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CBDCs: Bank of International Settlements Explains how Interoperability and Common Interfaces are Needed for Central Bank Digital Currencies

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Reserve banks across the globe are increasingly focusing on developing or at least considering central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). They’re also looking into potential new ways to use virtual currencies to enhance the cross-border payments infrastructure.

During the past few years, CBDCs have become one of the most researched Fintech innovations. Countries like China are already running their CBDC pilots in several major cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Many reserve bank officials are really interested in CBDCs’ ability to enable greater financial inclusion, while significantly improving the overall efficiency to carry out digital transactions. Additionally, CBDCs could streamline the process of making international payments, according to research reports.

As noted in a research paper, titled Multi-CBDC Arrangements and the Future of Cross-Border Payments (published by the Bank for International Settlements), there are different models for implementing multi-CBDC (mCBDC) solutions for conducting international payments and supporting interoperability. The report from BIS also reveals that the organization has performed extensive research into these new types of fund transfer systems.

For this year and 2022, mCBDC will be a key focus area are for the BIS Innovation Hub, the institution’s innovation division.

The mCBDC Bridge project will focus on examining various proof of concepts (PoCs) to connect wholesale CBDC in different national currencies in order to facilitate cross-border transactions. It will leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) to carry out real-time cross-border transfers and aims to establish a corridor network prototype that may support CBDCs developed by other banking institutions.

This new system from the BIS Innovation Hub in Hong Kong will aim to leverage the prior experience of Inthanon-LionRock, an initiative of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Bank of Thailand.

With reserve banks across the globe working seriously on various CBDC projects, the BIS believes that it’s quite important to address interoperability and also the ability to link to other national systems.

The research paper from BIS noted that any reserve bank that provides a CBDC will be doing so to support its local mandate and public policy. The paper added that as the “globalization of economic activity continues, a broader horizon will be needed.”

The BIS also mentioned that we should make CBDC systems compatible from the beginning, but it may take a long time before common technical standards are adopted, and the relevant legal or regulatory frameworks have been adopted.

The report pointed out that these CBDCs might need a common technical interface between local systems or even some sort of shared clearing system.

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/173843-cbdcs-bank-of-international-settlements-explains-how-interoperability-and-common-interfaces-are-needed-for-central-bank-digital-currencies/

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Fintech Aspire Reports Reaching $1 Billion in Yearly Transactions Just a Year After Launch

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Y-Combinator-backed Fintech firm Aspire has reportedly managed to reach $1 billion in annualized transaction volumes in just a year since the introduction of its business accounts (in May 2020).

Aspire also revealed that it will be offering a new Bill Pay feature, which will be automating company invoice payment processes by removing the need to perform manual data entry and related reconciliation.

Business owners may easily forward their invoices through email to Aspire’s AI-enabled assistant, which will use optical character recognition (OCR) and deep learning in order to identify the payment information and the date the transaction was completed.

The client then receives a notification to perform a final check and also to approve the transaction for a particular date.

All transfers are able to sync in a seamless manner with widely-used accounting systems integrated with Aspire, such as Xero, Quickbooks, among others.

Clients may also decide to opt in to automatically schedule the payment in order to maximize payment terms and enhance company cash flow.

Aspire provides businesses across Southeast Asia access to various financial products via its comprehensive, all-in-one finance platform. Similar in some ways to Fintech Unicorn Brex in the United States, Aspire aims to provide a  digital and affordable way for small businesses to manage their funds. The company claims its services may be better than those offered by incumbents.

Aspire reportedly provides services to thousands of companies in Southeast Asia. It had recently introduced an incorporation offering in order to serve as the “one-stop shop” across any new business owner’s journey.

Andrea Baronchelli, Founder and CEO at Aspire, stated:

“We are filling a $150 billion demand gap for better, faster, and cheaper financial services for businesses in Southeast Asia.And we will continue to release innovative products targeting growing businesses, such as Bill Pay, to help founders save time and money, and use those resources to grow their business instead.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175207-fintech-aspire-reports-reaching-1-billion-in-yearly-transactions-just-a-year-after-launch/

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Inland Real Estate Investment Corp. Chooses Alternative Investment Exchange as Its Digital Platform Provider

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Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX), the platform that aims to  make it easier to purchase, own, and sell alternative investments, has revealed that Inland Real Estate Investment Corporation chose the AIX platform as one of its electronic platform providers in order to onboard new funds and enhance its alternative investment processes.

Powered by the Alternative Investment Exchange platform, Inland Investments’ investing portal provides a seamless and intuitive experience to its independent broker-dealer and advisor partners.

As a supporter of alternative public and private real estate securities, Inland Investments aims to offer opportunities to individuals so they can invest in various real estate investment initiatives. Inland Investments and its affiliates are taking part in nearly all aspects of commercial real estate and have been drivers of innovation in the alternatives sector.

Since launching its service, Inland has sponsored 784 real estate investment projects that serve over 490,000 investors across various commercial real estate sectors.

Phil Graham, EVP Strategic Relations at Inland Securities Corporation, dealer manager for Inland Investments, stated:

“Inland Investments remains committed to advancing the client experience for our diverse product offerings. The industry is improving investment processing efficiencies and minimizing tedious paperwork, high NIGO rates, and compliance delays. We believe AIX and Inland Investments share the same objective – to provide an exceptional end-to-end digital investment experience.”

The AIX platform is a user-friendly, intuitive alternative investments solution that aims to support an all-digital investing experience. By eliminating the tediousness of handling a lot of paperwork, manual data entry, and reconciliation (and a lot of time wasted on re-entering information), the historical objections across the alternative investing ecosystem have now been addressed.

AIX also assists with derisking the alternative investing process by adding real-time validation of requirements like AI Insight training status, concentration limits, and state suitability.

Brad West, COO of AIX, remarked:

“Inland Investments’ deep expertise in alternative investment operations and the flexibility of AIX’s technology platform make it possible to elevate the wealth manager’s investing experience to new levels. We are excited to partner with Inland Investments to offer intuitive, streamlined subscription solutions for its diverse product offerings, which include real estate investment trusts, 1031 exchanges, opportunity zones, and private placements.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175197-inland-real-estate-investment-corp-chooses-alternative-investment-exchange-as-its-digital-platform-provider/

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Senate Votes to Halt True Lender Rule

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The US Senate has voted to nullify the rule issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) entitled the National Banks and Federal Savings Associations as Lenders and published on October 30, 2020. The vote in the Senate was largely along party lines with Republican Senators Collins and Rubio crossing over to support the Democrat-sponsored resolution.

This resolution impacts the “True Lender” rule that is of concern for some Fintech lenders which may originate loans in partnership with banks.

In brief, as explained by JD Supra, a nationally chartered bank is subject only to the usury limits of the bank’s home state when issuing loans. Each state sets these lending limits independently. Federal law allows banks to apply the interest rates set in the bank’s home state to borrowers in other states. When banks have made loans in partnership with Fintechs, some have argued that the bank is not the true lender, and federal preemption should not apply.

The OCC had attempted to clarify a dicey situation pertaining to lending relationships between banks and third parties, such as Fintechs, that may facilitate access to affordable credit and thus benefit consumers. The uncertainty about the legal framework that applies to loans made as part of these relationships was fogged by the fact that each state has different lending rules. The OCC had said this uncertainty may discourage banks and third parties from entering into relationships, limit competition, and chill Fintech innovation that results from these partnerships, all of which may restrict access to affordable credit.

When the OCC proposed the True Lender clarification, Congressman Patrick McHenry, the Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee, issued a  statement in support of the OCC’s move calling it an “important step toward providing clarity to banks and non-banks on the ‘true lender’ doctrine.” McHenry said the OCCs decision would “foster greater innovation in financial services—ultimately leading to greater financial inclusion.”

Now the joint resolution moves onto the House where it is expected to pass.

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175246-senate-votes-to-halt-true-lender-rule/

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Virtual Banking: Kuwait International Bank Partners Digital Transformation Specialist Mobiquity to Streamline Financial Services

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Mobiquity, a digital transformation enabler, has teamed up with Kuwait International Bank (KIB), in order to support the institution’s goal of becoming a leading all-digital Islamic or Shariah-compliant financial service provider.

Through the partnership, KIB will be working with Mobiquity’s team of experienced professionals – including strategy, design, and engineering specialists – to help develop a digital banking solution for Kuwait‘s retail and corporate clients.

As a key part of the long-term collaboration, Mobiquity is creating a seamless, all-digital experience from scratch by introducing innovative products to attract more KIB clients to its new platform. The initiative will reportedly involve designing and creating digital products to offer a “frictionless” virtual banking experience.

For the initial product launch, Mobiquity is creating a selection of digital banking products, such as an intuitive digital onboarding experience, a current and savings account, payments services and personal finance management (PFM) tools.

The new virtual banking experience should be available to retail clients beginning in the summer months of this year. The migration of KIB’s corporate clients to the new all-digital platform will follow soon, the announcement confirmed.

Philip Nordenfelt, Innovation and Digitization Advisor, remarked:

“KIB recognized that there were gaps in the digital financial market in Kuwait, with several opportunities available to develop this segment in its proposition and scalability. In fact, there is a clear opportunity for KIB to lead the market in digital banking. We chose Mobiquity as our development partner due to the quality of the team and their rich digital banking experience in strategy, UX design, and software development.”

Thierno Diallo, VP of Client Delivery, Mobiquity, stated:

“We’re honored to work with KIB to build and …. enhance [products] whilst digitizing banking products and services to better serve their customer base with ease and convenience.Through a frictionless digital banking experience, customers will be able to set up a bank account in less than 5 minutes – a new and unique provision for Kuwait’s retail and corporate banking customers, to respond to the increased demand for digital banking.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175205-virtual-banking-kuwait-international-bank-partners-digital-transformation-specialist-mobiquity-to-streamline-financial-services/

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