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.”


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.”


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’.”



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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”



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.”


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.”


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.”





Marshall Islands to issue official digital currency

Marshall Islands to issue own sovereign cryptocurrency — Reuters — “The Marshall Islands will issue its own cryptocurrency that will be circulated as legal tender along with the US dollar… SOV is based on what the Marshall Islands government calls the ‘Yakwe framework’, which requires users to identify themselves on the blockchain, solving the anonymity problem that has plagued bitcoin and precluded its mainstream adoption.”



Government of Montserrat signs up for digital currency pilot

Premier Romeo signs MOU to create a digital payments ecosystem in Montserrat — Government of Montserrat — “The people of Montserrat will benefit from increased financial inclusion, and a significant reduction in their need for cash to make payments for goods and services, or as a means of saving. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer, will now be able to conduct these domestic transactions securely, efficiently, digitally.”


Starbucks CEO sets sights on blockchain payments

Starbucks’ Schultz: Blockchain and digital currencies are bringing us into a new age — Yahoo Finance — “I believe that we are heading into a new age, in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application… We think we have something to offer the companies that are chasing this because we are in a position to create the trusted legitimate place in which this could be accepted and possibly take advantage of the mobile payment digital platform that we have created.”


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