The People’s Bank of China, or PBoC, Financial Technology Committee held its first meeting of the year this week. During the meeting, the central bank’s deputy governor, Fan Yifei, urged that the country’s blockchain adoption strategy be accelerated.
According to a report released by Sina on May 13, the bank’s deputy governor met with both PBoC officials and the heads of their affiliated financial companies. During the talks, Fan highlighted the importance of the blockchain and fintech industries, openly seeking to ensure that the country’s adoption plan will be successfully implemented by its established 2021 deadline.
Digitization of the national economy
Fan stressed the need for “accelerating the digitization” of the Chinese economy.
The meeting included an overview of scientific studies which test the introduction of new policies to encourage the development plan.
Officials stated that it is necessary to study the fintech development index system, carefully monitor dynamics, and make a comprehensive evaluation to guide financial institutions to accelerate the digital transformation.
One conclusion of the meeting was:
“It’s necessary to strengthen the application of regulatory science and technology, actively use big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, and other technologies to strengthen the construction of digital supervision capabilities.”
China’s interest in blockchain technology keeps rising
The Fintech Development Plan focuses on the standardization of cross-market fintech operations in China, revealed in August 2019.
China’s interest in blockchain technology continues to grow. Cointelegraph reported on March 4 that the Chinese province of Hunan established its first provincial blockchain zone in the city of Loudi.
Another Chinese province, Hainan, joined the blockchain ecosystem with the announcement of a cross-border financial services platform on May 09.
Congress Fears US Is Losing Battle to Malware and Darkweb Cyberweapons
In a May 28 virtual roundtable before the congressional Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, witnesses and congresspeople alike feared that they are not keeping up with criminals hacking the financial system.
Criminals have better resumes than government agents
One witness, Guillermo Christensen, a partner at law firm Ice Miller, admired the cyber talent operating illegally:
“We are always playing catch up with the criminals. […] It’s very hard to find people who are as qualified as some of these criminal hackers, frankly, to take apart their schemes and trace them.”
Another issue is the overclassification of government information, presenting a barrier to private-sector security efforts. “The information sharing between the private sector and the public sector is very valuable but it could be better,” saft Naftali Harris, co-founder and CEO of SentiLink, an anti-fraud software company.
Fintech’s vulnerability during the pandemic
In response to a question from subcommittee chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) as to the vulnerability of fintech to hacking, cybersecurity strategist Tom Kellermann warned that the current system is vulnerable to new developments and increasingly remote workflows:
“Financial institutions have the best security in the world, but because of telework and because of the customized malware or weaponry that are being developed in the darkweb, primarily the Russian-speaking darkweb. […] They’ve learned ways around the perimeter defense of the network security espoused by the standards of regulators around the world.”
Kellerman continued to explain that telework allows hackers easy access to well-defended financial networks via the worse-defended home systems of executives. He further called out APIs as adding another element of risk:
“The greatest vulnerability of fintech is they build out these APIs that allow them to connect to other financial institutions as well as other fintech vendors. Those APIs themselves are being exploited left and right.”
During the hearing, Chairman Cleaver commented that “It seems that we are losing this battle.” His closing remarks were no more optimistic. “Your comments were very informative but also very scary,” the chairman said.
JPMorgan Chase Settles Crypto Credit Card Lawsuit for $2.5M
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase settled a 2018 lawsuit recently, with a $2.5 total payout — the result of unclear fees charged when using credit cards for crypto purchases.
A May 26 court document detailed:
“The Court notes that Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., f/k/a Chase Bank USA, N.A. (“Chase” or “Defendant”) has agreed to provide a Cash Settlement Amount of an aggregate of $2,500,000 in cash.”
The lawsuit stemmed from lack of clarity
The legal action took flight later in 2018, seeing Brady Tucker, Ryan Hilton, and Stanton Smith press charges against the banking entity.
Reuters said in a May 27, 2020 brief:
“In a motion filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, plaintiffs said the settlement would result in class members getting about 95% of the fees they said they were unlawfully charged.”
March news settled in May
The plaintiffs’ legal action requested compensation for the deceptively-charged fees, as well as $1 million for damages, with a 75-day window for settlement detail submission, as of Cointelegraph’s March 2020 article.
The movement was unopposed, according the May 26 court document.
“JPMorgan is not admitting wrongdoing as part of the deal, according to the motion,” Reuters noted in the brief.
Emin Gün Sirer’s AVA Labs to Distribute 2M Tokens Ahead of Full Launch
AVA Labs, a blockchain protocol founded by Cornell’s Emin Gün Sirer, is planning to distribute 2 million tokens in its final testnet before the project’s full launch in summer.
The so-called “Denali Testnet” will serve as the final stage of the AVA network testing before AVA’s mainnet launch. The new testnet will allow each validator to earn up to 2,000 AVA network’s native tokens, AVA Labs announced on May 29.
AVA Labs tokens are not yet listed on any cryptocurrency exchange and are not available for public purchase, a spokesperson at AVA Labs told Cointelegraph.
The testnet to run from June 1 to June 15
While testnet registration starts immediately on May 29, the first phase of the testnet launch will start on June 1. At that time, participants are expected to set up live nodes, an AVA Labs representative explained. The Denali testnet consists of three core challenges, which run until June 15. While AVA Labs expects to move to its mainnet in summer 2020, there is no specific date for the full launch of the project, an AVA Labs’ spokesperson said.
The Denali testnet follows AVA’s first successful testnet known as “Cascade.” Launched in mid-April 2020, AVA’s Cascade testnet amassed 300 developers setting up and running validator nodes.
AVA network is purportedly going to be the “Internet of blockchains” once launched
Initiated by Sirer in 2019, AVA Labs is an open-source platform and a layer 1 protocol for launching decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications and enterprise blockchain solutions. The platform is designed to unify DeFi applications and blockchain deployments in one scalable and interoperable ecosystem. According to AVA co-founder, Kevin Sekniqi, the best way to describe the new protocol is the “Internet of blockchains.”
In late April 2020, AVA Labs’ Sirer said that as much as 95% of all existing cryptocurrencies do not represent any tech advancement and should be regarded as nothing but scams.
AVA network’s token is not to be confused with Travala.com’s proprietary token, AVA. Backed by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, Travala.com is a blockchain-based travel booking platform that features payments and loyalty rewards in its native crypto, AVA token.
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