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.”


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.”


Japanese bank to issue digital currency that cuts transaction costs

Japan’s biggest bank is releasing its own cryptocurrency in March — Investopedia — “The MUFG coin will have parity with the Japanese yen and will be rolled out to employees of the financial services group first. It will enable standard transactions, such as shopping or transfer of money between individuals (for example, splitting of a bill after a meal or drinks), at much lower costs as compared to credit cards.”


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.”


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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