Announcements, Stories, Opinions And Ideas

The HyperLinq Weekly Digest is the one-stop source for the HyperLinq community to access relevant news involving digital assets, where we essentially outline key industry updates that our members may have missed. We are always open to suggestions and feedback so please do not hesitate to let us know what you think!

All Global Crypto Exchanges Must Now Share Customer Data, FATF Rules : Anna Baydakova and Nikhilesh De | CoinDesk

A powerful intergovernmental organization devoted to combating money laundering and terrorism financing has finalized its recommendations on regulating cryptocurrencies for its 37 member countries. As expected, the Financial Action Task Force standards released Friday include a controversial requirement that "virtual asset service providers" , including crypto exchanges, pass information about their customers to one another when transferring funds between firms. Calling the "threat of criminal and terrorist misuse of virtual assets" a "serious and urgent" issue, FATF said in a public statement that it will give countries 12 months to adopt the guidelines, with a review set for June 2020. But blockchain industry advocates argued it would be onerous if not impossible to put into practice with crypto, harmful to user privacy, and counter-productive to law enforcement goals. The guidelines also suggest that individuals using crypto wallets to transmit value could be designated VASPs, and thus subject to licensing requirements – at least if they do so as a business.

Under the new guidance, the required information for each transfer includes:

  • originator’s name (i.e., the sending customer);
  • originator’s account number where such an account is used to process the transaction (e.g., the VA wallet);
  • originator’s physical (geographical) address, or national identity number, or customer identification number (i.e., not a transaction number) that uniquely identifies the originator to the ordering institution, or date and place of birth;
  • beneficiary’s name; and
  • beneficiary account number where such an account is used to process the transaction (e.g., the VA wallet).

MetLife Plans To Disrupt $2.7 Trillion Life Insurance Industry Using Ethereum Blockchain : Steven Ehrlich | Forbes

When a family loses a loved one, it faces a litany of immediate tasks such as planning the funeral and placing an obituary in the local newspaper. All of this must be done while the bereaved is processing the emotional components of the individual’s passing. Amidst all of the raw feelings and deluge of family, it is natural for more mundane tasks such as filing a life insurance claim to fall by the wayside. If they choose to participate, Lifechain will encrypt the deceased’s National Registration Identity Card number using a hashing algorithm and place it onto the blockchain. This will trigger a search on NTUC’s end for a matching life insurance policy. If a match is found, "SPH will inform family members within one working day, while ‘Lifechain’ will send an automatic notification to Income via email to initiate the claims process." According to Zia Zaman, CIO of MetLife Asia and CEO of LumenLab, it was important to utilize blockchain technology for three key reasons. Those jurisdictions and governments that are more innovative will see citizens and policyholders in their jurisdictions benefit from less friction, more fulfilled payments, and a general overall improved experience. Additionally, said that there are "a whole variety of private-sector companies that are adjacent to life insurance, but who are somehow either related to health or in some other ways dealing with low risk security to the customer base, who could potentially use DLT and contracts like this to provide peace of mind to its customers in case something were to happen in a very rare event." It is important to note that this is not MetLife’s first experimentation with blockchain technology, nor is it the first time it is using a public ledger.

Facebook Unveils Libra Cryptocurrency, Targeting 1.7 Billion Unbanked : Zack Seward and Nikhilesh De | CoinDesk

You don’t have to have a Facebook account to use Libra. That’s the hands-off approach the social media giant is working toward as it announces its new blockchain and the token of the same name that will run on top of it. While Tuesday’s announcement is still early days, the scope of the project is far-reaching. It includes a new Facebook subsidiary, Calibra, and an independent consortium, Libra Association, backed by some of tech’s biggest names. "Implied in this project is that wherever the Visa or Mastercard logo are accepted, Libra would follow suit", Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, told CoinDesk in an exclusive interview. "The central goal here really is financial inclusion", Disparte told CoinDesk. Access to these apps could be enormously significant. WhatsApp saw 1.5 billion active monthly users in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to TechCrunch. Globally 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. The new effort is explicitly branded to reach those populations. "The goal of this new project is to build a financial ecosystem that can plug in and empower billions of people", Disparte said. For the major tech companies and financial institutions backing the project, that may one day mean access to more customers; for those struggling to access capital, it may one day mean a new lifeline from family abroad. While they will be sending Libra coins, the app appears to show that users will see their balance in their local fiat currency. Further, when sending funds across borders, the app appears to show the fiat equivalent that recipients will see, with amounts denominated in their local currencies. "Just as the internet created a world of low-friction communication and information sharing, the hope with this public ecosystem and public utility is that we can create a world of value transfer and payment that has an equal low-friction property to it without sacrificing the governance standards in the traditional economy", Disparte told CoinDesk. As part of its services, Calibra intends to follow various anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer regulations in the jurisdictions in which it conducts business, according to a fact sheet.

Facebook Token Runs Into Instant Political Opposition in Europe : Alastair Marsh | Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s ambitious plan to roll out its own cryptocurrency ran into immediate political opposition in Europe, with calls for tighter regulation of the social-media giant. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the digital currency known as Libra shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for traditional currencies. His concerns include privacy, money laundering and terrorism finance. Libra was also a talking point at the European Central Bank’s annual symposium in Sintra, Portugal, where Bank of England Governor Mark Carney referenced Libra. Meanwhile, Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament, said Facebook, with more than 2 billion users, could become a "shadow bank" and that regulators should be on high alert. Facebook is developing Libra, a stablecoin designed to avoid the volatility of Bitcoin and thus be useful for commerce, in partnership with some of the biggest names in payments and technology, such as Visa Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. The new currency, which will launch as soon as next year, is pegged to a basket of government-backed currencies and securities. While Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has attracted a lot of attention since its creation a decade ago, it’s still not widely used beyond market speculation.