above use mobile money platforms. It has been justified as a way to reduce aid dependence, and to capture informal economy workers. An International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) paper finds that the overall effect of the E-levy is highly regressive with users in the bottom income quintile paying the largest share as a proportion of their income, especially home-based informal workers. However, a 100 cedi/day (equivalent to about $10/day) taxation threshold has provided some relief. [Read more at the ICTD]
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 email@example.com.