The COVID-19 crisis has done little to dampen China’s interest in becoming the first major economy to distribute a central bank digital currency. Quite the contrary, its digital currency/electronic payment project appears to be picking up speed.
In the Shenzhen region, for example, 100,000 local citizens this month received for free a total of $31 million digital yuan via lottery, and now residents can use ATMs to convert digital yuan to cash on a test basis.
Meanwhile, the Postal Savings Bank of China has reportedly developed physical wallet cards on which to store digital yuan, something useful for the elderly who aren’t always comfortable with electronic currency. The government, which seems to be covering all eventualities, recently enlisted payment-platform Alipay in the construction of digital yuan systems in the Shanghai area as well.
Why all the rush?
Kevin Desouza, professor of business, technology and strategy at Queensland University of Technology, told Cointelegraph: “China is accelerating its pace of development of its CBDC. Simply put, they see this as a critical competitive advantage in the digital economy.” Given the nature of China’s markets and governance and its determination to gain a “first-mover” advantage in the CBDC race, “we can expect China to triple down on this effort going forward.”
Eswar Prasad, a professor of economics at Cornell University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Cointelegraph: “China has made significant progress in establishing and refining the design and conceptual frameworks for its CBDC” and has brought “the shift from physical to digital versions of central bank retail money that much closer to reality.”
When fully rolled out, the digital yuan will be used as an M0 currency — i.e., as cash in circulation like coins and banknotes, according to an official of the Peoples Bank of China. The preparation has been extensive, with 2020 pilot tests in four regions — Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu, plus the Winter Olympics scene — while the 2021 agenda calls for tests in five regions — Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Qingdao, Dalian and Xi’an. There has been an emphasis on usability in these test areas, according to the Beijing Review.
A key phrase from the report stated that “both mobile phones were offline.” China’s digital yuan will not require an internet connection, something viewed as critical in a land where many remote areas still have no or spotty internet access.
Challenges like interoperability and privacy remain
China has not solved all the problems attached to a CBDC, though. “There are still important issues to be tackled in terms of scalability, interoperability and transactional privacy for users of the DC/EP,” as Prasad told Cointelegraph.
Yu Xiong, international associate dean at Surrey University and chair of business analytics at Surrey Business School, told Cointelegraph: “There will still be some technical issues remaining before full rollout, however, the main issues have already been addressed in the test period.” The matter of usability has been largely settled.
Chinese consumers are flexible when it comes to applying new payment methods, and the digital yuan wallet is expected to be similar to those already being widely used in China on non-bank payment platforms like Alipay or WeChat Pay, explained Xiong. Users will download digital yuan wallets to their smartphones where the digital currency can be stored. “All the major online trade and communication platforms will follow, so the infrastructure will not be an issue,” he added.
Crucially, a user won’t have to open a bank account to get started — just provide a unique form of identification, like a driver’s license or a cell phone number. A digital yuan would be an event of some social importance for China, suggested Xiong, because it could bring many poor people into the financial system and alleviate poverty.
Elsewhere, China is already mostly cashless, so a digital yuan isn’t going to bring dramatic changes to the retail sector. But as for the reasons beyond social equity for why China is so committed to a digital yuan, Desouza told Cointelegraph:
“The reason for China’s investment in this is to increase the credibility and universality of their currency. Today, the yuan is not seen as a major currency. However, in the future, they see the CBDC taking a leadership position in the digital currency market.”
There’s a practical reason, too. Desouza suggested that a CBDC would give the central bank an enhanced ability to surveil and control the flow of money between the citizens. Indeed, a digital yuan appears to be a double-edged sword. Enabling the government to track the money flow might be useful for clamping down on corruption, as Xiong noted, and would also “help the government to monitor the finance system and reduce the chance of a financial crisis.”
A digital yuan could reduce certain investment risks, for instance, when the government continued to build mammoth residential complexes in so-called “ghost” cities — i.e., under-occupied developments.
But perhaps these advantages come at the price of sacrificing privacy and even some basic freedoms. Political critics or dissenters could more easily be denied access to the finance system if all money flows can be tracked — as they could with a CBDC.
During recent protests in Hong Kong, demonstrators waited in long lines to purchase subway tickets with cash — fearing that, otherwise, the authorities might trace them to the demonstration site and take punitive action, Marta Belcher, a Ropes & Gray attorney, told Fortune magazine, adding: “A cashless society is a surveillance society.”
Sidharth Sogani, CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco, even sees a Bitcoin (BTC) aspect in China’s drive toward a digital yuan. He believes that China has not taken to decentralized crypto, however, the software, hardware and mining industries were allowed to grow. “Currently, a majority of Bitcoin is mined in China — so I see an ulterior motive behind being aggressive with their CBDC. Maybe it would enable China to trade BTC more efficiently,” he told Cointelegraph.
Can it be replicated elsewhere?
At this point, the PBoC has accumulated heaps of data about how consumers would actually use a digital currency. The central bank provided employees in a Shanghai hospital with the aforementioned plastic cards holding digital yuan to order meals in the staff restaurant, for example; and at the start of January, Alipay was testing the digital yuan in a Shanghai shopping center, placing signs in beverage shops where consumers could employ the usual Alipay scan code function — only here selecting a yuan pay option. Will other countries now draw on China’s experience as they build their CBDCs?
A DC/EP-type project could be reproduced elsewhere, said Xiong, but it would take time to gain acceptance, as with mobile payments. China can adapt to the new payment method quickly because its banks and e-commerce platforms can be easily synchronized. As Xiong outlined for Cointelegraph:
“But most of the Western countries could not enforce a new policy/technology smoothly. So, the DC/EP model will be carried out first in China, and other countries will have to gradually grow the users and infrastructure, which will take time.”
Is the U.S. dithering?
Does it really matter if China comes to market first among large economies with a digital currency? The Bahamas, a small West Indies nation, launched the first CBDC available to all residents in October — so China won’t be the first country overall. “In CBDCs, it will have the first-mover advantage,” said Sogani. “If a U.S. [digital] dollar comes after two years, they may lose the market.”
Others aren’t so sure. “It will hardly put a dent in the dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency,” Prasad told Cointelegraph. “The dollar’s strengths lie not just in the depth and liquidity of U.S. financial markets but also the institutional framework that underpins the currency’s status as a safe haven.”
Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT Media Lab, noted in November: “They will be able to see all of the payments that people are making and collect information about all of those payments. That is — [it] might make sense in China. But I don’t think that makes sense in the United States… And we have to think about how to architect the system so that isn’t the case.”
In sum, even if China is already a mostly-cashless society, especially in its cities, it continues to methodically roll out a central bank digital currency on a scale not previously seen, both for internal reasons — like broader social equity and the ability to exert more financial and political control — but also because it realizes, arguably, that global leadership entails having a world-class currency and the DC/EP project provides the fastest way to get there.
StormGain: Crypto Mining now available on all smartphones
For many years, cryptocurrency mining has only been reserved to a select few – those people with enough time and capital willing to invest resources into setting up their own mining rigs. However, cloud mining has been quickly gaining speed, and StormGain’s solution removes the technical barriers from the equation in hopes of creating a more even playing field.
Since miners need to keep several factors in mind, including electricity costs, upkeep and maintenance, and the overall investment return, mining has become less lucrative for the smaller players. StormGain wants to change this narrative, and give everyone the chance to participate in the verification of cryptocurrency transactions, earning a nice income whilst doing so.
Cloud mining is a prevalent trend in the cryptocurrency industry today. However, many providers claim to offer significant yields and fail to deliver on those promises. StormGain is a different breed, as it provides a mobile-based cloud mining solution. Every user can mine cryptocurrency directly from their mobile phone without dealing with the hardware side of things. Mobile app users connect directly to remote cloud servers, allowing StormGain to provide a risk-free and convenient mining solution, incomparable to those offered by other cloud mining service providers.
The first step is to register at the StormGain platform using a smartphone – or desktop computer for those who prefer that option. StormGain purposely opts for a pain-free registration process to get as many people acquainted with cloud mining as possible. The registration process also involves a lucrative bonus of $5 USDT, delivered directly to users’ mining accounts. The process is simple – upon registering, use the promo code MINER to receive the bonus. After confirming the account, users can begin mining Bitcoin right away by connecting to the cloud mining server, with no impact whatsoever on the smartphone’s performance.
After meeting the minimal $10 USDT profit threshold, users are free to trade and exchange their crypto assets with StormGain. Withdrawal of mined currency is not possible without going through the trading process first, but all profit generated via trading can be transferred out of one’s account at any given time – a fair trade-off.
The trading and exchanging via StormGain is available at 0% commission, with users benefiting from all standard and advanced instruments at their disposal. The service also introduces fiat-based cryptocurrency purchasing for those who want to expand their crypto portfolio quickly and effortlessly.
StromGain has contracted incredible partnerships since its inception, making it the 1# interest rate provider for crypto traders by CoinMarketCap, a member of the well-known Blockchain Association within the Financial Commission, but also an S.S. Lazio official trading partner, and the market’s best cryptocurrency trading & exchange platform, according to The European. To date, StormGain’s trading product notes a 30-day volume of over $6 billion, generated by tens of thousands of traders worldwide.
What sets StormGain apart from other cloud mining providers is how mining rewards are proportional to trading volume. Users with a higher trading volume will earn a higher daily mining income. Mining with StormGain over more extended periods can have a significant impact on one’s profit potential, showcasing huge capital inflows for the most active miners and traders.
Cloud mining rewards are distributed every 30-40 minutes. Then, users are free to withdraw the funds to their trading accounts, within less than 72 hours. For newcomers, the first mined Bitcoin rewards will become accessible within 4 hours, a feat that is available nowhere else within the cloud mining industry.
As part of its services, StormGain’s cloud mining service effectively removes all entry barriers to the mining market. Consequently, there’s no longer a need to invest in expensive mining chips that take up space, make noise, and consume electricity. Contract prices are inherently small so ongoing investments can translate to significant profits over the long term. Since the bitcoin mining service is readily available via the cloud, accessing it via desktop and mobile devices couldn’t be easier, with no hardware and time investments involved.
Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.
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SingularityNET Partners With Ocean Protocol Prior to the AI-Based DeFi Fund Launch
[Press Release – Amsterdam, Netherlands, 18th May 2021]
The collaboration will see the OCEAN token’s inclusion in SingularityDAO’s index fund/investment portfolio. Moreover, SingularityDAO is designed to leverage AI at multiple levels: AI manages dynamic token-sets, executes predictive market-making strategies to provide liquidity for these token-sets on DEXs, and predictively models hedging strategies.
All this AI requires a lot of data to learn and improve, which is why SingularityDAO is a natural user of Ocean data sets – data sets published via Ocean Market (and other Ocean-based markets) into the Ocean ecosystem. The Ocean ecosystem is host to many diverse and varied trading and DeFi data sets. These make excellent candidates for consumption by SingularityDAO’s AI agents to enhance its financial modeling.
I’m really excited by the opportunity to work together with Ocean Protocol, one of the most respectable projects in crypto that has been constantly delivering community-driven, decentralized data solutions. SingularityDAO will constantly make use of data to train our ML and I can’t think of a better partner than Ocean Protocol. – Marcello Mari, CEO at SingularityDAO
The news follows the successful completion of a total of $5.2 million raised in three different rounds for the highly anticipated Governance Generation Event on MANTRADAO, which reached its hard cap within less than 2½ hours.
The protocol, described as ‘DeFi meets decentralized AI,’ held the event exclusively for SingularityNET $AGI holders and attracted 5,800 registrations in one week. The token sale raised $1.6 million (8,000,000 SDAO).
The successful Governance Generation Event follows a recent private sale wherein SingularityDAO raised $2.7 million of funding from a number of top-tier investors such as AlphaBit, Marshland Capita, GBV, and SMO Capital. SingulariyDAO’s governance token has been generated on May 13th and distributed on the same day. It is currently trading on Uniswap.
SingularityDAO is a decentralized platform, governed by the SDAO token, tasked with governing DynaSets. DynaSets are diversified baskets of cryptocurrency assets dynamically managed by AI and curated by the protocol. SingularityDAO brings the financial sophistication of AI-managed funds to DeFi, deploying SingularityNET’s AI technology to navigate complex markets.
About Ocean Protocol
Ocean Protocol’s mission is to kickstart a Web3 Data Economy that reaches the world, giving power back to data owners and enabling people to capture value from data to better our world.
Data is a new asset class; Ocean Protocol unlocks its value. Data owners and consumers use the Ocean Market app to publish, discover, and consume data assets in a secure, privacy-preserving fashion.
Bought the Dip? MicroStrategy Purchased $10M in Bitcoin at $43.6K
Michael Saylor’s NASDAQ-listed company continues with its initiative to purchase sizeable amounts of bitcoins at frequent intervals. The firm said earlier today it had allocated another $10 million in cash in BTC, and its total stash is over 92,000 coins.
- The founder and CEO of the business intelligence giant announced the latest purchase on Twitter earlier on May 12th.
- It reads that the firm has bought 229 bitcoins for $10 million in cash at an average price of $43,663 per coin.
MicroStrategy has purchased an additional 229 bitcoins for $10.0 million in cash at an average price of ~$43,663 per #bitcoin. As of 5/18/2021, we #hodl ~92,079 bitcoins acquired for ~$2.251 billion at an average price of ~24,450 per bitcoin. $MSTRhttps://t.co/fU6LN4WbKI
— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) May 18, 2021
- Keeping in mind the multiple purchases made since August 2020, the firm holds 92,079 bitcoins. MicroStrategy has paid $2.251 billion for its stash, with an average price of $24,450 per token.
- Although this is far from being the largest single acquisition, as the company once bought more than $1 billion worth of BTC, this one actually comes in a compelling moment.
- In fact, buying 10 million coins at an average price of $43,663 means that MicroStrategy has taken advantage of a popular narrative in the crypto community – buy the dip.
- The price of the primary cryptocurrency has suffered severely in the past week or so after Elon Musk announced that Tesla has stopped receiving BTC payments for its electric vehicles.
- In a matter of days, bitcoin fell from over $58,000 to a three-month low of $42,000.
- Although losing $16,000 of value in less than a week could be considered a major blow, and some investors disposed of their coins even at a loss, MicroStrategy has reaffirmed its promise to continue buying bitcoin as part of its reserve treasury strategy.
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