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Alibaba, Tencent, Five Others To Receive First Chinese Government Cryptocurrency

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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.”

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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.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

China’s central bank is reportedly on the verge of launching a national digital currency. Investigative Journalist Ben Swann joins Scottie Nell Hughes to discuss the implications. He argues that at some point every country will have its own digital currency. And that there’s “nothing attractive” about such currencies as they’re no better than traditional government-backed fiat currency. #NVHughes #QuestionMore #RTAmerica Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/ Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/ Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_America

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US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

The CFTC tapped Heath Tarbert as incoming chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), replacing current chairman and “Crypto Dad” J. Christopher Giancarlo. The announcement was made yesterday during a Senate confirmation hearing.

The CFTC is tasked with regulating derivatives, digital assets, and over-the-counter trades. The regulatory authority has taken a light-handed approach towards the cryptocurrency industry under outgoing chair Giancarlo.

“During my time of service, it has been a priority to transform the CFTC into a 21st Century regulator for today’s digital markets. With Dr. Tarbert’s confirmation, I know the agency is in safe hands to continue this transition,” said Giancarlo in a statement regarding the succession.

Prior to this designation, Tarbert served a short stint as Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs, beginning April 16, 2019. Before that Tarbert served as Assistant Secretary for International Markets for two years, to which he was confirmed by a vote of 87-8, showing a high degree of bipartisan support.

Politico previously reported Tarbert would likely succeed Giancarlo as chief derivatives regulator.

Tarbert is a member of the Financial Stability Board, the international body established after the financial crisis to monitor global markets, and serves on its steering committee, according to his Treasury Department biography.

Giancarlo has committed to stay on as chairman until July 15, 2019, as Tarbert completes his current Treasury obligations.

J. Christopher Giancarlo image via CoinDesk archives

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

Only an Idiot Would Use Facebook’s Shady Cryptocurrency

In its neverending conquest to take over the world, Facebook is building a network of online merchants and financial institutions to support its secretive new cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal reports that Mark Zuckerberg’s war machine is looking for $1 billion to fund the secretive stablecoin project, Project Libra, and is talking with heavyweights like Visa and Mastercard to get that cash.

FACEBOOK WANTS $1 BILLION TO FUND PROJECT LIBRA

The company started Project Libra over a year ago as a simple way to transfer money between WhatsApp users. But in true Facebook fashion, it’s grown far beyond that original scope.

The project has expanded to include e-commerce payments on Facebook and other websites as well as rewards for viewing ads, shopping online, and interacting with content.

Facebook cryptocurrency daily users potential

The upcoming Facebook cryptocurrency would reach the platform’s nearly 1.6 billion daily active users. | Source: Wall Street Journal

Facebook’s 2.38 billion monthly active users mean that, at launch, Project Libra would almost immediately compete with rivals Apple Pay (383M) and PayPal (267M). However, there are several reasons why you, and everyone else, should avoid Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency at all costs.

WHO TRUSTS FACEBOOK ANYMORE?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the times that Facebook proved it should be nowhere near your money.

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

There’s no better place to start than Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal – the mac daddy of screw-ups. In 2014, the social media company sold the personal data of  87 million users to Cambridge Analytica without the users’ consent. Doing so was in direct violation of the company’s privacy policies.

Adding your financial data to the massive pile of personal information that Facebook already has on you is asking for trouble.

PLAINTEXT PASSWORDS

If Facebook’s data breaches weren’t enough to scare you, let’s examine how the company handles passwords. Hint: Not well.

In March, Facebook revealed that it had been storing hundreds of millions of account passwords in a readable, plaintext format since 2012. Although there was no evidence that outside parties had access to the passwords, employees could grab them with ease.

Don’t forget about the company’s Amazon snafu that exposed data from 500 million accounts either.

By trusting any amount of money to a company that can’t even secure passwords, you’re effectively placing a sign on your back that says, “Please come and rob me!”

FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP

The beauty of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets is that they’re censorship-resistant. No single party can freeze your bitcoin wallet or block a transaction. Facebook can, and will, block your financial account whenever it pleases. The company’s already begun showing this overreach of power with its recent account bans.

This week, Facebook announced the bans of several individuals including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Representatives from the company explainedthat those they banned violated the platform’s policy on hate speech and promoting violence.

While that reasoning may hold, it sets a dangerous precedent for future action. Where do you draw the line on censorship? The banning demonstrates that Facebook has the power to freeze your crypto assets if it doesn’t share your particular views and can block transactions to causes it may not support.

FACEBOOK CRYPTO SHOULD BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL

Facebook’s cryptocurrency comes with all of the downsides of the company behind it and none of the benefits of an actual cryptocurrency. Anyone hyping it up as a step toward mass adoption simply doesn’t understand what makes crypto great.

If you’re looking for a currency with poor security and oppressive censorship, give your money to Facebook. If not, stay far, far away.

Source: Only an Idiot Would Use Facebook’s Shady Cryptocurrency

20% of 18-34 Year Olds in America ‘Own Bitcoin,’ Recent Survey Reveals – Omar Faridi

Spencer Bogart, a general partner at Blockchain Capital, recently revealed the results of a survey which suggest that despite the extended cryptocurrency bear market, “Bitcoin awareness, familiarity, perception, conviction, propensity to purchase and ownership all increased/improved significantly.”

According to a blog post, published on April 30th, 2019, by Bogart, the survey “results highlight that Bitcoin is a demographic mega-trend led by younger age groups.” Bogart also wrote that the “only area where older demographics matched younger demographics was awareness.”

Notably, the survey was “conducted online by The Harris Poll, on behalf of Blockchain Capital, from April 23–25, 2019 among 2,029 American adults.”

Most Americans Have “Heard Of Bitcoin”

Bogart, a business economics graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, explained that those surveyed had a relatively high awareness about cryptocurrencies. He noted that “regardless of age, the vast majority of the American population has heard of Bitcoin.”

As mentioned in Bogart’s blog, the “percentage of [US residents] that have heard of Bitcoin rose from 77% in October 2017 to 89% in April 2019.”

18-34 Year Olds Have “Highest Rate Of Awareness”

Moreover, the survey results indicated that overall “awareness of Bitcoin is strong across all age groups — those aged 18–34 have the highest rates of awareness at 90% and those aged 65+ have the lowest at 88%.”

60% Of 18-34 Year Olds Are “Somewhat Familiar” With Bitcoin

When compared to last year, the “percentage of people that have not heard of Bitcoin fell by more than half — from 23% in October 2017 to 11% in April 2019,” the survey data revealed.

Approximately 60% of survey participants aged between 18 and 34 said that they were “at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin — up from 42% in October 2017.” Moreover, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are “3x as likely to be at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin as those aged 65 and over,” the survey data suggested.

More Americans Now Believe Bitcoin Is “A Positive Innovation”

Other notable survey results indicate that the “percentage of [Americans] who ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that ‘Bitcoin is a positive innovation in financial technology’ rose 9 percentage points — from 34% in October 2017 to 43% in April 2019.”

Meanwhile, the “younger demographics were most inclined to have a positive view of Bitcoin,” the survey results suggested. In fact, around “59% of those aged 18–34 ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that” the Bitcoin protocol will have a positive impact on the world’s existing financial system. Notably, the overall positive attitude towards Bitcoin (BTC) among younger US residents increased by as much as 11% “from October 2017.”

Many Americans Think “Most People Will Be Using Bitcoin” In The Next Decade

Interestingly, more Americans now believe that “most people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years.” According to survey data, the percentage of US citizens who think Bitcoin will play a significant role in the future economy increased “ from 28% in October 2017 to 33% in April 2019.”

Survey results also indicate that “48% of those aged 18–34 ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that ‘it’s likely most people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years’ — up 6 percentage points from October 2017.”

Significantly More Americans Are Now Planning To Buy Bitcoin

According to recent survey data, 27% of Americans said “they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to buy Bitcoin in the next 5 years” – up “from 19% in October 2017.”

Other key findings from the survey are as follows:

  • “21% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to government bonds — up from 18% in October 2017,”
  • “17% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to stocks — up from 14% in October 2017,”
  • “14% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to real estate — up from 12% in October 2017,”
  • “12% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to gold — up from 8% in October 2017,”
  • “11% of the [American] population owns Bitcoin — including 20% of those aged 18–34 and 15% of those aged 35–44.”

Source: CryptoGlobe

Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

Monday, April 15 — after yesterday’s mixed movements, all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies are seeing solid green on the day to press time, seeing growth of between one and 10%, as Coin350 data shows.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is up around 1.5% on the day and is trading just under $5,200 by press time, according to CoinMarketCap. After hitting a multi-month price high of over $5,420 on April 10, the price of Bitcoin has subsequently corrected downwards — briefly dipping back below the $5,000 mark on April 12.

The top coin has since seen mild renewed growth in recent days, mostly trading sideways since mid-week. Today’s price point has brought Bitcoin’s weekly losses to a little over 1%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The largest altcoin by market cap, Ethereum (ETH), is also up about 1.5% on the day to trade near $167. The alt saw a peak on its weekly chart on April 8, breaking through $180, before faltering downward to as low as $161 on April 11-12.

Despite today’s mild growth, on the week Ethereum remains down by 6.75%.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) has reported mild growth of less than one percent on the day, and is currently trading at around $0.327. Correlating with Ethereum’s price movements, the altcoin saw bullish price points April 8-11, before seeing a subsequent correction. On its weekly chart, XRP is now down over 8%.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the uniformly green top 10 cryptocurrencies, XRP’s growth is the mildest, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) seeing the largest uptick, rising about 7% on the day to trade at $298 by press time. Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) are both reporting the second highest gains among the top 10, both up around 3.5% by press time.

Widening out to the top twenty, the highest gainer is Tezos (XTZ), which has surged close to 10% to hit $1.13 by press time. Aside from Maker (MKR) — ranked 20th and up a strong 5.2% — most other top 20 coins are seeing gentle gains between one and two percent.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is currently around to $175.3 billion, down over 1.6% on the week.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Source: CoinMarketCap

In crypto and blockchain news, the parent company of major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has today revealed $200 million in funding from Japan’s ST Blockchain Fund. The funding will reportedly be used to expand Bithumb’s international outreach.

Also today, Cointelegraph reported that Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has become a shareholder in crypto startup FXCoin, which hopes to become a licensed local cryptocurrency exchange.

In traditional markets, United States stock index futures opened slightly higher, ahead of anticipated earnings reports today from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, CNBC reports. Dow futures have this morning indicated a positive open, while futures for the S&P and Nasdaq were mixed.

Source: Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

The CEO of retail giant Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, noted the potential profitability of the firm’s retail arm in its Q4 2018 earnings conference call on March 18. Byrne’s statements indicate that Overstock may not be divesting from its retail wing as soon as was previously indicated. Last year, Byrne reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that Overstock would sell off its retail wing sometime in early 2019. During the section of the conference call devoted to retail, Byrne said that “this is going to be a year of explosive growth,” and that the retail wing would “spit out cash…..

Source: Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency

Announced Monday, six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders — remittances or foreign exchange — more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system. So far three of the banks have been identified — Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea — the rest, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros and Indonesian rupiah, “pending regulatory approvals and other reviews,” IBM said. The network went live Monday, although while the banks await their regulators’ blessings, the one stablecoin running on World Wire at the moment is a previously announced U.S. dollar-backed token created by Stronghold, a startup based in San Francisco.

Source: IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a significant number of layoffs. Around 50 percent of its staff members will be part of what is referred to as “voluntary retirement”, as reported by CoinDesk Korea……

Source: Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

Mark Zuckerberg: “Encryption is decentralizing” | Crypto Insider

 

On March 6, Mark Zuckerberg published a 3000+ word essay “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking”. In the essay, he outlines the problems faced by Facebook, the Internet and the society, as well as his vision of the future.Lately, the rumors have been swarming about Facebook adding blockchain technology and even introducing its own cryptocurrency. In relation to this series of events, it remains to be seen if Mr. Zuckerberg provides any validation for the rumors mentioned in his address.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg: “Encryption is decentralizing” | Crypto Insider

 

 

Firm that helps people buy luxury goods with crypto records $250M transactions

A company that offers the service of converting crypto to fiat in the form of luxury goods is reported to record a staggering amount of transactions. Elizabeth White, the founder and CEO of The White Company that offers the service admitted in an interview that her company records $250 million worth of transactions during the ongoing bear market. She said that the fear of “a crypto doom” has led many crypto owners, most of which are millionaires even billionaires to turn to her company’s one-of-a-kind services, as reported by BTC Wires…………..

Source: Firm that helps people buy luxury goods with crypto records $250M transactions

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