Skip to main content
Posted in

June

2017

Singaporean Dollar Tokenized Through Ethereum’s Blockchain by the Monetary Authority of Singapore

The future is here. So say a report by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which in collaboration with a number of banks and blockchain technology firms recently announced that phase one of tokenizing Singaporean Dollars through an ethereum blockchain has successfully completed.

“The Distributed Ledger network consisted of two MAS nodes running Ethereum and MQ Client with the genesis block created by one of the MAS nodes and eight bank nodes running Ethereum, MQ Client, and Common Payment Gateway (CPG),” says the report.

Read the Article at the Source: Singaporean Dollar Tokenized Through Ethereum’s Blockchain by the Monetary Authority of Singapore | Trust Nodes

The project connects current systems, such as clearing houses and processes running through MQ Clients or other software such as MAS’s MEPS, to an Ethereum private blockchain as, according to the report, there can be a number of benefits. The report says:

“MAS can create “atomic” transactions for the first time for cross-border fixed income products with payments directly on central bank money. This would enable true Delivery vs Paymen (DvP) where security and corresponding payment switches ownership simultaneously at the deepest technical level.

This could remove the occurrence of late payments and payment failures. Certainty around delivery and near real-time, same-day (t+0) delivery also becomes viable. These could make both domestic as well as cross-border transactions more attractive from both a technology and end user experience standpoint.

Furthermore, the reduction in counterparty risk may drive a reduction in collateral requirements in some circumstances.”

The process of tokenizing Singaporean Dollars through Ethereum’s blockchain – image source MAS.

The tokenization was inspired by R3’s Project Jasper, which was trialed by the Bank of Canada, but they seem to have opted for the use of Ethereum, probably because it has a public blockchain which may allow for greater interoperability and security.

“The distributed ledger network (Ethereum-based blockchain) was designed to interface with existing MEPS+ and RTGS systems, which allowed for a working integrated transfer prototype,” – the report says.

They now plan to move to the second phase, focusing on cross-boarder payments as well as further evaluation of the technology for domestic payments, according to the report.

The Race is On

The Central Bank of England has for quite some time studied the potential use of blockchain technology to digitize the pound, but not much has been heard from them recently.

The deputy chair of Russia’s Central Bank has stated digital currencies – like a crypto-ruble – are the future. They are looking to see how they can make that a reality.

China’s Central Bank has long stated they may digitize their money, but according to Andrew Keys from ConsenSys, their focus may have now moved to see how they can tokenize Yuan through ethereum’s blockchain.

It will probably be some years until we see the pound or dollar become a copy of eth, but it appears nations are becoming aware that blockchain technology can upgrade money from static paper to dynamic code, just as it was upgraded from shells to metal to paper.

A race, therefore, might be underway as the benefits of dynamic money over static fiat are clear and potentially greatest for whoever manages to get there first.

Paris Is a Binding Agreement: Here’s Why that Matters | Just Security

A growing chorus of U.S. business leaders, state and local government officials, civil society groups, and foreign partners have condemned the President’s announcement that, effective Thursday, June 1, “the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord.”  As former National Security Adviser Susan Rice put it, pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement is a self-inflicted “coup de grâce for America’s postwar global leadership for the foreseeable future.”

Read the Article at the Source: Paris Is a Binding Agreement: Here’s Why that Matters | Just Security

Over at foreignpolicy.com, a group of former Obama Administration officials present a forceful and compelling exposition of “Why Abandoning Paris is a Disaster for America.”  They spell out why abiding by our Paris commitments would be far better not only for climate outcomes, but also for our national security, the future of our economy, and for U.S. standing in an increasingly unstable world.  A key point noted by many observers is that within the framework of the Paris Agreement, the President has the ability to adjust downward our nationally determined contribution (NDC) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although doing so would be short-sighted at best, because states are not legally bound to hit any particular emissions targets.  If the targets themselves are essentially voluntary, the notion advanced by the President that the United States must completely withdraw from the Agreement in order to unburden ourselves from its supposed economic costs is false.

The non-binding nature of the emissions targets is a central and purposeful feature of the Paris Agreement.  As the U.S. chief negotiator Todd Stern explains, allowing parties to set their own emissions targets was intended to encourage broad participation among states and incentivize maximum ambition.  At the same time, this approach is flexible enough to create a durable framework that will allow further reductions in emissions over time.

While the non-binding nature of these key commitments is worthy of commentators’ focus, there is another essential feature of the Agreement that is important to focus on as well: its provisions that create binding legal obligations for the parties.  These provisions, which are largely procedural in nature, are important to the goals of the Agreement as a whole.  In addition, because they govern the mechanics and timeline of withdrawal, they are important to understand with respect to the debate that will likely rage over the next four years about the future of U.S. participation in the Agreement.

I write to provide a very brief overview of the law of international agreements to explain that the Paris Agreement is a binding agreement under international law, despite containing key non-binding elements, and to offer some reasons why that matters.  In short, the Paris Agreement’s non-binding and binding provisions are vital to its overall structure, and walking away from either type of commitment, whether or not doing so would put the United States in breach of specific treaty law obligations, is disastrous for achieving our strategic aims as well as for U.S. leadership and credibility.  I also explain why giving away our seat at the table for free—while key implementation rules are still being negotiated and before any eventual withdrawal could legally take effect—does not free us but rather ties our hands as a nation.  And contrary to Donald Trump’s assertions that he will be able to seek a better deal, the United States cannot unilaterally request renegotiation of an agreement signed by 195 states.  Dealing ourselves out does not position us to do better, it strikes a huge blow to our ability to negotiate at all in this most important international arena on climate change, because we will no longer be at the table.

The Article Continue. Read it all at the Source: Paris Is a Binding Agreement: Here’s Why that Matters | Just Security

 

Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord – The New York Times

It was unclear how, exactly, that submission to the United Nations would take place. Christiana Figueres, a former top United Nations climate official, said there was currently no formal mechanism for entities that were not countries to be full parties to the Paris accord.

Ms. Figueres, who described the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw as a “vacuous political melodrama,” said the American government was required to continue reporting its emissions to the United Nations because a formal withdrawal would not take place for several years.

But Ms. Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change until last year, said the Bloomberg group’s submission could be included in future reports the United Nations compiled on the progress made by the signatories of the Paris deal.

Read the Article at the Source: Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord – The New York Times

There are 195 countries committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the 2015 agreement.

Still, producing what Mr. Bloomberg described as a “parallel” pledge would indicate that leadership in the fight against climate change in the United States had shifted from the federal government to lower levels of government, academia and industry.

Mr. Bloomberg, a United Nations envoy on climate, is a political independent who has been among the critics of Mr. Trump’s climate and energy policies.

Mayors of cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City have signed on — along with Pittsburgh, which Mr. Trump mentioned in his speech announcing the withdrawal — as have Hewlett-Packard, Mars and dozens of other companies.

Finish the Article at the Source: Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord – The New York Times

Texas Bill Overrides Local Ride-Hailing Regulation

HB 100, signed Monday, creates a “statewide regulatory framework for ride-hailing companies,” the Texas Tribune reports.

House Bill 100 undoes local rules that the two companies have argued are overly burdensome for their business models. It requires ride-hailing companies to have a permit from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and pay an annual fee of $5,000 to operate throughout the state. It also calls for companies to perform local, state and national criminal background checks on drivers annually — but doesn’t require drivers to be fingerprinted.

Read the Article at the Source: Texas Bill Overrides Local Ride-Hailing Regulation

Fingerprinting has been a hot topic in Austin, as in other cities. After city officials began mandating this type of background check, Uber and Lyft fought back — but were defeated on the issue by Austin voters in May 2016. Both companies then ceased operations there.

According to the Houston Business Journal, Lyft left Houston in 2014, after the city council passed a number of regulations, including mandated fingerprinting for drivers. Uber reportedly brokered a deal with the city to keep operating locally.

In Austin, ride-hailing apps filled a definite mobility gap, considering the city’s failed light-rail votes, congestion and faltering transit ridership, as Jen Kinney wrote on Next City last year. After the companies left town, alternatives popped up — but so did a number of innovative proposals on how to remake the city’s transportation grid, from smart city technology to better bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

On Monday, Abbott touted HB 100 as a victory for “freedom and free enterprise.”

“This is freedom for every Texan — especially those who live in the Austin area — to be able to choose the provider of their choice as it concerns transportation,” he said, according to the Texas Tribune.

Viewed through another lens, however, the bill could be seen as limiting the freedom of local governments — particularly because voters in Austin supported fingerprinting. Despite the governor’s words, HB 100 looks like yet another example of a red statehouse overriding a blue city hall.

Read the Article at the Source: Texas Bill Overrides Local Ride-Hailing Regulation

*Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)