Hong Kong and Thailand’s central banks have stepped closer to implementing a joint central bank digital currency (CBDC) for cross-border payments. On Jan. 22, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) officially announced the outcomes of a joint CBDC research project called Project Inthanon-LionRock.
Alongside publishing a joint press release, the banks have issued a detailed 90-page report providing an exhaustive analysis of the potential risks and benefits of CBDCs for real-time money transfers, liquidity management, regulatory compliance, and other aspects of finance.
After the HKMA and the BOT initiated the Inthanon-LionRock project back in May 2019, the banks completed the joint initiative in December 2019, the official announcement reads. The project involved ten participating banks from both Hong Kong and Thailand and featured a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) prototype based on distributed ledger technology. Particularly, Thai participants included banks like Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), while Hong Kong participants included the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and ZA Bank. Additionally, the project is supported by major enterprise blockchain consortium R3, which acts as a technology partner, the joint report notes.
Within the project, the banks created a cross-border corridor between Thai baht and Hong Kong dollars in order to allow participating banks to transfer funds and operate foreign exchange transactions on a peer-to-peer basis, which is expected to cut settlement costs and time. The project is based on R3’s blockchain platform Corda and implements smart contracts in order to perform atomic Payment-versus-Payment (PvP) settlements for foreign exchange. A PvP settlement is a mechanism that ensures that the final transfer of a payment in one currency occurs if and only if the final transfer of a payment in another currency or currencies takes place.
Following a successful PoC, the banks concluded that the CBDC has the potential to significantly reduce intermediaries and settlement layers in comparison to the traditional banking payments system as well as prevent risks such as double spending. The joint report reads:
“For example, payers can directly and immediately settle payments with their payees via CBDC in a DLT network as opposed to going through via RTGS intermediaries, including banks, involving multiple debit and credit account entries. The infrastructure for these direct payments further prevents double-spending with temporal transaction orders in place.”
Mathee Supapongse, Deputy Governor of the BOT, was optimistic about central banks implementing emerging technologies like blockchain, claiming that the recent joint CBDC efforts by Hong Kong and Thailand’s central banks is “only the beginning”:
“Though our Project Inthanon has come to the last phase, I believe that it is only the beginning of our next journey where central banks and relevant partners collaborate to tackle existing and incoming challenges, as well as enhance our cross-border funds transfer efficiency…just like the old saying “Going together, we go further”
According to the joint statement, the BOT and the HKMA have agreed to further proceed with joint research in relevant areas. The BOT and the HKMA are not the only banks that are working on cross-border payments projects based on blockchain technology. Earlier in January, SCB, Thailand’s oldest bank, partnered with Ripple to create a blockchain-based mobile app to provide instant and low-cost cross-border payments.
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Brock Pierce Enters The 2020 US Presidential Race
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur, crypto venture capitalist, and child star, has announced his USA Presidential run on Twitter July 5. His tweet stated: “
“I, Brock Pierce, am running for President of the United States of America.”
Pierce’s campaign site states that he is a pioneer digital currency and has raised more than $5 billion for the companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO). His website, sparse on details, does not say if he is seeking a nomination in a political party or if he is running as an Independent.