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Blockchain News

South Korea Central Bank Believes CBDCs Can Increase Banks’ Interest Rates

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The South Korea Central Bank seems to be a lot in the crypto news lately and today’s again for issuing a warning over central bank digital currencies according to a report from local news outlet Yonhap News Agency.

CBDCs are basically state-backed digital currencies that involve a blockchain-based version of a certain country’s fiat currency by circulating in tandem or totally replacing the paper notes and coins.

South Korea decided against the use of CBDCs while other countries are looking into the possibility of using them. The decision comes after a six-month consultation with the Bank of Korea. The central bank claims that CBDCs can lead to mass withdrawals of funds that will lead to squeezing the liquidity and will push up the interest rates:

 “The CBDC is a kind of a BOK-issued bank account. People trust it more than one in a commercial bank. Demand deposits are one of the biggest sources of loans by banks. When people pull out their money, banks raise rates, or lower the reserve ratio, to secure more funds.”

The Bank of Korea has previously stated:

 “We have no plans to issue any type of CBDC that is available for all people in the near future. We have to work further on the benefits and costs of CBDC implementation first.”

Seoul decided not to make any major changes to its stance on cryptocurrency in general. However, in other countries such as Switzerland, the Bank of International Settlements provided support where it shows that 70 percent of the central banks worldwide are conducting a CBDC research in some form for 2019.

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Blockchain News

Guangdong Province In China To Use Blockchain-Based Tax Payment Platform

The Chinese province Guangdong, more specifically the Municipal Taxation Bureau of the province announced that they are considering the implementation of an electronic invoice platform that will be blockchain-based mainly for the e-commerce industry according to the blockchain news media outlet Southern News Network reported today. The Guangdong Province in China is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and opening a blockchain-based electronic tax service is a huge opportunity for the merchants and customers that aim to extend their experience for the larger level of e-commerce field. The blockchain-based electronic invoice platform will allow for the taxation authority to improve the efficiency and transparency of all the invoice services according to the published press release. The Southern News Network wrote:
 “Blockchain technology has established a highly mutual trust data sharing mechanism among tax authorities, invoice service providers, taxpayers and other parties. This is a major reason for the tax authorities to take a new step in deepening the [technological] reform [by] the distribution services.”
Back in December 2018, one of the bigger cities in the Guangdong province-Shenzhen announced its success story of how blockchain technology helped with the tax invoices via the messaging app WEChat payment platform. Also, last year in November, the capital of the Guangdong and one of the most developed economic zones in China, Guangzhou, was chosen as a headquarters city for the new blockchain alliance. The alliance involves 54 different companies and is promoting blockchain technology in finances and trading. Countries around the world are opting for blockchain-based tax solutions because of the higher efficiency and transparency.
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Blockchain News

Mining Giant Bitmain Launches New Generation ASIC Mining Chip

One of the largest ASIC hardware manufacturers in China-Bitmain is in our crypto news today for announcing its new generation ASIC mining chip that is 7nm (nanometer) according to their official press release published today. The new hardware BM1397 that will be used to mine Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash uses the SHA256 algorithm for their proof-of-work method. Other cryptocurrencies can be mined as well but the new hardware will be mostly focused on BTC and BCH. BM1397 will require a lot less power for the mining process and will show an improvement of 28.6 percent in power efficiency compared to the previous nano 7nm chip BM1391. The newer version of the chip will be used for the new Antminer models S17 and T17 which are expected to be revealed later this year. As previously reported, Bitmain has gone through a lot of problems with the prolonged bear market since many employees were laid off but also there were at least two class action lawsuits that were filed against the company. The hardware giant also shut down a few of its development centers in Israel and Texas and they also reduced operations in the Netherlands a couple of months ago. The harsh bear market brought a lot of problems for many mining companies which are also facing hundreds of challenges because of the market crash. For example, the Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group stated that the company is giving up on the Bitcoin mining hardware sector back in December because of the harsh Q4 losses. At the same time, USA hardware manufacturer Nvidia also stated that is one of the companies that were hit the most by the market downturn.
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Blockchain News

Waste Management Firm Launches Blockchain Platform In A City In UAE

In the latest cryptocurrency news, we are focusing on a blockchain-enabled waste permit portal which will be launched in Sharjah, a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the country's official news agency and the reports by the Emirates News Agency (WAM). The blockchain-based waste permit portal will be developed by environmental, recycling and waste management company Bee'ah and the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) which is the city's trade zone. According to WAM, this platform is the first in the city to employ blockchain technology to validate, process and store transactions. As the report mentioned, the platform will cut costs for customers applying for permits within HFZA as well as reduce the permit-issuing time from several days to only a few hours. The statement also claims that “all transactions are completely secured, essentially eliminating any human error or fraud.” The CEO of Bee'ah said that he expects the technology "will not only facilitate seamless operations, but also increase trust between customers and operators.” As we reported in December, the UAE central bank is collaborating with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to issue a cryptocurrency accepted in cross-border transactions between two countries. With this, the UAE confirmed that it is looking to join the list of leading destinations for blockchain-related businesses in 2019 due to the promising new crypto-related legislation.
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Japanese E-Commerce Giant Rakuten’s App To Support Crypto Payments

One of the largest e-commerce companies in Japan-Rakuten announced a new update that we look into in today’s crypto news for their Rakuten Pay mobile app that will reportedly support cryptocurrency payments according to their official press release. Rakuten is known as the Amazon of Japan which includes the cryptocurrency exchange ‘’Everybody’s Bitcoin’’ as a part of the payment subsidiary-Rakuten Payment. The payment subsidiary will include the prepaid card service of the corporation Rakuten Edy. The earnings release of the company notes that Edy will be supported in the newly updated app and will provide support for QR code payments. The update doesn’t say which crypto will be supported nor does it explicitly mention crypto support but says that ‘’all payment solutions’’ will be supported on the platform as a part of the subsidiary, Rakuten Payment. Rakuten acquired the Everybody’s Bitcoin crypto exchange back in August 2018 which cost about $2.4 million deal. The representatives of the company made clear that the firm is considering entering the crypto exchange industry because the role of cryptocurrency payment in e-commerce will grow in the near future. Also, in the earnings release, Rakuten showed a net income for 2018 of nearly 142 billion yen which is about $1.3 billion which is a 24 percent increase since 2017. Back in 2015, Rakuten announced they started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a method of payment according to their official American portal Rakuten.com. It’s interesting that another Japanese finance giant SBI Holdings also seems to be extremely interested in crypto. The company even launched its own crypto exchange dubbed Vctrade in July 2018 and the exchange accepts deposits in some of the largest cryptocurrencies by the end of December 2018.
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