Bank of Thailand just announced a project to develop a prototype system for a CBDC issued on a blockchain, accessible to businesses.
This is meaningful to me for two reasons:
- I was part of the original team that created the Inthanon series of projects in 2018, and it’s great to see that these early pioneering efforts continue to be built upon.
- I think that they have hit the near-term sweet spot for programmable money. They really seem to get it.
The three elements that stood out to me were:
- It’s money on a blockchain
- It’s initially aimed at businesses
- It’s issued by a central bank
1. It’s on a blockchain
This is the most important bit. Issuing money that is defined by smart contracts paves the way for programmability. No longer is the money an inert number sitting in a database. The money comes with – is defined by – code.
Code that is transparent to all, and can be extended with other code to perform logical business processes (but without needing to pay for and rely on a business to do it).
Code that can be trusted to work as-is. Code that can be built on, and built on, and built on.
This is the basis of programmable money which will lead to incredibly useful designer money.
2) It’s initially aimed at businesses
Historically central banks have only issued digital money to banks and specific financial institutions. These are sometimes known as clearing banks – the elite club eligible to have a direct bank account with the central bank. This, of course, gives them an advantage over everyone else. There is a price to pay: there are hurdles to getting a license.
The fact that this CBDC is aimed at businesses is the sweet spot for two reasons:
- Extending the club to a specific list of vetted business is less of a stretch for the central bank than figuring out how to make the money accessible to all households (a true ‘retail’ or ‘general purpose’ CBDC). It’s just bigger club.
- Initially businesses have the capital, talent, and motivation to find a use for programmable money, in a controlled environment.
These two points give the central banks comfort – they have control over the system (That’s ok! It’s their debt after all!) and they can see how it evolves. They don’t need to worry about teenagers in pyjamas in their bedrooms innovating.
The tension, of course, is with the commercial banks. If corporates can access central bank money directly without holding it in a commercial bank account, commercial banks will need to up their game in terms of the value they offer. That’s… not a bad thing.
3) It’s issued by a central bank
Businesses today can, and do, use stablecoins (money issued by private sector entities, backed by commercial bank deposits). Examples are Tether, TUSD, USDC, PAX. And it’s not just crypto traders either. In some countries, particularly developing economies, non-crypto businesses are starting to use stablecoins for the 10x user experience improvement over local banking services.
However, these stablecoins have multiple layers of risk – the very least of them being operational risks associated with their issuer and the issuer’s bank.
Central bank issued money is the “safest” or “least risky” form of money, so businesses should prefer this over commercial bank stablecoins or e-money stablecoins, all else being equal.
While public blockchain stablecoins continue to innovate (and occasionally screw up) with breathtaking speed, this move by the Bank of Thailand is a meaningful step, and is probably the sweet spot for progress in the traditional financial sector.
Ultimately this form of programmable money will be available to all, on public blockchains. Either directly, or via automated trustless cross-chain atomic swaps. The teenager in pyjamas in their bedroom can, and should be, allowed to innovate. This is where real progress is made – when the collective imagination of unconstrained thinkers can build on each others’ ideas.
Prepare For Liftoff: Bitcoin Loses Bear Market Trendline Against Altcoins
Aside from a few rare outliers, over the last several years, owning Bitcoin has been the better investment compared to other cryptocurrencies. Altcoins like Ethereum and others have only recently caught up, and BTC dominance has maintained the lion’s share of the crypto market cap.
However, dominance has lost an important trendline dating back four full years to the peak of the last bull market, and it could suggest a major turnaround is about to occur across the crypto market. Could this be the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/altcoin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>altcoin season crypto investors have been waiting for?
Bitcoin Dominance Loses Crucial » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/bear/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>Bear Market Trendline
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin by comparison as investors searched for the next BTC.
Related Reading | Five Signs That Say Altcoin Season Hasn’t Even Started Yet
Those investors ended up learning the hard way that there is no replacement for Bitcoin. Altcoins plunged by as much as 99% in most instances, while Bitcoin wiped out only 84% of its gains by comparison. Both scenarios are now far in the rear view, and since then Bitcoin has a commanding lead.
BTC dominance has lost an important monthly trendline dating back to the top of the last bull market | CRYPTOCAP-BTC.D on TradingView.com
At the height of that fever, dominance reached as low as 35%, but has since remained around or above 63%. That key level was lost at the same time a pivotal trendline was, and now there could be no over-performance in Bitcoin for the next year or more.
The trendline in question dates back four years to the bull market peak, and has kept dominance supported ever since.
Altcoins Are Ready To Explode If Dominance Dives Further
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/altcoin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>altcoin season, which thus far the leading cryptocurrency by market cap has kept locked away for many years now.
A zoomed in view shows how many times BTC dominance tried to reclaim the line | CRYPTOCAP-BTC.D on TradingView.com
Losing the previous long term trendline resulted in some short term consolidation followed by a large move lower. A bearish retest of 70% BTC dominance failed, sending the important crypto market metric falling back lower to the second ascending trendline.
Related Reading | Altcoin Season Is Here: “Buy Crypto” Surpases Bitcoin Searches On Google
With the 63% level now lost also, BTC dominance should gravitate toward the mid-50% range, allowing altcoins to soar compared to Bitcoin for an extended period of time.
Altcoins could also theoretically hold up better in a wider correction, but that scenario is unlikely as the riskier assets typically are more volatile and react more sensitively to greater crypto market selloffs.
Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com
John McAfee faces more charges connected to money laundering and wire fraud
According to the United States Department of Justice, Manhattan Federal Court today charged John McAfee and his team’s executive adviser Jimmy Gale Watson Jr for fraud and money laundering conspiracy crimes.
McAfee has been charged with securities fraud, touting, and wire fraud among other offenses stemming from the fraudulent promotion of crypto that federal law recognized as securities.
On 6 October last year, United States watchdog, Securities Exchange Commissions (SEC) charged the founder of the McAfee antivirus software firm for allegedly making over $23 million in the process of shilling seven initial coin offerings. Jimmy Gale Watson Jr. was also charged for violating Securities’ law in real-time on Twitter for shilling the ICOs along with McAfee.
The ICOs reportedly raised $41 million in the process with half of those proceeds pocketed by McAfee.
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss alleged that the duo exploited social media and “enthusiasm” among investors in the “emerging crypto market” to make millions through “lies and deception.” She further claimed:
…[McAfee and Watson] allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives.
The investors of these ICOs allegedly concealed the fact that they were compensating McAfee and his team for their promotional tweets through funds raised from public ICO investors.
While McAfee is currently detained in Spain on separate criminal charges filed by the DoJ’s Tax Division. Watson was arrested on 4 March in Texas and will be presented before a federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of Texas, today.
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PAID Network exploiter nets $3 million in infinite mint attack
Paid Network, a DeFi platform aimed at real-world businesses, has been exploited today in an “infinite mint” attack that has sent PAID token prices plunging upwards of 85%.
While the exploit netted nearly $180 million in PAID tokens at the time of the attack — what would have comfortably been the largest exploit of a DeFi protocol — the hacker’s payday will end up being far less. One observer noted that the attacker’s wallet only converted some of their tokens to wrapped ether, leaving the rest in rapidly-devaluing PAID tokens:
Summary of $PAID incident:
Total PAID swapped to WETH: 2079.603371141493
Total PAID left in account: 594,717,455.71
Total amount in attacker account = $27,418,034.33
Stay Safe. pic.twitter.com/Lz93qGKAq0
— vasa (@vasa_develop) March 5, 2021
The attacker’s wallet still has over 57 million PAID tokens worth $37 million.
The exploit is conceptually similar to an attack on insurance protocol Cover that took place in late December last year. In that instance, the team took a “snapshot” of holders prior to the attack and issued a new token, returning the supply of the token to pre-exploit levels.
The team confirmed on Twitter that they are currently planning for a snapshot and restoration:
We are investigating the issue. We pulled liquidity, are creating a new smart contract, & will be restoring everyone’s original balances to before the hack.
Those with staked, Lpool & UniFarm $PAID will have their tokens be sent to them manually.
We will share more updates soon
— PAID NETWORK (@paid_network) March 5, 2021
However, token holders anxious for a resolution may be out of luck. Some in the community are speculating that the attack on PAID wasn’t an exploit at all, but instead a “rugpull” — a colloquial term for an insider designing contracts to specifically make them exploitable and swiping user funds.
Nick Chong of Parafi Capital noted on Twitter that Paid’s deployer contract, an externally controlled account, transferred ownership of the deployer to the attacker shortly before the mint, indicating that a member of the team either rugpulled, or errantly allowed the attack to take place with a security lapse:
Paid Network’s deployer, an EOA, transferred ownership of a contract to the attacker 30 mins before the minthttps://t.co/h14GdV4fCf
— Nick Chong (@n2ckchong) March 5, 2021
Additionally, a DeFi risk analysis account @WARONRUGS warned of exactly this exploit in late January, noting that the contract owner can mint PAID tokens at any time:
❌ Scam Advisory #86- PAID Network $PAID (0x8c8687fC965593DFb2F0b4EAeFD55E9D8df348df)
Reason: The owner can mint tokens and did mint tokens to fresh wallets who never bought the presale. Contract is behind a proxy.
Likeliness of losing all funds: Very High
— #WARONRUGS❌ (@WARONRUGS) January 25, 2021
An on-chain note sent to the attacker has ominously warned that “the LAPD will be in contact with Kyle Chasse very shortly.” Kyle Chasse is the CEO of Paid Network.
Paid Network did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
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