Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20220919)

After all this effort, crypto-assets are just tech stocks

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]

Are interest rate swaps the next frontier of decentralized finance?

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, USDCDAI 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]

New data on the e-levy in Ghana: unpopular tax on mobile money transfers is hitting the poor hardest

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 chronicles@kiffmeister.com.

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20220322)

BIS Innovation Hub and four central banks develop experimental multi-CBDC platform for cross-border settlements

The Singapore branch of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the South African Reserve Bank have completed prototypes for a common cross-border payments platform using multiple central bank digital currencies (mCBDCs). Project Dunbar proved that financial institutions could use CBDCs issued by participating central banks to transact directly with each other on a shared platform. This has the potential to reduce reliance on intermediaries and, correspondingly, the costs and time taken to process cross-border transactions. [Read more]

Euroclear invests in Fnality, blockchain-based synthetic CBDC

Euroclear has invested in Fnality, the blockchain payments consortium formerly known as the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) and owned by 16 major financial institutions. Euroclear operates Central Securities Depositories (CSDs) across Europe, including Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In October, Fnality plans to launch its first payment currency with pounds sterling deposited at the Bank of England. That makes it a so-called wholesale synthetic CBDC where the purpose is for institutions to use it for settlement, especially for blockchain-based transactions. [Read more]

Galaxy digital facilitates Goldman Sachs’s first OTC crypto options trade

Galaxy Digital facilitated and executed the first over-the-counter (OTC) crypto-asset transaction with Goldman Sachs in the form of a Bitcoin cash-settled non-deliverable option (NDO), apparently the first such transaction by a major U.S. bank. [Read more]

Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (20220301)

Cambridge University Launches Crypto Research Project with IMF, BIS

Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance has announced a collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and others to conduct crypto research. The Cambridge Digital Assets Programme, aims to bring further insight into the growing digital asset industry by providing data-driven insights through collaborative research involving public and private sector stakeholders. [Read more]

The research agenda for the Programme will be centered around three workstreams. The first is focused on environmental implications and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations of digital assets and their associated services. The second will look at the processes and configurations of distributed financial market infrastructure (dFMI), and the third on crypto-assets, stablecoins, central bank digital currency (CBDC), as well as enterprise and consumer tokens. [Read more]

CME Group plans to launch micro-sized Bitcoin and Ether options

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced that it will launch, subject to regulatory review, options trading for its existing micro Bitcoin (BTC) futures and micro Ether (ETH) futures that will be 10% the size of the respective tokens. The futures options, expected to start trading on March 28, will come more than two years after the firm launched a BTC options trading product in January 2020 and more than four years since the group launched the first Bitcoin futures contract in December 2017. [Read more]

Bitcoin jumps after Treasury imposes new sanctions against Russian central bank

The crypto market rose after the Treasury Department imposed new sanctions against Russia’s central bank that will effectively prohibit Americans from doing business with the Russian central bank and freezes assets within the United States. However, the crypto market rally may also be linked to hopes that Fed will be less likely aggressively hike amid the uncertain geopolitical backdrop. [Read more]