Remittances Partnership to Use Cambodia Central Bank’s Blockchain System
Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on cross-border payments and remittances.
With the MoU, Maybank Malaysia, Maybank Cambodia and NBC will explore the possibility of transferring funds between Cambodia and Malaysia through NBC’s blockchain-based Bakong payment system and Maybank’s Maybank2u digital platform.
Chea Serey, the assistant governor and director-general of central banking at NBC said that the Bakong system will enhance the current payment system at both domestic and regional levels, adding:
“The MoU will enable both institutions to reach another level of financial cooperation in further leveraging the technology to benefit the people in Cambodia and Malaysia.”
More than 66% of all mobile banking transactions in Malaysia were conducted through the Maybank App in 2018, while more than 52% of all internet banking transactions went through Maybank’s digital platform, The Edge Markets states.
NBC began testing its Bakong mobile app earlier in July. At the time, NBC said that the peer-to-peer payments app would help the country’s unbanked populace and improve financial inclusion. (Positive)
Samsung SDS Partners With Tech Mahindra for a New DLT Product
Samsung SDS, the IT subsidiary of global tech giant Samsung, has announced a joint initiative to launch a new blockchain-based traceability product.
To develop the new project, Samsung SDS partnered with American software firm Pega and Tech Mahindra, a subsidiary of major Indian multinational conglomerate holding company Mahindra Group.
Specifically, the joint initiative will be a combination of Samsung SDS’s enterprise blockchain platform Nexledger Universal and Pega’s digital process automation platform Pega Platform. By integrating Pega’s core product with Nexledger, the firms aim to develop improvements for supply chain systems.
The solution will target a number of related industries, including banking and financial services, insurance, manufacturing, public services as well as supply chain logistics. (Positive).
US Congress Considers a Draft Bill Claiming Stablecoins Are Securities
United States Congress is considering a draft bill that claims all managed stablecoins must be seen as investment contracts and therefore as securities.
The U.S. Representative for Texas’s 29th congressional district, Sylvia Garcia, introduced a draft bill to the House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 18. The draft bill, called the ‘‘Stablecoins are Securities Act of 2019,” seeks to regulate stablecoins under the Securities Act of 1933. This entails “amending statutory definitions of the term security” to include the term “managed stablecoins.”
The proposed bill seems to be directed at Facebook’s Libra stablecoin, which is planned to launch in 2020. Lawmakers across the globe weigh in on the discussion in regards to stablecoins, such as Libra, and its perceived threat to the global financial system.
Cointelegraph reported today that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, scheduled to testify before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, plans to say that Libra will not launch anywhere in the world until U.S. regulators approve it. (Neutral)
Trump Administration Popped 2017 Bitcoin Bubble, Ex-CFTC Chair Says
Christopher Giancarlo who left the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at the end of his five-year term as chairman in April, told CoinDesk in an interview:
“One of the untold stories of the past few years is that the CFTC, the Treasury, the SEC and the [National Economic Council] director at the time, Gary Cohn, believed that the launch of bitcoin futures would have the impact of popping the bitcoin bubble. And it worked.”
In a speech at the Pantera Summit in San Francisco on Monday, Giancarlo elaborated further, saying that the Trump administration acted in concert to address it in a pro-markets manner.
Bitcoin futures listed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) went live on Dec. 18 while bitcoin’s price peaked at nearly $20,000 one day earlier, on Dec. 17, before falling dramatically from that day.
“We saw a bubble building and we thought the best way to address it was to allow the market to interact with it,” Giancarlo told the crowd gathered at the Ritz-Carlton on Nob Hill.
Giancarlo also said that without shorts, a market has no pessimists. “If you do believe it’s a ridiculous price but you don’t own, there’s no way to express that view,” adding:
“If you don’t have that derivative, then all you’ve got are believers [and] it’s a believers’ market.”
The lack of easy ways to short has been cited by other researchers as propping up prices in other crypto assets.
“The CFTC staff handled it strictly on procedural grounds, but at the leadership level I communicated with Treasury Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin and NEC Director Gary Cohn, and we believed that, should bitcoin futures go forward, it would allow institutional money to bring discipline to the value of the cash market,” Giancarlo told CoinDesk. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Giancarlo further said:
“Coming out of the 2008 financial crisis, the legit criticism of regulators was along the lines of: Where were they during the expansion of the real estate mortgage bubble, and why didn’t they take steps to pop that bubble when they could have?”
That view informed regulators acting quickly on bitcoin’s ascent, he added.
To Giancarlo, the lesson was clear: Regulators mustn’t be complacent when faced with a bubble – but they must act in a way that keeps markets free. In the case of 2017, permitting bitcoin futures presented just such an opportunity. (Negative)
Telegram’s Investors Vote Against a Refund
Investors in the Telegram Open Network (TON) and $1.7 billion Gram token sale have voted against the return of their funds.
Two sources close to the Telegram team told that a majority vote — with the inclusion of investors in both rounds of the offering — had agreed to a postponement of the TON network until April 30 and to uphold their investment in the project.
As previously reported, TON’s anticipated launch on Oct. 31 has been delayed in the wake of an abrupt intervention from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to declare its 2018 token offering illegal.
Telegram’s agreement with investors had been that if it failed to roll out the platform on the pledged date, they would be eligible for a refund.
Yesterday, Oct. 23, was allegedly the deadline for investors to decide as to whether they would choose to demand a 77% refund of their investment.
Telegram had sent them a proposal to wait or to otherwise return a portion of their funds a week after the SEC had secured a temporary injunction against the launch of TON and Gram’s circulation against the firm and its offshore subsidiaries.
With the investors’ endorsement now assured, Telegram will reportedly be able to spend another $80 million of the $1.7 billion investment ahead of April.
Telegram now faces a court hearing scheduled for February 18-19, at which Telegram representatives will seek a court ruling on the main argument that Gram is not a security.
A leaked copy of the document had revealed that the force majeure clause — which encompasses natural disasters, terrorist threats and the eruption of war — had also included legal or regulatory actions on the part of the authorities. (Neutral)
Crypto Lending Platform Nexo Lowers Rates on Instant Credit Lines
Nexo, a crypto lending institution, announced that it has lowered the interest rates on its instant crypto credit lines.
In a press release published Oct. 22, Nexo announced that it was lowering interest rates on its credit line service after securing long-term cost-efficient financing. The instant lending platform claims that they now offer the lowest rates in the ecosystem.
Nexo’s crypto credit lines reportedly start at 5.9% with no minimum repayment requirements and no credit checks and are available across more than 200 jurisdictions.
Nexo allows digital asset holders to borrow against a basket of an array of digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and others, without losing ownership of their assets.
The lending platform reported in August that it had paid its token holders a total of $2,409,574.87 in dividends, reaching an annualized dividend yield of 12.73%. With a user base of over 250,000, Nexo’s dividend yield is purportedly higher than every dividend-paying stock listed on the S&P 500 market index.
During the same month, Nexo launched a Mastercard-branded cryptocurrency credit card, which they claimed to be the first card in the world that enables users to spend the value of their cryptocurrency without in fact spending it. (Positive)
Bakkt Announces First Regulated Options Contract for Bitcoin
On October 24, Bakkt announced that it will be launching the first regulated options contract for Bitcoin (BTC) futures.
According to the Bitcoin futures exchange, the key features of the Bakkt Bitcoin Options contract include capital efficiency, cash or physical settlement, European-style options, low fees, as well as instant messaging, block trades and options analytics.
A European-style option is an option contract that limits the opportunity for early execution and reduces operational burdens, the firm noted.
The new options product is based on customer feedback, explains CEO Kelly Loeffler and is designed to hedge or gain bitcoin exposure.
As Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler noted in the announcement, the Bakkt Bitcoin Options contract will be based on Bakkt Monthly Bitcoin Futures contract, a major type of Bitcoin futures contract launched alongside Bakkt Daily Bitcoin Futures on Sept. 22.
Specifically, Bakkt will be charging $1.25 per options contract starting in January 2020 after debuting the options with the fee waiver in December, Loeffler said. (Neutral)
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