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U.S. President Joe Biden has recently released an executive order pushing forward studies and development for digital assets.

Since its release, this had garnered attention and different opinions from the public. Most experts have greeted this as a possibility for better regulations and development of the digital asset industry.

But what does this exactly mean for the digital community and the current banking systems? Should we be expecting the long-waited American CBDC soon?

Read More: Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets | The White House

The Two Truths with Regulations

One major thing that many experts have observed from the executive order was the lack of any immediate policies and regulations. Rather, it contains long lists of call-for-action items for multiple branches of the government to operate and perform exhaustive studies from every aspect.

During the drafting period of the executive order, many had expressed scrutiny and concerns, thinking that this would involve excessive regulations that would hinder current digital transactions and activities. But in contrast, the report rather reaffirmed that cryptocurrency is here for us to embrace and deal with.

The executive order reflects how the U.S. is taking the right track for the digital industry, acknowledging its significance for America’s competitiveness in the financial market.

Instead of manifesting some kind of repression for the industry, we received an order directing agencies to responsibly identify issues and perform studies to outline necessary resolutions. This had apparently conveyed the Biden administration’s desire to harness the presented profits while securing a safe industry.

President Biden’s Order on Digital Assets: A Nudge for a U.S. CBDCMany experts have previously called out that the U.S. should start mobilizing its arm s and draft regulations, given that digital assets are greatly taking over the financial sector. Given the amount of change crypto had caused, we should start minimizing any systematic risk as soon as possible.

The crypto market has been growing at a high speed, impacting our traditional financial systems. Based on multiple studies, these are some of the signs that a financial crisis is hitting a market. It is important that we invest in regulations to ensure minimal impact in case of any disruptions.

However, we should be cautious that together with certainty, the public also demands favorable regulations.

This is the exact reason why some experts have expressed concerns that actions from the U.S. government might cause regulatory issues the community might find too exhaustive, resulting in customers shifting to other countries with much more favorable policies.

Regulations while Securing Competitiveness

A quite major portion of the executive order leans towards sustaining the economic competitiveness of the U.S. market by ensuring efficient services while keeping up safe and well-regulated transactions.

However, in reality, things are much more complicated than mere words. There would always be the fear that one day, we might wake up with an industry regulated too tightly.

The Crypto industry was once a self-regulating business. However, in actuality, there would always be interventions from the government, one way or another.

Is the Internet a Trustworthy Foundation for this Critical industry?

Upon the release of Biden’s executive order, Thomas Vartanian, a writer, and a famous banking expert, remarked that most issues we encounter with digital assets are inherent from historical issues we have from the internet, which we are still trying to keep firm grip on .

In his books, Thomas had previously called out for a much more secure internet space. He mentioned that the lack of action over the last decades regarding the matter is alarming. Now, he is troubled by the apparent fact that more forms of digital assets, including CBDCs, will soon transition to the unsecured platform we have – that is, the internet.

As we progress with various studies on digital assets, we should expect that these types of concerns will be addressed. However, some financial veterans have given warnings that these explorations might give us results that are not as pleasing as we want. There are numbers of experts who are sceptical about how the digital industry would impact the overall financial sector, given the limitless number of things that could wrong.

Crypto has been here for more than a decade and we’ve been handling it well so far, however, an awful amount of loss would be ahead of us if we do not continue working with it smartly.

Biden’s Nudge for a U.S. CBDC

Although the recent executive order by the White House does not provide certain directives regarding the establishment of an American central bank digital currency or CBDC, its instructions are clear to mobilize federal agencies for further studies and preparations.

President Biden’s Order on Digital Assets: A Nudge for a U.S. CBDCThe report provides a noticeable sense of urgency towards CBDC and a clear prominence of the U.S. entering the competition. There’s quite an emphasis on the U.S. maintaining its global market leadership, which received different responses and opinions from the community.

Few banking institutions have expressed concerns on how their businesses would be impacted by creating a CBDC, specific to activities such as funding and lending.

Conversely, experts pointed out that the banking industry should not treat CBDC as a competition, but instead leverage it for further service development, given the number of roles private banks could take part in, once created.

The executive order clearly pushes forward the concept of an American CBDC, in relation to the notable slow progress of the Federal Reserves Board in terms of conducting studies. The Fed has been long waiting for a directive from Congress and the executive branch, and with this recent order by the President, we should expect the Fed to act and move forward.

Additionally, the order has provided instructions to the Justice and Treasury departments to perform necessary preparations for any legislative changes needed upon establishing a U.S. CBDC.

Although no words are set in stone, the executive order is an apparent nudge from the White House calling a huge sense of urgency for CBDCs.

Is Urgency for a U.S. CBDC Really Needed?

Although the U.S. government has called the “highest urgency” for CBDCs, the same is not shared by the rest of the community, as many emphasise the risks that this would cause in the traditional systems.

Some banking veterans pointed out that many from the financial sector have the misconception that faster and smoother transactions could only be attained through CBDCs. They expressed their concerns that the U.S. federal should look at the matter with a more careful approach given the huge role the U.S. dollar plays in the global financial market.

Although some other nations are getting ahead in terms of testing and pilots, specifically China with its e-CNY, some experts stated that this shouldn’t be an important consideration for the U.S.

President Biden’s Order on Digital Assets: A Nudge for a U.S. CBDCEven though it might seem like this is China’s indirect attack to put the U.S. dollar down in the global market, experts mentioned that the U.S. shouldn’t confuse it for a need to rush and compete, without proper preparations.

What’s Next After the Executive Order

Although the executive order has clearly shown how the U.S government is leaning towards the creation of CBDCs, one thing that the community agreed on is the lack of any signs that the authorities favor any type of digital assets. So far, the mandate is clear that digital assets in general would be developed and studied.

The executive order has not shown any impact on the current business activities and no noticeable actions are taken by the digital community. The industry continues with its plans but should be more cautious as changes might come faster and sooner than expected.

This order is a good way to spark conversations as we go through the rapidly changing digital industry, however, we should expect that things would get rough once we go into details.

Visit our page at https://coredo.eu/contacts/ for more reads like this!

The cryptocurrency industry in Estonia through the years

Estonia is one of the first countries to venture into cryptocurrency. They are the first member of the European Union to provide standard regulations and exercise control over cryptocurrencies. Hence, Estonia was known to be one of the top crypto-friendly countries in Europe.

Three years ago, in 2019, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a council established to gather suspicious activities of individuals and institutions, released about six hundred licenses for crypto. These licenses are called Virtual Currency Service Provider licenses. When looking into Estonian law, an institution that received its license is required to do business six months after its license has been released.

Come 2020, the regulators further tighten their control by emphasizing that virtual currencies must be treated just how traditional financial firms are. This means they should also comply with Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act.

Having the AML Act in Estonia, is it still crypto-friendlyIn 2021, Estonian authorities revoked about 2000 crypto licenses. The nation’s government made the rules even stricter by adding audited annual reports and due diligence for digital financial institutions.

Today, crypto enthusiasts are required to get a license under the new Estonia cryptocurrency regulation.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act

As regulations are the weakest point of cryptocurrency, authorities are finding a way to combat this. One of the solutions they introduced is by applying Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act in the crypto world.

Now, what is AML Act? Generally, it refers to a series of laws, procedures, and regulations a country has to unmask illegal funds that are disguised as legitimate earnings.

It was a response in the ever so growing virtual currency industry wherein tokens may be used for illegal purposes. This act has requirements that a business must comply with. In doing so, financial institutions may also develop a more sophisticated system of due diligence that would benefit both their customers and their management.

In Estonia, AML Act was applied on the 23rd of February 2022. The biggest updates regarding this are listed below.

 2 New Service Types

  1. A digital currency exchange service refers to one that enables a payment transaction to be electronically executed through a digital cryptocurrency service institution in the name of the main user. Its purpose is to transfer crypto tokens from the original owner to the recipient, despite having a different or same crypto provider, or if the recipient and original owner are the same.
  2. The solution of organizing public or private transactions or offering financial services concerning releasing of digital currency.

These newly introduced definitions are an addition to the current service types the industry has. Since digital currency is defined to be a service in the paradigm where virtual keys are produced for the clients or clients’ encrypted virtual keys, these are very useful in storing and exchanging digital currencies.

It was previously defined that a digital currency exchange service is where an individual’s or firm’s virtual currency can be traded for a fiat one, or vice versa, or against another digital currency.

Now, the two new types of services listed above must be interpreted in agreement with the recommendations set forth by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an institution that implements counselling for anti-money laundering and counters terrorist financing measures. As per FATF, one’s revision is not in compliance with the regulations until they offer the listed services above.

DAO, Defi, and WEB 3.0

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Web 3.0 programs have always been the top concern and are in agreement that real decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) type programs must be maintained beyond the realm of regulations. This concept includes local-based apps, wherein all users must coordinate with another user to have the capacity to provide and move the service, and involves software programmers whose function is to process the verdict of the DAO to execute a role into the crypto protocol.

In the course of the conversation, the Estonian government commented the following: their country’s legislation cannot make up for the window of individuals in decentralized financial services. To emphasize, their regulations do not focus on such services and technological advancements.

The modification must be interpreted in association with the current standard of the definition of the service provider. That is, say, please see below:

  • A service provider must be a single person
  • Commercial activities should be within the paradigm of the professional, economic, or exchange activity of the person

More so, the digital currency institutions are required to be evaluated according to the substantial will of the institution and the type and purpose of their businesses.

Companies’ requirements to hold or apply for a license

The path of these newly introduced laws and regulations is obviously not far from their original drafts. However, they are more compassionate in some sectors. You may find the updates of the new regulation compared to the current ones below:

Having the AML Act in Estonia, is it still crypto-friendly

  1. Cryptocurrency service providers are prohibited from presenting their financial services externally from their determined professional relationship.
  2. A straightforward veto was programmed for accounts that do not have credible information.
  3. Having a travel rule. This means that there will be a responsibility for information to be sent for outbound-going payment transactions. If in case the crypto receiver cannot accept the data sent, the provider shall conduct a course of action to track the data and have a clear analysis of risks.
  4. A cryptocurrency provider shall keep the records related to the travel rule within 5 years after the last day of the business partnership.
  5. More information will be required throughout the licensing period. These include income statements such as balance sheets, and also business plans, and information on the company’s Information Technology (IT) systems and other technological data.
  6. Companies that are licensed are required to have an external and internal auditor.
  7. A minimum amount of € 250,000 for remittance service on share capital, and € 100,000 for the rest.
  8. Funds to be owned are necessary, as well as its liquidity, just like those required for credit companies.
  9. Reached higher education plus a minimum of 2 years of experience in business management.

How much does the license application costs? Currently, it is about € 10000, a great increase from the initial € 3,300 only.

Please take note of the deadlines below:

  • June 15th – Deadline for submission of updated documents for companies who have valid licenses. FIU may extend this for about one hundred fifty more days. Once the updated documents are submitted, licenses will be renewed. Otherwise, they will be revoked.
  • March 15th – First-time application of license which will be within the scope of new regulations.

If you need more help with the licensing, we have financial experts who could help you. You may reach us at Coredo.

History of Decentralized Finance

Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, originated with the hopes of having a financial system that would allow its end users to trade currencies without the need to undergo any government control.

In 2009, bitcoin (BTC) was introduced as the first DeFi asset in the cryptocurrency industry. It was a big hit, especially for crypto geeks, and is now considered one of the major investments a coin holder can have. BTC paved the way for the development of DeFi, in general.

Six years into the technology, in 2015, another coin entered the market – Ethereum (ETH). It gave rise to the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market which enabled the whole industry to be in the mainstream, being comparable to traditional financial services.

DeFi was further modernized in 2020 due to the pandemic. Since existing firms were pinned down by the lockdown, Decentralized Financial applications were developed to cater to those who cannot be entertained by the traditional firms. Such applications enabled DeFi individuals who lost their jobs to borrow, lend, and invest during the pandemic.

DeFi A threat or being threatenedWe can say that DeFi is like an oasis in the desert of financial instruments. It serves a variety of services which is currently the key to keeping it running.

Institutional Markets under DeFi’s Grasp

Having a virtual peer-to-peer system, DeFi does not pose a barrier to any monetary transaction and is inclusive to all. Hence, they can operate like conventional brokers and banks, but in a digital way.

As such, it keeps on convincing individuals and institutions to invest in them and take DeFi products and services as another form of the trading process.

To back this claim up, three big institutions have invested in DeFi – State Street Corporation, Fidelity Investments Inc, and BNY Mellon.

Learn more: DeFi is taking over the institutional markets

Concerns about DeFi

While it is indeed true that DeFi is evolving quickly and on a positive trajectory, there are still issues that make this industry a cause for concern.

First is its weak foundation in the regulatory system. International Organization of Securities Commissions or IOSCO released a report stating that although DeFi is mirroring the regulations traditional markets have, it is still insufficient. Yes, it is acknowledged that it brings investors several benefits, however, it also possesses multiple risks.

IOSCO reported on the 24th of March that it developed a new team to develop policies to lessen the risks of the fast-pacing industry. The same firm announced that the team will be comprised of ninety-five percent of securities regulators globally. It is intending to have a standard regulation for DeFi.

Another worry is regarding conflict of interest. To provide some background information, the most familiar Decentralized Financial tokens are decentralized exchanges (DEX’s), exchanging crypto, loaning applications, and blockchain programs.

IOSCO’s study, suggests that though DeFi was designed to have a peer-to-peer ecosystem, virtual open markets still have centralized controls. Such markets are project developers, venture institutions, and several financial investors with exceptionally large control of the crypto administration coins which can vote on admin matters. Thus, the issue of conflict of interest arises.

Focusing on Power

Tokens in DeFi are being managed by a smart system called decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs, either in its starting or advanced phase. Every arrangement is selected through a voting process via a one-to-one, token-vote methodology.

This is where we can see the gap in its administration since most decisions are made by voting, may it be for a minor or significant issue. It, therefore, results in having holders of huge coins even if they only have small votes.

DeFi A threat or being threatenedFurther, even though DeFi claims to be decentralized, changing information and votes makes it centralized in real life. The reason is that investors still communicate through platforms, for example, Discord, which allows them to discuss how the investment will go through, of course, for their advantage. And taking into account that the number of voters is not big, the possibility of conflict of interest emerges.

Aside from that, several individual investors maintain their coins in the care of major centralized trading platforms. This may bring forth an effect for their customers’ coins to be voted, however, in smaller chances.

One more concern is considered when blockchain authenticators reinforce bonds for better practices which permit them to conduct the latest business arrangements toward a blockchain in trade for brand new crypto coin premium. Symmetrical to BTC-based mining with no ecological issues, authenticators are chosen in a random pattern to create more tokens congruent to the amount of what they invested.

In conclusion, a large number of authenticators motivate coin owners to allocate – loans to them, specifically – their coins in a swap for a portion of the premium. This grants them voting powers for those coins.

More so, IOSCO emphasized that multiple large-scale centralized trades give users a clear path towards decentralized financial applications and self-executing agreements. It is also worth noting that others even provide customers with the capability to finance in loaning and investment programs digitally, undoubting the trade’s process.

However, as previously mentioned, there are still remarkable risks which include conflict of interest, unexpected currency fluctuations, potential loss of investment portfolio concerning cryptocurrency-asset management via ownership, and risk in exchange.

DeFi administration also has a minor influence on voters. That is through what they call the “Bribe Protocol” which means that one can pay the industry’s governing body to hold cryptocurrency coins and vote right.

In the Future

As Decentralized Finance is now established, individuals and institutions are encouraged to enter the market. They are risking their savings and funds in hopes to leap into the emerging industry and loan their consolidated possessions to something that has become collected money that is liquid enough to serve both all and no one, simultaneously.

On the contrary, the technological advancement of this new payment system has the promise of a free and inclusive financial process. Yes, there are regulatory issues, and it is still a work in progress, but DeFi is unquestionably a significant competitor of the existing financial institutions the world currently has. Globally, it is also great support for the economic system and capital appreciation.

Thinking about the future, one cannot only think about the amount of money DeFi can provide to the economy. Instead, investors must also consider how this money should be allocated and managed. There is always a threat from central financial institutions, but DeFi is resisting this and is being a threat to them as well.

So, what do you think about this? If you need advice, connect with us at Coredo.

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