While Israel’s central bank is still non-committal on a digital shekel, a new report suggests that they have a significant amount of public support, both in order to support innovation in the fintech sector and reducing cash. It was first considered by the Bank of Israel in 2017, but it re-engaged in additional research late last year. Then, early this year, the country’s central bank noted that it was not likely to erode the banking system.
“It is positive to see the central bank in Israel identifying all the advantages associated with digital assets. Just from a competition point-of-view, it can be seen as a step in the right direction — forcing the payments sector to be more competitive is a major win, in and of itself. On the other hand, major questions still exist on the privacy front. It is important to take time and really determine how a central bank can preserve financial privacy,” 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.
“The Bank of Israel has still not made a final decision on whether it will issue a digital shekel… But all of the responses to the public consultation indicate support for continued research regarding the various implications on the payments market, financial and monetary stability, legal and technological issues, and more,” the central bank said in a report.
“The report noted that there was a split among supporters of a CBDC, with some preferring anonymity and others wanting rules which crack down on potential participation in the black market. It is just common sense that, if you allow the government full authority to track the financial transactions of the citizenry, there is a large subsection of the population which will not willingly transition and utilize it,” 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.
People take their privacy seriously, especially since we’ve seen what centralized control of our money supply can do when in the wrong hands — whether that’s Big Tech or the government — just look at what happened to those participating in the Canadian trucker convoy,” noted Gardner.
“The Bank is committed to openness and transparency in its continued research regarding the digital shekel, and expects to continue fruitful dialogue with all interested parties at all stages of research and development in the digital shekel project,” the central bank said.
Unfriendly Crypto Market Forces Crypto Exchange Luno to Trim Workforce
Crypto exchange platform Luno has trimmed its workforce by 35% following a turbulent year that rocked the crypto market.
The company has a total headcount of 960 team members according to its Linkedin profile, with its recent proposed layoff plan, the decision will impact more than 330 jobs at the company.
The company’s CEO Marcus Swanepoel in an Internal message shared with employees disclosed that the downsizing of its workforce was necessitated to enable the company effectively navigate the current crypto winter.
The message reads in part,
“As mentioned at our January kick-off earlier, it is with deep regret that I have to announce that we will be reducing our overall Luno team by 35%, impacting Lunauts in all of our regions.
“2022 has been an incredibly tough year for the broader tech industry and in particular the crypto market. Luno unfortunately hasn’t been immune to this turbulence, which has affected our overall growth and revenue numbers.
“As a result, we have to readjust our focus to maintaining our leadership position in our core markets, and continue to lay a stronger yet sustainable foundation for the business as we prepare to come out of this current cycle in a very strong position”.
The CEO further disclosed that the company’s decision will regrettably affect some of its smartest, kindest, and most hard-working team members.
Despite the collapse of one of crypto’s top exchange platforms FTX, which has sent shocking waves to the crypto industry, Luno disclosed that it was not affected even though its parent company Genesis Global faced liquidity pressures until it eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Meanwhile, several crypto companies have been forced to slash their workforce following the FTX contagion. Companies such as Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Kraken have all slashed a significant part of their workforce.
Investors King understands that more than 30,000 jobs have been cut across the crypto industry since last year. So far in 2023, more than two crypto-related firms have implemented job cuts.
Binance CEO Accuses FTX of Paying $43 Million to Tarnish Binance Image
Founder and CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has accused FTX of spreading false information about his cryptocurrency exchange company, Binance.
Investors King reports that Zhao claimed that FTX paid the sum of $43 million to a news organisation that reports on cryptocurrency in order to produce negative publications and tarnish the image of Binance.
CZ discussed the Binance FUD during an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) session on Twitter.
The Binance Founder said some organisations have continuously generated and published negative news to improve their trade.
He noted that such a media firm with crypto skeptics like Peter Schiff who keeps criticizing its brand lacks understanding.
Zhao admitted that he usually read and pay attention to the false impression the negative articles create about Binance.
He however said, “I don’t think it’s going to stop, but I don’t think it’s going to bother us that much going forward. People have now come to their own judgments. They are pretty smart today, most people are no longer fooled by clickbait titles.”
FTX Trading Ltd. is a bankrupt company that previously operated a cryptocurrency exchange and crypto hedge fund with over one million users before it folded up in November, 2022, Investors King understands.
Speaking on the AI technology Binance is making use of, CZ stated that the technology is in use in many parts of the brand.
He added that the AI will be further employed within the blockchain industry to enhance data analysis and detect critical risk changes.
“For example, roughly 75% of Binance’s customer support is handled via AI, along with risk management, transaction monitoring, fraud detection, and market manipulation detection.
“With machine learning becoming more and more mature and more stronger, there will be more and more applications,” CZ said.
Crypto Exchange Platform Coinbase Records Uptick in Trading Volume
American crypto exchange platform Coinbase has recorded an uptick in its trading volume in the first few weeks of January.
Reports disclose that the crypto exchange stands out amongst other platforms that are currently witnessing declines in trading volumes.
Conibase recorded an increase of 0.3% when compared to the last quarter of 2022, which signals a change in the direction given that the exchange saw an ongoing decline in volume in 2022.
Meanwhile, almost all other exchanges recorded less trading when compared to previous quarters. Top crypto platform Binance saw a decline of 6.2% in average daily volume, while Bitfinex and Kraken saw declines of 25.5% and 13% respectively.
Following the surge in Coinbase trading volumes, analysts at JP Morgan wrote, “We think Coinbase has been cultivating a reputation as a reputable, trusted intermediary for some time. We think that reputation is helping to drive greater market share as activity levels rebound”.
While all other exchanges are still grappling with the ripple effects of FTX collapse which has triggered increased scrutiny over the unregulated exchange in the industry, analysts revealed that coinbase remains an exception due to the fact that it did not have direct exposure to FTX and was insulated from the direct legal and reputational fallout from its demise.
Investors King understands that due to the collapse of FTX in November last year, Coinbase shares declined to more than 8%, which extended a slide that pushed the crypto exchange to its lowest point since its market debut in 2021.
Also, nineteen months after going public with a market cap of over $85 billion, Coinbase fell below the $10 billion mark.
On the other hand, the collapse of FTX has no doubt sent shocking waves to the crypto industry, as it has affected the confidence of investors, which has seen crypto companies that customized assets with FTX currently facing crisis.
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