Digital Frontiers

Cryptocurrency & Blockchain

ARTICLES

Blockchain: A Technology That is Changing the World for the Better

Considered for long a new technology, blockchain is developing fast, and is quickly becoming a key player in many industries. If there was no doubt of the importance of blockchain technology a few years ago, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has certainly confronted the whole world with an unprecedented challenge, has turbocharged a financial technology…

Permissioned Distributed Ledgers and the Governance of Money

Since the late 1990s, monetary theorists have regarded money in general and cash in particular as a substitute for a publicly available and freely accessible record-keeping device. Theoretically, cash could be replaced by a public ledger recording all past and present transactions. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is such a record-keeping device that can ensure trade…

Eswatini Central Bank Digital Currency Diagnostic Study

The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion in partnership with The Central Bank of Eswatini conducted a diagnostic study which investigated the potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the possible use cases for the implementation of a CBDC in Eswatini. This report provides a summary of the study findings.  

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?

Emerging technology is driving optimism about building a more inclusive digital economy. Will one innovation—a digital asset known as stablecoins—expand access to financial services among the poor and unbanked? Success may depend on innovators’ answers to five questions—and how regulators and consumers respond. This note by F. Christopher Calabia encourages further study of these questions…

A Survey of Research on Retail Central Bank Digital Currency

This paper examines key considerations around central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by the general public, based on a comprehensive review of recent research, central bank experiments, and ongoing discussions among stakeholders. It looks at the reasons why central banks are exploring retail CBDC issuance, policy and design considerations; legal, governance and regulatory perspectives;…

Blockchain Interoperability Considerations and Approach

The emergence of blockchain technology holds great promise for supply chain organizations. However, concerns around blockchain interoperability can serve as an obstacle to deployment. The World Economic Forum (Forum) and Deloitte examined the challenges and potential solutions for interoperability in the context of supply chain, global trade and the fourth industrial revolution. Read the report…

Impending Arrival – a Sequel to the Survey on Central Bank Digital Currency

Research and experimentation on central bank digital currencies continue to fuel discussion and debate. This BIS paper updates an earlier survey that asked central banks how their plans in this area are developing. The latest responses show emerging market economies reporting stronger motivations and a higher likelihood that they will issue digital currencies, with central…

Investigating the Impact of Global Stablecoins

This report by BIS examines the challenges, risks and benefits that global stablecoins may pose.

Legal and regulatory frameworks of blockchains and smart contracts

This paper examines the intersection of blockchain and the law. Our analysis begins with an overview of legal issues as they pertain to blockchain technology per se, and in particular issues that arise due to the decentralised nature of many blockchain-based platforms. We follow this with a look at the legal implications of different kinds of smart contracts. These include smart…

Blockchain: Cutting through the noise

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often referred to as blockchain, has garnered a lot of attention in the past few years. Is it just “a solution in search of a problem” or, does it offer answers for real-world policy questions such as digital identity and remittances? This six-blog series, from The Better Than Cash Alliance, aims…

Libra – A New Digital Currency

Libra brings together a number of global organisations including Facebook, Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Women’s World Banking and Mercy Corps who together are launching a new global currency. The Libra mission is: “A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.” Its aim is to “Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere…

Central Bank Digital Currency and Financial Inclusion

Central banks have started to actively explore central bank digital currency (CBDC) – a new digital form of legal tender that mimics cash. The first note on this by Cenfri showed there are both potential benefits and risks to this. Benefits could include: enhance the efficiency of national payment systems ease the convenience of payment processes…

Industrializing Blockchain in ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a population of over 600 million and continues to thrive as one of the fastest-growing regions globally. ASEAN countries are at different phases of their economic development, which creates opportunities for local governments and businesses to explore diverse use cases for blockchain. Industries that are exploring the…

Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study

This is the first study to systematically investigate key cryptocurrency industry sectors by collecting empirical, non-public data. The study gathered survey data from nearly 150 cryptocurrency companies and individuals, and it covers 38 countries from five world regions. The study details the key industry sectors that have emerged and the different entities that inhabit them. Download…

Bitcoin in China (Podcast)

Neil Woodfine is the Growth Manager for Wyre in Asia and the Organiser of Beijing’s Bitcoin Meetup. In part one of the conversation on Bitcoin in China, Neil talks to about: How Wyre uses Bitcoin to make RMB payments into China. The key users of Bitcoin in China: exchanges, miners and investors. The attractiveness of Bitcoin…

Blockchain For Dummies by IBM

Blockchain For Dummies, IBM Limited Edition, equips you with an understanding of what blockchain is, how it works, and how it can enhance your business and the industry in which it operates. Welcome to Blockchain For Dummies, IBM Limited Edition, your guide to all things blockchain for business. It has been said that blockchain will…

Banking Bitcoin-Related Businesses: A Primer for Managing BSA/AML Risks

To date, much of the attention directed toward Bitcoin has focused on its use as a preferred payment method by criminal enterprises because it allows users to transact pseudonymously. But Bitcoin offers more than just pseudonymity. It is a fast, low-cost, and secure payment solution that can also be used for many legitimate purposes. As…

Understanding Modern Banking Ledgers through Blockchain Technologies: Future of Transaction Processing and Smart Contracts on the Internet of Money

This chapter provides an overview of the concept of blockchain technology and its potential to disrupt the world of banking through facilitating global money remittance, smart contracts, automated banking ledgers and digital assets. Firstly it provides a brief overview of the core aspects of this technology, as well as the second-generation contract-based developments. Secondly key…

Distributed Ledgers, Smart Contracts, Business Standards and ISO 20022

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Smart Contracts (SC) promise to transform automation in the financial industry, and are generating huge interest among financial institutions and technology providers. Rapid progress is being made towards more robust implementations of the technology that might meet the needs of the financial industry for security, resilience and scalability. However, regardless…

Distributed ledger technology in payments, clearing, and settlement

Digital innovations in finance, loosely known as fintech, have garnered a great deal of attention across the financial industry. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is one such innovation that has been cited as a means of transforming payment, clearing, and settlement (PCS) processes, including how funds are transferred and how securities, commodities, and derivatives are cleared…

Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations

New technologies are driving transformational changes in the global financial system. Virtual currencies (VCs) and the underlying distributed ledger systems are among these. VCs offer many potential benefits, but also considerable risks. VCs could raise efficiency and in the long run strengthen financial inclusion. At the same time, VCs could be potential vehicles for money…

Unchained: Big Ideas From The Worlds Of Blockchain And Cryptocurrency (podcast)

Blockchain technology is about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity, from health care to our Internet of Things devices. In this podcast, host Laura Shin talks with industry pioneers across tech, financial services, health care, government and other sectors about how the blockchain and cryptocurrency will open up…

Internet identity, privacy, and a blockchain – SecureKey

The term identity gets used a lot whenever internet payments and security are discussed. Knowing who we transact with is still the knotty problem. Strong authentication is required. Identity verification is required, too. A means of sharing the fruits of that work among the parties involved, especially those taking on risk, could save everyone a…

Bitcoin Divided

Bitcoin was supposed to be the currency of the future: secure, fast, independent of any government. But if there’s one feature a currency needs, it’s to let you pay for things. And, recently, that’s been a problem for Bitcoin. The idea was always that when technical problems arose, the bitcoin community would come together to solve…

Making Blockchain Real for Customer Loyalty Rewards Programs

Customer loyalty and engagement can make or break companies, and as such, rewards programs represent strategic investments for all types of organizations. But as they have been growing rapidly, they are also still ailing due to inefficiencies. There are several reasons for this, but first and foremost is we believe the paucity of uniform management…

Distributed Ledger Technology And Opportunities In Correspondent Banking

Correspondent banking has evolved over the past 35 years, from automating telex processes amongst multiple correspondent banks, to a model where fewer, deeper correspondent relationships deliver increased efficiency, speed, standardisation, and compliance of international payments. Despite these improvements, correspondent banking still relies on the need to maintain and reconcile two separately held versions of the…

Blockchain Technology: How Banks Are Building A Real-Time Global Payment Network

One of the most talked-about topics in the financial services industry today is blockchain. And for good reason: The ways in which emerging blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) could transform the industry are enticing to companies constantly on the lookout for lower costs and greater efficiency. If fully adopted, it will enable banks to…

The Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies Report

The Commonwealth Working group produced a report of the prevalent virtual currencies in eight member countries, as well as research into the regulatory responses in some economies within the Commonwealth, to provide a cross-section of Commonwealth experience of virtual currencies. The results of the surveys and the research, which are included in this report, have…

The Bitcoin Ecosystem (Infographic)

BitPay partnered with Bitcoin Magazine to create an infographic showing how the bitcoin ecosystem has matured in the almost eight years since Bitcoin was released. This “Bitcoin City” represents all of the industries and technologies that have come so far since bitcoin’s first block.

The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services

The transformation of the financial services industry is top-of-mind for everyone in the field and blockchain might be the hottest topic in the rapidly changing world of Fintech. But how can this technology really help financial firms? This report from World Economic Forum takes a pragmatic approach to answering this question.  The report builds upon…

On the Value of Virtual Currencies

This paper develops an economic framework to analyze the exchange rate of virtual currency. Three components are important. First, the current use of virtual currency to make payments. Second, the decision of forward-looking investors to buy virtual currency (thereby effectively regulating its supply). Third, the elements that jointly drive future consumer adoption and merchant acceptance…

Tech Trends, Innovating in the digital era

Can blockchain become as sexy as virtual reality or the Internet of Things? And of trillions of signals potentially being processed, how do we isolate the few that are meaningful? Bill Briggs discusses 2016’s tech trends with Tanya Ott.

Blockchain: Democratized trust

Trust is foundational to business, yet maintaining trust—particularly throughout a global economy—is expensive, time-consuming, and, in many cases, inefficient. Could blockchain applications become part of the answer? This report from Deloitte delves into more detail.

Digital currencies

Central banks typically take an interest in retail payments as part of their role in maintaining the stability and efficiency of the financial system and preserving confidence in their currencies. Innovations in retail payments can have important implications for safety and efficiency; accordingly, many central banks monitor these developments. The emergence of what are frequently…

Bitcoin Versus Electronic Money

Bitcoin has had a volatile journey since it was launched in 2009, attracting attention among conventional investors as well as the black market. Regulators and policy makers are also following Bitcoin, raising the occasional eyebrow as they evaluate Bitcoin’s risks and benefits and how to regulate this little understood virtual currency. Some media reports have…

Blockchain Trends & Applications

This insights post explores the trends within blockchain and which corporates are investing in blockchain.

Five Year Vision of Distributed Ledgers

Tim Swanson tries to answer the question of distributed ledgers and where this technology will be five years in this slideshow.  

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

 This paper explores Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology and proposes a system for electronic transfers without relying on trust. Abstract: A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the…

The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm

While several consensus algorithms exist for the Byzantine Generals Problem, specifically as it pertains to distributed payment systems, many suffer from high latency induced by the requirement that all nodes within the network communicate synchronously. This white paper presents a novel consensus algorithm that circumvents this requirement by utilizing collectively-trusted subnetworks within the larger network.…

Tax treatment of crypto-currencies in Australia – specifically bitcoin

Governments are starting to realise the role of cryptocurrencies and have thus amended their taxation policy to include cryptocurrency remuneration. See this Australian example of how the Government is taxing cryptocurrency.

Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market

Cryptocurrency: media sensation and investment fad? The issue is no longer whether cryptocurrency will survive, but rather how it will evolve. Each of the five key market participants— merchants and consumers, tech developers, investors, financial institutions, and regulators—will play a critical role in this process. Learn more about this exciting new technology, as well as…

Why You Should Care About Bitcoin – Even if You Don´t Believe in it

Bitcoin is likely doomed as an alternative to national currencies, but its key engineering elements offer us the possibility of imagining a radically different approach for architecting electronic payment systems. This paper by Ignacio Mas explores the technologies embedded within bitcoin have the potential for supporting the development of more open, contestable and interconnected ecosystems…

Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study

The world of money and finance is transforming before our eyes. Digitsied assets and innovative financial channels, instruments and systems are creating new paradigms for financial transaction and forging alternative conduits of capital. The Cambridge Centre for Alternatve Finance, since its founding in 2015, has been at the forefront of documenting, analysing and indeed critically…