News In Brief: April 25-April 29, 2022

April 27, 2022
The Bank for International Settlements and Bank Indonesia launch TechSprint to solve the challenges of wholesale and retail central bank digital currencies.

BIS, Bank Indonesia Invite Firms To Solve CBDC Challenges In Latest TechSprint

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and Bank Indonesia have launched the third G20 TechSprint Initiative as one of the side events of Indonesia's G20 presidency.

The TechSprint will feature a global hackathon focused on solving technological challenges related to both wholesale and retail central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

It is open to participants from around the world, and will develop solutions for issuing, distributing and transferring CBDCs; deepening financial inclusion; and finding ways to link up domestic payment systems.

Interested participants can compete and develop solutions to these problems using an APIX hackathon platform, which facilitates registration, prototype building and online judging of project proposals.

Shortlisted teams will then showcase their prototypes in July and winners will be chosen by an independent panel in October.

In a press statement, BIS said it hopes to build on the success of previous initiatives focused on regulatory compliance and green finance solutions.

Agustín Carstens, general manager of the BIS, said: “There is a collective belief that CBDCs have potential for promoting the public interest in this age of digital money.

“Trust in money is the glue that holds the financial system together. It is for this reason that, as technology advances, central banks must ensure that the monetary system remains fundamentally a public good and preserve its stability.”

Perry Warjiyo, governor of Bank Indonesia, said that to achieve the ultimate goals of CBDCs, G20 nations must collaborate to first understand the benefits offered by the technology.

“Through the G20 TechSprint 2022, we aim to foster and challenge the international community to propose and deliver the most practical and deployable solutions in designing and implementing CBDCs,” he said.

World’s First: Crypto Exchange Kraken Receives Full Financial Licence in UAE

US cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has become the first company of its kind to receive a full financial licence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Financial Services Permission (FSP) licence will allow Kraken to operate a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the largest regulated jurisdiction for virtual assets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The FSP will also allow Kraken to provide regulated funding, trading and custodial services in dirhams (AED), including deposits, withdrawals and conversions.

In a statement released on April 25, the ADGM said Kraken met all approval conditions required by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to operate as a Virtual Asset Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian.

The ADGM also said that Kraken has established a Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

In 2018, the ADGM introduced the world’s first virtual asset regulatory framework, and has since established itself as a global hub for local, regional and international crypto businesses.

The news of Kraken’s licence approval also means that it has beaten Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, to the mantle of world’s first crypto FSP holder in the UAE.

Earlier this month, Binance received in-principle approval (IPA) for an FSP from the ADGM.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has also moved from Singapore to Dubai, where Binance plans to hire more than 100 new staff, and may open a new headquarters.

Stripe Introduces Global Crypto Payments For Creators, Will Pilot On Twitter Using USDC

US payments facilitator Stripe has launched a new crypto payouts feature designed to power the online creator economy.

As of April 22, businesses can use Stripe Connect to send cryptocurrency payouts to sellers, freelancers, creators and service providers worldwide.

The feature will be piloted on Twitter using USDC, a dollar pegged stablecoin. USDC is issued by Centre, a joint venture by Coinbase and Circle.

In a press statement, Stripe said Twitter will use the new feature to pay out earnings from Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows. Initially, the option will be limited to only a small group of Twitter’s US creators.

“Twitter is where people go to have conversations about what’s happening,” said Esther Crawford, product lead for creators at Twitter.

“We’re focused on helping creators who are driving those conversations earn money and connect with their audiences in new ways."

Using Stripe Connect, businesses can programmatically pay out to people in more than 70 countries in their local currency.

Stripe will initially support payouts in USDC to wallets compatible with the Polygon network, and later this year it will roll out support for additional cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

“With crypto payouts, platforms using Stripe can send money to verified recipients nearly anywhere in the world, instantaneously,” said Will Gaybrick, chief product officer at Stripe.

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