After Russia’s announcement that it would not join other oil producers’ proposed output reduction, the markets tumbled into a freefall on Monday. Crude oil futures, stocks, and bond yields all fell dramatically, Business Insider reports. As that widespread sell-off was occurring, the cryptocurrency market responded by dropping $23 billion in value.
The National Bank of Egypt, the country’s oldest and largest commercial bank, has signed a cooperation agreement with Ripple to join its RippleNet network, local media site Youm7 reports. The partnership will reportedly make NBE the first Egyptian bank to use blockchain technology.
WisdomTree is planning to introduce a regulated stablecoin in the United States, according to reports from Financial News. The company will reportedly seek approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as it moves to compete with other financial giants in the emerging digital asset sector.
In South Korea, the Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PCFIR) has come out in support of institutional acceptance of digital assets, urging the government to permit the financial industry to launch crypto-derivatives and other cryptocurrency products, local news outlet Business Korea reports.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde recently indicated that she’s still open to the idea of an ECB-issued digital currency. During an interview with the French magazine Challenges, Lagarde suggested that the bank would continue to explore cryptocurrency technology’s potential benefits for maintaining citizens’ access to currency as demand for physical cash diminishes over time.
The National Payment Corporation of India has announced its blockchain-based Vajra platform for automated payment clearing and settlement. The permissioned platform will reportedly be available only to parties who are approved by the Network Administrator, and is expected to provide improved automation, data sharing, transaction speed, and transparency.
Starling Bank co-founder and former CTO Mark Hipperson reportedly plans to launch his new digital bank this year, enabling customers to “transfer funds between fiat money and cryptocurrencies,” Fintech Futures reports. The new bank is called Ziglu and will initially limit its services to customers in the UK.
Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement, and Custody Bank (Takasbank) has announced the launch of BIGA Digital Gold, a blockchain-based system that enables peer-to-peer transfers of digitizable gold, Turkish news outlet AA reports.
Fidelity Investments has announced that it will be introducing Fidelity Digital Assets, Ltd to provide digital asset services for European institutional investors. In a press release today, the company confirmed that it will provide European hedge funds, market intermediaries, family offices, and other investors access to “enterprise-quality custody and trade execution services for digital assets.”
Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, first announced its interest in launching a national digital currency a little more than three years ago. At the time, the public expressed little interest in the idea. According to Reuters, however, the bank has apparently maintained its interest in the initiative and today announced plans for a digital currency pilot project.
The Reuters news agency reported this week that Dutch bank ING is developing asset custody technology that could be used to help customers securely store various types of digital assets. The report relied on unnamed sources “familiar with the matter” who said that the project is in an early stage and is but one of ING’s ongoing blockchain initiatives.
In a recent response to a letter from U.S. Representative French Hill, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed that the central bank has no plans to issue its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). However, Powell acknowledged that the bank is continuing to evaluate the potential costs and benefits associated with a possible Fed digital currency.
Galaxy Digital Holding Ltd reportedly plans to launch two new Bitcoin funds that will target older investors, Bloomberg reports. In a phone interview, the cryptocurrency firm’s CEO, Michael Novogratz, told Bloomberg that the plan is to attract accredited and institutional investors aged 50 to 80 to cryptocurrency investing.
Members of the BRICS Business Council reportedly discussed the possibility of creating a joint cryptocurrency and a new international payment system, Russian financial media outlet RBC reported this week. The council apparently expressed support for the idea while meeting in Brazil at the annual BRICS Summit.
In August, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney called for the world to end the U.S. dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency, and suggested Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency as one possible replacement option. According to former Federal Reserve official Simon Potter, however, that argument makes no sense.
Traditionally, governments have held a monopoly over the economic systems and financial barter used in their nation. Today, however, with all the possibilities inherent in robust cryptocurrencies, large multinationals like Facebook, Twitter, and Google/YouTube see new opportunities to embed financial operations in their core business model.
Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the United States, announced on Tuesday that it will be piloting a new digital currency for cross-border and interbranch cash transfers, Reuters reports. The blockchain-powered cryptocurrency, Wells Fargo Digital Cash, will reportedly be pegged to the dollar, and allow the bank to save money and time during asset transfers by eliminating the need to go through third parties.
On Friday, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced new sanctions against three North Korean cyber groups believed to be responsible for cyber-attacks on financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, and other critical infrastructure.
Regulators in Switzerland have formally approved banking and security dealer licenses for two digital asset-focused banks. The two firms, Sygnum and Seba Crypto AG, confirmed in online statements today that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has granted them licenses.
British banking institution Barclays has stopped providing bank services to U.S.-based digital currency exchange Coinbase, according to Reuters, which cited “sources familiar with the matter.” Other recent reports suggest that Coinbase has secured a banking partnership with UK-based ClearBank.