What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

MUFG to use digital currency for mobile payments in Japan

MUFG digital currency finds second life as mobile payment — Nikkei Asian Review — “Users will convert funds from their bank accounts or elsewhere into the digital currency using a smartphone app. The service will use this currency in transactions, which will be handled through QR codes. Money sent via the app can be moved back into an account as cash, allowing for transfers between individuals.”


What's New in Payments

Payments networks to drop support for Facebook’s Libra digital currency?

Visa, Mastercard, others reconsider involvement in Facebook’s Libra network — The Wall Street Journal — “Visa Inc, Mastercard Inc and other financial partners that signed on to help build and maintain the Libra payments network are reconsidering their involvement following a backlash from US and European government officials, according to people familiar with the matter.”






What's New in Payments

Facebook unveils its blockchain digital wallet plan

Coming in 2020: Calibra — Facebook — “Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.”


What's New in Payments

Facebook to roll out GlobalCoin digital currency in ‘a dozen countries’ next year

Facebook plans to launch ‘GlobalCoin’ currency in 2020 — BBC — “Facebook wants to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account. The social networking site, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs.”


What's New in Payments

Nike registers ‘cryptokicks’ trademark

Nike’s ‘cryptokicks’ trademark application hints at its new blockchain ambitions — The Next Web — “The application, filed on April 19, outlines how the company‘s proposed digital currency could be used by an online community. The document also describes an online footwear and clothing marketplace, as well as ‘a website featuring technology that enables users to mine, earn, purchase, receive by any other means, store, and transfer blockchain-based tokens, coins, cryptocurrencies, and other crypto assets’.”



What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

Marshall Islands to issue digital currency ‘banknotes’

Tangem to produce physical blockchain banknotes for the Marshall Islands’ digital currency legal tender — Tangem — “Each Tangem card will take the form of a unique physical banknote with secure blockchain-enabled microprocessor inside and combine the familiar advantages of paper banknotes with the security of blockchain technology. These protected notes will be fully transparent, 100% secure, decentralized, and represent a controllable mechanism of currency issuance and circulation for the state.”


What's New in Payments

Mizuho signs up sixty banks for J Coin cryptocurrency payments launch

Mizuho to launch digital currency to promote cashless payments in March — Nikkei Asian Review — “Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a proprietary digital currency that can be used for shopping and remitted at no cost… To make use of the currency, users will download a dedicated app on their smartphone. Payments will be made using QR codes… Regional banks will be able to provide the same service under the same, yet-to-be-named brand to their customers.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

Digital currency pioneer David Chaum launches high speed blockchain for payments

Announcing David Chaum’s Elixxir: First blockchain capable of meeting the needs of consumer-scale messaging and payments — Elixxir — “The Elixxir blockchain can scale to hundreds of thousands of transactions each second, each message or payment delivered or confirmed within seconds, efficiently enabling use as a smartphone app.”


What's New in Payments

Starbucks backs plan to create regulated digital asset platform that will support digital currency payments in stores

Intercontinental Exchange announces Bakkt, a global platform and ecosystem for digital assets — Intercontinental Exchange — “Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks,” said Maria Smith, vice president, partnerships and payments for Starbucks. “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”


What's New in Payments

BIS: Digital currencies don’t yet offer a solution to any specific economic problems

Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hype — Bank for International Settlements — “Cryptocurrencies promise to replace trusted institutions with distributed ledger technology. Yet, looking beyond the hype, it is hard to identify a specific economic problem which they currently solve. Transactions are slow and costly, prone to congestion, and cannot scale with demand. The decentralised consensus behind the technology is also fragile and consumes vast amounts of energy. Still, distributed ledger technology could have promise in other applications.”


What's New in Payments

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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