- France’s central bank is conducting experiments on an official digital currency, and will put out an open call for projects by Q1 2020.
- Founding CEO of Bakkt, an Atlanta-based crypto company, has been selected as the interim United States Senator of Georgia.
- Blockchain expert Virgil Griffith was arrested for attending a North Korean crypto conference where he allegedly discussed how cryptocurrency could be used to circumvent international sanctions.
- A new joint statement from the Council of the European Union and the European Commission states that no global stablecoin project will launch within the EU until security risks are addressed.
Just last week, France was only considering the possibility of developing its own digital currency. Now the nation’s central bank has decided the time has come to embrace it. While the finished currency may be distinct from crypto assets, Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau added that the organization will conduct experiments on assets in the coming months. An open call for projects is expected by Q1 2020.
[de Galhau] further asserted that this venture, if launched, will not promote widespread anonymity in large transactions: “Thresholds on the amounts of anonymous transactions, as is already done in France for payments in electronic money or cash, could be introduced for this purpose.”
Georgia governor Brian Kemp has chosen Kelly Loeffler, the founding CEO of Bakkt, to serve as an interim United States Senator. While Loeffler’s legislative powers will be limited, she will be one of the few senators with professional insights into cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is particularly important given the Senate’s recent focus on digital assets following the Facebook Libra launch.
Loeffler is [the founding] CEO of Bakkt, an Atlanta-based cryptocurrency custodian and infrastructure company formed in mid-2018 as a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange.
Bakkt launched with over $180 million in Series A funding from ICE, Microsoft, Starbucks, Boston Consulting Group, and a raft of blockchain-focused investors … In September it (finally) deployed physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts, to better encourage cryptocurrency trading, and volume keeps hitting new highs.
Bakkt also said its early 2020 plans include a consumer-facing app that would enable consumers to buy merchant goods via digital assets.
Loeffler isn’t a techie by training — she previously led IR and marketing at ICE — but she’s a savant by Senate standards.
Cryptocurrency expert Virgil Griffith has been arrested following a trip to North Korea to discuss blockchain technology. During this secretive conference, Griffith allegedly shared technical details on how cryptocurrency can be used to circumvent international sanctions. According to statements from both the FBI and attorney general’s office, Griffith was warned repeatedly not to attend because the information could be used for criminal purposes.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) revealed how digital currencies offer a “financial lifeline” to the country as it seeks to develop weapons of mass destruction.
RUSI research analyst Kayla Izenman told The Independent at the time that the borderless and decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies made them an attractive target for actors attempting to circumvent the traditional financial system.
“At the very least, cryptocurrency exploitation is allowing North Korea to transact with the rest of the world in ways that aim to circumvent sanctions designed to curb its proliferation financing,” she said.
A new joint statement from the Council of the European Union and the European Commission states that no global stablecoin project will launch within the EU until security risks are addressed. While the statement acknowledges that stablecoins allow for fast, cheap payments, it also raises concerns about privacy, consumer protection, cyber-security, and money laundering.
Solving the challenges raised by global stablecoins requires coordinated efforts from global jurisdictions, the authorities noted. Moreover, entities that plan to issue stablecoins in the EU should provide “full and adequate information urgently to allow for a proper assessment against the applicable existing rules,” the statement notes.
The Council and the Commission concluded: “No global ‘stablecoin’ arrangement should begin operation in the European Union until the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks have been adequately identified and addressed.”
While pointing out a number of risks associated with stablecoins, the EU authorities noted that they welcome central banks working to assess the costs and benefits of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and working on providing fast and inexpensive cross-border payments.
That’s the roundup for December 7! Check in next week for the latest news of cryptocurrency innovation and regulation around the world!
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