French Central Bank Publishes List of 8 Applicants To Run Tests on A Digital Euro

On July 20, French central bank, Banque De France, announced it had settled on eight candidates in its efforts to experiment digital currency solutions.

As per the press statement, the central bank stated that the experiment trials will cover a wide range of areas, but notably not in the crypto-asset transfer sphere, and will start “in the coming days.”

The selected candidates comprise renowned names in the banking and fintech industries such as HSBC, Accenture, Societe Generale, Seba Bank, LiquidShareEuroclear, Iznes and ProsperUS.

The announcement comes months after the central bank called for applications from reputable firms to experiment the utilization of digital euros that was advertised in March. During the advertisement stage, the central bank stated it was going to pick maximumly 10-CBDC-related apps with the main selection criteria being “innovative nature.”

The institution stated that it will work with individual players to experiment their proposals in efforts to examine “fresh methods of exchanging financial instruments.” In addition, the trial phase will also seek to explore the best ways of distributing CBDC as well as how they can be used for international payments.

Notably, the central bank seems to be interested in the wholesale use of CBDC as opposed to retail usage for the digital euro which means that the CBDC might be created for “interbank regulations as opposed for consumer use.

France has been pushing for the use of digital euro in Europe and in May, it launched a successful digital euro use on the blockchain in partnership with Societe Generale.

Although the bank clarified that the proposals are exclusively experimental, it however explained that the findings will be helpful to similar CBDC experimentations within the larger eurozone which will form the basics for a digital euro.

Although France seems to be at the forefront in pushing a digital euro, other countries in Europe are also at advanced stages to come up with a digital euro as well. For instance, the Italian Banking Association (ABI) has created guidelines to guide the development of a CBDC while the Dutch central bank has said it is willing to be the testing ground for a digital euro.

Russian Economic Ministry To Create Crypto And Blockchain Regulatory Sandboxes In New Bill

The Russian Federal Ministry of Economic Development has proposed new legislation that seeks to legalize crypto as well as blockchain-based initiatives through a special regulatory framework.

The Ministry of Economic Development has already crafted and introduced a draft legislation to the State Duma, Russian Parliament, in a bid to enable the testing of blockchain and crypto initiatives in a specified regulatory sandbox.

The draft law will apply to digital technologies that will be incorporated into eight sectors ranging from financial markets, government services, trade, healthcare, distance learning, transport, manufacturing to construction.

The proposed legislation will be vital in unlocking experimental testing for projects such as unmanned automobiles, use of data without prior consent as well as diagnostics.

As per the local reports, partakers of the regulatory sandbox from the blockchain and crypto sector will enjoy regulatory relief in different fronts such as the minimum capital size, reporting as well as reserve funds. Those using the sandbox will also be exempted from the nation’s foreign exchange law.

According to the Economic Ministry, Russia’s central bank, Bank of Russia, will be solo financial market regulator in the regulatory sandbox. However, it is still not clear if the bank is supportive of the ministry’s initiative.

The latest news comes just hours after a top Bank of Russia official stated that the nation’s virtual assets law is set to ban the issuance as well as circulation of cryptocurrency. As per the official, the Digital Financial Assets bill is set to ban almost all crypto-based aspects apart from holding. The bill has been delayed various times after it was introduced to parliament back in January 2018. Not even an order from President Putin could see the bill sail through.

[Also Read: Russian Govt Looks To Block Censorship-Resistant Tech; IoT, TOR, and Telegram’s TON]

Push For Digital Payments

Meanwhile, Russia’s central bank is urging the citizens as well as merchants to utilize digital payments and cut on the use of cash, Reuters reports. The bank is pushing for the adoption of digital payments in efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus through banknotes.

The central bank is also urging banks to encourage their customers to use cashless means.