Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency Pilot to Start Oct. 1

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may test a digital currency as early as October.

During a webinar on Thursday, Rakiya Mohammed, the bank’s director of information technology, said the pilot will begin Oct. 1, according to someone who took part and asked to remain anonymous because the meeting was private.

The meeting was reported earlier by Nigerian financial news publication Nairametrics. Olumide Adesina, the author of the Nairametrics article, told CoinDesk that according to his sources, Mohammed herself had called the virtual meeting to discuss the initiative.

Related: China’s Central Bank ‘Worried’ Stablecoins Pose Risk to Financial System

Last month, Mohammed said the bank had been researching a possible central bank digital currency (CBDC) for years, and would possibly be launching a pilot before the end of the year.

Financial officials in Nigeria have been grappling with how best to deal with the rise of cryptocurrencies in the African nation, which prohibited transactions on cryptocurrencies in the banking sector in February. Edward Adamu, a deputy governor of the CBN, subsequently clarified that crypto trading is not banned in the country, and usage is continuing to grow despite the banking restrictions.

A person present at the meeting who asked to remain anonymous so that he could speak freely told CoinDesk that the planned start date for the pilot had always been Oct. 1 and that the digital currency will be built on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger’s executive director, told CoinDesk that there has been an increase in the use of Hyperledger’s open-source blockchain technology, including Hyperledger Fabric, for CBDCs and other currency projects.

Related: Thriving Under Pressure: Why Crypto Is Booming in Nigeria Despite the Banking Ban

“However, since our technologies are all open source, we often don’t know all the ways and places Hyperledger software is being used, especially prior to launch,” Behlendorf said in an email. “If Nigeria’s digital currency project is built on Hyperledger Fabric, that would be welcome news that further validates Fabric as a CBDC platform.”

In June, Mohammed said a digital naira could make remittance transfers easier for Nigerians working abroad. In 2020, Nigeria was one of the top remittance receivers globally. During Thursday’s private meeting, the bank reportedly said a digital currency could improve economic growth, make cross-border transactions easier and give more people access to banking services, according to Nairametrics.

CBDCs, or state-issued digital fiat currency, are often touted as a way to counter privately issued cryptocurrencies that some argue possess the potential to destabilize a nation’s sovereignty.

UPDATE (JULY 23, 12:33 UTC): Adds background, comment from Hyperledger.

UPDATE (JULY 23, 12:49 UTC): Updates source of the news.

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Sberbank to launch blockchain platform made on Hyperledger Fabric

Russia-based Sberbank has made plans to launch a blockchain platform designed for trade finance, built on Hyperledger Fabric.

Furthermore, the bank has been reported to be planning to launch its own stablecoin. However, there has been no concrete plan yet for thus said stablecoin, as the bank is currently waiting for a new digital assets law to become official in January 2021. Meanwhile, Sberbank has released financial highlights for the first seven months of 2020.

In July 2020 alone, the bank achieved the following:
  • The Bank earned RUB 65.6 billion in net profit, ROE came in at 15.9% for the month;
  • Combined loan portfolio was up by 0.9% in July, excluding the effect of FX revaluation, with retail portfolio expanding by 1.8%;
  • Retail client accounts increased by 1.3% and were up 0.4% excluding the effect of FX revaluation;
  • Operating income before provisions grew by 36% year-on-year, mainly due to net interest income and net trading income.

More: Link


Russia’s State Bank, Sberbank Launches Blockchain on Hyperledger

Russia’s biggest financial foundation Sberbank is pondering out alternatives to dispatch its own stablecoin, an advanced money sponsored by true resources. According to reports, the new steady coin will chip away at Sberbank’s own blockchain stage based on the Hyperledger Network. According to the bank agents, the Sberbank blockchain will encourage exchange money exchanges. Moreover, its significant spotlight will be on exchanges including the trading letters of credit.

Sergey Popov, head of state-claimed Sberbank’s exchange business, said that the new stablecoin will be pegged 1-1 to the Russian ruble. At first, the Sberbank likewise plans to restrict the stablecoin utilize just to purchase advanced resources according to local new report from Vedomosti.

Only possibly 14 days back, Russia revealed its advanced resources law named “On Digital Financial Assets” (DFA) which will come into power by January 2021. Henceforth, until further notice, Sberbank is simply working out choices with the stablecoin. Once the crypto law comes energetically, Sberbank will hold hands with its accomplices and continue ahead with the venture.

On July 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin himself marked on two DFA bills to bring them into law. Notwithstanding, this bill disallows Russians from leading exchanges in Bitcoin and other advanced monetary forms.

Talking on this issue, Popov stated:

We probably may issue a stablecoin on the basis of the law that has been adopted recently. As we can peg this stablecoin to the ruble, this token could become a basis or an instrument for settlements involving other digital financial assets.”

Russia’s sberbank

Popov included that the stablecoin, which is at present getting looked, voluntarily encourage settlements including advanced and virtual money related resources.

Stablecoin from Sberbank Will Ensure Faster Payments and Settlements

Sberbank is hoping to dispatch its Hyperledger-based blockchain stage by Q3 2020. A stablecoin will be an intelligent segment of this blockchain stage encouraging quicker installments and settlements.

Despite the fact that the blockchain framework will utilize Hyperledger’s Fabric blockchain structure, the hub facilitating will occur in Sberbank’s own distributed computing administration SberCloud. Sberbank said that the framework will stay open for any organization to join and host a hub. Addressing CoinDesk, Sberbank’s representative seat Anatoly Popov stated:

Any company will be able to use smart contracts created by Sberbank right away or create their own. Payments via smart contracts go through automatically and the vendors receive funds in a matter of seconds.”

In addition, exchange money will be only one such potential use case for the stage. Sberbank likewise plans to include a portion of its current support of its blockchain arrange.


Upcoming Sberbank stablecoin to launch Russia onto the crypto scene

A Sberbank stablecoin is currently under development and will use the Hyperledger Fabric infrastructure. The biggest Russian bank will build its stablecoin in a bid to represent Russia’s digital asset prowess. The stablecoin’s native blockchain would help streamline financial transactions, especially those pertaining to trading letters of credit.

Sberbank is the biggest banking organization in the country, having pan-Russia operations. Thus, a Sberbank stablecoin will have enormous repercussions for the nation’s crypto industry. The under-development stablecoin will be pegged to real-world assets.

Sberbank stablecoin aims to enhance transactional efficiency

Reports suggest that Sberbank’s native blockchain would provide the foundation for the stablecoin. In his statement, bank representative Sergey Popov said that the soon to be launched stablecoin would be linked to the Russian Ruble in 1:1. Local news outlet Vedomosti says that the Sberbank stablecoin would initially be restricted to purchasing virtual assets only.

The country recently unveiled ‘On Digital Financial Assets,’ a comprehensive law on digital assets that will become into effect from January 2021. Russian President Vladimir Putin put his signatures on the law that includes prohibitions on Bitcoin and other digital currency transactions. Thus, the bank aims to work on the stablecoin until the law takes effect and will then go ahead with partnerships to expand the project further.

Project will be built as per the latest Russian crypto laws

Popov further clarified that the project would be built under the latest law. By pegging it to the Ruble, Sberbank stablecoin will create a financial token that helps improve digital asset settlements nationally.

The project also aims to facilitate quick payment and settlements across a wide range of financial channels. The organization is further planning to introduce the native blockchain later this year. The Sberbank stablecoin will be an excellent addition to this native blockchain enabling faster payments.

Even though Hyperledger Fabric will be employed to build the home-grown blockchain, the Sberbank’s indigenous cloud would power the node hosting.


Russia’s Largest Bank Sberbank Looks to Launch Stablecoin under New Crypto Law

The state-owned Sberbank’s stablecoin will be functional on its native blockchain built using the Hyperledger Fabric infrastructure. This blockchain will facilitate trade finance transactions involving the exchanging letters of credit.

Russia’s largest banking institution Sberbank is mulling out options to launch its own stablecoin, a digital currency backed by real-world assets. As per reports, the new stable coin will work on Sberbank’s own blockchain platform built on the Hyperledger Network. As per the bank representatives, the Sberbank blockchain will facilitate trade finance transactions. Furthermore, its major focus will be on transactions involving the exchanging letters of credit.

Sergey Popov, director of state-owned Sberbank’s transaction business, said that the new stablecoin will be pegged 1-1 to the Russian ruble. Initially, the Sberbank also plans to limit the stablecoin use only to buy digital assets as per local new publication Vedomosti.

Just a week or two back, Russia rolled out its digital assets law dubbed “On Digital Financial Assets” (DFA) which will come into force by January 2021. Hence, for the time being, Sberbank is just working out options with the stablecoin. Once the crypto law comes into action, Sberbank will join hands with its partners and proceed ahead with the project.

On July 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin himself signed on two DFA bills to bring them into law. However, this bill prohibits Russians from conducting transactions in Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Speaking on this matter, Popov said:

“We probably may issue a stablecoin on the basis of the law that has been adopted recently. As we can peg this stablecoin to the ruble, this token could become a basis or an instrument for settlements involving other digital financial assets.”

Popov added that the stablecoin, which is currently under consideration, will facilitate settlements involving digital and virtual financial assets.

Stablecoin from Sberbank Will Ensure Faster Payments and Settlements

Sberbank is looking to launch its Hyperledger-based blockchain platform by Q3 2020. A stablecoin will be a logical component of this blockchain platform facilitating faster payments and settlements.

Although the blockchain system will use Hyperledger’s Fabric blockchain framework, the node hosting will happen in Sberbank’s own cloud computing service SberCloud. Sberbank said that the system will remain open for any company to join and host a node. Speaking to CoinDesk, Sberbank’s deputy chair Anatoly Popov said:

“Any company will be able to use smart contracts created by Sberbank right away or create their own. Payments via smart contracts go through automatically and the vendors receive funds in a matter of seconds.”

Moreover, trade finance will be just one such potential use case for the platform. Sberbank also plans to add some of its existing service to its blockchain network.

You can find more news from the blockchain industry following the link.

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Bhushan Akolkar

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.


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Public Mint goes live with the backing of more than 200 banks

Public Mint features tokenisation tools for fiat currencies and has big support from established companies

After two years of development, Public Mint has launched its “fiat-native” public commercial blockchain. It facilitates the tokenisation of fiat currencies, allowing almost anyone to create tokenized fiat assets.

The innovative new platform could propel the integration of blockchain technology with financial institutions. Instead of using a stablecoin, a bank can create its own tokenized assets and have a greater degree of confidence in their underlying value.

What is Public Mint?

Businesses that choose to use Public Mint have the flexibility to receive payment through various means, such as wire transfer, credit cards or auto clearing house payments (ACH). For now, the platform only supports US dollars and is working to open its platform to other currencies as well.

According to IBM Digital asst Labs Director, Nitin Gaur: “By employing blockchain technology as a foundation and applying the benefits of programmability, real-time settlement and finality to business processes worldwide.”

Backed by over 200 banks at launch

Public Mint told media that there are 200 banks supporting its platform earlier this week. The company didn’t disclose which companies are working with the project except for IBM Asset Labs and Hyperledger.

Halsey Minor, the co-founder of Public Mint, commented: “The genesis of Public Mint was to allow regulated banks to hold funds which could then be tokenized or “minted”, allowing for the creation of applications and business processes around money without actually moving money between banks.”

Minor was a co-founder of CNET, a successful digital media platform. He went on to create Videocoin, a decentralized video media network. Minor is now working with Public Mint.

Strong support from DLT leaders

Public Mint did not disclose its blockchain’s technical specifications, but we know that it is a version of Hyperledger Besu with a different set of consensus mechanisms and fiat integrated fees.

So far, the platform has been backed by prominent people in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry. Brian Behlendorf, the Executive Director of Hyperledger, is glad to see the platform come online.

Furthermore, Gaur stated that: “Public Mint is addressing that initial promise so that all enterprises, from traditional well-established companies to new and innovative DeFI startups can pave the way for the rise of digital assets.”

Public Mint is still in its early stages, but the successful launch of the platform demonstrates that it is commercially viable, at least from a technical perspective. Time will tell if industry decides to use it to any great degree.


Exploring Visa’s Digital Currency Patent Application: Toward a New Era of Finance?

Visa is one of the most successful and consequential payments companies in the world. Where the powerhouse enterprise places its efforts is thus no small matter.

That’s why a newly published patent application for a blockchain-powered “digital fiat currency” system by the payments giant is not only legitimizing for blockchain tech in general but also indicates what may be coming to the mainstream payments arena amid increasing hyperdigitalization.

Indeed, Visa’s patent mentioned the reigning smart contract platform Ethereum and the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain nearly a dozen times each. Will the future of finance be built on top public blockchains, then?

That’s the grand question for now, and Visa’s new patent application is an interesting new wrinkle accordingly. To be sure, Visa may have simply kept its options open with a defensive application. Yet if the firm ever does proceed with a system like the one planned in the filing, the implications will be manifold and major. Let’s dive deeper to better understand the stakes.

Patent Comes to Light

On Thursday, May 14th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published the patent application in question, which is simply titled “DIGITAL FIAT CURRENCY.”

The filing, which was first submitted to the USPTO in November 2018, outlines a stablecoin-like system in which blockchain-based digital currency issuances are linked to actual fiat currency reserves.

How the Digital Currency Would Work

Per the application, Visa’s envisioned digital currency entails a central operator, i.e. Visa or beyond, facilitating token issuances atop a blockchain. To this end, the document repeatedly identifies Ethereum as potential infrastructure of choice.

Of the system’s general design, the filing’s abstract simply explains:

“The central entity computer generates the digital currency … The generating includes recording the digital currency on a blockchain. The central entity computer transmits a notification of the generation of the digital currency. The central entity computer causes removal of the physical currency from circulation in a fiat currency system.

Such a model is not altogether dissimilar to centralized stablecoin operations already active in the cryptoeconomy, like the CENTRE-backed USDC project. The main difference is that Visa’s system would be unapologetically centralized, whereas USDC’s backers have taken a rather hands-off approach to their token to date.

To Libra, or Not to Libra

Facebook shocked the world last summer when it first unveiled plans for the Libra stablecoin. The news kicked up a firestorm among global regulators, who saw the move as Facebook trying to outmaneuver central banks.

One of the biggest initial targets of the Libra Association, the Libra’s governing body, was Visa. Yet it turned out that the payments powerhouse never formally joined the association, and in October 2019 the company confirmed it would not be directly backing the controversial stablecoin.

However, since Visa’s digital currency patent application was filed just one month after the company’s Libra withdrawal, some will now surely wonder whether Visa wanting to go its own way on blockchain was just as pivotal to its retreat as international regulatory headaches were.

Good News for Ethereum & Hyperledger

Regardless of what ends up happening with this patent application, the fact that Visa therein repeatedly mentioned Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric as possible underlying infrastructure is a major PR victory for both projects.

For now, there’s certainly nowhere better to look: Ethereum remains the undisputed “king of the hill” when it comes to smart contract platforms, while the open-source Hyperledger Fabric project has major contributors like the Linux Foundation and IBM. Just the fact that Visa mentioned these two platforms at all will help their respective momentums going forward.

On the Decentralization Spectrum

Public blockchains like Ethereum can be used in many ways. They can give rise to totally decentralized projects like Augur and Uniswap, or they can help power centralized third-party enterprises like the Tether (USDT) stablecoin operation.

Obviously then, Visa’s digital currency system — at least as initially outlined — would be near the “completely centralized” end of the decentralization spectrum. With that said, though, what would be interesting to see is if and how Visa’s digital currency would permeate into more decentralized areas of the cryptoeconomy, e.g. like USDT trading on Uniswap.

Visa could employ a smart contract whitelisting system to mitigate its tokens running amok in DeFi, though the company wouldn’t necessarily have to.

A Boon for Public Blockchains

In recent years, debates have swirled around the prospects of public vs. private blockchains going forward.

As of now, though, public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum certainly have seized the upper-hand when it comes to general viability as infrastructure. That Visa would even note Ethereum as one possible home for a Visa-backed digital currency shows that public blockchains are promising and can truly no longer be discounted in the traditional finance arena.

News Comes as Stablecoins Are Booming

There’s no indication just yet that Visa’s digital currency will actually come to fruition. But the mere prospect of its arrival comes at a time when both centralized and decentralized fiat-pegged stablecoins have been becoming increasingly popular.

For instance, this month the combined market capitalization of all active stablecoins reached $10 billion USD for the first time ever. The new milestone shows that demand for fiat-pegged or value-stable tokens is already strong and on the rise.

If a major firm like Visa jumped into the rising sector in a big way, then stablecoins in general will have officially hit the prime time. The possibility is closer than ever.

The CBDC Specter

As outlined, Visa’s envisioned digital currency system leaves the door open for central banking institutions to work with the payments company on actualizing central bank digital currency (CBDC) issuances.

What’s interesting here is that in Visa central banks would certainly find a reliable and promising partner. In many cases, these banks would naturally be more comfortable using an Ethereum-powered Visa system rather than building their own Ethereum solutions themselves.

As such, Visa would be ideal for central banks wanting to issue CBDCs for retail rather than wholesale use, as the company’s consumer base is vast.

Will Other Big Firms Follow Suit?

Because of its sheer size and success, Visa is a very influential firm. It’s a titan in the payments industry, and its operations are closely tracked by many stakeholders, including high-profile competitors.

It’s entirely possible, then, that this new Visa digital currency news causes other large companies to take a second look blockchain-based solutions. If Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric are good enough for Visa, they will be good enough for many others too.

Blockchain on the Brain

This patent application isn’t Visa’s first blockchain industry rodeo. Last summer, the company unveiled Visa B2B Connect, a cross-border payments solution built on Hyperledger Fabric.

“Launching Visa B2B Connect marks an important industry milestone which will accelerate the evolution of how commercial payments move around the world,” Visa’s Global Business Solutions lead Kevin Phalen said at the time.

In the very least, the Visa B2B Connect roll out shows that Visa is not only adept at planning out blockchain-powered systems but also at developing them and putting them into production.

If Visa’s digital currency patent gets approved and the company does build out the system, the enterprise certainly has the know-how, the resources, and the reach to bring the solution right into the heart of the mainstream.



Trillion-Dollar Stimulus Jumpstarts Project To Issue Central Bank Currency On Ethereum

U.S. Bureau Of Engraving And Printing Oversees Dollar Bill Production

Printer Eugene Turner runs a press that is printing one dollar bills at the Bureau of Engraving and … [+] Printing on March 24, 2015. In the future, digital versions of the dollar could be issued on the ethereum blockchain and other similar platforms.

Getty Images

Digital dollars exploded into mainstream headlines earlier this week. As the U.S. House of Representatives scrambled to craft a draft bill that would authorize trillions of dollars in payments to “consumers, states, businesses, and vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 emergency” it introduced the digital dollar concept that could potentially let the Federal Reserve, responsible for printing U.S. dollars, send stimulus money directly to individuals.

Inspired by bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology that lets individuals send value to each other without any middlemen, the concept had been percolating behind the scenes in blockchain skunk works for months when millions of people around the world saw first hand evidence of how the technology could impact them personally. Why give the money to banks and hope it trickles down, if the intended recipients are actual citizens?

A previously scheduled meeting at blockchain consortium Hyperledger, about a new project called eThaler using the ethereum blockchain to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC), took on new meaning, and urgency. Until the bill, sponsored by California Congresswoman and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, mentioned the use of digital dollars, their benefits were largely theoretical. Now, all of a sudden, there was a very clear use.

Such a prominent mention of digital dollars in a House bill, in relation to the Federal Reserve, means that the largest economy in the world has officially entered what is an increasingly heated race between a number of advanced projects at central banks around the world to be the first to issue this new kind of currency. “The concept of the CBDC seems to have gotten an imprimatur from the house finance committee,” said Vipin Bharathan, 59, chair of the Hyperledger identity working group, and a former senior developer at JP Morgan Chase, speaking at the meeting. “That’s a significant step, and I argue that such crisis situations always produce new ideas, and acceptance of new ideas, that will live on long after the coronavirus has burned through the world.”

At the time of publication, an estimated 21,000 people had died from the COVID-19 globally, resulting in countless businessclosures, and wiping out billions of dollars in wealth. While it seems unlikely that any of the digital dollar projects currently in the works would be ready in time to transmit the trillions dollars being sought by the Congress, eThaler is a great example of the race to accommodate law-makers’ increasingly opened minds.

Another bill, offered by California Democrat and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and other democrats, originally also included the “digital dollar” language, which was stripped shortly after it started circulating in media reports. Earlier today, the Senate approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, without mention of a digital dollar, now awaiting a vote by the House.

First conceived earlier this year, eThaler gets its name from the thaler, a silver coin used throughout Europe for hundreds of years, from which the word “dollar” is derived. A group of professionals from consulting firms Accenture and InfoSys and the Itau Bank in Brazil, have been working on the open-source project in their free time for the past six months to explore the future of central bank currency issued on a blockchain.

The token-issuance system will comply with the Token Taxonomy Framework, a collection of standards for enterprises using ethereum, developed by JPMorgan Chase, ConsenSys, and other members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, in April 2019. The group, informally called eThaler Labs, is building on Hyperledger Besu, an enterprise version of ethereum submitted by ConsenSys subsidiary PegaSys to Hyperledger and approved last August. A slide presented at today’s meeting by Bharathan, who worked for 16 years at BNP Paribas before founding blockchain startup DLT.NYC, laid out how eThaler would work.

First and foremost, eThaler is being designed to be fungible, meaning regardless of what central bank might end up minting its currency using the technology, every token will have the same value as the underlying asset, regardless of whether the token had been previously used for some nefarious purpose. Like traditional fiat currency, any initial supply of eThaler-based tokens would need to be increased through further minting by the central bank, or destroyed through a process called burning. But like bitcoin, it would also be able to be divided into as many decimals as the bank desired, a crucial component for so-called micropayments, tiny online transactions not currently feasible with fiat currencies. Lastly, and perhaps most controversially, the asset must be “pausable” in case a bug in the software is discovered, or an update is being implemented.

The important part about this, and other more advanced work, is that the role banks play, or don’t play, is little more than a design decision. Another slide reviewed by Bharathan showed that eThaler could be implemented as a wholesale solution, meaning it would only be issued to institutions with Fed accounts, and could be used to instantly move large values directly to one another without needing to go through the Fed itself. Another implementation, for retail however, would operate just like cash, except it could be disseminated from a central bank directly to the people.

In addition to complying with the Token Taxonomy Framework, eThaler-based tokens will comply with the ERC-1155 token standard. Unlike other ethereum token standards like ERC-20, 1155 is a single standard designed to support multiple kinds of tokens. So, for example, a central bank could use it to mint fungible digital dollars or bonds, according to the project’s lead developer, Mani Pillai, president of Swapshub capital markets infrastructure firm, who was also at the meeting. In the coming weeks, the entire structure is expected to be offered to open source developers, meaning anyone will be able to build on it. While developement of the codebase and launch of a test network will be governed by a capital markets special interest group, formal admittance to Hyperledger could take months.

However, none of this is guaranteed. A diverse set of skeptics have long expressed doubt in the idea of a central bank digital currency. On one side, bitcoin purists argue that the central bank itself is a middleman that blockchain makes unnecessary. On the other are traditionalists who point out that the vast majority of global currency is already digital, no blockchain needed. According to Bharathan though, speaking in the meeting, a wallet issued by a central bank, and filled with cash, would remove the counterparty risk of the bank in the middle going under. “There is nothing standing between you and the central bank guarantee,” he said.

In an interview with Bharathan after the meeting he was quick to point out that his team’s work is among the youngest projects in the space. Perhaps the most prolific organization in the burgeoning digital dollar space is New York-based R3, which is funded by $120 million venture capital from big banks and others, and is already in advanced stages of work with four different currencies. Specifically R3 says it is now working with the Swiss National Bank to explore a central bank digital currency for settlement; the Bank of Thailand for interbank settlement; Sweden’s Riksbank on a digital version of the Swedish krona; and the European Central Bank to explore CBDCs in Europe.

On the other hand, “China has been doing this for four years,” says Bharathan. In fact, the Chinese government’s secretive work on its own CBDC, is likely a contributing factor to Congress’s interest in digital dollars. In June 2019, Facebook revealed its own plans to help launch a “stablecoin” backed by a basket of global currencies, designed to make it easier for those without traditional banks to engage in global commerce. The news reportedly accelerated China’s own plans and prompted comparisons between China’s CBDC and Facebook’s stablecoin. So serious is the competition to be first, that this January, the former chairman of the CFTC, Christopher Giancarlo, co-launched the Digital Dollar Project with consulting firm Accenture specifically to advocate for the creation of a U.S. digital dollar.

As the world of fiat and cryptocurrency increasingly merges, it’s not the currency itself that most has Bharathan’s attention. Rather, he thinks the biggest opportunity is for smart wallets that store the currency that can be programmed to automatically execute any number of tasks, from moving funds to a savings account, investing, or being made aware of changes in tax codes, not just for individuals, but institutions. “It may not start off with a bang with a wallet holding a trillion dollars,” says Bharathan. “But over time, it may.”


LeewayHertz Announces the Launch of Armanino’s TrustExplorer, a Platform for Real-Time …

NEW YORK – August 20, 2019 – (

​​​​​​​​​LeewayHertz has recently announced the launch of a new blockchain-based platform, TrustExplorer, which brings trust and transparency to TrueUSD (TUSD) stablecoin by allowing users to have a real-time view of the U.S. dollars backing it. Built on the blockchain, TrustExplorer works as a Trust-as-a-Service for TrustToken. The platform connects with escrow bank accounts holding TrustToken’s collateral as U.S. dollars and runs Ethereum nodes to track the supply of TUSD.

TrustExplorer is the first platform of its kind to use blockchain technology itself to solve trust issues for stablecoins, a cryptocurrency backed by fiat held in a bank or trust company. The platform is an Armanino-owned software solution that provides stablecoin projects and their holders with a high level of transparency and trust by offering a real-time view of tokens in circulation and associated collateralized fiat currency backing them.

Armanino is one of the top 25 independent business and accounting consulting firms in the USA. They have been providing audit, tax and consulting services to privately-held companies, nonprofit organizations and public companies for over 50 years.

Armanino worked with LeewayHertz to build a real-time dashboard to monitor the supply of TrustToken’s stablecoin TrueUSD (TUSD). Noah Buxton, Director and a member of the team leading Armanino’s TrustExplorer offering, added, “We looked long and hard for a technology partner that could bring the necessary web application and blockchain experience to bear on this unique problem. The LeewayHertz team understands where we want to go and has helped us get there.”

In TrustToken’s own announcement, Rafael Cosman, TrustToken co-founder and head of engineering and product said, “This sets a new standard not only for stablecoins but for all tokenized assets in the future. With the real-time confirmation of funds provided by one of the world’s leading accounting firms, traders will know at all times that their tokens are backed by real-world value.”

LeewayHertz, one of the leading blockchain development companies, developed a public blockchain platform using Ethereum to allow anyone to track the supply of TrueUSD stablecoins and verify collaterals backing them.

About LeewayHertz

Established in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, LeewayHertz was one of the first to deliver a commercial application for the iPhone. The LeewayHertz team of Certified User Experience and Blockchain Development experts has designed and produced over 100 enterprise-grade digital platforms for both startups and enterprises which are being used by millions of users across the world.

The team of blockchain developers at LeewayHertz have potential to work on various blockchain platforms including Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Indy, Hedera Hashgraph, EOS, Stellar and R3’s Corda. They have successfully deployed more than 80 Smart Contracts and worked on 20+ Blockchain Projects.

About Armanino

Armanino is one of the top 25 largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the United States. Armanino has been in business since 1953 and is a nationwide leader in serving privately-held companies, as well as, nonprofit organizations and public entities. We have provided audit, tax, and consulting services to crypto-native companies and exchanges since 2013. We provide five main areas of service — Audit, Risk Assurance & Advisory, Tax, Consulting and Business management. We also have a dedicated team that services our blockchain and crypto clients.

About TrustToken

TrustToken is creating a more efficient and inclusive global financial system by digitizing assets that can be seamlessly and securely exchanged across liquid markets worldwide. TrueUSD (TUSD), a stablecoin redeemable 1-for-1 for U.S. dollars and the industry’s pioneer in using third-party trust companies and independent accounting firms, is the first product on TrustToken’s platform. TUSD offers the transparency, liquidity and redeemability required in the crypto-economy, and it has the most traded of all fully-collateralized and independently validated stablecoins.

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Original Source: LeewayHertz Announces the Launch of Armanino’s TrustExplorer, a Platform for Real-Time Confirmation of TrueUSD’s Funds


World’s Largest Palladium Miner Launches Blockchain Platform

While cryptocurrency enthusiasts are waiting for mass adoption, blockchain-based solutions are quietly penetrating the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), the world’s largest palladium producer, has joined the ranks of global corporations that seek to integrate blockchain technology into their business processes.


Partnership With Hyperledger

The company has recently joined the Hyperledger project — along with such big names as Microsoft, Salesforce, Gloscad, and Milligan Partners. This open-source global initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation promotes the integration of blockchain technologies across various industries.

Nornickel is currently working on a distributed ledger technology based on Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). It is a consensus algorithm that allows for the creation of public blockchains based on Hyperledger Fabric, which is considered to be is one of the fastest and the most efficient consensus algorithm for public blockchains to date.

“Hyperledger is our core technology,” Sergey Batekhin, Senior Vice President on Sales, Procurement, and Innovation of Nornickel, commented. He continued:

“By joining Hyperledger, we plan to share our expertise and knowledge to improve blockchain technology. Our company has formed a considerable pool of ideas, concepts, and initiatives that can be offered to other industry players. By joining the e Hyperledger community, we are making our inventions accessible to interested parties around the world.”


Tokenizing Commodities

The company plans to implement Hyperledger Fabric technology.

The platform will go live in a test mode within this year. Developed in partnership with the leading IT companies, it will be used to tokenize Nornickel’s products — including multi-billion dollar palladium contracts.

The key idea behind the Nornickel’s platform is to streamline business processes and attract new investors to the company. Eventually, this will lead to reduced funding costs and help to free up turnover capital.


Palladium-Backed Stablecoin

An idea of stablecoins backed by commodities is not new. Venezuela tried to tokenize its gold reserves, while Russia was contemplating an oil-backed digital coin.

In that context, tokens backed by precious metals might become an interesting investment tool for serious market players, according to Nornickel CEO Vladimir Potanin.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, the head of Nornickel said that the company plans to launch is stablecoin backed by palladium contracts in autumn 2019. The pilot project will be launched in a test mode and support only a limited number of Nornickel’s contracts.

Would you be interested in palladium-backed stablecoin? What does this pivot to blockchain mean to the global economy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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