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Private Payment System for Central Bank Digital Currency Possible, Says ECB



Private Payment System for Central Bank Digital Currency Possible, Says ECB

Recent research by the European Central Bank (ECB) claims that it is possible to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) payment system that protects user privacy.

Per the report dubbed “Exploring anonymity in central bank digital currencies,” the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) established a proof-of-concept (PoC) for anonymity in CBDCs, which came as part of its ongoing research of CBDCs and their potential benefits to the public. The dedicated PoC was developed in collaboration with tech companies R3 and Accenture.

Corda-based PoC

The ESCB used R3’s open-source blockchain platform Corda to develop a PoC featuring four parties such as two intermediaries, a central bank and an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) authority. Each party was represented in the network by a node that operated a CorDapp, which enables assets to be transferred between the entities.

Within the PoC, the bank built a solution for AML/combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) compliance procedures, which kept user identities and transaction histories anonymous i.e. neither the central bank nor intermediaries other than those chosen by the user could see the data.

“To protect users’ privacy, the notary has no access to data such as transaction values, users’ addresses or states’ histories,” the report read, adding:

“The proof of concept shows that it is possible, using the Corda platform, to build a simplified CBDC payment system that safeguards users’ privacy for lower-value transactions, while still ensuring that higher-value transactions are subject to mandatory AML/CFT checks.”

Issues to be improved

However, the bank noted an array of issues that purportedly needed to be improved including reducing the amount of information visible to parties that are not involved in the transactions, and users’ ability to access or spend CBDC balances when the intermediary is unavailable.

The ECB stated that privacy could be further improved by applying mechanisms such as rotating public keys, zero-knowledge proofs and enclave computing.

The bank further noted that issues of scalability were not addressed or tested in the PoC and that interoperability with a real-time gross settlement system must also be researched.

Regulator concerns abound regarding CBDCs

The ECB’s research seems to nominally address concerns previously expressed by world regulators regarding digital currencies. Earlier in December, European Union authorities outlined multiple risks and issues associated with the adoption of stablecoins, arguing that if adopted on a global scale, stablecoins pose a threat to monetary sovereignty, privacy and cybersecurity.

Just recently, the president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, said that the financial institution should be ahead of the curve regarding the demand for stablecoins. In late August, the ECB released a paper in which is stated that stablecoins with a clear governance framework may be hampered by uncertainty coming from a lack of regulation.

Published at Tue, 17 Dec 2019 14:33:00 +0000


Dow Just Began 10-Year Bull Run, Says Firm That Called 2019 Explosion




  • Investment research firm Fundstrat predicts that we are in the midst of a 20-year secular bull market, with another decade left to run.
  • The firm accurately nailed 2019’s equity returns, predicting a 30% annual rise while others screamed ‘recession.’
  • In the short-term, Fundstrat sees a peak in Q1 2020 before a mild correction later in the year.

Recession? What recession? Investment research firm Fundstrat issued its latest report with a bold conclusion: we are in the middle of a 20-year bull run. According to the firm, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 will see another decade of gains before any deep or long-term reversal.

The report predicts a number of pullbacks along the way, but the dominant secular trend points to strong US equity returns into the early 2030s.

It’s a bold claim when many analysts are calling for an imminent recession. Even Morgan Stanley predicts gloomy returns over the next decade. So how did Fundstrat come to its bullish conclusion?

Why the Dow Could Run for Another Decade

The report is based on technical analysis which identifies a super-secular bull trend. Founder Tom Lee also said the conclusion is backed by the firm’s fundamental research and demographic trends.

“Long-term technical analysis says we are in a 20-year equity bull market… Consistent with our fundamental and demographic view.”

There are plenty of catalysts to back up the call. Trade war tensions with China are easing going into 2020. The Federal Reserve has lowered rates and began a new course of monetary easing. And flagging corporate earnings are due for a strong rebound in 2020, according to Lee.

I think next year earnings growth will actually be more than double digits.

Fundstrat Perfectly Predicted 2019 Huge Stock Market Gains

It would be easy to laugh off this 10-year hypothesis, but Fundstrat was eerily accurate about 2019’s stock market performance. Founder Tom Lee called for a 30% rise in the S&P 500 at the start of 2019. It finished the year 29% higher.

Fundstrat 2019 stock market prediction, Dow JonesFundstrat 2019 stock market prediction, Dow Jones

The firm remained resolutely bullish throughout 2019 despite the chorus of ‘recession’ calls and trade war conflict.

We should point out that Fundstrat doesn’t always get it right. When it comes to bitcoin, Lee predicted a $25,000 peak in 2018. BTC ultimately ended the year in the low $3,000s, having shed 85% from its highs.

JP Morgan Agrees with Bull Market Perspective

Fundstrat isn’t the only firm with wildly bullish expectations. JP Morgan issued a report that predicts “double digit annualized returns” going into the 2030s.

Their analysts believe the current bullish cycle began in February 2016 after a relatively stagnant 16 year period.

secular stock market bull trendsecular stock market bull trend
JP Morgan predicts double-digit annual growth until 2033-2035. Source: JP Morgan

The S&P 500 could approach or exceed the 10,000 level by the early to mid-2030s.

What to expect from the Dow in 2020

Alongside the decade-long hypothesis, Fundstrat issued some 2020 guidance. The report predicts a local high in the first quarter of 2020, followed by a healthy pullback going into Q2 and Q3.

Looking further out, Fundstrat sees a “cycle high” in 2021 or 2022. By which point, the firm believes the S&P 500 will reach highs of 3,850 – 4,700. If accurate, it would represent a 18% – 44% upside from here.

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

Last modified: January 25, 2020 1:23 AM UTC


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Blockchain News

Ways In Which Blockchain Is Resolving Cyber Security Issues – Nigerian Observer




Blockchain has some adherent features that make it the safest technology. Blockchain consists of blocks that are linked to other blocks containing details of a transaction. This makes it hard to tamper as not only the main block containing the transaction has to have tampered but also the connected block to delete the trace. With proper usage of the cryptography, participants have their keys acting as their digital signature, and just in case if the record is altered, the signature will cease to exist letting the other participant know about the unusual activity. Since blockchain is decentralized, hacking it is quite impossible as the process can’t be manipulated from a single computer as the system primarily is on peer-to-peer based. Blockchain is not contained in a single location, and a bigger network provides stronger coverage for the process.

Fraud and Theft:

Initially launched to send and store the first cryptocurrency, blockchain technology has eventually gained acceptance in the cybersecurity sphere. To manipulate a blockchain network, a hacker will not just have to corrupt a single block but also affect the millions of blocks attached to it. Each of those blocks contains partial or a strand of the actual information making it almost impossible to take down a whole network of a million connections. Such security has forced business titans from other sectors to prefer blockchain technology to secure data and information on their network.

Malicious Attacks and Trojans:

Trojans inject our systems with the blink of an eye. They usually come through downloaded software and infect the systems. Hiding in plain sight and masquerading as genuine applications, these malicious Trojans are intended to steal information from our computers. Blockchain technology, as enlightened by Forex Academy, offers a way to secure download by assigning particulate Hash signatures to the download, which can be compared to the developer’s signature. This makes the processing of information more secure and reliable.

Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks:

These attacks are programmed to overload the network with unsuitable data and cause mayhem. This leads to a crash and overloading in the system. Certain malware like Hide and Seek continues to remain in the system even after the reboot. The crash can happen over and over again. It even affects the systems connected to the infected one. The blockchain network can sustain the attack by providing reserved networks with security from the attacks. This will restrain a crash in the system.

Biometric Private Keys:                 

According to Facebook’s admission, its user accounts are hacked 600,000 times per day. Passwords are regularly to be updated, and we may end up with an uneven set of passwords that we can’t even remember. Even though they are regarded as secure and robust, the gospel truth of passwords is that they’re always vulnerable to attacks. Blockchain’s powerful methods of multi-step protection, private keys, and biometric system provide easy access to the account and that too ensured by durable security, impossible to penetrate.


Blockchain technology is being considered a favorable choice in cybersecurity spheres. Given the mode of its decentralization, it consists of millions of blocks that share the information. The information is not stored in a single location, thus making it harder to penetrate from a single computer which will require massive computing power.


The adoption of blockchain technology in cyberspace can resolve various issues. Its decentralized method ensures a secure network and impenetrable space. Implementation of the technology in matters of the security can revolutionize and asses the grave security issues prevailing among us.


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One Wallet Owns 27% of Ether Behind MakerDAO’s Sai Stablecoin




Of all the Ether (ETH) locked in the collateralized debt positions (CDPs) of the old MakerDAO system, 27% belongs to a single Ethereum address. Financial technology data firm Digital Assets Data shared these findings with Cointelegraph on Jan. 26.

Dai, which was created by MakerDAO, allows users to borrow or generate the stablecoin by staking their cryptocurrency holdings as collateral. Dai was not supported with bank accounts of reserve currencies but rather is generated by putting Ether into a CDP smart contract.

In November 2019, the Dai stablecoin reached its 100 million token debt ceiling and introduced multi-collateral Dai (MCD) that can be backed by multiple assets.

The old, single-collateral Dai — Dai that generated only with Ether — became known as “Sai,” while the new MCD is now referred to as “Dai.” CDPs for different assets were rebranded as “vaults” i.e. Ether is stored in an Ether vault, while Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) are stored in a BAT vault. 

MakerDAO’s ecosystem growth

According to Digital Assets Data, about 155,000 CDPs were initiated on the old version of the Maker protocol and 77% of those held under 0.05 ETH. Brandon Anderson, a data science lead at Digital Assets Data, told Cointelegraph:

“There is one address that maintains 27% of the value locked in CDP’s. Likewise, the new Vaults system has a similar distribution, with one address holding 15% of the value locked. As Maker continues to grow, we will see how these distributions play out and if there is more adoption within the lower bins.”

Anderson added that these addresses are not necessarily a single entity:

“It is possible that one or more of those addresses could be smart contracts that contain ETH as a part of MakerDAO, and do not represent a single entity. Without a significant amount of additional research, we cannot commit to singling out/identifying these addresses.”

He concluded that, while there are large players that likely control a disproportionate amount of locked Ether in the ecosystem, the amount of total locked assets has increased over time and “these protocols are indeed open to anyone that wants to participate.”

Over 3,500 vaults have been created with the new system, most of which hold over 1 ETH, according to Digital Assets Data.

Ether locked in DeFi applications reaches an all-time high

As Cointelegraph reported in late November 2019, the number of Ether locked in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications reached an all-time high of 2.7 million ETH, according to DeFi monitoring resource DeFiPulse, and has been steadily growing since the end of June.

As of press time, DeFiPulse shows that the total value of funds locked in DeFi applications reached $793.1 million (an all-time high of 3.2 million ETH), of which over 57% ($453.5 million, an all-time high 2.5 million ETH) is in the MakerDAO system.


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