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Indian Bitcoin Exchanges Resume Direct INR Deposits

Indian Bitcoin Exchanges Resume Direct INR Deposits

Bitcoin exchanges in India are resuming direct bank account deposits and withdrawals following the decision of the Supreme Court to dismiss the central bank’s crypto trading ban.

Banks to Resume Support for Indian Bitcoin Exchanges
Unocoin, one India’s Bitcoin exchanges, tweeted on Thursday (March 5, 2020) the resumption of direct bank account deposits and withdrawals on its platform. Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX another Bitcoin exchange and Binance’s Indian partner also published a tweet on Thursday announcing the imminent reopening of banking support for the crypto trading service.

Unocoin is going live with bank account deposits and withdrawals by 11.30 AM today (March 5th) #IndiaGotCrypto
— Unocoin (@Unocoin) March 5, 2020

The reinstitution of banking support for Indian Bitcoin exchanges comes as a direct consequence of the crypto trading ban reversal. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the country’s Supreme Court nullified the 2018 ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prohibiting commercial banks from offering services to Bitcoin exchanges.

WazirX team is working hard on bringing back direct bank deposits to all of you.
Hold on tight, we'll announce as soon as it's ready ✌#IndiaWantsCrypto #Bitcoin #WRX
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡ (@NischalShetty) March 5, 2020

Earlier in 2020, the RBI came out to clarify that bitcoin and crypto were not illegal in the country. However, the RBI ban and the generally negative stance towards crypto espoused by authorities in the country saw an exodus of Bitcoin exchanges from the country.
Platforms like Zebpay, Coindelta, and Koinex shuttered operations in the country with some electing to set up shop in other nations like Australia.
Apart from the RBI ban, an inter-ministerial committee also recommended a blanket ban on cryptos with additional fines and prison sentences for people found engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.
Not Yet Uhuru for India’s Crypto Scene
With the RBI ban reversal, it appears the general sentiment among industry stakeholders is experiencing a transition from “#IndiaWantsCrypto” to “#IndiaGotCrypto.” However, the RBI ban aside, the cryptocurrency scene in the country still faces several hurdles up ahead.
Back in 2018, reports emerged that the RBI ban was based on flawed arguments. The absence of crypto stakeholders in any form of cryptocurrency advisory council may mean the creation of laws not favorable to the industry especially considering the likelihood of concrete cryptocurrency regulations following the removal of the RBI ban.
Also, the RBI released a fintech sandbox back in 2019 which did not include crypto businesses. The absence of isolated testing for virtual currency-related products precludes cryptocurrency startups from being able to develop and launch potentially useful products and services in the country.
Will the resumption of banking services for Indian Bitcoin exchanges cause a significant pump in crypto prices? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Unocoin and @NischalShetty.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Crypto Trading is Now Legal in South Korea

Crypto Trading is Now Legal in South Korea

South Korea’s parliament has officially recognized crypto trading as legal in the country. The move comes after two years of deliberations into how to develop concrete guidelines for cryptocurrencies.

South Korea Legalizes Crypto Trading
According to The News Asia, South Korea’s National Assembly passed an amendment to its Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Information Act, legalizing cryptocurrency trading. Local South Korea media outlet Maeil Kyungjae revealed that the motion to amend the bill received unilateral support with 182 votes in favor and zero against.
The law will come into 12 months from the signing date with a further 6-month grace period for crypto exchanges to comply with the new regulatory paradigm. Thus, by September 2021, all crypto exchanges and wallet providers in South Korea will have to abide by the newly amended laws.
As part of the amendment, crypto exchanges and other businesses must comply with the same reporting requirements as other financial institutions. According to reports, the amendments legalizing crypto trading in South Korea contain similar provisions to the guidelines already established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
South Korea’s decision comes closely following the news that India’s Supreme Court nullified the country’s central bank ban on commercial banks providing services to Bitcoin exchanges. Like India, several crypto exchanges in South Korea shut down their operations citing unfavorable regulations.
As previously reported by Bitcoinist, major South Korean crypto and blockchain stakeholders were unhappy with the regulatory climate in the country. Blockchain startups were electing to list their tokens on overseas exchanges given the shrinking crypto market in South Korea.
In August 2019, reports also emerged that 97% of South Korean crypto exchanges were in danger of going bankrupt.
Government Wants Robust KYC Compliance
While crypto trading is effectively legalized in South Korea, the news comes with added compliance costs for cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers. As part of the new laws, all virtual currency businesses must comply with know your customer (KYC) protocols with real-name verification in tandem with commercial banks.
Obtaining ISMS certification from the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) may constitute an expensive affair for small and medium-sized crypto businesses. Even major players like Bithumb have highlighted the increasing cost of compliance brought on by more stringent requirements set forth by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
Will the legalization of crypto trading in South Korea improve the fortunes of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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With Mike Bloomberg Out, What’s Next for Crypto in the US?

bloomberg out, what crypto

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg who previously advocated for clearer crypto regulations has dropped out of the race to win the Democratic ticket for the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Bloomberg Drops Out After Super Tuesday Crash and Burn
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bloomberg, a former New York Mayor is the latest Democratic candidate to exit the race, while endorsing former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Bloomberg’s decision comes after spending more than $620 million over three months to run his campaign.
As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Bloomberg had announced plans to legitimize the U.S. crypto market. In a Financial Reform Policy published back in mid-February, the Bloomberg LP founder declared his intention to replace the patchwork of State and Federal crypto regulations with more clear-cut laws for cryptocurrency governance.
Bloomberg’s crypto policies briefly made him the pro-cryptocurrency candidate of the Democratic Party after former contender Andrew Yang dropped out of the race in February. Yang had been a firm proponent of crypto adoption and the creation of standardized cryptocurrency laws.
Bloomberg’s decision to exit the race came after failing to capture a significant number of delegates during Super Tuesday despite spending about $215 million in ads. Announcing his endorsement of Biden, Bloomberg remarked:
After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible—and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists… I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that the candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.
The Destiny of US Crypto Regulations Post-2020 Polls
After Super Tuesday, Biden and Bernie Sanders appear to be the front runners for the Democratic ticket. Neither has included crypto-related matters in their policy statements during the campaign.
However, their respective relationship with ‘big tech’ might offer a clue as to their likely approach to cryptocurrency regulations. While espousing some level of criticisms for Silicon Valley, Biden is generally favorable towards the U.S. tech industry.
Sanders, on the other hand, is known for advocating for the breakup of major tech establishments like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. A Biden presidency could see Facebook’s proposed Libra project come under even greater scrutiny.
As for the incumbent President Donald Trump, crypto is “highly volatile and based on thin air.” Trump’s likely crypto laws might be in response to cryptocurrency utilization by the likes of China, Iran, and North Korea.
In the absence of any crypto-focused policies from the remaining candidates, the future of U.S. crypto regulations may lie with Congress. Bills like the Token Taxonomy Act and the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 are before the country’s legislature.
With Bloomberg gone, will another Democratic candidate adopt crypto-related matters in the campaign policies? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Could Crypto Exchanges, Wallets be Targeted with Banking Trojans?

Could Crypto Exchanges, Wallets be Targeted with Banking Trojans?

Sophisticated malware strains that usually target online banking services may pivot towards crypto exchanges and wallets in 2020.

RATs Could Target Crypto Exchanges and Wallets in 2020
According to a report by Dutch-based cybersecurity firm ThreatFabric, hackers may use banking trojans to target crypto exchanges and wallets in 2020.
In its report, ThreatFabric also highlighted the growing trend of these attack vectors moving from desktop platforms to mobile banking services with crypto wallets and exchange accounts the next likely destination.
Using Remote Access Trojans (RATs), hackers can reportedly bypass security infrastructure on smartphones, enabling cybercriminals to carry out transactions directly from the infected mobile devices.
According to the report, hackers are already using banking trojans like Hydra and Gustuff to attack crypto exchanges and wallets. Using Hydra’s screencast capabilities, cybercriminals can remotely monitor real-time activities on the infected mobile devices.
Hydra also allows hackers to clone the infected device, providing access to stored financial information. As part of its report, ThreatFabric revealed that rogue actors are using Hydra to hack crypto wallets on platforms like Binance, Bitfinex, and Coinbase among others.
With Gustuff, hackers have access to keylogging and browser overlay attack vectors allowing rogue actors to trick victims into entering their financial details on fake websites that closely resemble their real banking or crypto exchange platforms. According to ThreatFabric, Gustuff’s potential target is also currently expanding to include crypto wallets like Electrum, Blockchain.com, and Xapo.
In addition to Hydra and Gustuff, other banking trojans currently targeting crypto exchanges and wallets include Anubis, Cerberus, and SMS hacking tool Ginp.
Industry Needs to Combat Cryptocurrency Theft
The emergence of more sophisticated attack vectors targeting the crypto exchanges and wallets is sure to pose serious headaches for industry stakeholders. In recent times, exchange services have been forced to revamp their security architecture to thwart the activities of online hackers.
With these banking trojans, however, the security consideration falls on the shoulders of smartphone makers to develop more secure devices. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Samsung announced plans to include tamper-resistant crypto information storage capabilities in its Galaxy S20 series.
With mobile devices coming with inbuilt crypto wallets, users require more advanced security features to stave off malicious intrusions from hackers who are repurposing these deadly banking trojans.
These attack vector will also join the expanding list of crypto threats ranging from clipper malware to malicious mining scripts all dedicated to stealing valuable cryptocurrency funds.
What steps are you going to take to prevent falling victim to these RAT banking trojans? Let us know in the comments below.

Image via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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US Rapper Dismissed From ICO Lawsuit, Kevin Hart Still on Trial

US Rapper Dismissed From ICO Lawsuit, Kevin Hart Still on Trial

Atlanta rapper T.I, real name Clifford Harris Jr, has been cleared of securities fraud charges stemming from his alleged promotion of the FLiK ICO. However, fellow defendants, businessman Ryan Felton, along with actor and comedian Kevin Hart, still have a case to answer.

Court Clears T.I. of Securities Fraud Charges
According to Law360, the U.S. Court of Northern Georgia dismissed state securities fraud and other claims brought against T.I. Back in November 2018, Bitcoinist reported that aggrieved FLiK ICO investors sued the rapper for participating in a fraudulent pump and dump ICO scheme.
The affected investors claim to have lost $2 million to the FLiK ICO scam following the alleged promotional activities of T.I. and the other defendants. Delivering judgment on the case, U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr., sided with T.I.’s counsel, declaring:
The plaintiffs have merely alleged that Harris encouraged his Twitter followers to visit the website for the FLiK ICO. They have not provided any statements from Harris about the value of the FLiK tokens. The facts as pleaded do not rise to the level of particularity required.
The court also dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that T.I.’s involvement in FLiK ICO promotional activities were against Georgia’s Uniform Securities Act. According to the Judge’s statement, none of the participants in the crypto investment scheme had any ties with the state of Georgia.
Judge Pannell also stated that the prosecution was unable to prove a direct link between the decision of the investors to buy into the scheme and T.I.’s alleged promotional activities.
Celebrities Feeling the Burn for Backing ICO and Crypto Projects
T.I. is one of a few rappers and other celebrities who were caught up in the ICO-mania of 2017, promoting token sales that ultimately turned out to be fraudulent. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled its charges against DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather.
The SEC fined the pair a total of about $800,000 with an additional stipulation banning both celebrities from promoting digital securities for two and three years respectively. Both celebs were part of the promotional efforts for the CentraTech ICO scam.
In late February 2020, the SEC also slammed actor and martial artist Steven Seagal with a $314,000 fine for promoting the Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G) ICO.
Will the court also dismiss charges against Kevin Hart in the FLiK ICO scam case? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Rolling Stone
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Crypto Now Officially Seen as Financial Instruments in Germany

crypto Germany

Germany’s financial regulator has released guidelines classifying crypto as financial instruments. This move further expands the definition of financial instruments to include all kinds of digital assets with the previous paradigm only covering security tokens.

BaFin Clarifies Crypto Classification in Germany
In a press release issued on Monday (March 2, 2020), the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) described crypto as:
[A] digital representation of a value that has not been issued or guaranteed by any central bank or public body and is not necessarily linked to a currency specified by law and that does not have the legal status of a currency or money, but is accepted as a medium of exchange by natural or legal persons and can be transmitted, stored and traded electronically.
According to BaFin, its new classification echoes the guidelines of intergovernmental agencies like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The news marks the second landmark crypto classification to emerge in the last few days with an Australian Judge recently ruling that crypto is an investment vehicle — meaning virtual currencies can be used as collateral in the country.
BaFin’s new crypto classification announcement is also part of the move by the country to adopt the fifth EU Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) which began on January 1, 2020. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, part of the AMLD5 adoption process involves changes to Germany’s Banking Act and Payment Supervision Services Act.
Concerning Cryptocurrency Custody
As part of the new BaFin crypto guidelines, cryptocurrency custodians will need to obtain a license for the regulator to offer their services in the country. Crypto custodial platforms already operating in the country without a license have until the end of November 2020 to apply for one but must show readiness to do so before March 30, 2020.
Also, crypto custodian already registered in other EU nations cannot “passport” their operating license to Germany. Instead, such platforms must apply for approval to offer crypto custody services in the country.
Earlier in February 2020, reports emerged that BaFin received crypto custodial licensing applications from no fewer than 40 banks. Apart from banks, the country’s stock exchange is also significantly involved with the crypto market as Boerse Stuttgart — Germany’s second-largest stock exchange recently added a new inverse Bitcoin Traded Product (ETP).
What do you think about Germany’s new classification of crypto as financial instruments? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Ripple’s XRP Trading Gets Big Boost in Malaysia

Ripple's XRP Trading Gets Big Boost in Malaysia

London-based crypto exchange platform Luno is offering XRP trading to its customers in Malaysia. The decision will see XRP becoming the third cryptocurrency included in its Malaysian trading catalog after Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Luno Enables XRP Trading in Malaysia
According to Fintech Malaysia, starting from Tuesday (March 3, 2020), XRP trading will be available on Luno’s crypto exchange platform in Malaysia. The news comes following reports at the back-end of February 2020 that the London-based was close to adding the second-ranked altcoin (based on market capitalization) to its trading catalog.
In Malaysia, Luno currently offers only Bitcoin and Ether trading pairs. The company polled its users to determine which new trading pairs customers wanted to be added to the platform.
Inside sources at the company say XRP led the way hence the decision to green-light the addition of XRP trading to crypto exchange services on Luno. Commenting on the decision, Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel, remarked:
We have always limited the number of coins we offer, only listing digital currencies which have liquidity, are secure and have the utility which will benefit our clients. XRP demonstrates the benefits that blockchain based assets can offer. Year 2020 looks as though it will be another very important year for the sector as more and more people use digital coins as part of the day-to-day finances.

Luno’s announcement has not had any significant impact on the XRP price action. XRP has been on the downtrend since mid-February 2020, dropping almost 30% over the past fortnight. As at press time, XRP is one of four top-10 altcoins in the during the last 24-hour trading session.
Crypto prices, in general, are still reeling from the significant decline suffered during the last two weeks of February 2020 with the market shedding more than $30 billion in the process.
Malaysian Regulators Clarifying Crypto Laws
Luno’s expanding crypto trading offering in Malaysia comes at a time when regulators in the country are finetuning cryptocurrency laws. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the country’s Security Commission (SE) outlawed initial coin offerings (ICOs) back mid-January 2020 while offering guidelines for initial exchange offerings (IEOs).
The IEO regulations came a year after the country announced new rules for crypto exchanges operating in Malaysia. Luno is one of the registered crypto exchange platforms in the country, enjoying a new lease of life in Malaysia following tax concerns back in mid-January 2018.
What do you think about Luno adding XRP trading to its crypto exchange catalog? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, charts by Ripple.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Bitcoin Price Won’t Fall Below $8.2K During This Crash: PlanB

Bitcoin Price Won't Fall Below $8.2K During This Crash: PlanB

PlanB, creator of the Bitcoin stock-to-flow (S2F) model, says the Bitcoin price is unlikely to dip below $8,200 even as the top-ranked cryptocurrency has dropped 13% over the last one week.

Bitcoin Price Will Hold Above 200 WMA
As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the Bitcoin price has fallen below the $9,000 mark. Taking to Twitter on Wednesday (February 26, 2020), PlanB identified $8,200 as the likely bottom for the current downward slide.
PlanB’s tweet reads:
$8.2k bottom still stands. It would really be unprecedented if it breaks, never happened before. Note it has nothing to do with s2f.

$8.2k bottom still stands. It would really be unprecedented if it breaks, never happened before. Note it has nothing to do with s2f.
— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) February 26, 2020

PlanB’s assertion is based on the historical behavior of Bitcoin that has seen its price not falling below the 200-week moving average (WMA). Thus, based on past performance, it is unlikely that the Bitcoin price continues to slide to levels that would create a new low for 2020.
Dipping below the 200 WMA would also signal a departure of the Bitcoin price action from the predicted path provided by the S2F model. Thus far, PlanB’s S2F has been the most historically accurate Bitcoin price prediction model with a forecast of $100,000 per BTC before the end of 2021.
PlanB’s latest tweet is a reiteration of predictions offered earlier in February, stating that the Bitcoin price would stay above $8,200 and that the post halving BTC price will be above $10,000.
Over the last three days, Bitcoin has lost over $1,000 and is down close to 18% since been unable to overcome resistance at the $10,600 price level. Despite the current slide, the Bitcoin price is still up by more than 20% since the start of the year.

Crypto Market Rout Continues
Apart from Bitcoin, the altcoin market is also seeing red, causing the total cryptocurrency market capitalization to shed over $25 billion in the last 24 hours. Despite surging past $300 billion only a fortnight ago, the total crypto market cap stands at $248 billion as at press time.
Ethereum (ETH), the second-ranked crypto which has been gaining steadily in 2020, has seen its progress halted, dropping 10% in the last 24-hour trading session. Bitcoin SV, EOS, and Litecoin have significantly steeper declines approaching 15% within the same trading period.
A continuation of the current trend could see 2020 altcoin gains wiped out, dampening enthusiasm for any altseason revival as was the case in 2019.
The current price decline isn’t only restricted to the crypto market as U.S. stocks have taken a dive in the last few days, with investment pundits forecasting a likely 25% drop.
Will the Bitcoin price slide below $8,200? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Twitter @100trillionUSD, Tradingview.
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Samsung Increases Crypto Info Security on its Smartphones

samsung crypto

Korean electronics giant Samsung says it is improving the security infrastructure of its smartphones for enhanced protection of user’s crypto information.

Samsung Eyes Tamper-resistant Crypto Information Storage
In a press release issued on Tuesday (February 25, 2020), Samsung announced the introduction of a new Secure Element (SE) designed to better protect data stored on its smartphones.
Samsung’s new SE is a Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance (CC EAL) turnkey security solution for mobile phones. According to the press release, the new SE is the highest security level hardware to be installed on any smartphone.
An excerpt from the press release reads:
Samsung’s new turnkey solution is a dedicated tamper-resistant strongbox that securely stores users’ confidential and cryptographic data such as pin numbers, passwords and even crypto-currency credentials separate from the typical mobile memory such as embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS).
With smartphones increasingly holding sensitive financial data like crypto wallet passwords and seed phrases, Samsung says security protocols need to evolve, hence its decision to create a new SE.
As part of the press release, Samsung revealed that its new security protocols protect against attack vectors like laser attacks, power glitches, and diverse forms of reverse engineering techniques.

According to the press statement, the new SE hardware solution is already in mass production and will feature in the Galaxy S20 smartphones series. As previously revealed by the company, like the S10 series, the flagship S20 models will also come with an in-built crypto wallet.
More Sophisticated Cryptocurrency Attack Vectors Emerging
As previously reported by Bitcoinist, cybercriminals are resorting to more sophisticated attack vectors in a bid to steal cryptos. Consequently, crypto businesses like exchanges are having to vastly improve their security infrastructure to stay ahead of these rogue actors.
Earlier in the year, reports emerged that notorious North Korean cybercrime syndicate, Lazarus, was stealing cryptos via Telegram. North Korean-state sponsored hackers are allegedly behind many of the high-profile attacks against crypto exchanges with security experts saying Pyongyang is funneling proceeds of these hacks to fund its nuclear weapons program.
The pivot towards more sophisticated attack vectors has come following concerted efforts by law enforcement to combat intrusions like cryptojacking. Earlier in 2020, Interpol revealed that cryptojacking in Southeast Asia was down by about 78% since Q3 2019.
What do you think about Samsung’s latest attempt to improve the security of crypto information stored on its smartphones? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News

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Coronavirus Stalls China’s Progress with Central Bank Digital Currency

Coronavirus Stalls China's Progress with Central Bank Digital Currency

The coronavirus outbreak is reportedly delaying progress on China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. However, officials say Beijing is keen to see the pilot test happen before the end of the year.

Central Digital Currency Plans Face Delays Over Coronavirus
According to the Global Times, the deadly coronavirus outbreak is slowing down the pace of work on China’s proposed central bank digital currency. An inside source who spoke to the media outlet revealed:
The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People’s Bank of China (PBC). Policymakers and research staff involved in the DCEP project are no exception, which weighs on the development process.
Since December’s outbreak in Wuhan, China, the government has been forced to quarantine large sections of the country, with more than 780 million people placed under travel restrictions. These measures are affecting the working class with offices businesses shut down since the start of the outbreak.
Concerning the proposed CBDC, some pundits have argued that moving forward with its development may help to curb the spread of the virus, as digital currencies reduce the need for hand-to-hand exchange of fiat currency notes.
As a precautionary measure, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has since instructed that banknotes from hospitals and buses be destroyed to combat the spread of the deadly virus.
China’s CBDC Pilot Will Still Launch in 2020
Despite the delays caused by the viral pandemic, sources close to the development of the CBDC say authorities are intent on moving forward with their plans for the project. Some commentators say research teams working on the CBDC have enough theoretical and technological expertise to navigate any hurdles occasioned by the delay.
As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the PBOC has filed over 80 patents for its proposed central bank digital currency. Details from Global Times show that these patents originate from the PBOC’s research institute as well as its department of printing science and technology.
Reports indicate that the pilot test for the CBDC will happen sometime before the end of 2020. Some inside sources say the PBOC was going to provide public updates concerning the project before the end of Q1 2020 but may come later in the year given the present delays.
China’s progress on plans to launch a CBDC has reverberated among other major economies with Japan, the U.S., and the EU expressing plans to consider their own sovereign digital currencies.
Do you think the coronavirus outbreak will cause the PBOC to abandon work on its central bank digital currency project? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock
Source: Bitcoinist News