In these series of articles, we will be discussing the General Data Protection Regulation commonly know as GDPR, and explain its relation with Distributed Ledger Technologies such as blockchain. According to Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on Protection of Personal Data, “Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her”, thus establishing data protection as one of the most important rights for EU citizens. Based on this assumption, in April 2016 the European Parliament adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), urging that businesses protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states, or even outside EU borders if transactions involve EU citizens.submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]
The measure was considered a necessary step after a report by the RSA on privacy and security called attention to some alarming data. It emerged that out of 7,500 consumers across the UK, USA, France, Germany, and Italy, 80% said that lost banking and financial information was a top concern, while 76% stated that lost security and identity information was their major worry.
GDPR and blockchain
With the rise of blockchain technology and its cryptographic approach to personal data, which conceals information like names and addresses under a code, the need for some thorough analysis and some relevant regulation became apparent. Data protection regulation principles were designed and developed in a world that only knew a centralized data management type, while blockchain raises questions on how to apply these principles in a decentralized environment. It’s understood and accepted that the issues around the overlapping of GDPR and blockchain are not about the technology itself but how the technology is used when processing personal data. Although we developed the idea that blockchains are private and anonymous, in reality, some user information can lead back to the individual’s identity even if cryptographically secured. Therefore, since this is possible, personal data processed through a blockchain is to be considered subject to the GDPR.
Personal data includes any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (the data subject). In the context of blockchain technology an individual’s public key would be considered their personal data and would therefore need GDPR compliance obligations. While the validity and relevance of blockchain technology in relation to GDPR are not questioned, there still exist many points of tension between the two.
What issues arise under GDPR?
We’ve seen that processing personal data in a blockchain still triggers GDPR compliance.
The two major issues involving GDPR and blockchain are:
GDPR identifies a Data Controller as “the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data within the EU state members or when it involves an EU citizen, even if the data processing is carried out by a non-member state entity.” (Art. 4 sec 7)
In the case of a blockchain involvement, a natural person who buys or sells bitcoin on their own behalf, for instance, is not a data controller. By contrast, a natural person who trades bitcoin on behalf of professional or commercial activity, or of other natural persons, is a data controller. If a lawyer records a client’s transaction of any sort on a blockchain, the notary is a data controller. If a bank processes a client’s financial data on a blockchain, the bank is a data controller.
The data controller is the one instigating the purposes or means of data processing. He/she/they have to be identifiable so that data subjects can enforce their legal rights under EU data protection law. Blockchain’s decentralized nature replaces a central entity with a network of nodes whose consensus makes it difficult to attribute responsibility and accountability. This is where blockchain technology clashes with GDPR.
Data Protection, GDPR, and Blockchain.
Data Processors activate personal data on behalf of the controller (Art 4 sec 8 of GDPR) where data processing essentially involves any handling of personal data. Processing includes the collection, adaptation, alteration, and recording of personal data but also its simple storage.
According to the French Data Privacy Authority (CNIL), a data processor in a blockchain can be either miners or smart contract developers. For instance, a smart contract developer who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller may be a data processor. Similarly, a miner who follows the data controllers’ instructions when validating a transaction is also a data processor. CNIL mainly draws some guidelines as it has been emphasized that a case-by-case basis should be considered in the connection between the technology and GDPR, rather than the relationship being determined in a broad and general manner.
For instance, with regard to the rights of information, access, and portability it advises that they are not problematic on blockchain technology and that a transaction submitted to the blockchain contains sufficiently transparent and visible information. CNIL also views the “right of access and the right to portability as entirely compatible with blockchains’ technical properties.”
Issues arising with the Right of Rectification and Right to Erasure
The matter becomes more complicated as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on Protection of Personal Data provides that everyone has a right to access personal data relating to them, including a right to have such data rectified or erased.
That’s why the GDPR includes the “Right of Rectification”, that grants data subjects the right to have their data amended in case of inaccurate information; and the “Right of Erasure” (or “Right to be forgotten”) which adds the right of data subjects to obtain from a data controller and the data processor an obligation to erase their personal data.
How can something be deleted or rectified from an immutable blockchain then?
The immutability of the blockchain and the fact that it is a permanent and transparent ledger gives rise to GDPR compliance issues. As GDPR requires that personal data must not be kept longer than it is necessary for the purpose for which it is processed, this may be an issue with blockchains where the data cannot be deleted.
Not all blockchains are immutable though or subject to a predefined and permanent consensus. Permissioned (or private) blockchains, for example, allow participants to establish a governance structure where roles can be clearly defined, contractual terms satisfying GDPR requirements can be embedded, and technological solutions granting individual rights can be built into the blockchain.
With permissionless (open and public) blockchains, the most-compliant approach to these issues is to avoid storing personal data on the blockchain altogether, using for example an off-chain (append-only) data storage approach. If the data is stored off-chain, then it would be easier to process the erasure of the information. On the other hand, if the data is stored on-chain in an encrypted way, then the deletion of the encryption key could be a fair compromise. Because of the immutable nature of blockchains, the data would not be erased as such, however, it would be made inaccessible.
In essence, unless there is a blockchain rollback resorting to a hard fork, as happened with the DAO hack in 2016, open blockchain’s data cannot be deleted. The best practice would be to store all personal data “off-chain” which can then be linked back to the ledger by a hash. Through the erasure of hash functions’ private keys, editing and verifying the hashed information would no longer be possible and confidentiality would no longer be compromised.
Rather than posing a risk for individuals’ fundamental privacy rights and freedoms, blockchain technology represents a tool that grants data subjects exclusive possession and control over their personal information.
Without question, the EU consideration of the blockchain approach to GDPR is a further legitimization of the technology. Even though the blockchain itself may be immutable or can only be updated under specific circumstances, the requirements of GDPR may indeed still be fulfilled. It will soon become obvious that rather than posing a risk for individuals’ fundamental privacy rights and freedoms, blockchain technology represents a tool that grants data subjects exclusive possession and control over their personal information.
Furthermore, as the technology evolves, the digital ecosystem will offer a variety of peer-to-peer networks; from public distributed ledgers developed that grant unrestricted access and equal roles to everybody, to private networks developed with proprietary software that will grant access to selected participants only. Mixed private and public blockchains will provide an additional structure that could range from some nodes running a piece of the protocol to other nodes that could act as block validators.
Stay tuned for the next article with more insights about blockchain technology, its use, and implications by following us on our social media channels.
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There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
submitted by UMITop to u/UMITop [link] [comments]
Cryptocurrencies are ill suited to money laundering
As a tool for money laundering, cryptocurrencies are a lot less universal and convenient than bank payments and cash.
Unlike cash transactions and bank transfers, transactions in decentralized blockchains are easily traceable. Cryptocurrencies are transparent in nature — all transactions are recorded and publicly accessible. If you can accumulate considerable volume of data, you can determine who's behind a bitcoin address used for money laundering. Besides, you cannot use the ВТС network and other cryptocurrency networks to transfer a large amount of money — such a transaction would be immediately brought to attention of law enforcement.
The experience of fighting against the Darknet (the illegal Internet) shows that states can fight against cyber crime while anonymity of cryptocurrencies is greatly exaggerated. Legal cryptocurrency platforms have demonstrated a long-standing trend of using KYC principles (provision of complete information about a user) — exchanging currencies anonymously is getting harder. Special services can connect transactions to specific users, sometimes using the blockchain technology itself to do it.
Super anonymous coins that encrypt transaction data (Monero, Dash, ZCash and others) cannot save criminals either — there are methods that can be used to break down these transactions. However, some experts state that cryptocurrency technologies evolve really fast and will soon become completely untraceable. In any case, to withdraw cryptocurrencies and turn them into fiat money, you would have to “burn” your actual bank accounts, thus reducing the entire anonymity level.
It is often mentioned that criminals use the so-called “mixers” — software and services where transactions can be run by mixing your coins and coins owned by other users to maintain confidentiality. It allows you to hide your withdrawal data and addresses, as well as your real identities. However, according to the above mentioned Chainalysis report, most users prefer to use mixers to ensure confidentiality and not to conduct illegal activity. This method is only used to launder 8 % of all money passing through.
Moreover, special services can track transactions passing through mixers which makes them suspicious by default. This is why criminals are not overenthusiastic to use them — cash and banks are more secure.
As you can see, cryptocurrencies are not all that convenient for criminals though it may seem so. They are an excessive intermediate since actual laundering requires cashing out and it's getting harder to do so anonymously by the day.
Banks are the key “laundromats” of the criminal underworld
Let's turn to the best part now. Criminals launder most money via regulated banks seen as ideal by the states. They can annually launder up to $ 2 trln. Think about it: trillions of dollars laundered through the banks.
Many of the world's biggest banks have been involved in money laundering schemes and fined for this. For instance, Wells Fargo, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co and the Bank of America, Standard Chartered and others. Last year, it turned out that Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Raiffeisen had helped criminals launder $ 8.8 bln over a period of 7 years. It's only three bank conglomerates seen as strongholds of honesty and security. Imagine how much money has been laundered via other banks, including “shadow” banks.
In 2019, various companies around the world were fined for being involved in money laundering schemes worth of the record $ 8.14 bln. It's twice as much as in 2018. Two thirds of the fines were attributed to banks — $ 6.2 bln, and 17% — to gaming and gambling organizations. The best joke is that these fines are a drop in the ocean for the banks while money laundering cannot be undone.
According to the August report by the Mexican Finance Intelligence Unit, local criminals still prefer to launder money using conventional financial institutions, mostly banks, as well as brokerage firms and exchange companies. Seven biggest and most regulated Mexican banks that control 80 % of all assets in the national financial sector run the biggest number of transactions with black money (no specific amounts are given).
Moreover, Mexican banks have long been known to deal with activities of this kind. In 2012, one of them — HSBC — paid a record $ 1.92 bln in fines to the US authorities after the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels were caught using this bank for laundering drug-related money.
A short time ago, the international payment system SWIFT used by all of the world's banks published a report drafted in partnership with the financial research firm Bae Systems. The report noted that cryptocurrencies are rarely used for money laundering — with criminals preferring the more conventional ways. These include: using the so-called “money mules” — intermediaries who allow to use their accounts for transferring illegal money; hacking bank accounts, bribing bank officials, using shell companies and casinos.
The report also lists examples of laundering big amounts of money using cryptocurrencies while also noting that only few cases have been registered. These include use of intermediaries, prepaid crypto cards, purchase of physical assets, such as real estate or expensive cards, for cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies do not launder money — they fight against money laundering
As you can see, while cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering, they are ill suited to this purpose. Moreover, they actually work the other way around by increasing transparency, security and speed of payment transactions and giving users more independence. Coins like UMI are building an alternative financial system accessible to anyone, not a shadow market for laundering illegal money.
The fact is that today 99 % of laundered money passes through other channels, not cryptocurrencies. Criminals still prefer using fiat money for this purpose. Banking institution are their key accomplices, and the amounts of money they hide outmatches the overall capitalization of the cryptocurrency market. However, no one is threatening to prohibit banks.
At the same time, we hear all the time that cryptocurrencies should be banned or strictly regulated. Unfortunately, financial regulators and law enforcement agencies all over the world are sometimes obsessed with the idea of putting spokes in wheels for the usual people who use cryptocurrencies while also allowing bankers to launder trillions of dollars. Isn't it ironic?
UMI is fighting against this state of affairs. We're building a new, alternative and completely transparent financial system where any person on the globe can generate digital money and make instant, fast and free-of-charge payments.
To sum up, don't trust the negative publicity for cryptocurrencies Trust the facts. The negative publicity is mostly generated by people who are not happy that the existing financial system based on banks is gradually become a thing of the past while cryptocurrencies are growing rapidly. At any rate, the key point is that decentralized cryptocurrencies which belong to users from across the world cannot be banned, even from the technical point of view. Thus, there's nothing to fear and progress cannot be stopped.
Sincerely yours, UMI Team!
What is Grayscale?Grayscale is the company that created the ETHE product. Their website is https://grayscale.co/
What is ETHE?ETHE is essentially a stock that intends to loosely track the price of ETH. It does so by having each ETHE be backed by a specific amount of ETH that is held on chain. Initially, the newly minted ETHE can only be purchased by institutions and accredited investors directly from Grayscale. Once a year has passed (6 months for GBTC) it can then be listed on the OTCQX Best Market exchange for secondary trading. Once listed on OTCQX, anyone investor can purchase at this point. Additional information on ETHE can be found here.
So ETHE is an ETF?No. For technical reasons beyond my personal understandings it is not labeled an ETF. I know it all flows back to the “Securities Act Rule 144”, but due to my limited knowledge on SEC regulations I don’t want to misspeak past that. If anyone is more knowledgeable on the subject I am happy to input their answer here.
How long has ETHE existed?ETHE was formed 12/14/2017. GBTC was formed 9/25/2013.
How is ETHE created?The trust will issue shares to “Authorized Participants” in groups of 100 shares (called baskets). Authorized Participants are the only persons that may place orders to create these baskets and they do it on behalf of the investor.
How does Grayscale acquire the ETH to collateralize the ETHE product?An Investor may acquire ETHE by paying in cash or exchanging ETH already owned.
Where does Grayscale store their ETH? Does it have a specific wallet address we can follow?ETH is stored with Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC. I am unaware of any specific address or set of addresses that can be used to verify the ETH is actually there.
Can ETHE be redeemed for ETH?No, currently there is no way to give your shares of ETHE back to Grayscale to receive ETH back. The only method of getting back into ETH would be to sell your ETHE to someone else and then use those proceeds to buy ETH yourself.
Why are they not redeeming shares?I think the report summarizes it best:
Redemptions of Shares are currently not permitted and the Trust is unable to redeem Shares. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval from the SEC and approval by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Trust may in the future operate a redemption program. Because the Trust does not believe that the SEC would, at this time, entertain an application for the waiver of rules needed in order to operate an ongoing redemption program, the Trust currently has no intention of seeking regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program.Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the fee structure?ETHE has an annual fee of 2.5%. GBTC has an annual fee of 2.0%. Fees are paid by selling the underlying ETH / BTC collateralizing the asset.
What is the ratio of ETH to ETHE?At the time of posting (6/19/2020) each ETHE share is backed by .09391605 ETH. Each share of GBTC is backed by .00096038 BTC.
Why is the ratio not 1:1? Why is it always decreasing?While I cannot say for certain why the initial distribution was not a 1:1 backing, it is more than likely to keep the price down and allow more investors a chance to purchase ETHE / GBTC.
I keep hearing about how this is locked supply… explain?As noted above, there is currently no redemption program for converting your ETHE back into ETH. This means that once an ETHE is issued, it will remain in circulation until a redemption program is formed --- something that doesn’t seem to be too urgent for the SEC or Grayscale at the moment. Tiny amounts will naturally be removed due to fees, but the bulk of the asset is in there for good.
The Trust’s ETH will be transferred out of the ETH Account only in the following circumstances: (i) transferred to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or any Additional Trust Expenses, (ii) distributed in connection with the redemption of Baskets (subject to the Trust’s obtaining regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program and the consent of the Sponsor), (iii) sold on an as-needed basis to pay Additional Trust Expenses or (iv) sold on behalf of the Trust in the event the Trust terminates and liquidates its assets or as otherwise required by law or regulation.Source: Description of Trust on page 31 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Grayscale now owns a huge chunk of both ETH and BTC’s supply… should we be worried about manipulation, a sell off to crash the market crash, a staking cartel?First, it’s important to remember Grayscale is a lot more akin to an exchange then say an investment firm. Grayscale is working on behalf of its investors to create this product for investor control. Grayscale doesn’t ‘control’ the ETH it holds any more then Coinbase ‘controls’ the ETH in its hot wallet. (Note: There are likely some varying levels of control, but specific to this topic Grayscale cannot simply sell [legally, at least] the ETH by their own decision in the same manner Coinbase wouldn't be able to either.)
Yes, but what about [insert criminal act here]…Alright, yes. Technically nothing is stopping Grayscale from selling all the ETH / BTC and running off to the Bahamas (Hawaii?). BUT there is no real reason for them to do so. Barry is an extremely public figure and it won’t be easy for him to get away with that. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust creates SEC reports weekly / bi-weekly and I’m sure given the sentiment towards crypto is being watched carefully. Plus, Grayscale is making tons of consistent revenue and thus has little to no incentive to give that up for a quick buck.
That’s a lot of ‘happy little feels’ Bob, is there even an independent audit or is this Tether 2.0?Actually yes, an independent auditor report can be found in their annual reports. It is clearly aimed more towards the financial side and I doubt the auditors are crypto savants, but it is at least one extra set of eyes. Auditors are Friedman LLP – Auditor since 2015.
The company’s auditors Friedman LLP were also coincidentally TetheBitfinex’s auditors until They controversially parted ways in 2018 when the Tether controversy was at its height. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is anything shady about DCG - I just find it interesting it’s the same auditor.
“Grayscale sounds kind of lame” / “Not your keys not your crypto!” / “Why is anyone buying this, it sounds like a scam?”Welp, for starters this honestly is not really a product aimed at the people likely to be reading this post. To each their own, but do remember just because something provides no value to you doesn’t mean it can’t provide value to someone else. That said some of the advertised benefits are as follows:
Why is there a premium? Why is ETHE’s premium so insanely high compared to GBTC’s premium?There are a handful of theories of why a premium exists at all, some even mentioned in the annual report. The short list is as follows:
Are there any other differences between ETHE and GBTC?I touched on a few of the smaller differences, but one of the more interesting changes is GBTC is now a “SEC reporting company” as of January 2020. Which again goes beyond my scope of knowledge so I won’t comment on it too much… but the net result is GBTC is now putting out weekly / bi-weekly 8-K’s and annual 10-K’s. This means you can track GBTC that much easier at the moment as well as there is an extra layer of validity to the product IMO.
I’m looking for some statistics on ETHE… such as who is buying, how much is bought, etc?There is a great Q1 2020 report I recommend you give a read that has a lot of cool graphs and data on the product. It’s a little GBTC centric, but there is some ETHE data as well. It can be found here hidden within the 8-K filings.Q1 2020 is the 4/16/2020 8-K filing.
Is Grayscale only just for BTC and ETH?No, there are other products as well. In terms of a secondary market product, ETCG is the Ethereum Classic version of ETHE. Fun Fact – ETCG was actually put out to the secondary market first. It also has a 3% fee tied to it where 1% of it goes to some type of ETC development fund.
Are there alternatives to Grayscale?I know they exist, but I don’t follow them. I’ll leave this as a “to be edited” section and will add as others comment on what they know.
Coinshares (Formerly XBT provider) are the only similar product I know of. BTC, ETH, XRP and LTC as Exchange Traded Notes (ETN).
It looks like they are fully backed with the underlying crypto (no premium).
Denominated in SEK and EUR. Certainly available in some UK pensions (SIPP).
As asked by pegcity - Okay so I was under the impression you can just give them your own ETH and get ETHE, but do you get 11 ETHE per ETH or do you get the market value of ETH in USD worth of ETHE?I have always understood that the ETHE issued directly through Grayscale is issued without the premium. As in, if I were to trade 1 ETH for ETHE I would get 11, not say only 2 or 3 because the secondary market premium is so high. And if I were paying cash only I would be paying the price to buy 1 ETH to get my 11 ETHE. Per page 39 of their annual statement, it reads as follows:
The Trust will issue Shares to Authorized Participants from time to time, but only in one or more Baskets (with a Basket being a block of 100 Shares). The Trust will not issue fractions of a Basket. The creation (and, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redemption) of Baskets will be made only in exchange for the delivery to the Trust, or the distribution by the Trust, of the number of whole and fractional ETH represented by each Basket being created (or, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redeemed), which is determined by dividing (x) the number of ETH owned by the Trust at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the trade date of a creation or redemption order, after deducting the number of ETH representing the U.S. dollar value of accrued but unpaid fees and expenses of the Trust (converted using the ETH Index Price at such time, and carried to the eighth decimal place), by (y) the number of Shares outstanding at such time (with the quotient so obtained calculated to one one-hundred-millionth of one ETH (i.e., carried to the eighth decimal place)), and multiplying such quotient by 100 (the “Basket ETH Amount”). All questions as to the calculation of the Basket ETH Amount will be conclusively determined by the Sponsor and will be final and binding on all persons interested in the Trust. The Basket ETH Amount multiplied by the number of Baskets being created or redeemed is the “Total Basket ETH Amount.” The number of ETH represented by a Share will gradually decrease over time as the Trust’s ETH are used to pay the Trust’s expenses. Each Share represented approximately 0.0950 ETH and 0.0974 ETH as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
submitted by Tokenomy to tokenomyofficial [link] [comments]
Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy
This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets.
The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1.
However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.
Demand for U.S. DollarsFirstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4.
This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate.
Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions.
Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.
The Rise of Crypto DollarsDue to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13.
An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.
Institutional DevelopmentsIn addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications.
Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19.
These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.
Future OpportunitiesThere is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation. Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry.
There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish.
In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world.
 How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia
 The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist
 Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath
 Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers
 Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS
 Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider
 McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company
 Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates
 Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC
 Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters
 Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis
 The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg
 Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com
 Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes
 New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk
 Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank
 Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan
 Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News
 Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS
 Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Being created on the basis of blockchain, stablecoins were considered to be a safe haven for investors… until recently. Why is their immunity elusive and how does the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plan to control them?submitted by QDAODeFi to u/QDAODeFi [link] [comments]
Established in 1989 by the G7, the FATF inter-governmental organization develops policies to resist money laundering and financing of terrorism. It sets standards and implements legal and regulatory measures to combat illegal financial transactions.
They developed recommendations for the monitoring of money laundering and keep revising them regularly. In case of non-compliance, law enforcement is executed via regional financial organizations. As of 2019, there are 39 full members of FATF, including the USA, UK, Australia, most EU countries, Singapore, India and the Russian Federation.
Since 1st July, the FATF organization has been headed by Marcus Pleyer. During the last FATF meeting, the new president expressed his concerns about global stablecoins and organizations that issue them. Although the organization had already dealt with these cryptocurrencies, it highlighted that, “it is essential to continue closely monitoring the ML/TF risks of so-called stablecoins, including anonymous peer-to-peer transactions via unhosted wallets”.
Is it ever possible to control crypto wallets that are not hosted on online exchanges? – you’d ask. We’re used to the fact that cryptocurrencies are outside the reach of banks and governments. However, when it comes to stablecoins, things are different.
It’s in the codeWhat makes stablecoins special is that they are pegging to fiat currency, for example, 1 TUSD = $1 USD. This means that such assets should be backed up by real money stored in the bank accounts of the issuing organization. Consequently, stablecoin creators need to comply with the requirements of the SEC, FATF and other controlling agencies, if they are to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and be authorised to sell stablecoins. Transparent reports are not the only requirement, stablecoins must also provide the possibility of account blocking.
Surprisingly, this feature is implemented in each stablecoin. The experts from QDAO DeFi are covering several stablecoin protocols that enable this function.
OMNI-based USDTIssued by Tether Limited, USDT is a stablecoin that was originally created to be worth $1 with each token backed by a $1 real fiat reserve. The currency was successfully promoted and added to major cryptocurrency exchanges but stayed a controversial asset. Despite the claims of Tether Limited, they failed to provide any contractual right or other legal claims to guarantee that USDT can be swapped for dollars or be redeemed.
In April 2019, Tether’s lawyers explained that each USDT was backed by only $0.74 in cash or equivalent assets. No audit of dollar collateral was done. A month before that, it changed the backing to include loans to affiliate companies. The scandal also involved the Bitfinex exchange that was accused of using USDT funds to cover $850 million in funds lost since 2018. They were also accused of manipulating USDT to push the BTC price.
Tether is available on five blockchains: Omni, Ehereum, EOS, Tron and Liquid. Only the latter does not have a freezing feature. Omni was the first protocol for USDT. Blocking of users’ accounts is possible, thanks to the following piece of code:
Apparently, it’s used to blacklist addresses and contracts.
PAXThe concerns about PAX were centered around the notorious MMM BSC Ponzi scheme. Before the widespread adoption of DeFi services, it was the second-largest gas consumer after Ethereum. Out of 25,000 daily transactions, 5,000 were performed by MMM BSC. It was reported to be a scam but none of the accounts were frozen. Does it mean PAX lacked the resources to regulate illicit activities?
Evidently, not. The protocol code has a LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONALITY function that allows for the freezing/unfreezing of contracts or burning assets on blacklisted accounts. It turns out, anyone risks having their PAX coins destroyed during an investigation process while their accounts stay blocked.
History of frozen accountsIn 2019, the ZCash Foundation and Eric Wall conducted research on the privacy of stablecoins and revealed several frozen addresses. It’s not clear why exactly they were blocked. Most probably, it happened shortly after the exchange withdrawal – users took this action after witnessing platforms being hacked.
USDT was implicated at least twice in scandals to do with freezing. In April 2019, about $850 million in Tether dollars sent by Crypto Capital Corp. were frozen by a New York court. Tether and Btfinex were accused of participating in a cover-up to hide about $850 million worth in clients’ funds. By July 2020, Tether had frozen 40 Ethereum addresses with millions of USDT (some of them are shown in the screenshot above).
The Centre Consortium was the next to follow their lead; about a month ago, it blacklisted an address with USDC worth $100,000. That was done in response to law enforcement.
Yet, it’s not only Europe and the USA imposing control over cryptocurrencies. Since June 2020, the Chinese government managed to block several thousands of users’ bank accounts. It was done to resist illicit activities, especially money laundering. On some of those accounts, no activity had been detected for several months. Meanwhile, prior to April 2020, Chinese residents moved over $50 billion worth of crypto outside the country borders – more than is officially allowed (a maximum of $50,000 per person).
The authorities claim that USDT and other stablecoins are often used in illegal activities. Together with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), they are developing new ways of investigating digital crimes and money laundering operations involving exchanges and crypto wallets. Local financial bureaus and police are working tight-lipped about investigating startups and crypto exchanges. And they are succeeding at it.
In July 2020, Chinese authorities confiscated BTC, ETH and USDT worth $15 million from people who allegedly ran a fake cryptocurrency scheme.
By the way, not only corporate accounts are being closed. One investor claims his account had been frozen after using yuan to purchase crypto. Also, users who transfer illegally obtained money outside of the mainland in large amounts are under suspicion. Does it mean the Chinese government has started tightening the screws on cryptocurrency users?
DAI, USDT on Liquid and USDQ are the main options for stablecoin depositsSo, where can you store your crypto assets? USDT on Liquid and DAI are not the only solutions available. Consider making a deposit in USDQ, the stablecoin of the QDAO ecosystem. Like other stablecoins, it’s 1-to-1 pegged to USD. However, it cannot be frozen by a government, financial organization or anyone from the QDAO team. You can check it yourself by reading our Smart contract and USDQ Audit.
In QDAO, users’ accounts are never frozen by a single person – all account issues are solved by the entire QDAO community, with the help of a QDAO governance token.
In case of blocking (the chances of which are almost non-existent), you can address the QDAO community and get timely help.
Bottom LineWith FATF taking this new course of action, we might witness serious pressure on stablecoin providers. Some projects will resist it, but it’s still not safe to store your assets in popular stablecoins, especially USDT. Your account can be frozen by authorities for dozens of reasons without the possibility of retrieval.
Yet, there are a number of reliable alternatives and USDQ stablecoin is one of them. QDAO DeFi platform users feel free to manage their crypto reserves and make profitable deposits.
Want to be the first to hear QDAO DeFi news and updates? Visit our website and stay in touch with us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and LINE (for the Japanese-speaking community).
submitted by Smart_Smell to Robopay [link] [comments]
Why are Visa, Mastercard and PayPal ready to integrate crypto payments?
In the past few months, payment giants Visa, Mastercard and PayPal have radically changed their attitude towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, announcing their intention to integrate crypto payments into their systems. It is about the process of global adoption of crypto-innovation in the world of traditional finance.
Visa experienceOn March 16, 2018, Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu criticized cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, stressing that these assets are a bubble. Then Bitcoin was worth $8,300.
On July 22 of this year, when the first cryptocurrency rose to $9,360, a message appeared on the official Visa blog with a completely different message entitled “Developing our approach to digital currency.” In this post, the company revealed that its partnership with two regulated crypto platforms, Coinbase and Fold, is part of a corporate strategy to integrate digital currencies into its payment system, reaching 61 million retailers. In its message, the company highlighted the importance of stablecoins, which “have stepped outside the fintech sphere,” and now include a number of financial institutions and central banks in their ecosystem.
From the message of the payment giant it became known that “more than 25 digital wallets have linked their services to Visa.” Visa also noted that these 25 crypto service providers will be able to leverage the payment giant’s full range of capabilities, including the Visa Direct option and the FastTrack platform. It is worth noting that the corporation also supported financially the company Anchorage, which is studying the issues of cybersecurity of cryptocurrency ecosystems. Visa says the company’s main goal is “to continue to do what we do best: develop our system, supporting new forms of commerce.”
On July 28, at a meeting with investors, in which Vasant Prabhu took part, it was said in detail that Visa sees great potential for its own development in the growing popularity of e-commerce and digital payments. It was also mentioned about the corporate payment system Visa B2B Connect, which is designed to perform international financial transfers without the help of the usually slow correspondent banking network.
Mastercard experienceA similar evolution is taking place before our eyes with Visa’s competitor — Mastercard payment system.
So, on July 26, 2018, the CEO of Mastercard, Ajay Banga, compared cryptocurrencies to things that are thrown into the trash. However, two years later, the payment corporation has largely changed its approach to cryptocurrencies. On July 20, it became known that Mastercard has signed an agreement with the Wirex cryptocurrency company. This financial startup allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies for fiat money. Since last month, Wirex has become a member of the Mastercard ecosystem with the right to independently issue cards from this payment giant. We will remind that earlier, in February of this year, a similar decision was made by the Visa corporation in relation to the Coinbase crypto exchange.
Moreover, Mastercard intends to launch a special program to support other crypto companies. As Raj Damodaran, Executive Vice President of Digital Assets, Blockchain Products and Partnerships, Mastercard explained, “The crypto market continues to evolve, and the corporation is helping to advance it by providing reliable and secure services for individuals and companies in the modern digital economy.”
PayPal experienceAnother payment giant, PayPal, has long been silent about any intention to integrate cryptocurrencies into its structure. However, on July 14, a letter from the corporation to officials of the European Commission was published in the media, where PayPal admitted that it is actively developing applications using cryptocurrencies.
The number of PayPal users worldwide exceeds 300 million people, and the company operates in Europe thanks to its banking and payment services license obtained in Luxembourg. In total, the PayPal payment service is represented in 31 European countries, where the company serves 95 million merchants and retail consumers. It is worth noting that PayPal, along with Visa and Mastercard, was previously part of the Swiss Libra Association, which is implementing Facebook’s crypto project to launch the Libra stablecoin.
The fact that PayPal is developing a roadmap for integrating its own payment crypto services is also clearly demonstrated by the announcement of the recruitment of members of the blockchain technology research team, which requires a senior research engineer. This specialist will be responsible for “development, creation and maintenance of key crypto products / services that will be focused on increasing the efficiency and scale of services provided by PayPal.” Information about the open vacancy appeared at the end of June.
PayPal does not deny its interest in the cryptosphere, but has not yet confirmed information about the development of certain crypto applications or services, for example, based on the Venmo mobile application, which is affiliated with the payment giant.
Who will be the leader in this race?Nevertheless, crypto market players themselves are actively looking for ways to integrate with PayPal. This is illustrated by the example of blockchain company Pundi X, which integrated PayPal support for its Xpos merchant device on July 1.
Another player in the crypto industry, the fintech company Ripple, has not only supported the classic payment operator MoneyGram by buying 10% of its share capital and investing a total of $50 million, but continues to invest in the integration of cryptocurrencies into this service. Following the results of the second quarter, Ripple transferred $15.1 million to MoneyGram. It is curious that in June another payment operator, Western Union, became interested in the innovative successes of MoneyGram, which is considering buying a competitor. It is worth noting that back in January this year, experts from Credit Suisse Bank published a report in which they noted Western Union’s interest in blockchain technology and Ripple’s payment innovations.
The competition for the integration of cryptocurrencies into the services of payment operators is becoming more and more intense. And one of the main participants in this race was the People’s Bank of China with a digital yuan project. At the same time, in January, even before the aggravation of relations between the United States and China, American PayPal became the first foreign payment operator to officially enter the Chinese market after acquiring a local player GoPay.
The next development step is neobanksMeanwhile, a number of fintech startups are engaged in the integration of cryptocurrencies into financial services, which can potentially challenge all of the above organizations, including the People’s Bank of China with its digital yuan.
Jack Dorsey’s Square company was able to receive revenue from operations with bitcoins in the amount of $306 million in the first quarter of this year. This cryptocurrency service was launched back in 2018, but only in 2020 saw a significant increase in financial indicators. At the same time, since March, through the Square Financial Services division, Jack Dorsey’s company has been able to provide services as a digital bank.
Another fintech giant, Revolut US, with the support of crypto company Paxos, began offering cryptocurrency trading services in all US states on July 15, with the exception of Tennessee. Curiously, traditional financial service providers are also interested in a new partnership with the cryptocurrency “unicorn”. So, on June 20, the international company Revolut announced that it was integrating American Express services for its customers.
In the case of Square, Robinhood and Revolut, this is not just about trading services, which are provided by various crypto exchanges. After all, all these companies are de facto neobanks — digital financial organizations that have every opportunity to integrate cryptocurrencies into their services, thanks to various partnerships. And the range of possibilities of such neobanks is much higher than that of traditional payment giants.
That is why in the near future we will witness how Visa, Mastercard and PayPal will actively explore the possibilities of buying or investing in a ready-made cryptocurrency infrastructure. These corporations are entering the crypto world, as it is increasingly becoming a matter of their survival in the rapidly changing global financial system.
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Link to our website: https://block.co/the-future-of-the-accounting-industry-using-blockchain/submitted by BlockDotCo to u/BlockDotCo [link] [comments]
Blockchain as an immutable and incorruptible ledger of different types of data finds its natural expression in accounting. Or, we could reverse the concept in that accounting is the most natural application for blockchain technology. Modern accounting is based on the double-entry system which, since the Renaissance time, allowed managers to realize whether they could trust their own books.
In the double-entry system, transactions are recorded in terms of debits and credits. Since a debit in one account neutralizes a credit in another, the sum of all debits must equal the sum of all credits. Double-entry bookkeeping allows firms to maintain records that show what the firm owns and owes, and also what the firm has earned and spent over any given period of time. Triple entry accounting is a more recent enhancement of the traditional double-entry system in which all accounting entries, including purchases of inventory and supplies, sales, taxes, utility expenses, and so forth, are cryptographically sealed by a third entry.
With blockchain, these entries occur in the same distributed, public ledger rather than in separate books, creating an interlocking system of immutable accounting records. Being distributed and cryptographically sealed, manipulating, or destroying these entries is practically impossible. Companies using blockchain triple-entry bookkeeping acquire major benefits from adoption. First, it helps auditors quickly and easily access and verify financial data, thus reducing considerably the cost and time necessary to conduct an audit. Second, it helps preserve the integrity of a company’s financial statements since an encrypted signature of the counterparty is required in order to be accepted as valid, thus drastically reducing the risk of counterfeits.
While most operations are still performed manually or, even if delivered on software are still labor-intensive tasks and far from being automated, blockchain appears as the technology needed to simplify and improve regulatory compliance, enhance the prevalent double-entry bookkeeping, reduce fraud, auditing processes and errors. In essence, blockchain technology enables complete verification without the need of a trusted party.
On 10th August, Block.co CEO Alexis Nicolaou appeared on The Future of Accounting Industry using Blockchain webcast to discuss upcoming changes in accounting along with Dr. Maria Papadaki, Managing Director at BUiD Dubai Center for Risk and Innovation and Raymond Abrea, President & CEO of Philippine Abrea Consulting Group, hosted by Legal Solutions expert and Senior Executive of CACI, Edward Logan.
Maria Papadaki has more than 10 years of experience in Risk Management from both academia and industry, with numerous years in the implementation, development, improvement, and management of risk frameworks, tools, and techniques. She believes that “Blockchain is going to introduce a new component in accounting that’s going to make the work easier. It will provide a link between the two double-entry books together in an open way and will put things in order. Auditing will also become easier while trust, fraud, and compliance issues will all become obsolete with the open and distributed blockchain because it’s hard to cheat when everybody is watching. It will reveal less human interface with immutable, accurate, and easy to verify transactions. Accounting needs to be innovated with international links between institutions, organizations, and businesses”.
Raymond Abrea, based in the Philippines, is also Co-Chair of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Task Force on Paying Taxes and the brainchild of the TaxWhizPH mobile app. He was recognized as one of the 2017 Outstanding Young Persons of the World. “As a tax consultant, I choose integrity over profit with our game-changing strategy to do what is right and help the client pay the right taxes while pushing for genuine tax reform as an important contribution to the nation-building of the Philippines”. “I am not a blockchain expert — continues Raymond — but someone who will benefit from it and as a company we collaborate with various institutions to help implement blockchain to fight corruption, fraud, more errors, and so forth. Tax compliance review, tax audit, and assessment will all gain efficiency with the blockchain thanks to smoother processes while saving time and money. It normally takes about one month to go through all the procedures of tax registration and payment before it’s all approved by the government, and we believe blockchain will cut that time considerably.”
So, do accountants need to fear for their jobs?
Whenever new technologies appear, there is widespread worry among different sectors that jobs might be impacted and specific professions are abolished. As webcast guests repeatedly affirmed during the event, blockchain will surely disrupt accounting in that both professionals and clients will be offered safer and more immutable records while making processes easier and faster but the responsibilities of accountants will largely remain intact. Auditing will also be disrupted with the disuse of paper trail documents and the adoption of encrypted key data verification supporting financial statements, thus reducing costs and time for the audit payer. Also, regulatory compliance can be verified more efficiently.
Alexis Nicolaou has over 25 years’ experience in C-suite positions in Accountancy, Finance, Electronic Banking, Electronic Banking Software, Media, and he currently also serves on the board of Directors of Grant Thornton Cyprus’ Distributed Ledger Technologies business unit. “I am an accountant myself and one thing accountants should not worry about is that they would lose their jobs with blockchain. On the contrary, their jobs will evolve and will be enhanced. As all entries in blockchain are distributed and cryptographically sealed, it is virtually impossible to destroy or manipulate that information. This so-called triple entry bookkeeping model will be accessible to all relevant parties. The auditor, the regulator, the client will all have an identical copy of the ledger at all times; it will be distributed across a peer to peer network of nodes and shared in multiple sites”.
Despite having all the information agreed by all parties and timestamped in the blockchain, businesses will still need to hire good accountants to interpret and categorize that information, and they will have to implement and maintain the system. So, no, the accountant’s job is not at risk. As the info is secured, encrypted, and transmitted to a network of members, accountants will be able to provide more real-time advice and guidance to the client and their role will actually be more consistent. “The future accountant will need to be more skilled in IT and not just with numbers” carries on Alexis.
Block.co has introduced electronic correspondence and filing for a while now, and that translates into a major reduction of costs, paper waste, and time. It all started in 2014 when the University of Nicosia began to issue certificates on the blockchain. They anchored the fingerprint of that document (certificate) on the blockchain. They then shared it with their students, and all a student had to do when they went for a job interview was to present that PDF file, while all the employer had to do is drag and drop that PDF file.
“Many businesses — continues Alexis — shy away from electronic archiving systems but using a blockchain makes it possible to prove the integrity of a file and the way we do it at Block.co is by generating the hash, a fingerprint of that file, and timestamping it on the open and public Bitcoin blockchain. We developed a platform where all we have to do is drag and drop a PDF file and this can be done with any type of document, an invoice, a legal document, a medical certificate. I remember back in the ’90s, when I started the profession, everything was much longer and burdensome because it was done on paper. This is what I mean when I say that the accounting profession needs to evolve and embrace more IT skills in order to stand up to the competition with other more innovative companies.”
During the webcast, Raymond asked a compelling question about how will blockchain be implemented. Will it be powered by governments or by private initiative? Since the Philippines started adopting digital systems, they still have issues with government compliance, therefore any technological innovation takes a long time to be implemented. “In Dubai for example — advises Dr. Papadaki — blockchain adoption is mandated by the government which makes everything easier. They are driving all initiatives to report improvement and adapt it in an excellent way. I think Cyprus is going that way too, therefore, it ultimately depends on the individual country”.
Alexis, also, believes that it’s extremely important for the government to be on board. Malta, for instance, was the first country to introduce legislation concerning blockchain and Cyprus is following suit and their initiative has been particularly successful because local governments actively participated and promoted the adoption of the technology. “Private institutions are running it but to have a global acceptance governments will need to embrace it too. Governments have come to understand, especially during the pandemic, that we need to push innovation in technology so hopefully, this will put pressure on them to adopt blockchain more quickly”.
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [email protected].
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BITCOIN, REGULATION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF NATIONAL LEGAL REFORM Article PDF Available. June 2018; Galang Prayogo; Download full-text Read full-text. Download full-text. Read full-text. Download ... The European Unions General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became binding in May 20' 18. It is based on the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The GDPR's objective is essentially two-fold. On the one hand, it seeks to facilitate the free movement of personal data between the EU's various Member States. On the other hand, it establishes a framework of fundamental rights protection, based on the ... Bitcoin: The Path to Regulation In March 2017, Bitcoin, the controversial yet potentially revolutionary cryptocurrency that was created in 2009, hit a record high value of $1,290 compared to a low of $200 in 2015. The growth of Bitcoin and its ever-increasing popularity has led to a recent focus on the regulation of cryptocurrencies (also known as virtual currencies); in particular, the ... PDF On Sep 26, 2019, Kateryna SOLODAN published Legal Regulation Of Cryptocurrency Taxation in European Countries Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate This brief report provides an overview of the relevant blockchain technologies and examines several of the issues that arise when attempting to integrate blockchain into clearing and settlement systems. In improving securities clearing and settlement systems, several objectives must be considered, including settlement speeds, integration (i.e. delivery-versus-payment), security (e.g ...
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