What's New in Payments

Sweden’s central bank to test digital currency

Riksbank develops an e-krona in a test environment — Riksbank — “During the first year of the e-krona pilot project, a technical platform will be developed with a user interface that enables, for instance, payment with the e-krona from a mobile phone, a card and a watch. The platform will also contain simulations of payment service providers, retail outlets and other parts of the Swedish payment system.”


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Chinese banks and carriers to pilot central bank digital currency

China’s central bank likely to pilot digital currency in cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou — Coindesk — “The People’s Bank of China is said to be preparing to launch pilots for its digital currency in at least two major cities. The tests are likely to include the participation of state-owned partners. These comprise the ‘Big Four’ commercial banks — the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China — and three telcos: China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.”





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Turkey unveils plans for a central bank-issued digital currency

Turkey puts central bank digital currency on new economic roadmap — Coin Telegraph — “The government of Turkey has included a central bank-issued digital currency in its 2019–2023 economic roadmap published on July 9… In addition to a central bank digital currency, the development plan lists blockchain adoption in the operations of transportation and customs.”


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China’s central bank to develop a digital currency

Central bank unveils plan on digital currency — China Daily — “The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is organising market-oriented institutions to jointly research and develop a central bank digital currency and the programme has been approved by the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau, said at a seminar at Peking University.”


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Saudi Arabia and UAE to develop joint digital currency

UAE and Saudi Arabia announce launch of common digital currency ‘Aber’ — Emirates 24/7 — “The United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) today announced in a joint statement the launch of the common digital currency project ‘Aber’, which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through blockchains and distributed ledgers technologies.”


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IMF report finds digital currencies are gaining ground with central bankers

At least 15 central banks are serious about getting into digital currency — MIT Technology Review — “There are two main reasons for the trend, according to the report. First, new forms of digital money are ‘shrinking the role of cash’. Besides that, some central banks are interested in using the technology to reach the hundreds of millions of people who do not have a bank account or access to modern financial services. Finally, most central banks see the potential to reduce costs by replacing physical banknotes with digital ones.”


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Korea’s central bank ‘opposes’ the idea of a digital currency

BOK will not issue digital money — Korea Times — “The Bank of Korea (BOK), the country’s central bank, said Monday it opposes the idea of central bank digital currency (CBDC)… The bank is worrying over concerns that such a sudden launch of the CBDC will cost society a lot and cause a moral hazard. Also, issuing CBDC could destabilize the market order because digital currencies don’t currently constitute money.”


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Central bank patents point to plans for a hybrid digital currency in China

PBOC filings reveal big picture for planned digital currency — Coindesk — “The ultimate goal, according to PBOC’s patents, is to ‘break the silo between blockchain-based cryptocurrency and the existing monetary system’ so that the digital currency can sport cryptocurrency-like features, while being widely used in the existing financial structure.”


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Central Bank of Bahamas plans digital currency pilot

Bahamas to introduce digital currency — Jamaica Observer — “The production of a modern fully digital payment service is the way forward for this era of governance… A digital Bahamian currency is especially important for the many family islands as they have seen many commercial banks downsize and pull out of their communities, leaving them without banking services.”



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China’s central bank sets out digital currency plans

PBOC official pushes for centralized state digital currency — Coindesk — “Unlike most cryptocurrencies, the CBDC [Central Bank Digital Currency] might not operate via a peer-to-peer mechanism, which brings the key features of anonymity and untraceability… Transactions using CBDC will be visible to the central bank, which would function as a third party to bring oversight on potential money laundering and illegal financing.”


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Bank of England puts a hold on research into issuing its own digital currency

Bank halts crypto-currency plans over stability fears — FT Adviser — “The Bank of England (BoE) has been researching the possibility of launching its own digital currency to rival bitcoin, but fears about the impact on the wider financial system means it has no ‘current plans’ to do so… If the central bank launched a digital currency of its own, it worried consumers would stop using commercial bank accounts and, instead, have a bank account with the Bank of England, and choose to use digital technology to purchase goods and services over paper money.”


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Israel considers issuing a digital currency to speed up payments

Israel central bank mulls issuing digital currency for faster payments — Reuters — “The Bank of Israel is examining issuing digital currency as a means of creating a faster payments system as well as reducing the amount of cash in the economy, a central bank source said… The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the government was ready to legislate or include the issue in its 2019 budget and economic package if the central bank gave the green light.”


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Australia’s central bank explores the issue of electronic banknotes

An eAUD? — Reserve Bank of Australia — “An electronic form of banknotes could coexist with the electronic payment systems operated by the banks, although the case for this new form of money is not yet established… The issuing authority could issue electronic currency in the form of files or ‘tokens’. These tokens could be stored in digital wallets, provided by financial institutions and others. These tokens could then be used for payments in a similar way that physical banknotes are used today.”


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Bank of Canada reports on the potential of digital currencies

Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and implications — Bank of Canada — “This paper addresses the question of whether a central bank should issue digital currency that could be used by the general public. It begins by discussing the possible motivations for a central bank to issue a digital currency. The paper then sets out a benchmark central bank digital currency (CBDC) with features that are similar to cash. The implications of such a digital currency are explored, focusing on central bank seigniorage, monetary policy, the banking system and financial stability, and payments.”


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