Značka: Ukraine

Binance taps former central bank exec to push compliance in CIS and Russia

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is putting more effort into increasing compliance in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia and Ukraine.Binance is planning to extend its operations in the region and boost local cryptocurrency compliance and education, Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s head of operations for Russia and the CIS, told Cointelegraph on Tuesday. The company additionally expects to focus on the local Binance Smart Chain (BSC) development and community, he noted.As part of the effort, Binance announced several local hires, including Olga Goncharova, Binance’s new director of government relations in Russia and the CIS.Goncharova previously served at the Bank of Russia as director of the bank’s report processing department from 2014. She was responsible for processing financial statements from companies under the central bank’s supervision, also leading several Bank of Russia’s projects related to fintech and digital transformation.“Binance places a great emphasis on regulation and compliance in jurisdictions of operation. Binance’s unique community, cutting-edge technology and innovative approach to work give Binance great opportunities for further development,” Goncharova said.Vladimir Smerkis, co-founder of the cryptocurrency platform Tokenbox, has also joined Binance as director of Binance Russia. Other new regional hires include former BNP Paribas exec Kirill Khomyakov, who will act as general manager of Binance Ukraine.“With a proven track record, the new executives will certainly have a positive impact on Binance’s growing presence in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe,” Kostarev said.Related: Bank of Russia to allow crypto investment via foreign firmsThe latest news marks a significant strategic move by Binance as the region has been increasingly emerging as one of the world’s biggest crypto spots and mining centers.Kazakhstan, a major CIS member state, is the second biggest Bitcoin (BTC) mining country after the United States, responsible for 18% of the total BTC mining hash rate as of October 2021. Going next to Kazakhstan, Russia produces 11% of the entire global BTC mining hash rate and is the third-largest visitor of Binance’s website, according to data from SimilarWeb.

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From eNaira to eHryvnia, a Caribbean fintech develops CBDC around the world

Barbados, a paradise island in the West Indies, is known for its azure beaches, tidal waves, shipwrecks, homegrown grown Barbadian (Bajan) hospitality, and more recently, an influx of remote workers. Now, one can add cryptocurrency innovations to that list as well. Bitt, a Bajan fintech firm developing blockchain technology, has successfully created the eNaira central bank digital currency, or CBDC, for Nigeria and is on the path to creating an electronic Hryvnia for Ukraine.In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Brian Popelka, chief executive officer of Bitt, discussed the technology behind the eNaira and the roadmap for the firm going forward. CT: Would you please describe the technology behind the eNaira digital currency that you created?Brian Popelka: It’s really a stablecoin minted by the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]. So it is, unlike any of the typical cryptocurrencies or even a stablecoin, this […] Is a digital version of the fiat currency within Nigeria. So this is government money. It can be transacted by a user who has downloaded a wallet through the various app stores and at participating merchants. So the ecosystem that we’ve worked with the CBN, the Central Bank of Nigeria, to deploy our technology allows the central bank to have mint and all the rights around minting.Then, they distribute the digital version of that coin to participating financial institutions. Afterwards, those financial institutions can transact with merchants and consumers using the eNaira. So a little bit different than Bitcoin (BTC) in that it is a fiat currency. And, and while we certainly utilize smart contract technology […] We’re built on a hyper ledger transaction network. So it’s a closed-loop within the Nigerian government.Related: Eastern Caribbean CBDC expands to another two territoriesCT: And so why did the Nigerian government, out of all the fintech firms in the world, select you guys, a crypto firm that’s based in Barbados, to embark on this project?BP: Yeah, so certainly born in Barbados, we have an office out of the U.S., and we are very proud of our Caribbean roots. Because really, the idea for digital currency was hatched in a […] Developing region where the ability to move funds around digitally can have a significant impact in the Caribbean. For example, 95% of all transactions are done physically through notes and coins, 95% of them. And so part of the mandate in the Caribbean similar to Nigeria was to […] Sort of do fewer transactions, using notes and coins, which of course, helps to eliminate some costs related to the printing and management of notes and coins.But the Central Bank of Nigeria has been on this project for a long, long time. You know, for several years, they have done a lot of work to educate themselves on the process. But the reality is that we’ve been six years in the business, we have a mature product already built, we didn’t have to build it to suit Nigeria; we already have a product built. And we were already deployed in the Eastern Caribbean with the Eastern Caribbean central bank. We were one of several, and they cut it down to a dozen. And one of the key reasons that they landed on us was, of course, we’d already had it out; [We] had the deployment, and they had a very tight timeline for being able to deploy this. So we met about an eight-week timeline to be able to go live.Could a global CBDC become a reality? A Bank for International Settlements report suggests an effective system would “need to involve both public and private actors to ensure interoperability and coexistence with the broader payment system.” https://t.co/PTOyTR06LM— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) October 3, 2021CT: Interesting. So what are some new features you guys plan to deploy?BP: The Central Bank of Nigeria has a long laundry list of feature sets they’re interested in providing. And we’re just there to help facilitate as the service provider. I think what you’ll see is a lot of stuff you would typically see in electronic transactions. So obviously, there’s the point of sale. Also, wallets that will be made available for people who don’t have bank accounts. Financial inclusion is a key issue that we would like to help solve. Remittances, interbank transfers, and cross-border payments are ultimately part of the roadmap. Micro-lending or peer-to-peer lending, those types of financial instruments could always be added to the network in the future.Related: Nigeria’s central bank partners with fintech firm Bitt Inc for CBDC rolloutCT: And are there any other cryptocurrency projects you guys are currently working on?BP: We are working on one in Eastern Europe [the digital Hryvnia] that we’re pretty excited about. It’s a project that we’re working with the Stellar Foundation on. We are also in a private pilot with, there’s no public announcement, but we are working with the National Bank of Belize on a project, it’s not a CBDC, but it’s a stablecoin project. And just so yeah, there’s plenty of work, and then, you know, the entire market is picking up steam. And so, we’re seeing inquiries and RFPs coming from all corners of the world. So we’re very excited about, you know, the opportunities that are revealing themselves right in front of us.

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Ukrainian bank uses Stellar to launch electronic hryvnia pilot

Tascombank, one of the oldest commercial banks in Ukraine, is launching a Stellar-based pilot for Ukraine’s national fiat currency, the hryvnia.The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) announced on Dec. 14 a private electronic hryvnia pilot launched by Tascombank and fintech company Bitt.The electronic hryvnia pilot is being implemented under the supervision of the National Bank of Ukraine and is supported by the Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT).Oleksandr Bornyakov, deputy minister of the MDT, said that the pilot project will provide a “technological basis for the issuance of electronic money” and is the “next key step to advance innovation of payment and financial infrastructure in Ukraine.”SDF CEO Denelle Dixon told Cointelegraph that the pilot work has already kicked off, with the first test including programmable payroll for public employees at Diia, a public IT solutions enterprise owned and supported by the MDT of Ukraine.“This regulated electronic hryvnia will be privately issued e-money on blockchain technology, built under Ukraine’s current e-money legislation,” Dixon noted.The purpose of the initiative is to test the issuance of electronic money on an open blockchain. Tascombank is responsible for building and testing the electronic hryvnia on Stellar to deploy it on Bitt’s transaction network known as Digital Currency Management System, or DCMS.“Bitt’s DCMS will equip Tascombank with all of the technology required to securely mint, store, issue, distribute, and redeem the electronic hryvnia,” Bitt CEO Brian Popelka said.While Bitt is providing a transaction network, SDF will help Tascombank “configure for their asset control needs while maintaining the interoperability and flexibility of an open ledger,” Dixon noted.Related: Ukrainian president returns virtual asset bill to parliament for revisionThe Ukrainian government has been actively exploring Stellar for digital currency implementations. In January 2021, the MDT first partnered with the SDF to develop a digital asset and infrastructure strategy for a central bank digital currency.“We continue to provide input and guidance to MDT on their strategy work,” Dixon stated, adding that the electronic hryvnia pilot project is a separate workstream.

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