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China’s central bank will launch a state-backed cryptocurrency and issue it to seven institutions in the coming months, according to a former employee of one of the institutions who is now an independent researcher. Paul Schulte, who worked as global head of financial strategy for China Construction Bank until 2012, says the largest bank in the world, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the second largest bank in the world, his former employer, the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China; two of China’s largest financial technology companies, Alibaba and Tencent; and Union Pay, an association of Chinese banks, will receive the cryptocurrency.
A separate source, who’s involved in the development of the cryptocurrency, dubbed DC/EP (Digital Currency/Electronic Payments), confirmed that the seven institutions would be receiving the new asset when it launches, adding that an eighth institution could also be among the first tier of recipients. The source declined to provide the name of the additional company. Speaking under terms of anonymity, the source, who previously worked for the Chinese government, confirmed that the technology behind the cryptocurrency has been ready since last year and that the cryptocurrency could launch as soon as November 11, China’s busiest shopping day, known as Singles Day.
At the time of launch, the recipient institutions will then be responsible for dispersing the cryptocurrency to 1.3 billion Chinese citizens and others doing business in the renminbi, China’s fiat currency, according to the source. The source added that the central bank hopes the currency will eventually be made available to spenders in the United States and elsewhere through relationships with correspondent banks in the West. “That’s the plan, but that won’t happen right away,” the source said.
The plan to use a diverse set of China’s trusted intuitions to disperse the cryptocurrency is reminiscent of a number of other ideas currently percolating around the world. For instance, Facebook’s planned libra cryptocurrency will be backed by a basket of currencies issued by central banks with support from companies like Mastercard and Uber in the United States, Vodaphone in England and Mercado Pago in Argentina. And last week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney floated the idea of a new currency backed by a number of central banks to replace the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.
What sets China’s DC/EP apart from libra and Carney’s “synthetic hegemonic currency” (SHC), according to Shulte, is that while libra is little more than early-stage computer code and the SHC doesn’t appear to have gone much further than Carney’s mind, the Chinese cryptocurrency is ready to launch. “China is barreling forward on reforms and rolling out the cryptocurrency,” says Schulte, who now runs an eponymous bank research firm. “It will be the first central bank to do so.”
At the time of publication, neither the People’s Bank of China nor any of the seven institutions mentioned by Schulte had responded to Forbes requests to confirm or deny his claim. However, the two-tiered strategy, where the central bank creates the currency and others distribute it, aligns with previously unreported statements made by Mu Changchun, deputy director of the Paying Division of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the new head of China’s cryptocurrency research lab. In a speech on August 10 at the China Finance 40 Forum, since revised and posted on the PBOC’s WeChat channel, Mu described the central bank’s “two-tiered” system, wherein the bank would create the cryptocurrency and a small group of trusted commercial businesses would “pay the central bank 100% in full” to be allowed to distribute it.
In addition to preventing regional banks and other organizations from being disintermediated, Mu said the two-tiered system is designed to “curb” public demand for other cryptographic assets, consolidate China’s national currency sovereignty, ensure that the central bank maintains control over monetary policy affecting the currency, increase the likelihood of people using the currency, distribute the risk of having all the authority directly in the hands of the central bank and encourage competition between the organizations that receive the cryptocurrency.
“This dual delivery system is suitable for our national conditions,” said Mu. “It can not only use existing resources to mobilize the enthusiasm of commercial banks but also smoothly improve the acceptance of the digital currency.”
The composition of the organizations Schulte says will receive the DC/EP also aligns with Mu’s comments. Later in his speech, Mu added that only after the technical specifications for the DC/EP were completed in 2018 did the central bank realize the similarity between its design and that of libra, the cryptocurrency being developed by Facebook and about 30 other early-stage partners.
One key difference, according to Mu, is that while libra is being designed to handle 1,000 transactions per second, the DC/EP was designed to handle 300,000 transactions per second. For context, Mu added that during last year’s Singles Day the peak volume of all transactions in China was 92,771 transactions per second, dwarfing what the other platforms could support, but well within the DC/EP specifications. “At present, we belong to a state of horse racing,” Mu said according to the translation.
How Blockchain Went From Bitcoin To Big Business| 37:20
The DC/EP can achieve this kind of volume only because it is not a “pure blockchain architecture,” according to Mu, and therefore it doesn’t need to wait for groups of transactions to settle in a block. Like other permissioned blockchains that not anyone can use, the DC/EP is centrally managed, in this case by the central bank, meaning the digital currency remains a liability of the bank and the debtor/creditor relationship is unchanged, according to Mu. Also, instead of using an algorithm to limit supply, like bitcoin, Mu says the PBoC itself will control supply. Crucially, Mu says, the DC/EP is being designed to replace the physical notes and coins in circulation, not the renminbi sitting in bank accounts in a digital form.
“The central bank’s digital currency can be circulated as easily as cash,” said Mu. “Which is conducive to the circulation and internationalization of the renminbi.”
Whether anyone outside China would actually use a digital renminbi for transactions in their own country is unclear. As the Bank of England governor’s comments about replacing the U.S. dollar indicate, much of the world is tired of having their financial stability tied to the United States’ monetary system. But China may not be the best alternative. Earlier this month, as part of the escalating trade war between the United States and China, U.S. President Trump accused China of being a “currency manipulator.” After China’s renminbi fell to its lowest in 11 years, hitting 6.9225 renminbi per dollar on August 5, according to a Financial Times report, it has recovered significantly, trading at 7.15 renminbi per dollar today. While China has denied the charge and called the U.S. “protectionist” in a press statement, the perception of manipulation could be harmful to broader adoption of a digital currency linked to the renminbi.
In December 2017, another country accused of devaluing its currency, Venezuela, revealed plans for its own cryptocurrency, backed by oil and called the petro. After much hullabaloo, the currency somewhat officially launched in 2018, but it isn’t available on most international exchanges because of a U.S. embargo and has been almost impossible to accurately value. Another obstacle to adoption could be uncertainty about the benefits of a technology that’s intended to replace fiat currency but is still under centralized control. While it’s obvious that any central bank wishing to more closely observe how citizens are using a cryptocurrency would prefer a transparent ledger like the bitcoin blockchain, which makes transactions easily traceable, most of the benefits to users of current blockchains, such as instant settlement and digital transactions without the need of a middleman, could be undermined by central control.
One person who’s not concerned about the obstacles to adoption of China’s cryptocurrency is Charles Liu, chairman of HAO International, a private equity firm investing over $700 million in Chinese growth companies. After largely focusing on solar, organic fertilizer, and wastewater treatment technologies since 2012, Liu says he is an angel investor in “the first blockchain company to be able to sign an official contract with the People’s Bank” of China.
Liu declined to reveal the name of the firm or its technology but lent support to Mu’s comments about the potential benefits to businesses using China’s cryptocurrency. In addition to being a more efficient way to track money laundering, bribery and other transactions, Liu says, the cryptocurrency will give banks increased confidence in the creditworthiness of borrowers, let merchants receive payments instantly and lower transaction fees. While Liu says that banks in the United States have been resistant to such improvements that eat away at their bottom line, he adds that China doesn’t have that problem, because the government owns the banks.
“What will facilitate commercial transactions and enhance efficiency, the central government decides and they go ahead and do it,” says Liu, adding that “China’s strategic plan is to integrate more closely with the rest of the world. Cryptocurrency is just one of the means to have a more internationalized renminbi. It’s all strategic. It’s all long term.”
I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, and extends to non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, supply chain management, digital identity and a number of other use cases. Previously, I was a staff reporter at blockchain news site, CoinDesk, where I covered the increasing willingness of enterprises to explore how blockchain could make their work more efficient and in some cases, unnecessary. I have been covering blockchain since 2011, been published in the New Yorker, and been nationally syndicated by American City Business Journals. My work has been published in Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books and I am regularly cited in industry research reports. Since 2009 I’ve run Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to showing Manhattan’s rich literary heritage.
Cryptocurrency investment app Abra has revealed it’s set to restrict services for users in the United States over continued regulatory uncertainty.
According to a blog post the company published. It’ll adjust its offering in the country in an effort to “continue to be compliant and cooperative with US regulations as they currently exist.” This means Abra users in the US will see the firm restrict its services.
The blog post reads:
As a part of this effort we are migrating any synthetic assets to a native hosted wallet solution. On Abra, these are defined as anything other than Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
As such, users in the US will no longer be able to hold QTUM, bitcoin gold (BTG), Status (SNT) and OmiseGO (OMG) on the platform after August 29. Those who have positions in these cryptocurrencies are advised to withdraw their funds before said date, as any remaining balances will be automatically converted to BTC.
Those in New York will be more affected than others, as they will no longer to able to use wire transfers, bank Automated Clearing House (ACH), Or American Express cards to deposit and withdraw funds from Abra’s app.
The service also allows users to gain exposure to indexes like the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. This won’t, however, give them ownership of the assets themselves, meaning those who use the app to invest won’t, for example, receive dividends from stocks.
From a warning about Bitcoin’s 2019 rally to new support for Stellar Lumens, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the world of crypto.
A prominent crypto analyst warns the 2019 Bitcoin rally is an “exchange driven pump” that’s due for a significant pullback. According to Willy Woo, Bitcoin’s Network Value to Transactions (NVT) ratio is now way out of whack.
“Presently the market price of BTC has outstripped organic investor flow unseen since the bull market mania phases of 2013 and 2017. Never before have we seen such a divergence so early in the bull market.”
The NVT ratio measures the utility value of Bitcoin according to the number of transactions on the network relative to the price. Because on-chain investor volumes are in the normal range, Woo says the only explanation is “a quant fund driven short squeeze devoid of any true investor volume.”
Whales can short squeeze a majority-short market by buying it up until the shorts are liquidated, forcing a torrent of buys that inflate the price, Woo explains.
“If you have sufficient capital. You can keep buying to liquidate the bears. It’s extremely profitable. You only stop when it’s no longer profitable. At the $8k-9k mark the market switched from short to majority long. This put a cap on the profitability of short squeezing.
“I’m awaiting this exchange driven pump to blow off, a proper retrace, and only then do I think real investor flows will come in and drive the true organic bull market.”
Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader, Paul Brody, says blockchain is poised to trigger a fundamental transformation of how enterprises do business.
The accounting and consulting giant EY is building on Ethereum, and Brody says use cases for audits and supply chain management are some early examples of prime use cases for the technology.
“What I hope you’ll take away from this today is that blockchain is maturing. We have real products, real customers, real use cases, real value creation, stuff that’s in operations, and we also have a road map for where things can and should go in the future and how this can have an ever-bigger impact…
Blockchains we think are going to be the future way in which companies model and manage their business processes and, in particular, we can basically model any process between two enterprises or two agencies or two governments as a combination of tokens to represent assets and items of value and contract.”
Ripple and XRP
A presentation from Ripple’s chief technology officer David Schwartz is now online. At the We Are Developers in Berlin, Schwartz talks about the future of blockchain beyond the hype.
The Litecoin Foundation’s unique methods for raising funds to support the LTC ecosystem continue.
The Foundation has started to ship custom Litecoin cufflinks and tie bars, with a signed certificate of authenticity from LTC creator Charlie Lee.
Crypto.com has added Stellar Lumens (XLM) to its Wallet & Card app.
Users of the app can now purchase XLM at true cost with no fees, with both credit cards and bank transfers supported. People can also use XLM with Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Card, making it easier to convert Stellar’s token into fiat for purchases from everyday merchants.
Tron’s latest report on the network’s decentralized app ecosystem is out.
According to the report, four new gaming DApps launched on the network this week, along with a decentralized exchange called SunDex.
A technical indicator designed to detect market reversals is flashing its first sell in more than a month.
According to the GTI VERA Convergence Divergence indicator, the price of Bitcoin will likely continue to move lower in the short term, reports Bloomberg. The gauge utilizes typical Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) and attempts to identify increased volatility and delete excess noise.
Meanwhile, veteran trader Peter Brandt sent out a viral tweet identifying a Doji top in Bitcoin’s weekly chart, which could signal the start of a significant market correction. The Doji is a candlestick pattern that’s used to identify potential market reversals based on prior price action.
Doji top on weekly chart begins correction. $BTC pic.twitter.com/9L9YCZbrP8
— Peter Brandt (@PeterLBrandt) June 4, 2019
However, Brandt later clarified that further analysis shows a Doji pattern has not been confirmed across all crypto exchanges.
Most major exchanges did not have a doji top — only Bitstamp that I can find which is not a credible exchange IMO. Remains to be seen out market will resolve short term, but some broader volatility most likely.
— Peter Brandt (@PeterLBrandt) June 4, 2019
A new demo of an Ethereum-based platform from accounting and consulting giant Ernst & Young is now online. Project “Nightfall” is a transaction protocol designed to move tokens on the blockchain with complete privacy.
Ripple and XRP
Ripple continues to move large amounts of XRP.
The company just sent 50 million XRP, roughly $20 million, to one of its over-the-counter (OTC) distribution wallets that are used to sell the digital asset to crypto exchanges and institutional participants.
🚨 🚨 50,000,000 #XRP (20,558,748 USD) transferred from Ripple to Ripple OTC Distribution wallet
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) June 4, 2019
Litecoin’s hash rate hit a new all-time high on Sunday, amid rumors that new mining hardware from Bitmain will soon be released. The hash rate is a sign that the network is thriving as new miners join the network.
The Stellar Development Foundation’s Jed McCaleb and Denelle Dixon are hosting a new ask-me-anything on Reddit.
The event is set for Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. PST.
Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao says he won’t be able to go to the charity lunch with Warren Buffett. CZ says he was invited by Tron CEO Justin Sun who pledged millions to a charity, winning a lunch date with billionaire investor Buffett and a chance to invite seven colleagues. CZ is passing the torch to outspoken crypto supporter Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital.
If I can make it, I’ll bring him a @binance hoodie 🙂
Helsinki-based peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins has reportedly removed the option allowing users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies in person for cash.
In a Reddit post Sunday, a LocalBitcoins user pointed out the option was no longer available on the platform, though commenters some suggested the restriction might be limited to the U.S..
The removal of the option – which basically acts as a matchmaker for users to make trades in person – effectively bars LocalBitcoin users from selling and buying bitcoin for cash. LocalBitcoins has also cancelled pending fiat trades, other comments suggest.
The platform has not yet made an official announcement about the change on its blog or Twitter.
In response to the move, LocalEthereum announced has temporarily removed the trading fee on cash-in-person exchanges – effective June 1 to July 1.
LocalBitcoins’ move comes after the company announced in February that it would comply with the European Union’s (EU) new anti-money laundering directive.
Several other P2P cryptocurrency trading platforms still offer an in-person cash option.
Musk tweeted the word “ethereum” then followed it up by tweeting “jk”—perhaps an attempt at preventing Twitter from suspending his account, which has previously been locked after tweeting about cryptocurrencies due to his long association with bitcoin and cryptocurrency give-away scams.
Musk then told ethereum’s Buterin to “stop giving away ETH.”
Musk has recently been embroiled in a row with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after he tweeted about his plans to take Tesla private last year, with the SEC then claiming that Musk violated an agreement by tweeting information Musk said had already been correctly relayed to investors.
“If I were the SEC I would probably have pushed to add a requirement in the amended settlement to the effect of, if Musk is going to tweet a joke about Tesla, he has to add a smiley face or a “j/k” or a “lol” to the end of it. Again, this is an absolutely terrible rule for life, or comedy; it really kills the joke. And I can see why Musk would be concerned with the aesthetics of his Twitter comedy. But the SEC probably shouldn’t be!”
Musk surprised bitcoin and cryptocurrency watchers earlier this month by saying that the meme-based dogecoin is his “fav” cryptocurrency, even ahead of original cryptocurrency bitcoin, which he’s heaped praise on previously.
Musk, who has become known for his meme-ing Twitter account while running three major U.S. technology and engineering companies, was at this time responding to (another) tongue-in-cheek Twitter poll that found him to be the favorite to take on the mantle of dogecoin CEO, with 49% of the vote.
Musk beat off competition from ethereum co-founder and widely respected crypto developer Buterin, litecoin founder Charlie Lee, and Marshall Hayner, the chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency blockchain payments processor Metal.
Earlier this year the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets were enlivened by comments from two of the most closely-watched figures in the tech world: Tesla’s Musk and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.
Despite a recent rally, the bitcoin price remains well under where it was most of last year.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank (and the world’s sixth largest), has created its own cryptocurrency, a stablecoin called “JPM Coin.” According to CNBC, J.P. Morgan “moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business,” and in a few months, it will start trials for use of this new cryptocurrency for instant settlement of payments between its clients. The report says that J.P. Morgan is for a future blockchain-powered world, but before that happens………..
Binance, one of the worlds largest crypto exchanges, has just announced that they have enabled the purchase of cryptocurrency via debit and credit card. Through a new partnership with payment processing firm Simplex, Binance now allows customers to buy crypto on Visa and MasterCard debit or credit cards………..
A new update has emerged from the South Korean financial authority, the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The financial regulatory decided to maintain the ban enforced towards ICOs, based on the findings of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). Started September last year, the FSS conducted a survey to 22 enterprises in the country that had launched ICOs, on which they only received feedbacks from 13 of them………..