First Singapore Bank Joins JPMorgan’s Blockchain Payments Initiative
With the addition of OCBC – the second-largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets – JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN) now has around 345 banking members across the globe. Roughly 40 percent of those are from the Asia-Pacific region. Built on Quorum, a permissioned blockchain based on ethereum and developed in-house by JPMorgan, IIN is designed to enable member banks to “exchange information in real-time as a way to verify that a payment has been approved,” according to recent announcement from JPMorgan. JPMorgan Chase, “The intent with IIN was always to develop a meaningful ecosystem of bank users, all focused on harnessing emerging technologies such as blockchain to better address the complex cross border payments industry.”
ING Chief Economist: Libra Accelerating Central Banks’ Crypto Plans
Mark Cliffe said that there was “some urgency in the policy community” sparked by Facebook’s unveiling of the Libra stablecoin, which it plans to launch in 2020, pending regulatory clearance. Cliffe proposed that central banks could, therefore, move towards launching their own digital currencies within the next two to three years. One major implication of such a move by central banks, Cliffe argued, would be the prospect of doing away with hard, physical currency such as coins and notes. This, he claimed, would potentially allow central banks to move even further into negative territory with interest rates, thus opening up a whole range of new policy options.
He conceded that such a development would likely be controversial, considering clients’ anger at the prospect of negative rates and the resulting impact on their savings. Even without a potential digital currency, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi had hinted at such a move earlier this year — a suggestion that was hotly challenged. Cliffe, however, appeared sanguine about the potential both for central bank-issued digital currencies and adjustments to monetary policy.
Venezuelan Central Bank is Considering Holding Bitcoin and Ether
Venezuela’s central bank is exploring the possibilities of holding Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) in its coffers. Can the central bank store Bitcoin and Ether? According to a Bloomberg article, the central bank of Venezuela is taking a closer look at whether they have the possibility to store cryptocurrencies. The state-run oil and gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, had requested the central bank look into the matter after the oil producer ran into difficulties receiving payments from international clients due to U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s current regime.