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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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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

SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

Senior advisor for digital assets at the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Valerie Szczepanik reportedly noted that stablecoins could experience issues under current securities laws. Blockchain-related news website Decrypt reported her comments on March 16.

Szczepanik, also known as the Crypto Czar, was appointed to the new position of associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation for Division Director Bill Hinman in June of 2018.

When Szczepanik reportedly made the statement concerning securities at Austin’s SXSW conference on March 15, she also broke stablecoins into three categories.

One kind of stablecoins are the ones tied to real assets such as gold or real estate, and another type are the ones tied to fiat currency held in reserves, in Szczepanik’s classification. The third and last category uses market financial mechanisms to keep the price stable. Explaining the last kind, Szczepanik said:

“I’ve seen stablecoins that purport to control price through some kind of pricing mechanism, whether it’s tied to the issuance, creation or redemption of another type of digital asset tied to it, or whether it is controlled through supply and demand in some way to keep the price within a certain band.”

Szczepanik reportedly said that since a central party controls the price fluctuations over time, that last kind of stablecoins “might be getting into the land of securities.” According to her, if buyers are promised that somebody else will be holding or guaranteeing a profit or controlling the price, the token could be a security.

Ultimately, she explained, whether the asset is labeled as a stablecoin or anything else, the SEC will always subject projects to the same level of scrutiny. She noted:

“Not to sound cliche, but we’d much rather people come to us and ask for [permission], or come talk to us before they do something, rather than doing something and then coming in and asking for forgiveness.”

As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, the United States-based stablecoin project Basis has officially stated that it will close operations and refund investors after they confirmed that they couldn’t avoid a security classification for their secondary token.

More recently, SEC’s chairman Jay Clayton seemed to confirm that Ethereum (ETH) and cryptocurrencies like it are not securities under U.S. law.

Source: SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

Why Need Real ATMs for “Unreal” Money?

Over the last three years, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs has increased by 700%. This is indicated by data from the DRIVE Markets exchange. According to the company’s research, on January 1, 2016, 501 automatic teller machines for digital coins were in operation, and in 2019, the figure has reached 4,128. Experts believe this trend is related to the growing popularity and confidence in the crypto industry and the simplicity and accessibility of the devices compared to digital assets exchanges…………….

Source: Why Need Real ATMs for “Unreal” Money?

Cryptopia In Crisis: Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?

year ago, Joe Lubin seemed like one of the most prescient people on the planet. Cryptocurrencies like ether were in the midst of a hockey-stick ascent, and Lubin, a cofounder of the Ethereum blockchain and one of its most articulate pitchmen, was scheduled to speak at events from Davos to SXSW. At his firm’s “Ethereal Summits,” it was standing room only, with crowds hanging onto his every utterance, no matter how bizarre…………….

Source: Cryptopia In Crisis: Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?

This week’s bad news for exchanges has been terrible for crypto

The disastrous and seemingly unending hack which devastated New Zealand exchange Cryptopia was only the first in a series of bad news coming from various crypto exchanges the past week, with Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX ‘losing’ about $190 Million worth of crypto following the death of a founder and the subsequent loss of access to a private key, as well as the sudden and unexpected insolvency of Coinpulse……………

Source: This week’s bad news for exchanges has been terrible for crypto

Yahoo Co-founder: Blockchain & Crypto Platforms Need to Establish ‘Trust’ to Succeed

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang recently said that digital currencies and their underlying blockchain technology can only survive in the long-term if the crypto community builds a solid foundation of trust around them. Yang’s comments about cryptoassets and distributed ledger technology (DLT) came during a speech he delivered at the recent Nikkei Innovation Asia Forum, held in Singapore……..

Source: CryptoGlobe

Crypto Markets Show Signs of Recovery Following Severe Losses

The vast majority of cryptocurrencies are recovering after experiencing severe losses over the last several days, according to Coin360. Of the top 20 by market capitalization, only the stablecoins USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT) are still in the red. The leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has seen an increase of nearly five percent on the day, and is trading at around $3,717 at press time. As Cointelegraph reported earlier, BTC hit a new year-to-date low today, slumping to as low as $3,544. On its weekly chart, Bitcoin’s highest price point was $4,107 on Jan. 9…………

Source: Crypto Markets Show Signs of Recovery Following Severe Losses

Diar Report: 2018 Sees ‘Record Transacting Volumes’ on Crypto Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges have closed 2018 with “record transacting volumes,” according to a report by research firm Diar published Jan. 14.In its report, Diar notes that both the number of trades and the trade volume have increased on major crypto exchanges in 2018, compared to 2017 figures. The firm predicts that 2019 will see lower figures for spot markets than in 2017, despite the likely increase in the variety of traded cryptocurrencies………..

Source: Diar Report: 2018 Sees ‘Record Transacting Volumes’ on Crypto Exchanges

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