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India’s Central Bank Set to Launch Digital Currency by December

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The Reserve Bank of India could  launch its first digital currency pilot programs by December.

The development was disclosed to CNBC by India’s Central Bank governor, Shaktikanta Das.

According to him, he said, “We are being extremely careful about it because it’s completely a new product, not just for RBI, but globally,”

He said further “I think by the end of the year, we should be able to — we would be in a position, perhaps — to start our first trials,”
T Rabi Shankar which is his deputy had earlier announced in July that the apex bank was working toward a “phased implemental strategy” for a digital currency.

According to the governor, the RBI is planning to explore many aspects of a digital currency, which includes its security, influence on India’s financial industry, and how it would affect monetary policy and cash in circulation.

Das went on to say that the central bank is weighing the pros and cons of using a centralized ledger for digital money against using so-called distributed ledger technology (DLT).

A distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a digital database that allows a good number of users to access, share, and record transactions at the same time. The database is owned and managed by a single entity, and in this case, the central bank — in a centralized ledger.

Central bank digital currencies or CBDCs are essentially the online versions of their respective fiat currencies. That would be known as the digital rupee in India’s scenario.

Some central banks including those in Nigeria, China, Europe, and the U.K. are all exploring digital currencies that would be issued by them, either to commercial lenders or to the general public.

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CBN lists the benefits for its digital currency, e-Naira

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Nigeria’s apex bank, the CBN has made known that its about to be launched digital currency, e-Naira, will help in making the banking system become more stable as deposits become more diversified when more people are banked.
It is also the aim of the bank to use digital currency in making it less difficult for the banking system to comply with existing laws such as anti-money laundering, customer protection against fraud, and ensuring the safety and stability of the payment system.

The CBN’s Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, made this known at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) advocacy dialogue series 4 webinar held on Thursday in Lagos.

The event was themed, ‘Central Bank Digital Currencies: Insights for the 21st Century Banker.’

These are the words of the Deputy Governor, “The Central Bank in its implementation has ensured the e-Naira feeds our economy and provides greater value.

“The central bank digital currency offers all the benefits of cash but in digital form. Every single digital currency is an
electronic version of the cash, the legal tender. When you make a cash payment, settlement is done instantly; digital
currencies entail the same promises and even more.

“CBDC offers a safer option from the privately issued cryptocurrency which have been based on the possibility to
enable cheaper transactions but have now been used for investment.

“The intention is not to eliminate other forms of payment but to complement the current areas of payment options, thereby
ensuring the stability of the payment system in the long run.

I expect in the coming days we will see rapid inclusion rates.

“For banks in developing nations, it will enhance their liquidity, efficiency in national remittances, and challenge the
high cost of remittances as the world rebounds in the post-pandemic. I am of the view that the era of CBDC promotes greater opportunities, and the central bank must be aware of the risks and mitigate them.”
Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Speaking at the event, Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and one of those who played a major role, speaking at the event said that the digital currency would help in improving the capital market when combined with vibrant inter-developmental policies, leading to financial inclusion, especially in the capital market.

Yuguda also said, “This is an opportunity for the fintech market to connect our people to existing opportunities in the
financial market, connecting our people with investment opportunities in other climes. Once we do that, we would
grow our market, Nigeria has 200 million people. We are blessed with a hardworking youthful population.

“This capital market would in turn finance the necessary infrastructure investment that this country needs today.”

Recall that the CBN had on July 22, 2021, through a private webinar outlined its digital currency initiative which will be launching on October 1st, 2021. Read full story here.

 

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US SEC threatens to sue Coinbase over lending product

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Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, said on Wednesday that it was threatened to be sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over a proposed financial product that would let customers earn interest on digital asset deposits.
Coinbase chief legal officer, Paul Grewal said in a blog post that the SEC, which regulates financial institutions in the United States, has issued Coinbase with a Wells notice, which is its official way of telling a company that it intends to sue it in court.

Grewal said that the SEC’s concerns about Coinbase’s Lend product were related to the fact that the regulator believed the product involved security. its Lend product could violate securities laws
Grewal said Coinbase felt that this was not the case.
In his response, the CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, took to Twitter to express his displeasure. Armstrong tweeted today that there has been some “really sketchy behavior coming out of the SEC recently,” before starting a thread on Twitter, detailing the company’s engagement with the SEC.

In the Twitter thread, Armstrong explained that cryptocurrency companies have been offering crypto yield programs for many years and Coinbase made its decision to offer its own version of it.
The Coinbase boss stated: “They refuse to tell us why they think it’s a security, and instead subpoena a bunch of records from us (we comply), demand testimony from our employees (we comply), and then tell us they will be suing us if we proceed to launch, with zero explanation as to why.”

Armstrong reconfirms his willingness and that of Coinbase to follow the law while encouraging the SEC to provide clarity on the subject matter and enforce them evenly across the industry.
In his words, “Look…. we’re committed to following the law. Sometimes the law is unclear. So if the SEC wants to publish guidance, we are also happy to follow that (it’s nice if you actually enforce it evenly across the industry equally btw).”

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CBN freezes Rise vest, Bamboo, Chaka and others accounts for 6 months

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has just frozen the bank accounts of four Nigerian fintech platforms Risevest, Bamboo, Trove, and Chaka for the next six months.

The Whistler reported that the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an exparte motion which sought temporary freezing of bank accounts belonging to these online investments and trading platforms where Nigerians are transacting business online.

The motion was filed by Chief Micheal Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, on behalf of the Central Bank Of Nigeria Governor and the purpose is the probing the financial activities of these four fintech companies.

The CBN alleged that Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, and Trove Technologies Limited were complicit in operating without a license as asset management companies “and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.”

In their responses to the ban, the founder and CEO of Risevest Eke Eleanya Urum and Bamboo have come out on Twitter to assure users of Risevest that trading activities will continue as usual and the issue will be sorted out with the regulators.

Also Bamboo came out on Twitter to assure their users that their money is safe.


There have been reactions from various concerned Nigerians about the development also


It would be recalled that there is a recent move by the CBN to stop the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country. Also in April, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the investing public on the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms, facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

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