Showing posts from September, 2019

Central Banks are Considering Their Own Digital Currencies for Global Payments

By Frances Coppola

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, central banks made a radical change to the way the financial system works for domestic and global payments across borders. They started to pay commercial banks interest on bank reserves.1 “Reserves” are money that commercial banks keep on deposit at central banks. Reserves are the largest part of what is known as the “monetary base” or “m0,” the money directly issued by central banks; the rest is notes and coins – what we think of as “currency.”2 Commercial banks use bank reserves to settle both domestic and global payments. In some countries, banks are required to keep sufficient reserves on hand to accommodate withdrawal of a certain proportion of their deposits: in the U.S., this “reserve ratio” is up to 10 percent.3 But since the advent of quantitative easing (QE), there have been far more reserves in the financial system than banks want. Banks (collectively) are obliged to hold all the reserves issued by the central ba…

Blockchain Adoption as a Cure for Cross-Border Trading

By Craig Adeyanju
In August of 2019, both the United States and Thailand announced their plans to test blockchain applications for tracking and managing shipments. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is planning to test a blockchain application against their current system to determine how distributed ledger technology (DLT) can improve its existing processes. Thailand, on the other hand, plans to use IBM’s blockchain-based logistics platform Tradelens to improve customs processes such as data sharing. Originally developed in a joint venture between IBM and logistics giant Maersk, Tradelens seeks to streamline processes in the global shipping industry by making the flow of information occur in real-time. The blockchain platform is reported to currently process about half of the world’s shipping data. These moves highlight countries’ increasing interest in employing blockchain technology in their customs and border operations. The Tradelens website says its ecosystem comprises…

Syrian School Is a Baby Step Toward a Blockchain Society

Image Credit:

By Rachel Rose O'Leary

“It’s a first for Rojava and a first for the Middle East.” That’s how 22-year-old programming student Mohamed Abdullah describes the Open Academy – a new school in North Syria, a de-facto autonomous region also known as Rojava. The Open Academy is tackling one of the region’s greatest hurdles: the lack of education for young people as result of the Syrian Civil War. North Syria achieved partial autonomy from Damascus in 2012. Since then, it has pioneered a form of government known as democratic confederalism and led the offensive against ISIS, the militant jihadist group that once held huge portions of Iraq and Syria. “I had to pass through ISIS-held areas to get to university,” Abdullah told me, “I saw a lot of terrible things. They say the best part of life is university, but we didn’t live it as that.” North Syria has been researching how technologies such as blockchain could complement its societal model, which …

Mastercard Announces New Blockchain Payment System, Square Hires More Bitcoin Developers

Some big-time companies are embracing crypto technology.
Joe Tenebruso Sep 25, 2019 at 6:01PM
Can blockchain technology disrupt the global payments system? Does Bitcoin represent the future of money? And if so, how can we position ourselves to profit from these trends? These are questions that powerful companies including Mastercard(NYSE:MA) and Square(NYSE:SQ) appear to be asking themselves. Moreover, these financial innovators are taking action to prepare their businesses to compete and win in a crypto-based world. Read on to learn more about some significant steps they're taking in this regard.
Mastercard announces a strategic partnership with R3Digital payments titan Mastercard is partnering with enterprise blockchain technology company R3 to develop a new cross-border payment system. The blockchain-based solution will connect faster payment infrastructure with banks supported by Mastercard's clearing and settlement network.  "All institutions --…

Medici-Backed Blockchain Firm Wants to Unite the Coffee Industry of Honduras

By Helen Partz

Agricultural startup GrainChain backed by Medici Ventures, the blockchain venture arm of online retail giant Overstock, plans to unite the coffee industry of Honduras by delivering its blockchain platform to a network of local stakeholders. The firm has signed several agreements with the aim of bringing the entire coffee supply chain of Honduras together on its blockchain platform, according to the press release published on Sept. 24. One of the world’s biggest coffee producersBy launching the initiative, GrainChain intends to facilitate multiple processes in the coffee supply chain of Honduras, where coffee has historically been one of the major export products. Specifically, GrainChain promises to accomplish three primary goals such as growing trust between farmers and banks, improving the accuracy of data and raising the transparency. Farming from a mobile appAs part of the initiative, GrainChain will provide local customers with a digital wallet to enable remote and unb…

US House Passes Bill for FinCEN to Study Blockchain Use

By Danny Nelson

Congress wants the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to up its internal blockchain game with a new bill to study how the technology could be adapted for law enforcement. On Sept. 19, the House of Representatives passed legislation calling for the financial crimes regulator to study its use of “innovative technologies” — including blockchain. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act” mandates that FinCEN’s director consider how blockchain and other tech advances can improve the bureau’s operations. “The Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) shall carry out a study on… whether AI, digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies can be further leveraged to make FinCEN’s data analysis more efficient and effective,” the bill reads. Freshman Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R) Ohio, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, …

IBM Says It’s Ready to Work with Facebook on Blockchain

Photo Credit:
By David Pan

IBM is willing to team up with Facebook to develop blockchain technology, an IBM executive said, explaining that developing the blockchain ecosystem is “a team sport.” “Our clients are ready to work with (Facebook) and we’re ready to work with all of them to bring it together,” Jason Kelley, IBM’s blockchain general manager, said in an interview with CNBC. Kelley said a company the size of Facebook entering the fray helps to bring more legitimacy to the underlying blockchain technology. However, he did not mention whether IBM was interested in joining Facebook’s stablecoin consortium, known as the Libra Association. Facebook’s Libra stablecoin could be key for Big Blue to realize its ambitions for applying its blockchain technology to the financial services industry. IBM has been focused on developing its patented Stellar blockchain to facilitate cross-border payments and launched the World Wire, an international payments system that uses Stellar. Wor…