According to Iran Daily, the Iranian government amended its regulations on cryptocurrencies to allow them to be exclusively used for funding imports, at a time of increased pressure on the country’s FX reserves. The move is illustrative of a tendency among a number of Petrostates like Russia, Kazakhstan and Venezuela to support through energy subsidies. the development of a homegrown crypto-currency mining. It could allow these countries to hedge and ultimately to significantly lower their exposure to the US dollar and US financial institutions. The Iranian move also shows that crypto-mining is an emerging global industry in its own right which has moved from being considered as an outcast to being treated as a strategic asset.
More than a decade after the invention of Bitcoin in 2008 by a group of techies using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and almost three years after the Great Crypto Crash of 2018, crypto-currencies and digital assets are finally coming of age. A few countries are spearheading the global regulatory effort by focusing on the opportunities associated with the crypto revolution in what looks increasingly like a fierce global competition to replace the traditional foundations of money, banking and finance with new principles and procedures.
Known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP), the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) project piloted by the People’s Bank of China is so far the most advanced projet of its kind in the world. The introduction of a CBDC in the world’s most populous country and second largest economy may have far reaching consequences.
Ant Group’s IPO could beat the record set by SaudiAramco’s $29.4 billion landmark IPO in late 2019. But whereas Saudi Aramco is struck in a sunset industry with little growth potential over the long term, Ant Group is spearheading a business and technology revolution with far reaching consequences for China and for the rest of the world.
Central banks have been stepping up efforts to create new electronic currencies in an attempt to counter the threat posed to their monetary power by private currencies such as Facebook’s Libra. However, CBDCs might prove to be too little too late to shape the future of money. When you can’t fight a trend, it’s better to embrace it.