Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has unveiled its plan to launch a live wholesale Singapore dollar-based central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by local banks for the purpose of settlements.
“I am pleased to announce that MAS will pilot the ‘live’ issuance of wholesale CBDCs to instantaneously settle payments across commercial banks,” MAS managing director Ravi Menon said at the recent Singapore Fintech Festival.
MAS had previously only simulated the issuance of a CBDC in test environments. Menon said MAS would soon partner with Singaporean banks to test using a CBDC as a settlement asset for domestic payments.
As part of the test program, Menon explained that banks will issue tokenised liabilities that represent claims on their balance sheets. Retail customers could use those tokenised liabilities to transact with merchants, which would be settled via an automatic transfer of a wholesale CBDC.
“Clearing and settlement thus occur in a single step, on the same infrastructure, unlike the current system in which clearing and settlement take place on different systems, and settlement occurs with a lag,” he said.
In a recent US Senate hearing, a cybersecurity professional has openly endorsed United States Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act.
At the hearing, Warren outlined the significant increase in crypto scams targeting senior citizens in the US. She said: “Last year, we saw a 350 per cent increase in crypto investment scams targeting seniors. That is the biggest spike among all age groups. That added up to more than $1 billion that seniors lost in crypto scams.”
At the hearing, Steve Weisman, a well-known expert on scams and cybersecurity highlighted that unlike credit card fraud which can be swiftly identified, stopped, and traced, crypto poses greater challenges with being transparent.
He said that with crypto, once it passes through mixers, tracing becomes significantly more challenging. “Once it goes into the mixers then you have problems. There is a legitimate privacy concern that people may have, but it does not come anywhere near to the scammers,” Weisman said.
The scheduled halving of Bitcoin in April 2024, a phenomenon that historically triggers significant market shifts, could lead to some more crypto companies to fail.
The halving event, this being the fourth one, is typically surrounded by speculation and strategic planning, and also brings about a sense uncertainty for some companies. Historically, Bitcoin halving events — which reduce mining rewards by half — have triggered substantial changes in the crypto landscape. These changes often lead to increased market activity and heightened investor interest.
However, basing an entire business strategy on the outcomes of the halving can be a double-edged sword. Focusing solely on short-term gains could lead to missed opportunities or strategic errors that endanger a company's future viability, according to an analysis on Cointelegraph.