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Facebook’s F2 will now oversee WhatsApp Pay, crypto wallet Novi

The social networking giant forms a new group for payments—Libra included—and brings in a PayPal and Upwork veteran to help.

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Facebook has a Venmo-like mobile payments service in Facebook Pay, WhatsApp Pay in-app payments, and also an upcoming cryptocurrency wallet in Novi that will work with the Libra cryptocurrency project that it is backing.

Sound like a lot of different payment divisions? Facebook apparently agrees, which is why today the company announced that it will bring all of them together in a single group, with new leadership coming onboard to help oversee their ongoing development.

David Marcus, head of Novi Financial and co-creator of Libra, announced the formation of the group today, also noting that Facebook has appointed Stephane Kasriel to oversee Facebook Pay. According to Kasriel’s LinkedIn profile, he will be the VP of Payments for Facebook.

The new group will be named Facebook Financial, according to Bloomberg, and called “F2” internally. Facebook Pay is planned to be included in all of the company’s apps, with Instagram integration hitting the US in the “coming weeks,” so it makes sense that Facebook would want a dedicated leader for the initiative.

Kasriel was most recently CEO of freelancing website Upwork from 2015-19, and has two prior stints at PayPal on his resume. He was first with the company for nearly six years from 2004-2010, where he began as Head of Product Development and left as Senior Director of Consumer Products. He returned briefly from 2011-12 when PayPal acquired Zong, the mobile payments service that he was working for in the meantime.

Marcus will continue to directly oversee Novi amidst the Facebook Financial formation. Originally named Calibra, the wallet was renamed Novi in May following the announcement of significant changes to the way that Novi will function in the wake of regulatory challenges.

Libra’s shift, including to creating individual fiat-backed stablecoins to back the Libra Coin rather than backing it with the currencies themselves, has raised questions about whether Libra can ultimately match up to its ambitious, original decentralized approach.

The Libra Association, meanwhile, has made a number of key recent appointments that signal that it is gearing up to weather further hurdles with global regulators.

Blockchain

The FATF, Cryptocurrencies, and the Philippines

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In an earlier article on BitPinas, we briefly looked at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international body tasked to promote measures against money laundering and terrorist financing. With 200+ member countries, the FATF recommends what the countries must do with regards to money laundering and terrorist financing. By the way, these are not just recommendations. It simply must be complied, otherwise there will be consequences. In this article, we’ll expand more on the FATF.

The FATF’s Power

Table of Contents

Consider the year 2000, when the FATF blacklisted the Philippines for failing to address money laundering issues. At that time, the FATF said the country lacked basic anti-money laundering regulations and specific legislation to criminalize the activity. When the FATF blacklisted a country, apart of course from the spectacle of being shamed in the international community of countries, any financial transaction going into the country would be scrutinized more by banks, thus foreign companies might be discouraged from doing business here, while companies here would find it hard to do business transactions with foreign partners.

Nevermind that at that time, the country was about to force a president out of office and was in a transitory phase. The peso-dollar exchange rate would eventually rise up to around Php 56.56 four years later. Not to mention that in 2001, after the September 11 attacks in the U.S., global efforts to AML reporting intensified to combat financing of terrorism as well (CFT). It was also in that year when the Philippines passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA).

So what I’m saying is that the FATF is pretty powerful. And their recommendations have consequences if a country did not comply. Case in point, the Philippines barely escaped being blacklisted again in 2017. However, in more recent news, it appears the country is on the verge of being blacklisted again if certain amendments to the AMLA are not passed.

The FATF Recommendations

First published in 1990, the 40 Recommendations are the primary policies of the FATF it tasked its member countries to act upon, through ways like legislation and of course implementation. These recommendations are the global standards in anti-money laundering and they are continually updated to keep up with the changing techniques of criminals and simply to keep up with the times.

In 2018, the FATF updated the recommendations to include cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency companies within its scope, effectively integrating the entire industry into the global financial system, at least on paper. The countries then have to create their legislation in order to enforce these rules to cryptocurrency companies, or virtual asset service providers (VASPs), a very broad term that includes cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms except non-custodial platforms.

Briefly, the 40 recommendations require the following:

  • Criminalize money laundering
  • Enable authorities to confiscate proceeds from money laundering
  • Establish a financial intelligence unit
  • Implement relevant international conventions
  • Implement customer due diligence
  • Implement record keeping
  • Implement suspicious transaction reporting
  • Coordinate with other countries when investigating and prosecuting money laundering

The FATF has also added 9 special recommendations in relation to terrorist financing. You can check the entire forty recommendations here.

What about the Cryptocurrency Industry?

As for much of the recommendations as well as other finance-related laws, at least here in the Philippines, locally-licensed virtual currency exchanges are following the guidelines from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Circular No. 944 in 2017 established the guidelines for virtual currency exchanges, which include transactional requirements and strict following of the country’s anti-money laundering law. It’s the reason why your go-to local cryptocurrency platform has tiered limits and thresholds in how much you can transact depending on the amount of information about yourself that you submit to them.

Globally, of particular concern is the “Travel Rule”, which is no. 16 in the FATF recommendations. Simply put, it requires that when doing a cryptocurrency transfer, the sender’s personal information, such as his name, should “travel” along with the transaction. Meaning, if Sender from Exchange A sends bitcoin to Receiver in Wallet B, Exchange A must pass along personal information of Sender to Wallet B. More on the subject is explained here.

The problem is that the blockchain simply does not transfer personal information. If you are familiar with a bitcoin transaction, in the blockchain, you will only see the sender address, the amount, the fee, and the receiver address. That’s it. It does not need other information because every transaction completed on the blockchain is final.

So with the FATF instructing countries to commit to these recommendations and apply it to cryptocurrency companies within their jurisdictions, it falls upon the cryptocurrency companies to comply. Otherwise the countries, in order to not suffer consequences from the FATF, would force them out of their jurisdictions.

At the moment, there are companies working on solutions to address the travel rule for cryptocurrency companies. Examples include CipherTrace’s TRISA and openVASP. Another initiative, interVASP, looks into standardizing the payload instructions so that VASPs can better communicate with each other. Finally, solutions like Elliptic, help in making VASPs more compliant with existing anti-money laundering rules.

I recommend the article “What is the FATF Travel Rule” as next the reading material if you find this topic enjoyable. Up next, we will briefly look at the 2020 report from the FATF about potential red flag indicators.

This article is published on BitPinas: The FATF, Cryptocurrencies, and the Philippines


About BitPinas:

BitPinas is an independent blockchain, finance, and cryptocurrency news site covering the crypto and blockchain news and developments in the Philippines. We aim to be the website where you can find all information on blockchain and crypto in the Philippines. We are read by investors and enthusiasts alike, including crypto/blockchain company founders and government personnel. Contact [email protected] for more information, consulting advice, and partnerships. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Source: https://bitpinas.com/feature/the-fatf-cryptocurrencies-and-the-philippines/

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Ethereum Price Analysis: ETH Poised For Rebound To $360

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  • Ethereum price retests support at $310 twice in September.
  • A double-bottom pattern in the 4-hour range predicts recovery to $360 in the near term.

After trading highs of $489 at the beginning of September, the smart contract token has tested support at $310 twice. Recovery has been capped under $400 with Ether suffering rejection at $390 severally. The recent slump saw Ethereum dive below key support areas at $380, $360, and $340. The unstoppable declines continued to $310 before a reversal came into the picture.

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At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading at $323 even as bulls rush to take back control in a bid to stop losses from extending below the critical $310. Note that if ETH dips below $300, the price could explore lows towards $250 before a significant correction comes into the picture.

A double-bottom pattern has been spotted on the 4-hour chart. If the pattern is confirmed, Ethereum could be on the verge of a significant correction. Double-bottom patterns highlight areas of demand and are often used in technical analysis to predict reversal points and the extent to which the incoming bullish momentum will go. However, it is essential to realize that double-bottom patterns must be used with other technical indicators to validate the upward movement in the price.

Read also: Ethereum’s Accumulation Trend Remains Unfazed by Price Downturn

ETH/USD 4-hour chart

ETH/USD price chart
ETH/USD price chart by Tradingview

The ongoing bullish momentum is supported by the Relative Strength Index (RSI) as it recovers from the oversold region. Similarly, IntoTheBlock’s IOMAP shows a lack of a formidable supply area with the power to delay the price action to $360. However, the strongest seller congestion zone lies between $362 and $373. Here, near 700,000 addresses previously bought $10.50 million ETH.

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ETH IOMAP chart

ETH IOMAP chart
ETH IOMAP chart by IntoTheBlock

On the flip side, the most critical support holds in the range between $295 and $304. Around 850,000 addresses purchased 1.93 million ETH in the area. In this case, buyers have a task to hold Ethereum above $310 if not $320, and focus on recovery towards the toughest supply area.

Ethereum Intraday Levels

Spot rate: $323

Relative change: 2.93

Percentage change: 0.91%

Volatility: Low

Trend: Bullish

Read more: Ethereum Locked in DeFi Soars to a Fresh ATH


To get the daily price analysis, Follow us on TradingView

Author: John Isige




John is a talented writer with over two years of experience actively contributing to the cryptocurrency industry by providing credible, interesting and easy to read the content. His main focus is on cryptocurrency price analysis and industry news coverage. Lets follow him on Twitter at @jjisige

Source: https://coingape.com/ethereum-price-analysis-eth-poised-for-rebound-to-360/

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Bitcoin, Central Bank Digital Currencies, and the Future of Money

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Bitcoin is the monetary base of the Internet. Unlike national currencies, new bitcoins are created by a fixed and finite supply.¹ In an era of unprecedented monetary expansion Bitcoin’s value proposition is unique. There will only be 21 million bitcoins amid increasing trillions of dollars, pesos, yuans, etc.

In the past year, the supply of new yuan, dollars, and pesos has increased by 8%, 50%, and 75% respectively. The supply of new bitcoins has increased by merely 3%.

Instead of relying on central bankers to determine money supply, Bitcoin is decentralized. Global miners timestamp blocks of transactions² that are verified by a global network of nodes³ for a protocol maintained by hundreds of developers⁴ worldwide. Bitcoin’s first block was mined with the following cryptographic message in 2009:

“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”⁵

Global central banks have embraced increasingly unconventional methods since 2009. In May 2020, after a decade of sound Bitcoin monetary policy, miners etched a similar headline in digital eternum:

“NYTimes 09/Apr/2020 With $2.3T Injection, Fed’s Plan Far Exceeds 2008 Rescue”⁶

In 2019, researchers from NYU highlighted the potential for private digital currencies such as Bitcoin to improve welfare in an emerging market with a selfish government.⁷ Search interest for Bitcoin has been rising in emerging markets such as China and Argentina.

With a smartphone and a digital wallet anyone in any country in the world can send, receive, and hold Bitcoin. Due to its finite and predictable monetary policy, Bitcoin is especially useful in emerging markets with high inflation. Excessive monetary devaluation (a.k.a. high inflation) is a facet of economic repression.

Priced against the range of G20 currencies, Bitcoin has significantly outperformed since the start of 2019. Incurred by an exorbitant increase in money supply, the Argentine peso (ARS) has devalued most severely of all. Or as Nobel economist Milton Friedman once explained:

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

As the supply of money grows in both developed and emerging economies alike, Bitcoin is a monetary stalwart. Bitcoin is showing considerable rates of adoption worldwide and especially emerging markets.⁸

In many emerging markets, access to currencies like the dollar is virtually impossible for regular citizens. Compelled by Bitcoin, a solution to universal dollar access is emerging via technology known as central bank digital currency (CBDC) or stablecoins.

Bitcoin is a technology that can be accessed from every corner of the earth. This innovation has catalyzed global central banks to begin upgrading money as we know it. According to Harvard Belfer Center research on the Future of Money, major central banks across the world are in the research, development, or pilot phases of creating central bank digital currency.

According to The Block, ~70% of CBDC’s intend to use distributed ledgers⁹, a technology pioneered by Bitcoin. China is the leader and is currently on the verge of releasing its digital yuan pilot. Although CBDC’s will likely promote global monetary freedom, there are fundamental questions about the trustlessness of CBDC’s. In a 2017 speech an Executive Board member of Germany’s central bank explained:

“Too little attention is being paid to Nakamoto’s primary goal of constructing a groundbreaking, trustless electronic payment system which, like cash, would facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions. At the same time, Nakamoto was looking to create a currency which was not based on trust. This aspect — forging a new currency that does away with central bankshas become a major talking point in the current debate.”

Global interest in central bank digital currency is rising, alongside a parallel term known as stablecoins.

What is the difference between stablecoins and CBDC? The governor of the Bank of England recently offered a helpful explanation:

“Stablecoins and CBDC are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Depending on design choices, they could sit alongside each other, either as distinct payment options, or with elements of the stablecoin ecosystem, such as wallets, providing consumers with access to a CBDC. So there will likely be a role for the private and public sector working together in the future of payments.”

Private sector stablecoins have been booming. USD Coin, for example, is backed 1:1 for dollars held in a bank account, and is designed to let dollars move globally from your crypto wallet to other exchanges, businesses, and people and has recently surpassed a market cap of $2 billion. USDT, the current leader despite existential questions, has facilitated economic freedom at the scale of $50 billion for Chinese citizens. Private sector stablecoins altogether are close to surpassing a market cap of $20 billion.

Ethereum, a blockchain that aims to extend Bitcoin’s functionality, has become the backbone of the stablecoin movement. In addition to being able to tokenize assets like dollars, Ethereum enables the creation of decentralized lending, insurance, and exchange applications. Collectively, network activity on Bitcoin and Ethereum has been nearing record highs.

As interest in Ethereum’s decentralized network has surged however, so too have costs to use it. Average fees to use Ethereum have recently reached ~$14, surpassing Bitcoin.

Innovative solutions are emerging to help scale to support the next billion users. USDC has recently enabled version 2.0, an upgrade that allows integrated projects to pay network fees for users when transacting with USDC. And Reddit, one of the world’s largest social media companies, recently announced the Great Ethereum Scaling Bakeoff¹⁰ to help enable Reddit Coins for its users.

Reddit is not the only social media company interested in cryptocurrency, however. Facebook is making a major foray into the space with its Novi project.¹¹ And major financial institutions have been embracing digital currency as well. Square and Fidelity are significant supporters of Bitcoin,¹² Visa has been advancing its digital currency initiatives,¹³ and Mastercard recently announced an effort to foster CBDC adoption.¹⁴

As further evidence of rising institutional acceptance, legendary fund manager Paul Tudor Jones recently added Bitcoin to his portfolio as a hedge against global monetary inflation.¹⁵ And on the CME, one of the world’s largest financial exchanges, Bitcoin open interest has been surging:

Source: https://medium.com/@burningw0rds/bitcoin-central-bank-digital-currencies-and-the-future-of-money-5d0d4549f9c2?source=rss——-8—————–cryptocurrency

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