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Binance Suspends Deposits in Nigeria Following Central Bank Directive

Nigeria’s central bank told financial institutions they couldn’t provide crypto companies or users with services on Friday.

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Nigeria’s central bank told financial institutions they couldn’t provide crypto companies or users with services on Friday.

Feb 5, 2021 at 10:08 p.m. UTC

Binance Suspends Deposits in Nigeria Following Central Bank Directive

Binance has temporarily suspended deposits in Nigerian naira – the country’s local fiat currency – in response to a Friday letter from Nigeria’s central bank (CBN) instructing local banks to identify and close all accounts tied to cryptocurrency platforms or operations.

The CBN letter told local banking institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited under a 2017 circular stating bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country. While the move might impact fiat on- and off-ramps, most of the nation’s crypto trading occurs on peer-to-peer platforms and remains unaffected, according to sources in Nigeria.

In a statement, Binance announced its Nigerian naira payment partners suspended deposit services until further notice, starting from 7 p.m. local time (GMT+1) as of Friday, adding that it is monitoring the situation closely.

“Withdrawal services remain normal and will continue to be processed but might take slightly longer time than usual,” the statement said.

Central bank ban

The CBN directive comes just months after protesters in Nigeria used bitcoin to raise funds after authorities reportedly shuttered bank accounts associated with the movement.

Since the letter started making rounds on the internet, Nigerian crypto users tweeted the hashtag #WeWantOurCryptoBack over 26,000 times, according to data obtained from SproutSocial.

But professionals in the crypto space do not believe the panic will last, or it will have any impact on crypto adoption.

Nigeria-based software and blockchain engineer Tosin Olugbenga told CoinDesk the CBN may have issued the directive because of the bitcoin price run of 2020 and growing interest in cryptocurrencies worldwide is causing Nigerians to convert their earnings to crypto.

“They’re moving money from naira to crypto. That is what the CBN sees and has taken issue with. It is not banning crypto trading. It’s just telling financial institutions not to allow their platforms to be used to buy or sell crypto on exchanges like binance,” Olugbenga said.

Olugbenga added that most crypto transactions in Nigeria happen on peer-to-peer exchanges, so once the panic dies down trading will continue as usual.

“The news has caused a panic in the crypto space, especially for new crypto investors, but the true essence of crypto is decentralization. [The] majority of crypto trades that occur in Nigeria are peer-to-peer,” Aronu Ugochukwu, chief executive officer of DeFi platform Xend Finance, told CoinDesk via an email.

So far, the CBN has not provided an official reason for the sudden order that is sending panic through social media.

Nigeria is the latest government to take an interest in regulating the space: India is once again considering a ban on private cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, said bitcoin facilitates questionable transactions and should be regulated on a global scale.

Read the CBN letter below:

Letter issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Feb. 5, 2021

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/binance-suspends-deposits-in-nigeria-following-central-bank-directive

binance-suspends-deposits-in-nigeria-following-central-bank-directive

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World’s Oldest Central Bank Extends Digital Currency Test Till 2022

Riksbank said it would continue developing a technical solution for a central bank-issued e-krona under its pilot project.

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Sweden’s Riksbank said it would continue work with Accenture on a potential e-krona digital currency until next year.

(Mario Ortiz/Shutterstock)

Feb 17, 2021 at 10:12 a.m. UTC

World’s Oldest Central Bank Extends Digital Currency Test Till 2022

The world’s oldest central bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, is to extend its pilot project for a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC) for another 12 months.

According to a press release on Friday, the project, which is being carried out with assistance from professional services firm Accenture, will run until February 2022.

The Riksbank said it would continue developing a technical solution for a central bank-issued e-krona “as a complement to cash,” with the primary objective being for the bank to increase its knowledge around the technology.

For 2021, the institution will continue developing its potential digital currency offering with a focus on performance and scalability. Testing offline functions and bringing external participants into the test environment is also on the table.

The project has raised some concerns from Sweden’s commercial banking sector over the viability of a sovereign CBDC and how that would impact the entire banking system.

There is no final decision over the issuance of the e-krona despite strong lobbying from the central bank to government last year. But with traditional cash seeing falling use, even more so during the coronavirus pandemic, Sweden has been mulling a switch to the CBDC.

However, questions still remain over the digital currency’s ultimate design and underlying technology, according to Friday’s release.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/sweden-central-bank-digital-krona-extension

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Bitcoin Mining: Wasted Energy or a Better, Greener System?

Harry Sudock, VP of strategy at GRIID Infrastructure on the modern energy landscape, how far we’ve come and where bitcoin mining fits.

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Is it wasteful to use electricity mining bitcoin? As the Biden Administration settles into power with an ambitious agenda around clean energy, notably promising to eliminate carbon emissions from the US power generation sector by 2035, the question of bitcoin mining and it’s ever-growing use of energy bubbles up once more.

In this episode of ‘On Purpose, With Tyrone Ross,’ Harry Sudock, VP of strategy at GRIID Infrastructure joins the show to discuss the modern energy landscape, how far we’ve come and where bitcoin mining can fit into a sustainable energy system.

The greatest number of people living in poverty are children, we need to change that. If you can, get involved and give back to NoKidHungry.org. Love and Light. I appreciate you!

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Source: https://www.coindesk.com/podcasts/on-purpose-with-tyrone-ross/bitcoin-mining-harry-sudock

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Deutsche Bank Quietly Plans to Offer Crypto Custody, Prime Brokerage- CoinDesk

The bank’s game plan was hidden in plain sight in a widely overlooked report by the World Economic Forum.

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The bank’s game plan was hidden in plain sight in a widely overlooked report by the World Economic Forum.

Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Feb 13, 2021 at 2:10 a.m. UTCUpdated Feb 13, 2021 at 2:18 a.m. UTC

Deutsche Bank Quietly Plans to Offer Crypto Custody, Prime Brokerage

Deutsche Bank has joined the growing ranks of large financial institutions exploring cryptocurrency custody, with aspirations to offer high-touch services to hedge funds that invest in the asset class.

The Deutsche Bank Digital Asset Custody prototype aims to develop “a fully integrated custody platform for institutional clients and their digital assets providing seamless connectivity to the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem,” according to a little-noticed report by the World Economic Forum, host of the annual gathering of muckety-mucks in Davos, Switzerland.

In a passage buried on page 23 of the December 2020 report, Germany’s largest bank says it plans to create a trading and token issuance platform, bridging digital assets with traditional banking services, and managing the array of digital assets and fiat holdings in one easy-to-use platform.

Big banks are now announcing plans to enter crypto custody on an almost daily basis, with Bank of New York Mellon, the world’s largest custodian bank, joining the party earlier this week.

U.S. banks were given some regulatory clarity thanks to last year’s interpretation letters from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In Germany, firms are queuing up to get their hands on special crypto custody licenses from the country’s regulator, BaFIN.

Deutsche, the world’s 21st largest bank, said it aims to “ensure the safety and accessibility of assets for clients by offering an institutional-grade hot/cold storage solution with insurance-grade protection.” No specific cryptocurrencies or tokens are mentioned.

The digital asset custody platform would be launched in stages. It would eventually provide clients with the ability to buy and sell digital assets via a partnership with prime brokers (which act sort of like concierges for hedge funds), issuers and vetted exchanges.

The bank says it would also provide “value-added services such as taxation, valuation services and fund administration, lending, staking and voting, and provide an open-banking platform to allow onboarding of third-party providers.”

The service would be aimed at asset managers, wealth managers, family offices, corporates and digital funds, the bank said.

In terms of a business model, the bank would start out collecting custody fees, it said, later charging fees for tokenization and trading.

Deutsche said it has completed a proof of concept and is aiming for a minimum viable product in 2021, while exploring global client interest for a pilot initiative.

The bank’s press office could not be reached for comment Friday evening. A spokesperson had declined to comment on potential plans for a digital asset custody business when contacted last week by CoinDesk.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/deutsche-bank-crypto-custody-prime-brokerage

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