As crypto markets faced another struggling week, big business and government took center stage as talk around regulation and adoption continued to reverberate across the blockchain and crypto space.
Last week, it was announced that the country of Sweden has begun testing an e-krona, bringing it that much closer to the proper release of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The pilot program will be in operation for one year, until February 2021. The idea is that this digital currency would drive conventional payments and banking activities throughout the country. Instead of swiping a credit card or spending fiat currency, everyday transacting can move to the blockchain. Sweden is the second country (after the Bahamas) to unveil what would appear to be a true, working national cryptocurrency.
In order to compete with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the Brazilian government last week announced the development of the Brazilian Instant Payment Scheme (PIX) which is expected to facilitate peer-to-peer and business-to-business transactions in 10 seconds or less via mobile phone, internet banking, or select ATMs. Cryptocurrency firms will be allowed to join the platform and will experience no restrictions from BCB when it launches in November 2020. This comes amidst tough Brazilian environment with the implementation of the new tax regulations that has seen a cooling of the market for smaller exchanges.
Last week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) of Dubai established a Know Your Customer (KYC) blockchain consortium with six major banks. Dubbed “KYC Blockchain Consortium,” the new blockchain-powered regulatory platform is designed to accelerate processes like exchange of digital customer data and documents while ensuring security. The project also intends to bring a unified platform of KYC efforts among existing and future ecosystem members like qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities.
Big business is also not being left behind and last week, e-commerce giant Shopify joined the Libra Association, a network of founding members supporting Facebook’s stablecoin project Libra. Shopify, a major Canada-based digital commerce platform hosting more than one million merchants, will be collaborating on the establishment of a global payment network within the Libra Association.
Last week also saw two payment giants, Coinbase and Visa partner for a first-of-its-kind integration. Coinbase is now a principal member of Visa which allows it to issue debit cards without relying on third parties. The membership is an evolution of Coinbase’s current relationship with Visa, with the cryptocurrency exchange providing a Visa-based debit card. The Coinbase Card will allow customers residing in the European Union or European Community to spend multiple cryptocurrencies. Through the direct integration with Visa, Coinbase promises that it will be able to provide additional services and support more markets. This is the first “pure-play crypto company” to become a principal member.
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