The Basel Committee cautioned the global banking system that the growth of the decentralized currency industry could pose a serious risk to the economic and financial stability of the world.
Established in 1974 by the governors of the Group of Ten Central Banks, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision [BCBS] concerns itself with the supervision of the world’s banking system. The committee keeps a regular check on the degree to which the world’s banks are exposed to the risk of volatile assets, in this case, digital assets.
In a March 13 statement, the committee stated that digital assets cannot be relied upon to replace the traditional structure of fiat currencies. Moreover, these assets are not a viable medium of exchange nor a store of value, according to the Basel Committee.
The report stated that the virtual currency industry posed a significant risk to the traditional financial world, primarily due to the volatile nature of the assets. Furthermore, threats related to liquidity, frauds, market manipulation, credit damage, money laundering, and terror financing were rampant in the crypto-industry.
However, the committee did admit that the banking world had “very limited” direct contact with the cryptocurrency industry. The committee went on to suggest that the crypto-industry should enhance its risk management protocols, to protect against its own volatility.
The statement read,“The Committee is of the view that the continued growth of crypto-asset trading platforms and new [commercial] products related to crypto-assets has the potential to raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks.”
On principle, cryptocurrency proponents do not want to merely compete with the global banking world, but want to replace them. Bitcoin [BTC], the top cryptocurrency in the market, was created as a mathematical-logical currency that was decentralized, and not under the power of one single issuing authority.
Government-issued fiat currency is seen as a product of the bureaucratic and financial elite, who aim to monopolize wealth. The crypto-industry aims to draw in more people to their movement, thereby replacing centralized, fiat currency.
Despite this principled belief, many see the cryptocurrency industry as any other investment vehicle, with higher volatility than most assets. Despite speculation and arbitrage not being the drivers of the crypto-industry, the committee seems to have viewed it that way.
It is this volatility, paired with unclear and uneven regulations of the industry, that have concerned the Basel Committee. Given cryptocurrencies’ fledgling status among stalwart investment fields, its surge in popularity, volatility, and lax-regulations, the Committee sees it as a direct threat to the stability of the global banking system.
The Basel Committee will be working closely with the Financial Stability Board to better manage the exposure risk of digital assets to other investment vehicles and the financial world, at large. The report concluded,“The Committee will in due course clarify the prudential treatment of such exposures to appropriately reflect the high degree of risk of crypto-assets.”
IBM’s blockchain platform collaborates with GMEX to support multi-cryptocurrency transactions
The cryptospace has been striving to get their cryptocurrencies adopted by the mainstream world of finance. With Ripple and R3 converting one financial institution at a time to use its digital asset support solution, IBM Blockchain Platform has also has been making strides in the field. The blockchain platform strengthened its relationship with GMEX Technologies Limited, with the latter announcing the release of its hybrid solution for institutional investors, GMEX Fusion Digital Capital Markets technology suite (GMEX Fusion).
This product will support multiple digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and security tokens and is built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, announced the blog.
Among existing financial services companies, DAG Global has started the use of this product to execute and settle Bitcoin and Ethereum trades. DAG Global transfers BTC/ETH between customer accounts held by Coinbase and Kraken. The CEO of GMEX Group and Chairman of GMEX Technologies expressed his pleasure at collaborating with IBM to meet the growing demands for digitally enabled market infrastructure. He added,
“This is a unique industry approach as it will enable multiple pools of liquidity to connect with multiple custodians with a single aggregated trading, clearing and settlement solution.”
DAG’s experience while using this technology affirmed that IBM Blockchain Platform was addressing financial services industry demands, claimed Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM Blockchain Technologies. He continued,
“It is a foundational technology that can help merge old architectures with new, creating a hybrid approach to support the growing demand for digital assets and we’re excited to be working with GMEX on this pioneering approach.
Arab Bank’s Swiss Arm is Launching Cryptocurrency Services
The Swiss branch of one of the top financial institutions in the Middle East is launching a suite of cryptocurrency-based services.
Arab Bank (Switzerland) announced on Thursday that it will offer clients a range of services including custody and brokerage of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).
The bank – based in the canton of Zug in Switzerland, sometimes dubbed “Crypto Valley” – said it’s the launch comes following demand from “existing and younger clients who seek to include digital assets as one asset class in their diversified portfolios.” It said clients include serving high-net worth clients such as “business leaders and family entrepreneurs.”
Serge Robin, CEO of Arab Bank (Switzerland), said:
“We firmly believe that blockchain will disrupt the financial industry as we know it and we intend to be amongst the first banks to offer digital asset services to our clients in a secure and regulated environment.”
For its crypto services, the bank has partnered with digital assets-focused Taurus Group – also based in Switzerland – and will utilize the firm’s a custody platform. Taurus also assisted the bank prepare operational policies and procedures for the new crypto services.
Supporting “innovative players” like Arab Bank (Switzerland) developing infrastructure to support digital assets “is a necessary step to
ensure that the next generation of financial market infrastructure is based on blockchain,” said Lamine Brahimi, managing partner at Taurus Group.
A number of Swiss banks have now launched services for crypto assets, including Julius Baer, UBS and Falcon Group.
The CEO of UBS previously come out as an advocate for blockchain technology, saying it’s “almost a must” for business.
North Korea may now have the required expertise to deploy its own cryptocurrency
North Korea [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] has been making headlines in the crypto-ecosystem over the past few months, ever since the news of cyber-attackers based in the country surfaced. North Korean hackers were able to get away with $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies. With international sanctions being imposed on the country’s trade by international regulatory bodies, North Korea is moving ahead with the plan of mapping out its own cryptocurrency, to avoid its economy from being paralyzed.
This can also be argued to be DPRK’s attempt to dodge the American-dominated marketplace. Towards this effort, Pyongyang has been accelerating its efforts to gather more information on the wider use of cryptocurrencies. In fact, according to reports, home-grown experts are being appointed for boosting the applications of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the country.
Till date, North Korea has kept its gates closed to foreign fiat currencies. Yet, with continuous trade bans from regulatory bodies, DPRK sees no option but to move towards the world of digital assets. According to Cao de Benos, the man in-charge of North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences,
“We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now, we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it, There are no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”
According to these reports, the North Korean regime already has the expertise that is required to build and deploy its own cryptocurrency.
If these reports are true, North Korea will be following the efforts of other countries such as Iran and Cuba, both of whom are experiementing with cryptocurrencies to evade the effects of American sanctions.