South Korean Central Bank Forms CBDC Legal Advisory Group

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have continued to dominate discussions across the cryptocurrency space. Now, it would appear that South Korea is pushing forward with a possible national cryptocurrency as well.  Earlier today, The Korea Times reported that the Bank of Korea (BOK) has inaugurated a panel that will lead research into digital assets and advice on its mission to develop a CBDC.

A Long Road Leads Here

As the report explained, the panel will consist of six individuals, all of whom will be legal experts from the information technology and financial sectors. The bank will also be looking to add one legal professional in the FinTech space. The goal, per the news source, will be to advise the bank through the testing and development phases of the possible national cryptocurrency.

“We established the advisory group to discuss legal issues surrounding a CBDC and figure out which laws need to be revised or enacted for smooth progress in the BOK’s possible issuance of digital currency,” a BOK official said to the news source. 

This development seems to indicate that South Korea’s government is finally ready to adopt the next phase of financial development. The government initially set up a task force last December, although that was more in a bid to “keep an eye” on other countries’ actions with the technology.

However, given how quickly other countries have moved into the technology, South Korea appears keen on not being left behind. Early in April, the Bank of Korea announced that it had launched a digital currency pilot program that will help it to assess the logistics of a possible asset. 

As the bank explained in its release, it launched the pilot program in March. The program will run for 22 months, and it consists of a legal and technological review of a possible CBDC issuance. The initial phase of the program will include devising the requirements and design of the asset. This phase will run until July, while a review of the technology required for the asset will also run from April to August.

Capping off the year, the Bank plans to analyze the business processes of the asset. For the entirety of 2021, the Bank will build and test the CBDC based on the results of the pilot program and recommendations from experts.

More Governments Believing in CBDCs

South Korea’s decision to explore a national digital asset is coming on the heels of significant progress from various countries. China is already working its national cryptocurrency, as it announced tests on four regions months back.

At the same time, Banque de France, the French Central Bank, announced last month that it had successfully tested the first iteration of a possible Digital Euro.  It’s worth noting that France’s Digital Euro iteration hasn’t gotten approval to operate across the Eurozone. For one, the asset was only tested for wholesale applications and the needs of financial institutions. Still, progress on such fronts is an attractive prospect for other countries.

All of these continue to underscore the fact that CBDCs have become more prominent across the past few months. National cryptocurrencies were no more than a possibility this time last year. Now, we have several top economies announcing pilot programs into the technology.

Tezos Foundation Invests $38 Million in Ecosystem Development

The Tezos Foundation is doing its bid to encourage crypto and blockchain developers, as a new report shows that the firm has made significant commitments to help improve its ecosystem.

Earlier this week, the firm released its second Biannual Report, which detailed some of the progress that the firm was able to make in the final two financial quarters of 2019. As the report confirmed, the Tezos Foundation now has a war chest totaling $635 million – a rather substantial figure for a company that made less than $250 million in its Initial Coin Offering.

Prioritizing Internal Growth

Roman Schnider, the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), explained that the firm has been able to raise such a sizable amount because of “positive market dynamics.” Expatiating, he revealed that the Bitcoin and Tezos blockchains had seen significant increases in their blockchain assets over the past 36 months, and that has worked out reasonably well for the firm’s bottom line.

The report also shed some light on how the Foundation has been able to use its funds, and it showed that it had provided $37.6 million in funding to its blockchain ecosystem since Q3 2019 began.

The report showed the divisions of the grant – ecosystem projects, research and development, and community support. All grant beneficiaries will need to go through a comprehensive application process, which involves proposal evaluations by several communities and due diligence reviews.

The Foundation already accepted 78 grants out of over 200 applications. While it didn’t reveal the details of the beneficiaries, the report explained that all payments would be made after specific milestones have been completed. For now, most of the grant’s research efforts have been geared towards developing Tezos’ smart contract languages, as well as optimizing aspects of the core software like privacy, staking, and general performance.

Other aspects where grants were also focused include the development of ecosystem applications and tools, as well as Tezsure – an insurance platform based on the Tezos blockchain – and camICase, a FinTech company looking to incorporate DeFi to Tezos’ ecosystem.

The global Tezos community also received about $13 million for their work of spreading awareness and increasing the Foundation’s reach.

The Need for Development and Scalability

The development has so far been one of the focus areas of crypto firms, especially since the industry continues to grow and hopes to replace the traditional way of doing things. As blockchain and crypto companies see a surge in their user bases and applications, it has become necessary to ensure that they’re able to scale effectively and keep hold of these new users.

Tezos is definitely not the only firm investing significantly in development. Earlier this week, crypto exchange Binance and its India-based subsidiary WazirX announced that they had launched the “Blockchain for India” initiative – a fund that will help drive blockchain development in the country.

As the press release to that effect explained, both companies will provide sufficient funding and mentorship opportunities to successful applicants, while also granting them access to Binance’s full suite of products and services.

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