Recent Developments in Blockchain and Crypto Market
Below are some recent announcements related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The Bank of China has reportedly issued 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) in blockchain-based special financial bonds. According to Sina Finance, the funds were specifically used to issue loans to small and micro-sized Chinese companies to support their continued development in the economy. As of the end of September, the Bank of China issued around 404 billion yuan ($57.7 billion) to 410,000 small and micro enterprise customers, representing an increase of 35% since a year ago.
Thailand, one of the most-visited countries in the world, will soon apply blockchain to its Electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA) process. Thailand’s new blockchain-powered eVOA system intends to speed up and protect the digital visa application process and will soon be available for five million visitors from 20 countries. The upcoming eVOA feature is a joint effort of Australian travel company ShareRing and Gateway Services, an entity that owns the license to process eVOA for Thailand. Thailand will initially roll out the blockchain-enabled eVOA service with a focus on visitors from China and India. The new feature will purportedly streamline the process of applying for Thailand’s visa as its existing Visa On Arrival process is done at airports or land entry points in Thailand.
The Bank of France’s governor, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, said in a recent statement that his organization will start running “experiments” rapidly on digital assets and will “launch a call for projects” before the end of the first quarter of 2020. Galhau made this comment at ACPR, a French regulatory agency for banks and insurance based in Paris. He 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.” If France launches its digital asset before Q1 of 2020, it could be the first leading first-world country to have such a venture, as it would come before China’s digital renminbi.
The bill is called the ‘Crypto-Currency Act of 2020’ and the stated purpose is to clarify which Federal agencies regulate digital assets, to require those agencies to notify the public of any Federal licenses, certifications, or registrations required to create or trade in such assets, and for other purposes. The chosen Federal Crypto Regulators would be the SEC, CFTC, and FinCEN. This is not the first sign that there may be a common role between them for this new asset class in a similar fashion to how the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and the OCC coordinate their efforts in the regulation of the nation’s largest financial institutions. On October 11, the leaders of each of these regulators wrote a joint statement on activities involving digital assets with respect to their obligations under BSA.
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