Last month, we had an email interview with Kelvin Lee, Head of Southeast Asia at Ripple to discuss its PayID, his insights for the Philippines, as well as what he thinks are the benefits of PayID versus other similar initiatives.
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PayID is a universal payment ID that simplifies the process of sending and receiving money globally across any payment network and any currency. Gopay, Ripple, Blockchain.com, Bitpay, Brave, MercyCorps and others have collaborated on the development of PayID through the Open Payments Coalition, a multinational alliance of industry leaders. PayID aims to improve user experience around ID across all payment networks and provide easier entry points for new technologies and new businesses via openstandards/networks.
On the Lack of Notable Partners like PayPal or Square
BitPinas: I notice the lack of what many consider as key platforms – like Paypal or Square. Are you in discussions with them or planning to include them in the future? How about banks?And what could be their incentive for joining PayID?
Kelvin Lee: At launch, the Open Payments Coalition (OPC) brought together 40+ partners from the finance,tech and nonprofit sectors, collectively reaching more than 100 million consumers. While we are excited about Sygnum being a founding member of the OPC to launch PayID , we are equally excited about the companies — whether traditional financial services to fintech applications, crypto and everything in between — that we know will join soon.
Today, there are hundreds of payment networks and platforms, but services are siloed. For example, Coins.ph users in the Philippines can’t even send money to a DeeMoney account in Thailand, limiting payments to users within a single network. To prevent payments from becoming further siloed and fragmented, the industry needs an open payments network that works for all –and fast, or else the financial services industry risks falling behind to the likes of Google, Apple and others, who already have the potential to connect the masses through payments — but are closed networks.
As an open standard, PayID will be an important step towards building the future of an open payments network, in the Southeast Asia region and around the world. As a universal protocol for payments, PayID will effectively reduce friction between disparate financial networks, wallets and payment processes that makes sending and receiving money difficult.
In enabling payments to work like email where a user has a simple, single address that works across any payment network or any currency — be it fiat or digital — PayID creates a free and open common standard for interoperability between payment networks, making it easy for anyone to send money to and from other participating PayID partner networks. For businesses, this means being able to offer their customers a single ID that works across any payment network,thereby increasing their reach to more wallets, currencies and payment platforms
On the Similarities with Libra
It seems like PayID is something the Libra project originally aimed to do, minus the Libra token. How do you differentiate yourself from Libra as well as to other “coalitions” that all want to serve the unbanked and promote financial inclusion for all?
While several solutions to these pain points in payments exist today, the world has yet to settle on a single standard for sending and receiving money. As mentioned earlier, companies with closed networks such as Google, Apple and others have a head start — yet, for every other company and developer to use these networks, there are terms and fees they must accept.
PayID is not just a whitepaper and is live today. While it’s still early stages since launch, millions of users can use it today and 100 million consumers will be able to use it soon. As a free and open standard, any company can use PayID without asking the OPC’s or anyone’s permission and there is no minimum financial investment like Libra’s $10 million prerequisite.
PayID leverages the same web technology and security standards that secures ecommerce and online banking today. Additionally, setting up a PayID server is not only secure, it’s easy. PayID is designed for developers by developers, which means any organization that sends or receives money can integrate a PayID server into their existing web infrastructure and start using PayID in just a few lines of code. A reference implementation of the server is available on GitHub and is fully free to use, along with a variety of tools to make it easy to manage the server after deployment.
PayID was built specifically to help companies comply with FinCEN and FATF requirements. This means that it can also be incorporated by banks, digital wallet providers, remittance services, and payment providers or processors, unlike other coalitions.
PayID was conceived as a universal solution for all organisations to send and receive money, regardless of their location, payment network and currency. Through PayID, our goal is to bring the world one step closer to a future where money moves as easily as information.
On Ripple’s ODL Service
How is the ODL service going to work/be integrated with PayID? Will ODL clients be able to integrate PayID easily?
It’s important to note that PayID is not a Ripple initiative but something that is jointly developed by the 40+ launch partners in the Open Payments Coalition (OPC), and benefits any company that needs to send or receive money.
With Ripple being one of the founding members of the OPC, PayID fits into our Internet of Value vision — where money moves as easily as information. Ripple will be supporting PayID in RippleNet, and Ripple’s developer arm, Xpring, will support companies who want to integrate PayID in their products. Some of Ripple’s customers are also part of the OPC, and will be adopting PayID within their services in the near future.
On PayID’s Suitability in the Philippines
Why do you think PayID is suitable for a country like the Philippines?
With the Philippines being one of the biggest remittance receiver countries across the globe, PayID is a simple and hassle-free solution for Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) to send money home. As more OFWs discover more convenient and faster services, and cheaper ways to send money home, this habit will become permanent as PayID’s solution facilitates these cross-border payments in near real-time — for both senders and receivers.
Generally, while the Philippines has been embracing e-payments and online transactions since 2018, the recent Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures have definitely increased demand for e-payments. Even as ECQ measures are lifted in the future, this trend is expected to continue. However, the current payment process is slow and inefficient, and there is a need for a standardised solution. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity to accelerate and sustain the shift to digital payments, and PayID aims to facilitate this by breaking down silos in the payment process, unifying a fragmented payments network.
On Central Bank Digital Currencies
Some countries are investigating whether or not to launch Central Bank Digital Currencies. Do you think this will have a positive or negative effect on the PayID initiative?
CBDCs are exciting and we applaud the central banks for pursuing this research. While CBDCs are still in the research stage with many unanswered questions, we are encouraged by such initiatives as the potential is huge.
PayID’s potential to unite the many closed payment networks that exist today is huge as well. It can be adopted at the national level, and PayIDs can be assigned to individuals the same way a national ID number would — but that ID is instead used solely for payments. PayID can also be used for either fiat currencies or digital assets, which include CBDCs.
On Additional Fees
Will the user be imposed additional fees because the payment platform of their choice will use PayID?
PayID is a universal payment identifier that uses a simple, open standard to help individuals easily send and receive money. PayID does this by creating a free and open common standard for interoperability between payments networks.
You can think of PayID as enabling payments to work like email, by replacing complicated account numbers or wallet addresses, with names that are easy to read and remember. With PayID, a user has a simple, single address that works across any payment network or any currency — whether fiat or digital. It could be as simple as — for example, Kelvin$unionbankph.com sending money to Michael$BDO.com.
Like email addresses, PayID abstracts underlying rail details from users — whether sending crypto or fiat — to simplify the process of sending and receiving money today. This is important because while there are currently a variety of identifiers being used for payments –including email, biometric IDs, national IDs and phone numbers. They however contain information that is either too confidential to be used for payments (biometric IDs), or are prone to cybersecurity risks/phishing (emails). Therefore, it is crucial for a universal ID to be created solely for payments.
About Kelvin Lee, Managing Director for SouthEast Asia at Ripple:
Kelvin has recently been appointed by Ripple, the enterprise blockchain solution for global payments, as its new head of its Southeast Asia operations in March 2020. He oversees the firm’s expansion across the region and leads efforts to drive the growth of its customer base.
Kelvin has vast experience in the banking and financial services technology industry. He has over 18 years of leadership experience across Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa with extensive knowledge in financial payments (B2B, B2C, C2B, P2P and national payment networks), fraud abd risk management, data solutions and online mobile banking solutions.
Prior to joining Ripple, he was the Vice-President, Head of Enterprise Security Solutions and Network Solutions in Southeast Asia for Mastercard from 2016 to 2020, where he led both regional country and functional teams to drive strategic wins on agnostic processing services. He also held senior executive positions at companies including Visa, Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (FIS), and Applied Communications, Inc. (ACI) Worldwide.
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Smart contract exploits are more ethical than hacking… or not?
There has been a lot of talk about the recent “hacks” in the decentralized finance realm, particularly in the cases of Harvest FInance and Pickle Finance. That talk is more than necessary, considering hackers stole more than $100 million from DeFi projects in 2020, accounting for 50% of all hacks this year, according to a CipherTrace report.
Some point out that the occurrences were merely exploits that shined a light on the vulnerabilities of the respective smart contracts. The thieves didn’t really break into anything, they just happened to casually walk through the unlocked back door. By this logic, since the hackers exploited flaws without actually hacking in the traditional sense, the act of exploiting is ethically more justifiable.
But is it?
The differences between an exploit and a hack
Security vulnerabilities are the root of exploits. A security vulnerability is a weakness that an adversary could take advantage of to compromise the confidentiality, availability or integrity of a resource.
An exploit is the specially crafted code that adversaries use to take advantage of a certain vulnerability, and to compromise a resource.
Even mentioning the word “hack” in reference to blockchain might baffle an industry outsider less familiar with the technology, as security is one of the centerpieces of distributed ledger technology’s mainstream appeal. It’s true, blockchain is an inherently secure medium of exchanging information, but nothing is totally unhackable. There are certain situations in which hackers can gain unauthorized access to blockchains. These scenarios include:
- 51% attacks: Such hacks occur when one or more hackers gain control of over half of the computing power. It’s a very difficult feat for a hacker to achieve, but it does happen. Most recently in August 2020, Ethereum Classic (ETC) faced three successful 51% attacks in the span of a month.
- Creation errors: These occur when security glitches or errors go overlooked during the creation of the smart contract. These scenarios present loopholes in the most potent sense of the term.
- Insufficient security: When hacks are done through gaining undue access to a blockchain with weak security practices, is it really as bad if the door was left wide open?
Are exploits more ethically justifiable than hacks?
Many would argue that doing anything without consent cannot possibly be considered ethical, even if worse acts could have been committed. That logic also raises the question of whether an exploit is 100% illegal. For example, having a U.S. company registered in the Virgin Islands can also be seen as performing a legal tax “exploit,” though it isn’t considered outwardly illegal. As such, there are certain gray areas and loopholes in the system that people can use for their own benefit, and an exploit can also be seen as a loophole in the system.
Then there are cases such as cryptojacking, which is a form of cyberattack where a hacker hijacks a target’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency on the hacker’s behalf. Cryptojacking can be malicious or nonmalicious.
It may be safest to say that exploits are far from ethical. They are also entirely avoidable. In the early stages of the smart contract creation process, it’s important to follow the strictest standards and best practices of blockchain development. These standards are set to prevent vulnerabilities, and ignoring them can lead to unexpected effects.
It is also vital for teams to have intensive testing on a testnet. Smart contract audits can also be an effective way to detect vulnerabilities, though there are many audit companies that issue audits for little money. The best approach would be for companies to get several audits from different companies.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Pawel Stopczynski is the researcher and R&D director at Vaiot. He was previously the R&D director and a co-founder at Veriori and at UseCrypt. Since 2004, Pawel has been involved in the development of 18 IT projects in Poland and the United Kingdom, focusing on the private sector. He was a speaker at several IT conferences, and the organizer of two TEDx conferences. For his work, Pawel was awarded a gold medal at the Concours Lépine International Innovation Fair 2019 in Paris, and a gold medal of the French minister of defense.
Close to $10 Billion Worth of Crypto Longs Wiped off the Market Amid Sudden Crash
It’s been a rough Sunday for the cryptocurrency market.
$7.8 Billion Liquidated in an Hour
The “up only” sentiment in the digital asset market took a major hit today as more than $7 billion in crypto long positions were liquidated within an hour in a sudden market wide crash.
According to data from bybt, more than $9 billion worth of crypto long positions were liquidated in the past 12 hours while more than $8 billion were wiped off the market in the last 4 hours.
Specifically, bitcoin’s price started trending downwards early Saturday but the sharp free fall commenced around 3:00 UTC on Sunday.
After recording new ATH day after day, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ price witnessed a steep downfall today almost touching the $50,000 mark. At the time of writing, bitcoin has regained some support and trades at $55,300.
According to crypto analyst Lark Davis, bitcoin breached the 50-day moving average during the unanticipated crash which is a rare event during a bull run. For context, BTC breached the 50 day MA only a few times during the 2017 bull market. In retrospect, all such dips proved to be immensely profitable buy opportunities.
Overleveraged Longs get REKT
While it typically pays to long in a bull market, investors must be cautious of too much optimism and avoid being long in an already overbought market to not get rekt in sudden market crashes like that of today.
Being long in a market with less liquidity is particularly dangerous as the order books are thin and a sudden dump can cause the price of the underlying asset to go down much more than in other liquid markets.
The Block’s Larry Cermak noticed this on Perp Protocol where the price of ether (ETH) reached as low as $900 due to low liquidity.
Crypto derivatives exchange FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried share some interesting facts about the exchange during today’s crash.
According to SBF, the exchange witnessed trading volume close to $26 billion which was another all-time record volume day for FTX. At the same time, FTX had close to $250 million of liquidations today.
Kraken Daily Market Report for April 17 2021
- Total spot trading volume at $2.51 billion, 57% above the 30-day average of $1.6 billion.
- Total futures notional at $667.9 million.
- The top five traded coins were, respectively, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Tether, and Siacoin.
- Strong returns from Nano (+51%) and Siacoin (+20%).
|April 17, 2021
$2.51B traded across all markets today
Crypto, EUR, USD, JPY, CAD, GBP, CHF, AUD
#####################. Trading Volume by Asset. ##########################################
Trading Volume by Asset
The figures below break down the trading volume of the largest, mid-size, and smallest assets. Cryptos are in purple, fiats are in blue. For each asset, the chart contains the daily trading volume in USD, and the percentage of the total trading volume. The percentages for fiats and cryptos are treated separately, so that they both add up to 100%.
Figure 1: Largest trading assets: trading volume (measured in USD) and its percentage of the total trading volume (April 17 2021)
Figure 2: Mid-size trading assets: (measured in USD) (April 17 2021)
Figure 3: Smallest trading assets: (measured in USD) (April 17 2021)
#####################. Spread %. ##########################################
Spread percentage is the width of the bid/ask spread divided by the bid/ask midpoint. The values are generated by taking the median spread percentage over each minute, then the average of the medians over the day.
Figure 4: Average spread % by pair (April 17 2021)
#########. Returns and Volume ############################################
Returns and Volume
Figure 5: Returns of the four highest volume pairs (April 17 2021)
Figure 6: Volume of the major currencies and an average line that fits the data to a sinusoidal curve to show the daily volume highs and lows (April 17 2021)
###########. Daily Returns. #################################################
Daily Returns %
Figure 7: Returns over USD and XBT. Relative volume and return size is indicated by the size of the font. (April 17 2021)
###########. Disclaimer #################################################
The values generated in this report are from public market data distributed from Kraken WebSockets api. The total volumes and returns are calculated over the reporting day using UTC time.
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