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Natural Capital and Biodiversity: Reinforcing Nature as an Asset

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Bank of Israel opens public consultation on digital shekel

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The Bank of Israel is to open a public consultation on the potential issuance of a digital shekel.

Reflecting an apparent change in global sentiment toward the use cases for central bank backed digital currencies, the Bank of Israel has decided to accelerate its research and preparations for a possible future launch of a digital currency.

A steering committee set up by the bank has issued a report outling the potential benefits, a draft model and issues to examine, accompanied by a public call for responses.

The draft model envisages a two-tier framework in which the central bank provides digital shekels to private sector payments providers who would then act as the interface to the general public. The bank’s plan is to provide minimal infrastructure, using either DLT or centralised ledgers, and leave it to the private sector issuers to compete on innovation.

“The draft model is the basis for a discussion and for examination of alternatives by the work teams involved in the matter at the Bank of Israel,” states the central bank. “Following the publication of this document, it will also serve as the basis for discussion within the professional community in Israel regarding the necessary characteristics of a digital shekel.”

The consultation will close on 31 July and the main findings will be published at a later date.

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/38021/bank-of-israel-opens-public-consultation-on-digital-shekel?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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Curve returns to the crowd for fresh funding round

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Curve, the London-based fintech that combines multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, is to return to the crowd for fresh funding five months after sealing a $95 million equity round.

Set to go live later in May, the Crowdcube campaign comes as the company steps up its plans for expansion in the US and further into Europe and prepares for the launch of its much-heralded Curve Credit product.

Since its record-breaking crowdfund in 2019, which raised £4 million within 42 minutes, Curve’s valuation has tripled. In the last year alone, Curve hired over 100 new staff, doubled its customer base to over two million, and saw the volume of transactions it processes increase by over £1 billion to £2.6 billion, despite the backdrop of a global pandemic.

Shachar Bialick, Founder and CEO of Curve, says the company intends to further grow its workforce by around 60%, adding at least 200 employees over the course of 2021.

“With increasing fragmentation in financial services, and growing demand from consumers for a simpler way to control and manage their finances, the scene is set for Curve to seize a global opportunity,” he says. W”e are investing in our people and the business to make that happen.”

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/38020/curve-returns-to-the-crowd-for-fresh-funding-round?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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IBM and EY build centre of excellence to help FIs transition to the cloud

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IBM and EY have joined forces to create a centre of excellence dedicated to helping financial institutions accelerate their digital transformations with hybrid cloud solutions.

The majority of banking and financial services organisations have yet to deploy core systems to the cloud due because of the huge complexity and concerns over security, risk, governance and control.

According to a 2020 IBM survey, while 91% of financial institutions are actively using cloud services today or plan to in the next nine months, on average only nine per cent of their mission-critical regulated banking workloads have shifted to a public cloud environment.

The centralised virtual hub aims to change this, housing offerings in areas like regulatory compliance, digital trust, and security to help clients use the cloud at scale.

Available on IBM Cloud for Financial Services and built with Red Hat OpenShift, the hybrid cloud solutions leverage IBM technology and EY teams’ experience working with financial institutions.

Howard Boville, head, IBM Hybrid Cloud Platform, says: “As part of the Centre for Excellence, we’re helping financial institutions modernize their systems by integrating EY industry and regulatory experience with IBM’s open hybrid cloud and cognitive technologies, to ultimately fuel customer digital transformation.”

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/38019/ibm-and-ey-build-centre-of-excellence-to-help-fis-transition-to-the-cloud?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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DeFi Part 2 Investor Beware says Eeyore

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At a decentralised conference entitled The Pooh Corner Debate on DeFi, Eeyore kicked off (having won the coin toss) by pointing out 7 points that investors considering DeFi should think about: 

  • Blockchain transactions are irreversible and unregulated. If you lose money you have zero recourse, it is gone – poof! Irreversible and unregulated is a honey pot for crooks.
  • Software bugs can have the same impact as crooks. DeFi is technically complex, so there are plenty of coding errors and hacks. For example, Yam Finance quickly grew its deposits to $750 million in 2020 before crashing days after launch due to a code error. This is made worse by new services copying open-source software to create a competing platform, with problems as funds shift between platforms.
  • Modern crooks are expert at exploiting software bugs. Their gun is a computer and they know how to read code like ye olde bank robber knows how to open a lock. 
  • The DeFi FOMO is similar to the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) driver for the 2017 cryptocurrency bubble. A good story is NOT the same as a good investment. This will end in tears.
  • “Centralized DeFi” sounds like contradiction and it is. Binance Smart Chain (BSC) was pitched as a new paradigm of “Centralized DeFi”. You cannot have both Centralized and Decentralized; they are opposites.
  • Watching Wolf Of Wall Street does not give you the experience to invest in disruption. Yes, there is a lot of crookery and corruption on Wall Street. It is also possible that the next Wolf is scamming you by taking advantage of what you think about Wall Street.
  • It is simply too early. DeFi may change the world, but being too early equals being wrong. Saying “I told you so” in 20 years time does not make your money come back.

Some subjects are too complex for our short attention spans, so we do 4 posts one week apart, each one short enough not to lose your attention but in aggregate doing justice to the complexity of the subject. Here is part 1. Stay tuned by subscribing. If you thought Eeyore was being too negative, tune in next week  for DeFi Part 3. If it is broke then fix it says Tigger.

Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

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Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2021/05/11/defi-part-2-investor-beware-says-eeyore/

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