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Digital payments have created a great deal of buzz in recent times, and more so amid the pandemic. Current trends are also clearly pointing towards embracing digital currencies as a mainstream avenue, which is likely to have a profound impact on the functioning of financial markets across the globe. Although paper currency continues to remain the main source of transacting, the current trend clearly depicts a major transition in the day-to-day payment and transaction needs of customers. Digital currencies can come in various forms including those issued by central banks, or cryptocurrencies that are price-stabilised such as stablecoins backed by the US dollar or not such as bitcoin. While such currencies earlier received widespread backlash and criticism due to their high risks and lack of comprehensive regulatory framework, they were adopted in greater measure than ever before in
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- Meta Plans To Sell Diem Its Cryptocurrency Project
- China’s Digital Yuan: An Alternative to the Dollar-Dominated Financial System
- Dubai Free Zone Becomes First UAE Government Entity to Accept Bitcoin
- Vale Diem: How Facebook’s ambitious stablecoin project came to an end
- Top Stories
- Abu Dhabi court orders 10-year Jail for 9 accused in crypto money laundering case
Meta Plans To Sell Diem Its Cryptocurrency Project
Central bank digital currencies CBDC are digital tokens issued by central banks. In a way, they are the digital version of cash; their value is guaranteed by a central bank. Unlike money held in credit cards and mobile wallets, CBDCs are not a mere representation of physical money stored elsewhere.
Instead, they are a complete replacement for currency notes. While several countries are developing their digital currencies, China is well positioned to take the lead with the digital yuan.
This paper highlights ways in which China can use its digital yuan to internationalize the renminbi RMB and gradually chip away at the hegemony of the dollar. The U. Of all the countries, China finds itself in a dominant position to gain from this transition. The best way to simultaneously do both would be to introduce a new payment rail like CBDCs. In order to challenge the dollar, China will have to build the payments infrastructure required to facilitate the use of its digital yuan.
It will also have to incentivize other countries to adopt its digital currency. As China continues to use its foreign policy and technological capabilities to grow its influence in the global financial system, the launch of the digital yuan could be a significant step forward in this direction. Ideas and technologies imagined and created in China have shaped the world today.
The Song dynasty was the first to introduce paper money to the world, and today, China is also at the global forefront in developing digital currencies. Around the world, the dollar is used as a store of value, a unit of account, and a medium of exchange.
The dollar makes up almost 60 percent of foreign currency reserves. This often grants the United States some political leverage, as it is able to impose unilateral sanctions against countries for its own political reasons.
Two months into his presidency, Joe Biden declared that he sees stiff competition from China in the future. S influence over its financial system, which could serve as the turning point for the political and economic dominance of China. The digital yuan provides it with the opportunity to make a comeback and to set the rules of the international financial system. With the U.
The past few years have seen an accelerating trade war between China and the United States. The United States has soft power over the dominant payment rails. Cross-border transactions made over payment rails like the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications SWIFT are ultimately settled in dollars or have at least one leg of the transaction that involves a U.
The recent instance of the United States threatening to delist Chinese companies from the U. A country sanctioned by the United States gets cut off from the existing dominant cross-border payment rails. Consequently, it is unable to do business with the rest of the world. Once denied access to this infrastructure, an organization or country becomes isolated and financially crippled. For example, in , the United States passed sanctions against Iran that blocked Iran from selling oil abroad.
The United States regularly uses its sanctions as a tool to promote its foreign policy objectives and economic interests around the world. Currently, the United States has over thirty active financial and trade sanctions programs, which have a significant impact on the economy of the country being targeted. This means the United States can enforce crippling sanctions on other countries without much support from the rest of the world.
China has been working on its digital currency since At the end of , the PBoC started the digital yuan research and development project, which saw participation from large commercial banks, internet companies, and telecommunications players.
After just two years of testing, by June , the digital yuan had been applied in over 1. More than According to a survey of sixty-five major central banks conducted by the Bank for International Settlements BIS , 86 percent of central banks worldwide are actively engaged in some form of CBDC work; half of them have moved past initial research toward experimenting and running pilots.
The digital yuan has several interesting payment methods that include barcode payments, tap-and-go transactions, offline payment options, and facial recognition authentication, among others.
The digital yuan is designed in a way that borrows the advantages of both physical cash and electronic payment instruments. Like in the case of cash, payment operators in China do not charge users for the exchange and circulation services of the digital yuan, making it less costly than other electronic payment methods.
The digital yuan does not accrue interest and is designed so that it is loosely coupled with bank accounts and carries settlement finality, which means that payments made using the digital yuan are settled upon payment.
In case of anonymity, the digital yuan provides different degrees of anonymity depending on the value of the transaction. Small value transactions can be made with wallets without know-your-customer KYC standards; however, large value transactions require users to perform KYC. To conduct digital yuan transactions of large amounts, consumers will have to undergo KYC vertification procedures.
While the digital yuan is not based on blockchain technology, the patents do indicate ways in which the PBoC can use blockchain to manage the digital currency.
The patents also indicate that China may intend to regulate CBDC supply using an algorithm based on certain triggers, such as loan interest rates and economic triggers. This distributed digital yuan can only be spent on the preprogrammed intended purpose and cannot be converted into general-purpose digital yuan. As part of the digital yuan tests in Beijing, automatic teller machines ATMs have been added to the city that convert the digital yuan to cash and vice versa.
Citizens will not have to rely on costly commercial banks and messaging services like SWIFT for cross-border payments. The digital yuan could facilitate cross-border payment versus payment transactions by a simple exchange of tokens. While this could take some time, China is already working on developing cross-border platforms and agreements that will facilitate its token exchange.
The aforementioned CBDC initiatives aim to solve gaps and problems that affect cross-border financial transactions. Most of the problems with any international transfer of funds arise due to the large number of intermediaries involved in the process. The most transformative option to improve cross-border payment comes from peer-to-peer p2p arrangements made popular by digital currencies.
Due to the number of intermediaries such as correspondent banks involved, cross-border transfers require updates to multiple ledgers, as well as several communication hops in the payment message to perform due diligence. This drives up the cost of transfers. Banks are the most expensive type of cross-border funds transfer provider with an average cost of In the cross-border context, liquidity management in foreign currency is done via funding, which is also costly.
One of the major advantages of CBDCs is also the lower cost of liquidity management as compared with traditional money. Due to these reasons, CBDCs have the potential to reduce the cost of cross-border payments significantly. Nearly all the present real-time payment systems operate only domestically. It is easier to achieve real-time payments domestically as they require banks to settle payments in only one currency.
There are also fewer consecutive transfers in communication needed to settle a domestic transaction, making it faster and more transparent.
These systems are harder to scale up to the cross-border payments sphere, as they involve multiple players, jurisdictions, regulations, and time zones. This can be done through digital currencies that enable the settlement of transactions through a p2p network between the payer and the payee.
Popular digital currencies like Bitcoin and Libra now Diem are already capitalizing on the existing shortcomings of the cross-border payment landscape by utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology DLT. While China has taken several steps toward internationalizing the renminbi RMB , as outlined earlier, the launch of its CBDC could be a potential tipping point.
The new digital yuan offers an opportunity to build a scalable model for global trade and services payments by making it potentially easier and cheaper to move money from anywhere to anywhere else in the world. Though the digital yuan is a new payment instrument, China would not have to establish a fresh acceptance network.
Due to its digital nature, China could easily distribute its digital yuan through preexisting payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay wallets. This increases the scalability of the digital yuan as it can easily ride on already well-established current acceptance infrastructure. Like in the case of credit and debit cards, merchants had to incur significant additional costs like purchasing a point-of-sale PoS device to swipe cards and paying recurring service fees either monthly or per transaction.
Setting up digital payments is not as labor and cost intensive. In certain developing countries, the adoption rates of digital payments have drastically surpassed those of card payments. Two decades ago, China was mostly a cash economy; today, the country has leapfrogged to becoming the largest e-payment market in the world.
It is important to note that a major contributing factor to the aforementioned examples that demonstrate easy scalability of digital payments is the presence of state-driven incentives.
In its CBDC trials, China has already begun to incentivize its digital yuan by giving users exclusive discounts on certain purchases. Similarly, in case of cross-border payments, China will have to compete with the existing correspondent banking model as well as the likes of PayPal, Diem, and other dollar-dominated payment rails.
To ensure widespread use of the digital yuan internationally, China can use a range of tactics like trade incentives, low interest rates on digital yuan debts, and lower costs than its competitors, especially in regions where it has major influence see box 1. China has one of the most advanced payments landscape in the world. This development can be credited to two major private payment players in China—Tencent and Ant Group. This helps the two private companies to build better financial products and also to provide extremely low borrowing rates, which makes other financial players noncompetitive.
This scenario also leads to the disintermediation of the Chinese state-owned banks from the banking system, raising concerns for the Chinese government. The digital yuan is expected to break the alleged duopoly of Tencent and Ant Financial and give the Chinese government ownership and control of big data.
Whether China decides to use WePay and AliPay as key channels for distribution of the digital yuan remains to be seen.
The best way to simultaneously do both would be through introducing greenfield payment rails like CBDC. But to do so, China will have to work out agreements and mechanisms of exchanging its digital yuan with the rest of the world.
As CBDCs are a relatively new technology with no international standards and design, China could well become the standard setter. The PBoC in its white paper indicated that the central bank has been working on setting standards for digital currencies by engaging with regulators in various jurisdictions, multinational financial institutions, and universities.
The bank has also participated in building an international standard system under the framework of international organizations for digital fiat currencies.
Blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology. DLT is a rapidly evolving approach to recording and storing data across multiple participants in multiple locations. Unlike traditional databases, DLT is a decentralized database in which transactions and data are replicated, stored, and synchronized over a distributed network consisting of several nodes. Due to the absence of a central authority to ascertain the veracity of data and to commit new transactions, DLTs rely on consensus algorithms that ensure the validity of such data.
Once a consensus is reached among the participating nodes, a new transaction is added to the ledger. Reaching a consensus is appropriately difficult, and this establishes overall reliability of the system. DLTs have some key characteristics: they can be public or private, permissioned or permissionless. In a permissionless DLT, any participant can make changes to the ledger provided they are able to achieve consensus, while in a permissioned DLT, only specific entities can authorize or commit updates to the ledger.
In a blockchain, each transaction block is linked together in a list chain with a cryptographic hash.
China’s Digital Yuan: An Alternative to the Dollar-Dominated Financial System
Along with the individuals, over 6 companies have also been proven guilty of crypto money laundering allegations. The racket accumulated a total of Dh18 million in stolen funds from the victims. Post jail time, the defendants will be deported back to their homelands, except for the second defendant. The companies that were accomplices to the crime are also liable to pay the fine of Dh50 million. Meanwhile, all stolen funds and assets have been seized by the authorities. This individual would contact amateur and aspiring crypto investors and convince them of his proficiency in crypto investment which qualified him to invest in the crypto market at highly profitable rates.
Dubai Free Zone Becomes First UAE Government Entity to Accept Bitcoin
Central bank digital currencies CBDC are digital tokens issued by central banks. In a way, they are the digital version of cash; their value is guaranteed by a central bank. Unlike money held in credit cards and mobile wallets, CBDCs are not a mere representation of physical money stored elsewhere. Instead, they are a complete replacement for currency notes. While several countries are developing their digital currencies, China is well positioned to take the lead with the digital yuan. This paper highlights ways in which China can use its digital yuan to internationalize the renminbi RMB and gradually chip away at the hegemony of the dollar. The U. Of all the countries, China finds itself in a dominant position to gain from this transition. The best way to simultaneously do both would be to introduce a new payment rail like CBDCs. In order to challenge the dollar, China will have to build the payments infrastructure required to facilitate the use of its digital yuan.
Vale Diem: How Facebook’s ambitious stablecoin project came to an end
Facebook's announcement in of plans to design a cryptocurrency and payment system raised immediate red flags for global finance officials. Facebook's announcement in of plans to design a cryptocurrency and payment system raised immediate red flags for global finance officials, who expressed a barrage of criticism about the security and reliability of a private network. Silvergate bought development, deployment and operations infrastructure as well as tools for running a blockchain-based payment network for payments and cross-border wire transfers. Facebook developed the technology, initially named Libra , and then entrusted its control to an independent entity based in Geneva. After the defection of several major partners such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, the organisation scaled back its ambitions before renaming itself Diem at the end of
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Abu Dhabi court orders 10-year Jail for 9 accused in crypto money laundering case
Bitcoin has been controversial since its beginning in , as have the subsequent cryptocurrencies that followed in its wake. While widely criticised for its volatility, its use in nefarious transactions and for the exorbitant use of electricity to mine it, Bitcoin is being seen by some, particularly in the developing world, as a safe harbour during economic storms. But as more people turn to cryptos as either an investment or a lifeline, these issues have manifested in an array of restrictions on their usage. The legal status of Bitcoin and other altcoins alternative coins to Bitcoin varies substantially from country to country, while in some, the relationship remains to be properly defined or is constantly changing. Some countries have placed limitations on the way Bitcoin can be used, with banks banning its customers from making cryptocurrency transactions. Other countries have banned the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies outright with heavy penalties in place for anyone making crypto transactions. These are the countries that have a particularly fraught relationship with Bitcoin and other altcoins. Algeria currently prohibits the use of cryptocurrency following the passing of a financial law in that made it illegal to buy, sell, use or hold virtual currencies.
Diem Association, which is backed by Meta formerly Facebook , is in the process of selling assets and transferring capital, Bloomberg reported. Amidst regulatory obstacles, Meta is reportedly calling time on its ambitious and controversial cryptocurrency project that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has once defended before the US Congress. There are reports that Diem is in contact with investment banks in order to sell its intellectual property. The group is also looking for new places for development.
Aleksander Kijek , CIO at Nethone, talks about the new threats in fraud attacks and how we can face the current security challenges amid the pandemic. Voice of the Industry. Cross Border Ecommerce Research. Securing Transactions.
Bennett flew out on Sunday, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to make an official visit to the United Arab Emirates. Negotiations between world powers and Iran to revive a agreement that lifted economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program have made little progress amid mutual recriminations. Bennett has echoed a tough line against any concessions to Iran shared by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who lobbied President Donald Trump to abandon the nuclear deal. Israel says a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat, and that removing sanctions would allow Tehran to finance regional militias to menace Israel. Government officials have suggested that Israel may resort to striking Iranian sites in the event diplomacy fails.
The initiative is rumored to seize the remaining opportunity by selling its assets instead. Meta owns a third of the venture while the rest is owned by the members of the association. Initially named Libra, the cryptocurrency effort aims to introduce stable digital currencies, forming a consortium with other companies. However, the announcement faced scrutiny from regulators and legislators, ending up with Zuckerberg being called to testify in a US Congress hearing.