Daily Dash: IMF Launches CBDC Handbook

November 16, 2023
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published a central bank digital currency (CBDC) handbook, while the Belgium regulator has issued a survey on preparedness for the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA).

IMF Offers Helping Hand With Virtual Currencies

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has launched a central bank digital currency (CBDC) virtual handbook that can act as a reference guide for policymakers and experts at central banks and ministries of finance. 

It will also serve as the basis for the IMF’s engagement with country authorities and other stakeholders.

The CBDC Virtual Handbook aims to collect and share knowledge, lessons, empirical findings and frameworks to address policymakers’ most frequently asked questions on CBDCs. 

The IMF has said that as its expertise in the area grows, it will continue to add about five chapters every year aiming to provide about 20 chapters by 2026. 

Moreover, the IMF has said that chapters will be periodically updated, reflecting evolving views.

IMF chair Kristalina Georgieva said on LinkedIn this week that “there is more space for innovation”, and that “this is not the time to turn back” on CBDC projects. 

“Keep preparing for CBDCs and payment platforms, and design these platforms with cross-border payments in mind,” she said.

Belgian Regulator Launches DORA Awareness Survey

The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has launched an awareness survey to help financial institutions prepare for the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA). 

The survey has been launched to enable the regulator to get a better understanding of the “maturity level” of the firms that it supervises. 

The obligations established by the DORA regulation will apply from January 17, 2025, but industry insiders have told Vixio that firms are already preparing to become compliant with the requirements. 

Mastercard, NEC Expand Biometric Checkout Program To APAC

Mastercard has announced that its Biometric Checkout Program will soon be launching in Asia-Pacific as a result of a new partnership with NEC Corporation.

Following a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the partnership will combine NEC’s face recognition and liveness verification technology with Mastercard’s payments facilitation at checkout.

"Biometric solutions offer a seamless, quick and secure checkout, without needing to unlock a phone or insert a PIN,” said Ajay Bhalla, president for cyber and intelligence solutions at Mastercard.

Mastercard said the program offers an all-in-one solution that combines biometric performance with data protection and privacy requirements for merchants, PSPs and financial institutions.

After launching last year with a pilot in Brazil, the program will be showcased this week at Singapore FinTech Festival.

Lloyds Issues Urgent Warning Over Crypto Scams

One of the UK’s largest retail banks has issued a warning over an increase in crypto scams after a 23 percent surge. 

According to Lloyds, victims are losing £10,741 on average. This is more than any other type of consumer fraud (such as romance scams or purchase scams).

Lloyds has further said that Revolut is the most common recipient of Faster Payments made by crypto investment scam victims at Lloyds Banking Group, although it is not always the end destination of the funds, which may then be sent on elsewhere. 

Meanwhile, the most common age range for crypto scam victims is 25 to 34 year olds, who make up a quarter of all cases.

Blockchain Payments Firm Fnality Raises £77m, Led By Goldman Sachs

Fnality International, a UK-based blockchain payments firm, has raised £77.7m in a series B funding round led by Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas.

Other participants include DTCC, Euroclear, Nomura and WisdomTree, while major banks such as Santander, Barclays and BNY Mellon made additional series A investments.

The latest funding round brings Fnality's total capital raised to £132m, as it prepares to launch the Sterling Fnality Payment System (FnPS) in 2023, subject to regulatory approval.

Fnality said its latest funding will also be used to develop its vision of a global liquidity management ecosystem that uses new digital payment models in both wholesale financial and tokenised asset markets.

“Several landmark proofs of concept have already demonstrated the potential inherent in leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT) to achieve faster, safer and more efficient exchange of value in global wholesale markets,” said Fnality.

Malaysia's PayNet Launches Cross-Border Service For Alipay+ Users In Seven Countries

Malaysia’s PayNet has partnered with Ant Group to launch a new cross-border service that will allow travellers from seven countries to use PayNet’s DuitNow QR code when visiting Malaysia.

As of this month, travellers that use an Alipay+ partner wallet can make payments at more than 1.8m merchants in Malaysia who use PayNet’s DuitNow QR code standard.

The eligible wallets include Alipay (China), AlipayHK (Hong Kong), HelloMoney by AUB (Philippines), Hipay (Mongolia), MPay (Macau), Naver Pay and Toss Pay (South Korea) and TrueMoney (Thailand).

PayNet said that more Alipay+ payment partners will be added to the collaboration in 2024, as will a reciprocal agreement that will enable DuitNow QR users to pay at Alipay+ merchants globally.

“With this collaboration, I am seeing a new Silk Route emerging,” said Farhan Ahmad, group CEO of PayNet, “one that is powered by cross-border payment interoperability.”

Thailand To Distribute $14bn In Helicopter Money Via Digital Wallet App In 2024

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has confirmed that the Ministry of Finance will distribute 10,000 baht ($280) to almost every citizen over 16 years old in May next year.

Those who earn more than 70,000 baht ($2,000) per month or who have 500,000 baht ($14,000) in savings will not qualify for the disbursal.

The money will be paid into the Pao Tang app, a digital wallet that was developed by Kruntgthai Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic to pay subsidies to low-income people.

During Thailand's general election campaign earlier this year, Thavisin’s ruling Pheu Thai party promised the disbursal programme, saying it would help to kickstart the country’s struggling economy.

However, economists have warned that after an initial stimulus to economic activity, inflation will follow.

China And Administrative Regions Sign Fintech Agreement 

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Macao (AMCM) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on deepening fintech innovation.

Under the MoU, the three authorities agreed to link up, in the form of a network, the PBOC’s Fintech Innovation Regulatory Facility, the HKMA’s Fintech Supervisory Sandbox and the AMCM’s Regulatory Requirements for Innovative Fintech Trials. 

In compliance with laws and regulations, the “network link-up” will promote the development of digital finance in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and will enhance the quality and efficiency of financial services in the regions. 

“We are very pleased to have, together with the PBoC, jointly invited the AMCM to join the one-stop platform," said Eddie Yue, chief executive of the HKMA.

"The arrangement will provide a more friendly supervisory environment for cross-boundary fintech developments."

Klarna Avoids Going To Court In 'Pay In 4' US Class Action

A US Second Circuit Court has compelled arbitration in a class action lawsuit that sought to challenge Klarna’s Pay in 4 product.

Najah Edmundson, a user of Klarna’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) product, sued the Swedish fintech after she incurred an overdraft fee as a result of an automatic Klarna repayment.

Edmundson alleged that Klarna “misrepresents and conceals” the risk of bank overdraft fees that consumers face when using its BNPL service.

In February 2022, a Connecticut district court rejected Klarna’s motion to compel arbitration, but the Second Circuit Court has now reversed that ruling, ordering the parties to arbitrate the claims.

The court said Edmundson assented to arbitration when she clicked on "confirm and continue" on Klarna, which meant she agreed to Klarna’s payment terms, including a mandatory arbitration provision.

Block Puts Cash App Launch On Hold In Ireland, EU

US fintech giant Block has reportedly withdrawn an application to launch its Cash App peer-to-peer (P2P) payments app in Ireland and, by extension, the EU.

According to a report from the Irish Independent, in May this year Block withdrew a licence application for Cash App that it had filed with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI).

A spokesperson for Block confirmed the accuracy of the report.

The news follows Block’s announcement, covered by Vixio last week, that it plans to cut 1,000 staff by the end of 2024.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Block, said a hiring freeze will be in place “until we feel the growth of the business has meaningfully outpaced the growth of the company”.

Wise Quietly Puts New Customer Onboarding On Hold For Businesses

UK-listed fintech Wise has announced that it is no longer accepting new applications to join its service from business customers in the UK and EEA.

In a statement posted last week, Wise said it has “temporarily paused” onboarding new businesses in these markets.

In the meantime, the company said that some customers will be asked to join a waiting list.

Although a Wise spokesperson said the pause is due to high demand in these markets, it follows turbulence for Wise’s business-facing arm in the US.

Last month, Wise informed its US business customers that their Wise Business cards would be “temporarily deactivated” on October 31, 2023. No reason for the deactivation was given.

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.