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Bank for International Settlements to Issue a PoC CBDC With the Swiss Central Bank Before the End of 2020

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The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is reportedly set to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) at the Proof of Concept (PoC)stage in conjunction with the Swiss National Bank. As reported by the Chinese media outlet The Paper, Benoît Cœuré, head of the Innovation Center of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), revealed this plan at the second Bund Summit and noted that the PoC is set to go live by before the end of this year.

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The race to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency has taken the center stage for at least 80% of the Central Banks aligned with the BIS and in addition to its collaborative plans with the Swiss National Bank, the BIS also intends to establish a cross border use of CBDCs with such central banks including The Bank of Thailand and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority of China to mention a few. 

As Cœuré noted, the co-launch of the PoC with the Swiss National Bank will make room for additional experiments to explore the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency in a commercial or retail setting, compliance monitoring as well as digital identity tracking.

How receptive can Switzerland be to this collaboration?

Besides Switzerland housing the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the country has been receptive to several blockchains and cryptocurrency innovations from time. One such reception is in the country serving as the base of the Libra Association whose stablecoin proposal has met with stiff resistance from several world powers including the United States of America.

Switzerland is also working to reform its current laws in order to validate digital assets and cryptocurrencies all in a bid to drive innovation. The country’s diverse reception to digital currencies and blockchain innovations makes it a suitable partner is chosen by the BIS to trial the proposed CBDC PoC.

 

Image source: Shutterstock Source: https://Blockchain.News/news/bis-issue-poc-cbdc-swiss-central-bank-2020-year-end

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New York Times reports on Racism Allegations at Coinbase

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2020 has turned out to be a tough year for popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, as the company and its founder’s ‘apolitical’ culture stance, has left the company open to even accusations of racism. 

The crypto trading platform was recently the subject of a New York Times report, which highlights the various racial issues within the company, pointing towards several departures of Black employees and a consistently low percentage of Black hires.

Coinbase has denied the presence of such issues, and has even hired outside consultants and conducted internal investigations into these claims by current and former employees. The reviews were not able to confirm these allegations.

However, the company’s hiring record reveals that Black employees consistently comprise about three percent of its workforce. Depending on the field chosen in official employment statistics, this is anywhere from one-half to one-third of what’s the industry average. Corporate expansion also had no effect on this percentage.

The report noted that other tech companies, such as Square, PayPal and Twitter have worked at increasing the share of Black employees in their firms.

The report even cites a number of employees, with One Black employee stating that her manager suggested in front of other employees that she was dealing drugs and carrying a gun, based on racist stereotypes.

Another noted that a co-worker at a recruiting meeting openly described Black employees as less capable. While another employee said managers spoke down to her and her Black colleagues, adding that they were passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced white employees. These incidents altogether have led to the wave of departures at the company.

“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said Ms. Butler, who resigned in April 2019. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.”

The New York Times report continues that Black employees of the firm were hurt by the decision of the company’s leadership who did not address the matter. The employees had also organized a meeting with the executives, and CEO Brian Armstrong had said:

“There was this outpouring of, like, Why does the company not have my back?”

It all started back in September

It all originated from a blog post from the CEO that stated that Coinbase was ‘mission-focused’ and it suggested that activism was a distraction from that mission. The conversation went deeper for those at the company as a memo said those who wanted to maintain their activism would have to take a severance.

The New York Times report particularly highlights one line in this company blog post. “We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission.” According to the report, the post with this line outraged the employees.

Source: https://thedailychain.com/new-york-times-reports-on-racism-allegations-at-coinbase/

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Whales Flood Exchanges With Bitcoin, Take Over $15 Billion In Profits

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At the time of writing, BTC is trading up about 5.7% at its current price of $17,742, marking a sharp decline from its recent highs near $19,500 seen on Wednesday.

                                 BTCUSD Chart By TradingView 

After failing to set a new all-time high by just a few hundred dollars, BTC retracted as low as $16,300 in yesterday’s trading. Investors had anticipated that the BTCUSD pair would soon surge higher and break the Dec 2017 crypto bubble record.

Indeed, a new price record was so close that the bulls could taste the victory, but the milestone was halted in its tracks by massive whales who flooded centralized crypto exchanges with massive amounts of coins to be dumped.

What Could Be Driving the Current Bitcoin Sell-Off?

The recent rejection just below the all-time highs was certainly a contributing factor to the ongoing signs of weakness in the BTC price, but other factors could have been at play.

For one, recent comments from the U.S. Treasury Secretary on a potential wave of regulations stringent crypto market regulations by late-January could have reduced investor confidence in BTC.

OKEx could also have contributed to the current BTC selloff, causing prices to tank. The top exchange resumed crypto withdraws for users who previously had their Bitcoin locked on the platform for about five weeks.

Since the reopening that took place on Nov. 26, a total of 212,000 BTC left the exchange, according to crypto analytics firm Crypto Quant.

The massive outflow of coins from OKEx coincided closely with the plunge in BTC prices by over $3,000 on Thursday. 

It is likely that investors who had been denied access to their holdings for well over a month, which saw the peak of the recent rally, may have taken the opportunity to take profits off the table.

Whales Moved and Sold Over 93K BTC

Selling pressure in the Bitcoin market has mounted significantly over the past few days, with analysts predicting that it may continue hampering BTC’s price action in the days and weeks ahead.

Since the peak near $19,500, whales began moving BTC en masse to centralized crypto exchanges and have so far taken $1.5 billion in profit even at an average sell price of $17K per coin.

While sharing the chart below, on-chain analytics firm intoTheBlock highlighted this massive inflow volume into exchanges and subsequent BTC price drop in a Nov 27 tweet

“This drop started as soon as whales began to deposit BTC to exchanges. More than 93 thousand Bitcoin’s were deposited into centralized exchanges.”

                    BTC Inflows Into Exchanges | Chart by IntoTheBlock.

Source: https://thedailychain.com/whales-flood-exchanges-with-bitcoin-take-over-15-billion-in-profits/

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Huobi introduces a Regulated Cryptocurrency Exchange in Malaysia

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Malaysia will now be home to popular cryptocurrency exchange Huobi’s latest entity dubbed Huobi Labuan, a regulated platform with a brokerage license that allows it to offer services like crypto spot and derivatives trading for an initial nine-month trial period.

The name Labuan derives from the Malay word labuhan which means harbor, making it a fitting name for this platform as a Bitcoin harbor might be much needed in the nation, considering the fact that it’s native currency Ringgit is down 15-20% against the dollar.

Meanwhile, Huobi might have a bad 2020, especially because of a rumor that the exchange’s COO Zhu Jiawei might have been arrested as a part of China’s recent crackdown on crypto exchanges. The rumor had triggered massive outflows of funds from Huobi Global in less than a day’s time.

However, the Huobi group now has better news to share, with Huobi Labuan targeting the Malaysian market with its recently secured digital asset trading brokerage service license from Malaysian authorities.

The exchange will act just like a local operating partner of Huobi Cloud, meaning it will leverage Huobi’s established trading technology in all its local digital transaction brokerage services. The report adds that Labuan is the seventh licensed Huobi platform, with the brand having entities in Thailand, the United States via strategic partner HBUS, Argentina, and Turkey, among the rest.

The launch of the Huobi Labuan exchange will allow local cryptocurrency enthusiasts to trade safely and in a regulated matter. As of now, the exchange’s website showcases OTC trading for Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Huobi Token (HT), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and EOS. The exchange will be permitted to list more assets upon successful completion of its nine-month trial period.

Huobi continues to grow

Despite all the various regulatory hurdles that cryptocurrency trading platforms are dealing with throughout the globe, Huobi continues its expansion saga. The platform has also continued to add more services, with the recent being the addition of new wrapped assets earlier this month.

Back in August, reports emerged that Huobi appointed Vladimir Demin as the chief advisor of Huobi Global. Demin has been serving as the partner and CEO of Huobi Russia and would now assist with the development of the Russian market. The move was a bid to deepen its roots within the Russian crypto market.

Source: https://thedailychain.com/huobi-introduces-a-regulated-cryptocurrency-exchange-in-malaysia/

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Ripple to sell 33.3% of its entire Stake in MoneyGram in a surprise move

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Blockchain payments giant Ripple has had its ties with global remittance giant MoneyGram since the $30 million investment in the company’s equity and a commercial agreement for cross-border settlement using digital assets early in 2019. This followed another $20 million investment, raising Ripple’s stake in Moneygram to 9.95%.

Now, recent reports have revealed that Ripple is set to sell approximately one-third of its stake in MoneyGram, as a part of the first sale of such nature since the company’s investment in the remittance giant.

A recent filing at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that Ripple currently owns 6.22 million shares of MoneyGram, or 8.6% of shares outstanding, along with a warrant to buy up to another 5.95 million shares, for a total equity position of 12.2 million shares, or 17% of MoneyGram’s shares outstanding.

Ripple has also obtained warrants which give it the right to increase its stake to 15% in the future, a filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed. This completed the acquisition of a $50 million stake in Moneygram as a part of the original commitment.

The company will now sell up to 4 million of these shares, which makes is 33.3% of its entire stake, if we consider the shares represented by the warrant as well. Following the sale, Ripple will still be in control of at least 3.22 million shares, or a 4.44% stake in MoneyGram.

Considering the warrant, which gives Ripple the right to purchase stocks at a predetermined price, the blockchain payments firm will still own about 11% of MoneyGram.

Ripple makes good money

At the time of purchase, the shares in MoneyGram were priced at $4.10 apiece. The price is now up more than 260% in 2020, closing at $7.42 on Wednesday, which nets Ripple a hefty profit for its investment. As of now, the sale is still underway, according to a Ripple spokesperson, who added:

“Ripple is a proud partner in MoneyGram’s digital growth transformation. This is purely a judicious financial decision to realize some gains on Ripple’s MGI [MoneyGram International] investment and is in no way a reflection of the current state of our partnership.”

MoneyGram has been using Ripple’s ODL in its daily operations via RippleNet across several jurisdictions. All things considered, both the companies seem to be benefiting from the partnership, and every new expansion presents new opportunities for Ripple and XRP. However, this sale doesn’t mark the end of this partnership.

“We will remain a significant shareholder in MoneyGram following the sale – they are clearly a leader in the global payments space in over 200 countries and territories. In just over a year, we’ve made incredible progress and look forward to continuing to work alongside MoneyGram to transform cross-border payments,” the Ripple spokesperson said.

Source: https://thedailychain.com/ripple-to-sell-33-3-of-its-entire-stake-in-moneygram-in-a-surprise-move/

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