Argentina has reimposed capital controls, limiting citizens’ and businesses’ freedom to buy foreign currency.
As Bloomberg reported on Sep. 1, the increasingly troubled South American nation took the step as the Argentine peso (ARS) suffers overwhelming losses against major fiat currenciessuch as the U.S. dollar.
Argentina puts $10K limit on dollar access
Argentina has shown an affinity for Bitcoin (BTC) in recent times, with trade volumes accelerating as uncertainty around the economy grew. Last month, a premium appeared on the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges.
Now, access to hard currency is restricted to just $10,000 for individuals looking to dump ARS on the market, despite its exchange rate falling 34% in USD terms since Aug. 2.
Demand for Bitcoin, a cross-border asset which is impossible to control, should therefore increase further, some suspect.
“Buy Bitcoin,” cryptocurrency-focused attorney Preston Byrne tweeted following the news.
Draper may force Bitcoin switch
Argentina’s economic woes may not match those of Venezuela, yet Bitcoin advocates appeared to preempt the crisis months beforehand.
Should Draper win, he demanded Argentina shun the peso altogether, adopting Bitcoin as its new official state currency.
“That would be a perfect decision, as there’s a lack of confidence in this coin,” he reportedly commented at the time of the meeting in March.
Calibra, a digital currency wallet built by Facebook, is beefing up its compliance team as the company tries to convince U.S. and European regulators that the social media giant’s Libra project poses no legal threat. Now it’s bringing that conviction to the fore by hiring for a new compliance team to manage the many legal pitfalls it will face.
For example, the company is looking for a specialist that will “lead the identification and analysis of our regulatory requirement and create policies, procedures and controls to ensure Calibra is fully compliant with all Sanctions requirements.” The job posting appeared on Facebook’s career website overnight.
The sanctions lead will be working with Calibra’s legal and policy teams, interact with Facebook’s partners as well as the government agencies and regulators to ensure the product complies with worldwide requirements.
Facebook is also looking for additional brainpower to enforce Calibra’s general legal compliance efforts. One posting, for a Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) leader, calls for a skilled banking executive to ensure Calibra’s policies “are designed to comply with BSA/AML related laws and regulations globally.”
Other related jobs currently open include head of compliance and a head of fraud. The career website is currently listing 27 jobs at Calibra alone, among the 47 jobs related to Facebook’s blockchain work.
All of these new hires aims to help Facebook engender trust in its system. The Libra project, announced earlier this summer with support from the world’s leading financial organizations, raised concerns worldwide. Congress grilled the project’s head David Marcus during two hearings, citing concerns for the project’s implications for the U.S. monetary system. They were also concerned with fraud prevention, and data privacy.
An anti-trust investigation into Calibra in the European Union did not make matters easier for Facebook. As now both the U.S. and E.U. authorities are concerned with the project’s scale and consequences, two out of 28 members of the Libra Association told FT they wanted out.
Facebook is also strengthening its lobbying efforts. As reported Tuesday morning, Facebook hired Washington D.C.-based lobbyist John Collins, previously the head of policy at Coinbase, to work on “issues related to blockchain policy.”
Earlier in August, Facebook also hired Susan Zook of Mason Street Consulting, who previously worked as an aid to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Crapo chaired the Senate hearing dedicated to Libra on July 16.
California-based blockchain development firm Baton Systems has closed a $12 million Series A funding round led by Trinity Ventures.
According to a Ledger Insights report published Sept. 2, the new funding will be used to scale Baton Systems’ blockchain-powered bank-to-bank payment solution.
Interoperability with legacy systems
Baton Systems has reported that it already processes over $13 billion in payments implementing its solution for market participants and clearinghouse counterparties.
The firm’s blockchain platform is designed to be interoperable with legacy systems and doesn’t require clients to overhaul their existing business systems. As Baton Systems outlined in a statement:
“The Baton platform integrates with financial institutions’ current collateral and cash systems, leaving their existing business processes, systems, and ledgers in place.”
The blockchain software workflow coordinates between various systems and institutions to achieve transparent and efficient settlement of assets, together with instant reconciliation and reporting for all parties involved, the company has noted.
While using distributed ledger technology, the payments-focused solution does not involve cryptocurrencies or digital assets, Baton Systems’ CEO Arjun Jayaram emphasized.
According to the report, Baton Systems contributed to the Bank of England’s blockchain pilot for real-time gross settlement, which spurred the institution’s later decision to rebuild its RTFS system using the technology.
In a Barclays-hosted hackathon last year, Baton Systems won a prize for the best solution supporting the ISDA’s Common Domain Model (CDM) industry standard for derivatives. The firm later announced support for the CDM standard on its blockchain platform, allowing clients to efficiently connect their existing swaps and derivatives systems to the Baton platform.
Earlier this summer, the Italian Banking Association announced that Italy’s banks will integrate distributed ledger technology into internal settlement processes in a bid to improve transparency in interbank transactions and counterparty communication.