Fintech CEO: Australia Sees Digital Assets as a Matter of Autonomy in Planning Exchange & Custody Regs
Last month, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg laid out plans moving forward for the cryptocurrency space in a speech to the Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce. His plans include a regulatory framework for the use of digital assets and how it would work as a method of payment. Additionally, he noted that the country’s payment system is something of an extension of its sovereignty, with digital assets being an opportunity.
“Australia isn’t one of the first countries you think of when you think of digital assets, but the comments from Frydenberg are definitely encouraging. Especially that the government should start to build a licensing framework for exchanges and custody providers. What this industry desperately needs is to begin looking at the flaws currently found within the custody space,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“In terms of licensing, it is hard because digital assets are so new, so there really isn’t a tried and true method of what licensing should look like. This is an opportunity for government to work with the industry and build regs that make sense rather than driving innovation away,” noted Gardner. “Frydenberg seems to be striking that conciliatory tone, so it could be a real positive.”
For his part, Frydenberg said within his speech:
For consumers, these changes will establish a regulatory framework to underpin their growing use of crypto assets and clarify the treatment of new payment methods… Australia has an opportunity to be among the leading countries in the world in leveraging this new technology.
“I think the most interesting part of what’s coming out of Australia is that they are looking at exchanges and custody. Instituting exchange compliance without custody compliance just doesn’t make sense, and there is much left to be desired from our custody firms,” Gardner noted.
Fireblocks, which is among the best known custody providers, found itself embroiled in a lawsuit with StakeHound, which alleges the custody company lost roughly $70MM of Ethereum, after the key vanished. As a result, StakeHound could not access over 38,000 ETH.
“Regulators are slow to the draw here, and many are still having a hard time figuring out what to do with exchanges. You don’t want to regulate it to starvation, as we’re seeing in Japan. But, there needs to be a commonsense rulebook which we can all follow. Custody is the elephant in the room that most aren’t even considering yet,” said Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“Many still think of custody as similar to custody in traditional assets. Custody in crypto is just so much more complex. There are bad actors, such as hackers, to consider. How do we guard billions of dollars’ worth of assets from malfeasance and incompetence? There’s a lot to such a task, and I’m not sure that any of the companies currently in the space are up to the challenge,” said Gardner.
Nigeria’s Currency in Circulation Drops by 235% Due to Central Bank’s Redesign Policy
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reported a significant drop in the currency in circulation in the country following its redesign policy that plunged the nation into untold hardship.
The figures obtained from the CBN by Investors King revealed that N2.3 trillion was mopped up from circulation from October 2022 to February 2023, resulting in a 235.03% decline to N982.09 billion from N3.29 trillion reported at the end of October 2022.
The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to address several challenges associated with currency management, including hoarding of banknotes, shortage of clean and fit banknotes, and increased risk of counterfeiting.
The CBN employed an “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in Nigeria. This approach involved tracking the movements of currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
For every withdrawal made by a Deposit Money Bank (DMB) at one of CBN’s branches, an increase in the currency in circulation was recorded, and for every deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, a decrease in the currency in circulation was recorded.
The apex bank said analysis of the currency in circulation showed that a large and increasing proportion of the naira outside the commercial banking system was held by the public who hoard a lot of the new banknotes.
At the expiration of the deadline for the old notes, due to the scarcity of the new naira notes, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the continued use of the old N200 as legal tender till April 10.
However, after some state governments sued the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy, the Supreme Court in its ruling on March 3 extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to December 31.
The drop in the currency in circulation has caused some hardship to Nigerians, and the continued use of old notes as legal tender has been approved to ease the situation.
The CBN has ordered commercial banks to comply with the Supreme Court verdict and extend the legal tender status of the old notes.
Npower Release Update on Failed Payment, Send Validation Link to Affected Beneficiaries
The management of Npower scheme, NASIMs has sent validation links to Npower batch C, Stream 2 beneficiaries. NASIMs noted that the link will be used to validate the details of beneficiaries with failed payments.
NASIMs had earlier stated that it noticed that some Npower beneficiaries are having issues with detail validation which has affected both their payment and status in the programme.
NASIMs further added that an SMS link will be sent to all selected beneficiaries for the purpose of profile validation.
It would be recalled that a significant number of batch C, Stream 2 Npower beneficiaries had taken to social media to complain of non-payment of their allowances after their colleagues had received theirs.
Therefore, the validation message sent by NASIMs to Batch C, Stream 2 N-Power Beneficiaries read: “This is to notify you that we encountered issues validating the details you provided on your N-Power (NASIMS) profile. This could be due to an error in data entry or in the case of your bank account, invalid/inactive account.
Kindly use the link below to validate your BVN and account details to continue maintaining your status on the N-Power Program.”
However, Investors King gathered that if you have received your payment as Npower Batch C, Stream 2 Beneficiary, you do not need to validate your account again.
The revalidation process is primarily aimed to rectify errors in payment issues for those who are yet to receive any payment.
A check on the Npower platform further shows that affected beneficiaries will need to provide their Npower Identification Number, BVN and Bank Account to validate their details. This will ensure they received their backlog payment.
If you have not received an SMS from Npower and you are one of the affected beneficiaries, you can however log on to http://validation.nasim.ng to validate your details.
Digital Banking Startup Credable Raises $2.5 Million Seed Round to Expand Offerings
Mumbai-based digital Banking Platform that is driving the future of banking by embedding financial services in businesses across emerging markets Credable, has raised a $2.5 million seed round to expand its offerings to emerging markets.
Speaking on the latest seed raised, the company’s CEO Nadeem Juma disclosed that Credable is seeking to offer banking services to the unbanked while planning to become the unit for emerging markets as it has rolled out plans to expand its offerings to large markets where the regulatory environment is conducive and businesses with profitable channels across MENAP and West Africa.
In his words,
“The problem we’re trying to solve is that a huge population of underbanked customers need banking services to improve their livelihoods. They are in different channels that they use every day, like telco-led mobile money, e-commerce platforms, and gig economy apps.
“Rather than try to create a new channel to bank these customers, we aim to enable these channels through a B2B2C offering that provides the customers with the banking services they need in the channels they’re already in.”
He further added that Africa’s most populous nations Nigeria, and Pakistan are at the top of its list of markets it seeks to expand its offerings.
Last May, Credable launched two products in East Africa, a 30-day term loan product in partnership with Vodacom M-Pesa in Tanzania and a short-term lending product for Diamond Trust Bank in Kenya.
The startup is committed to working capital and eradicating credit challenges faced by small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the new digital world. It aims to create inclusive growth for small businesses by providing them with cash management, payment, credit, and growth tools that will enable small business owners to efficiently grow and manage their businesses.”
Credable also hopes to address one financial malpractice which is predatory microlending, which typically involves imposing unfair and deceptive loan terms on end consumers.
Investors King understands that the startup handholds its business customers through product design, development, and management and works with them to ensure the product is relevant to its end consumers.
The platform syncs in with the existing accounting software and bank accounts of a business and provides real-time data that helps them make informed decisions to manage financial operations like collection and payments and avail instant, collateral-free access to working capital financing along with other growth tools.
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