Daily Dash: Philippines Wholesale CBDC To Launch Within Two Years, Says Central Bank Governor

February 15, 2024
The Philippines central bank has confirmed that a wholesale CBDC launch is expected by 2026, and FIS has announced a new partnership that aims to increase open banking payments in the US.

Philippines To Launch Wholesale CBDC Within Two Years, Says Central Bank Governor

Eli Remolona Jr, governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has said the BSP plans to launch a wholesale central bank digitial currency (CBDC) within two years, but it will not run on blockchain.

Speaking to Filipino news outlet the Inquirer, Remolona said that “other central banks have tried blockchain but it didn’t go well”.

The BSP believes that wholesale CBDC has the potential to improve the efficiency, safety and robustness of domestic and cross-border payments.

Remolona said it could provide banks with another option, in addition to reserves, to deposit money with the BSP for use in real-time interbank payments and settlements.

For the time being, the BSP had no further details on retail CBDC. “The decision is to limit it to wholesale,” said Remolona, “no retail,”

FIS Brings Open Banking To US Through Partnership With Banked

FIS has announced that it has partnered with Banked, an open banking solutions provider, to bring new pay-by-bank options to businesses and consumers in the US.

The pay-by-bank solutions will allow payments to be sent between bank accounts within minutes with lower costs, enhanced security and improved user experience, said FIS.

As open banking matures in the US, FIS said it will be looking to introduce these solutions in areas such as insurance, higher education, utilities and public sector payments.

“Pay-by-bank solutions simplify payments by combining the benefits of real-time payment rails with the flexibility and efficiency of open banking,” the company said.

“Businesses benefit from less fraud, reduced friction, faster settlement and lower processing fees, while consumers enjoy a smoother payment experience, easier verification and faster access to funds.”

UK Government Further Embraces Open Banking With New Moneyhub Contract

A UK government agency has named Moneyhub as a supplier on its Open Banking Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).

On Monday (February 12), the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) confirmed that Moneyhub will offer open banking and payment services to other UK public sector organisations through the DPS.

“Government organisations' ability to purchase Moneyhub services through the DPS will help more public sector services increase efficiency and experience the benefits that open banking delivers,” Moneyhub said in a statement.

Launched in January, the DPS aims to reduce payment acceptance costs in the public sector and reduce instances of fraud and error.

The Moneyhub announcement follows the news that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) took in a record £3.3bn in open banking payments last month through Ecospend.

PayPal, Venmo To Process Crypto Distributions To Celsius Creditors

PayPal and Venmo have announced that they have begun processing crypto distributions to US-based creditors of Celsius, the crypto lending platform that emerged from bankruptcy last month.

To claim their crypto, creditors must enter a unique code provided by Celsius into PayPal or Venmo to receive distributions of Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Codes are tied to a Celsius account ID and if redeemed on one platform (PayPal or Venmo), the account ID is tied to that platform for this round of distribution.

As covered by Vixio, the Celsius bankruptcy ended with an agreement that Celsius will pay out $3bn in crypto distributions to creditors.

Since there may be additional rounds of distributions, PayPal has encouraged customers to check for further updates.

UK Taxpayers Warm To Open Banking Payments Via Ecospend

UK open banking provider Ecospend has reported that the value of tax payments processed by its Pay by Bank platform rose to a new high of £3.3bn in January 2024.

This marks almost a 40 percent rise in value and an additional 140,000 transactions compared with the same period in 2023 (coinciding with the deadline for self-assessment payments).

In February 2021, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) became the world’s first tax authority to integrate open banking payments when it awarded a £3m contract to Ecospend.

As of January 2023, Ecospend is now owned by global account-to-account payments platform Trustly, which acquired Ecospend following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Visa Signs New Remittance MoU With Egyptian Banks Company (EBC)

Visa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egyptian Banks Company (EBC), the technological arm of the central bank, to facilitate remittances for Egyptians living abroad.

The partnership will initially be focused on two projects, the first of them being an upgrade to InstaPay, an EBC-owned instant payments app, to enable customers to initiate transfers from Visa-linked accounts outside Egypt.

Once completed, this will allow funds to be sent from abroad and deposited into registered customers’ accounts via InstaPay, which runs on Egypt’s Instant Payments Network (IPN).

The second project involves partnering with banks and financial institutions to facilitate transfers to beneficiaries in Egypt using IPN’s phone number or username directory.

Leila Serhan, SVP for North Africa, Levant and Pakistan at Visa, said the partnership will open up a significant source of transactions, as Egypt is currently the world’s fifth largest recipient of remittances.

Visa, Mastercard Among Companies To Join AI Safety Consortium

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo has announced the creation of a US AI Safety Institute Consortium (AISIC) with Visa and Mastercard as founding members. Tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are also signed up. 

The consortium will be housed under the US AI Safety Institute (USAISI) and will contribute to priority actions outlined in President Biden’s Biden’s executive order on AI.

Issued in October last year, the executive order aims to develop guidelines for risk management, safety and security when using AI.

Raimondo said the US government has a “significant role to play” in setting standards and developing tools to mitigate risks and harness the “immense potential” of AI.

Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said that trust is needed in the technology if AI’s full potential is to be realised.

“That starts with a common set of meaningful standards that protect users and spark inclusive innovation,” he said.

Another Year, Another Round Of Layoffs At PayPal

PayPal has confirmed that in 2024 it will cut 9 percent of its global workforce, totalling about 2,500 jobs, through layoffs and elimination of roles that are currently open.

The move is the first round of layoffs initiated by new CEO Alex Chriss since his appointment in August last year.

“While I have been encouraged by the innovation our team is delivering, we must execute faster and ensure we are focused on solving our customers' most critical needs and problems,” he said.

“Specifically, across our organisation, we need to drive more focus and efficiency, deploy automation, and consolidate our technology to reduce complexity and duplication.”

In February last year, previous CEO Daniel Schulman announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs due to a “challenging macroenvironment”.

In its latest Q4 2023 earnings, PayPal reported a 9 percent rise in revenue and an 8 percent rise in operating profit. PayPal stock tumbled over 10 percent after warning investors of a slowdown in growth in 2024.

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