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IMF ADVISES EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES TO TRIAL DIGITAL CURRENCY

IMF suggested that a digital currency underpinned by blockchain would boost the resources and capacity of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), a region that comprises St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Anguilla, Antigua, and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Vincent and Grenadines.

CAUTIOUSLY TRIALING A CBDC IS THE WAY, IMF SAYS

On Friday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a Concluding Statement after it visited the ECCU region for a regular mission.

The fund concluded that the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program was one of the key reasons why the region has recorded a growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

However, the IMF anticipates the GDP growth to gradually slow to 2.5%. This coincides with a long-term historical average for the ECCU. Also, CBI inflows might also slow. In the short-term, economic activity will be driven by tourism investment, some agricultural business projects, and further post-hurricane reconstruction. Three years ago, the Hurricane Irma and Maria hit the Dominican Republic.

In light of somewhat moderate projections, the IMF suggested the region to experiment with a common digital currency. The ECCU region is under the supervision of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which issues the Eastern Caribbean dollar.10 BTC & 20,000 Free Spins for every player in mBitcasino’s Winter Cryptoland Adventure!

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) seems to be an unstoppable upcoming trend among major central banks. The Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan along with other counterparts, formed a group to study the benefits of CBDCs. Even the Fed admitted that it was thinking about adopting this innovation. IMF was among the first major institutions to forecast digital currency adoption by central banks.

ST KITTS AND NEVIS PREPARES THE GROUND

St Kitts and Nevis is already developing favorable conditions for a CBDC to be issued. The dual island country is building a virtual currency-oriented legal framework. At the end of last month, the jurisdiction passed the Virtual Assets Bill, which requires companies to register and pass due diligence verifications if they want to operate in the virtual asset space. This is in line with AML and CFT endorsed including by the IMF.

Premier Minister Timothy Harris, who also holds the role of Finance Minister, said that the new bill would perfectly fit the ECCB’s goal for a cashless society. He commented,

It is vital at this juncture that we embrace the opportunity to expand our capacities for adaptation to the swiftly changing realities of the technological spheres in which we find ourselves in this 21st century

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Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Amamiya: Cheaper CBDCs could stifle private sector innovation

  • BoJ deputy governor foresees CBDCs affecting countries’ financial intermediation due to a shift in funds.
  • Central banks have to learn the pros and cons of CBDCs and seek ways to mitigate the risks.

The deputy governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Amamiya in recent remarks says that central banks are bound to remain lenders of some kind even at the time when digital currencies are issued. Therefore, there is a need to carry out a monetary policy through the control of digital money flows.

Amamiya believes that central banks considering issuing their own digital currencies around the world should “conduct a comprehensive study on how it affects the country’s settlement and financial systems.” The deputy governor also warned against issuing cheaper central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which is likely to stifle innovation in the private sector.

Moreover, if we reach a point where households and businesses start to prefer CBDCs over bank deposits then that could affect countries’ financial intermediation through shift in funds. Lastly, Amamiya said that central banks must seek to learn the pros and cons of CBDCs and explore ways on how to mitigate the risks

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No Cigar: Coronavirus Outbreak Forces China to Delay Digital Currency Plans

Despite the efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak of COVID-19, the epidemic continues to cross the globe, with many other countries reporting relatively substantial spreads of the virus.

In South Korea, for instance, the number of cases has reached 1,600, from the sub-100 count seen just a week ago, and in Italy, too, the coronavirus is rapidly spreading.

Understandably, this has started to affect many facets of the world’s economy and daily living — Bloomberg reported that the count of visitors arriving in Hong Kong is down over 90%, companies like Apple and Samsung have started to see the outbreak affect their business, and many across the world have been forced to stay home from work and school amid the unrest.

The damaging effects of the outbreak were accentuated on Tuesday, when a Chinese state-run media outlet confirmed that the coronavirus has hampered the development of the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) digital currency plans.

Chinese Media: Digital Currency On Hold as Coronavirus Spreads

If you’ve followed the crypto news cycle over the past few months, you’ve likely seen the near-incessant stream of reports that China’s central bank, the PBOC, is on the verge of launching its own digital currency, branded the “DCEP” by reports from local media.

In fact, a December report from Caijing, which cited individuals familiar with the PBOC’s operations, suggested that the central bank was going to roll out a pilot program for the national crypto asset at the start of 2020 in Shenzhen and another municipality.

Despite other reports corroborating the idea that the PBOC was done the base layer development of their digital yuan, nothing came of the Caijing report and others like it. The reason: coronavirus.

According to a recent report from The Global Times — an English news outlet closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party’s de-facto media mouthpiece, The People’s Daily — “sources close to the matter” say “China’s research into its sovereign digital currency has been delayed from the first quarter due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

The source elaborated that the outbreak has forced staff of the PBOC and of other government institutions to stay home and avoid certain activities, “which weighs on the development process.”

This was further confirmed by Shentu Qingchun, CEO of Shenzhen-based blockchain company BankLedger, a company that The Global Times claims is involved in the launch of DCEP. Shentu purportedly said while the PBOC intended to make an announcement regarding the digital currency in Q1 2020, the chances the “announcement could be made on time are slim.”

Those interviewed by the outlet remain largely optimistic, however, affirming their support for the project and suggesting that the launch of the digital currency is likely still on track to take place sometime this year.

Other Effects Are Being Felt

The coronavirus outbreak has been affecting the cryptocurrency and blockchain space in other ways.

Over the past few weeks, even as BTC’s price has shot higher from the $6,400 December bottom, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network has stagnated around 110 exahashes per second. While this metric is still nearly triple that seen one year ago, the stagnation began when the coronavirus began hitting mainstream media headlines in the West, around the start of January.

This suggests the coronavirus is slowing the efforts of Bitcoin miners to expand their operations; indeed, as explained in a previous Blockonomi report, Jiang Zhuoer of BTC.Top revealed that the police had shut down his mine due to the coronavirus.

Also, crypto conferences have been delayed, as have conferences in the traditional tech world. Most notably, Token2049 — a Hong Kong conference that this writer intended on attending this March — was pushed until October.

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Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Amamiya: Cheaper CBDCs could stifle private sector innovation

  • BoJ deputy governor foresees CBDCs affecting countries’ financial intermediation due to a shift in funds.
  • Central banks have to learn the pros and cons of CBDCs and seek ways to mitigate the risks.

The deputy governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Amamiya in recent remarks says that central banks are bound to remain lenders of some kind even at the time when digital currencies are issued. Therefore, there is a need to carry out a monetary policy through the control of digital money flows.

Amamiya believes that central banks considering issuing their own digital currencies around the world should “conduct a comprehensive study on how it affects the country’s settlement and financial systems.” The deputy governor also warned against issuing cheaper central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which is likely to stifle innovation in the private sector.

Moreover, if we reach a point where households and businesses start to prefer CBDCs over bank deposits then that could affect countries’ financial intermediation through shift in funds. Lastly, Amamiya said that central banks must seek to learn the pros and cons of CBDCs and explore ways on how to mitigate the risks.

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