Central Bank of Bahrain and JPMorgan to work on digital currency settlement pilot

The government of Bahrain, the third-richest Arab country, is working with American investment bank JPMorgan Chase on a digital currency settlement pilot. The Central Bank of Bahrain officially announced Tuesday that the bank is now collaborating with JPMorgan and the Arab Banking Corporation BSC, or Bank ABC, in a pilot scheme to introduce an instant cross-border payment solution based on digital currency technology. Aiming to cut settlement processing time, the new digital currency pilot will involve transferring funds from and to Bahrain in U.S. dollars for payments from buyers and…

Israel’s central bank floats possible digital shekel with new action plan

The Bank of Israel is accelerating its research for the potential issuance of a central bank digital currency. In a statement from the central bank today, the Bank of Israel said it was preparing an action plan to explore the benefits of a digital shekel on the economy. Though the bank said it had not yet decided whether to issue a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, it added it would be prepared to do so should the benefits “outweigh the costs and potential risks.” The central bank said it…

Alipay set to allow users test China’s digital yuan

Alipay, the mobile payment platform owned by Ant Group, is set to allow some of its users to participate in the emerging digital yuan commerce ecosystem. According to a report by China Securities Journal on Monday, this new feature is a result of MYbank’s participation in the country’s expanded digital currency electronic payment testing protocols. The news further cements Ant Group’s participation in China’s central bank digital currency project. Indeed, the conglomerate owns a majority stake in MYbank — one of the largest internet-only banks in the country. In a…

Digital Currency Group backs South Korean crypto exchange operator

Digital Currency Group, the venture capital firm behind some of the biggest companies in blockchain, has become the second-largest shareholder of Streami, a leading cryptocurrency exchange operator in South Korea.  Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, explained his rationale for backing Streami: “We expanded our investment in Streami because of their fantastic team and the incredible potential of the digital asset market in South Korea. Streami provides the critical foundation for this market to scale rapidly, and our investment will fuel its position as the most trusted…

Kazakhstan opens public consultation for central bank digital currency

Kazakhstan’s central bank is planning to examine the potential benefits and risks of adopting a state-backed digital currency. The National Bank of Kazakhstan, or NBRK, published Wednesday a report on a digital tenge pilot project and opened a public consultation on the potential central bank digital currency, or CBDC. According to the report, the digital tenge would be a new form of money issued by the NBRK to enable the “further development of the national payment system and reduce reliance on cash settlement using unique technical features.” The bank emphasized…

Georgia’s central bank is exploring ‘Digital Gel’ CBDC

The National Bank of Georgia said that it is considering launching a central bank digital currency. In an announcement today, the central bank hinted at the issuance of a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, in an effort “to enhance efficiencies of the domestic payment system and financial inclusion.” The National Bank of Georgia, or NBG, said it would be inviting fintech firms and other financial institutions to participate in the project, named Digital Gel after the symbol for the country’s fiat currency, the lari. “CBDC holds the promise to…

Galaxy Digital to acquire crypto custodian and services provider BitGo

Galaxy Digital, a crypto and blockchain-focused financial services and investment manager founded by Mike Novogratz, is set to acquire institutional crypto custodian service and wallet operator BitGo. According to an announcement on Wednesday, Galaxy Digital Holdings will pay $1.2 billon in stock and cash to settle the deal. Under the acquisition’s terms, BitGo shareholders will get 33.8 million in newly issued shares of Galaxy Digital, in addition to $265 million in cash. To fund the cash part of the acquisition payment, Galaxy will use its balance sheet and defer a large…

Binance CEO warns of CBDC drawbacks as digital dollar pilots proceed in US

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) will co-exist “for a while” with more restrictive digital currencies like China’s digital yuan, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a Bloomberg interview on Monday. According to Zhao, some of the key features of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) — freedom of use and limited supply — won’t be offered by central bank digital currencies. “At the end of the day, those are core properties that users care about,” he stated. Zhao said that the differences between the two types of digital assets could make…

Digital euro’s privacy promise not worth a centralized system, Oasis exec says

When European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta addressed the European Union Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in April, he emphasized the importance of privacy in any potential future CBDC rollout. The ECB had conducted a public consultation on the possibility of a digital euro, canvassing the opinions of over 8,000 individuals and businesses. The responses that came back suggested privacy was the number one concern surrounding the issuance of a central bank digital currency. With 43% of respondents highlighting privacy as the core requirement, Panetta declared that the…