Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies

Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies

By

Alexandria Arnold June 28, 2017, 11:18 AM CST

In a world were financial transactions are largely electronic, central banks are exploring the idea of using virtual currencies, even as cyberattacks and price swings dominate the headlines.

"The central bank digital currency would be like a paper bill except digital," Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. For example, "it would be representing a U.S. dollar, but it would be basically free to use."

 

 
Dartmouth’s Levin tells Bloomberg TV why central banks are exploring the move to digital currencies.
Source: Bloomberg

Whereas credit cards charge transaction fees and interest, and paper currencies can be costly to process, digital currencies could be a "real benefit" to small businesses and consumers, Levin said.

Central banks from across Europe and Asia are looking into virtual currencies. In March, Vietnam’s central bank said it was "seriously" studying the possibility of using bitcoin. The People’s Bank of China has run trials of its prototype cryptocurrency, and the Danish central bank is considering minting e-krone. But Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell said in March the U.S. central bank is not considering a digital currency.

For a replay of the inaugural Bitcoin Facebook Live show launched yesterday.

Skeptics have questioned whether one of the key features of cryptocurrencies — their decentralized nature — makes them a good fit for central banks. But in a recent proposal published by Levin and Rutgers University economics professor Michael Bordo, the pair said central banks could provide a secure store of value in their own digital currency.

"In contrast to bitcoin, the value of the central bank’s digital currency would be fixed in nominal terms," Levin and Bordo wrote. "Moreover, the central bank’s digital currency could be implemented using an account-based system, thereby avoiding the resource-consuming ‘mining’ operations involved in generating virtual currencies like bitcoin."

Source: Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies – Bloomberg

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Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

DOMINIC POWELL / Friday, June 16, 2017

A demo of the Bancor protocol. Source: Bancor.network

A new blockchain startup built on the Ethereum platform has become one of the highest funded crowdfunding projects ever, raising approximately $US153 million ($201 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO) in just three hours earlier this week.

The startup is called Bancor, and it offers a platform aimed at making it easier for other startups and users to launch, manage, and trade their own forms of blockchain currency, known as “tokens”. These tokens are managed through the Ethereum network’s “smart contracts”, which enable self-executing contracts enforced and recorded on the blockchain.

Combining these two features, the Bancor protocol offers “smart tokens”, which enable “any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes”.

The ICO was intended to run for an hour, reports Coindesk, with a funding target of 250,000 ether (the main currency of the Ethereum blockchain), or around $US95 million. Due to alleged difficulties with the network, including supposed delayed transactions, the campaign was extended an additional two hours, resulting in a total of 396,720 ether or approximately $US153 million being raised.

Over 10,000 investors got on board with the ICO, with Coindesk reporting the largest single purchase was $US27 million, equalling 6.9 million BNT, the token used by the Bancor protocol to fuel its new platform.

This was enough to shoot Bancor into the number one spot of highest funded crowdfunds, and continues the recent initial coin offering craze, with blockchain startup Brave raising $US35 million in 30 seconds via a recent ICO.

However, due to the transitory value of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, the true amount raised by these startups is ever-changing. With the value of ether increasing over 2800% this year alone, a $US153 million raise could be $50 million more, or less, in a matter of days.

The Ethereum protocol is proving to be a popular platform for successful crowdfunds, with seven of the top 10 crowdfunding projects having been based on the platform, including the crowdfund for the platform itself.