Bank of Uganda Reportedly Commences CBDC Study

The Bank of Uganda (BOU) has commenced a study that explores the feasibility of issuing a digital currency. However, an executive with the institution warned that the central bank needed to be clear why it must have this in the first place.
Faster Movement of Money
The Ugandan central bank is reported to have commenced studying the feasibility of issuing a CBDC that will be used by households and businesses. In addition, the BOU is reportedly planning to revise the country’s financial laws. The move enables the BOU to formally adopt the CBDC.
This central bank’s decision, according to a report, is supported by proponents of CBDCs who insist that such a digital currency would enable Ugandans to move money cheaply and at a much faster pace.
Nevertheless, the bank’s executive director for operations, Charles Abuka, cautioned during a recent interview that the BOU needs to be clear about why it wants to launch the CBDC in the first place. He said:
First, is to establish properly what is the rationale, why must we have it, what issues is it going to help us resolve.
Abuka also argued that the issuance of CBDC is likely to have “technology implications.” He said the technology architecture of such a digital currency will come at a cost and the central bank needs to understand the implications of these costs. He also highlighted that digital currencies may be susceptible to cyber-attacks.

CBDC Enables the Central Bank to Trace Transactions
Despite the BOU’s concerns, one of Uganda’s digital currency proponents and a blockchain consultant, Noah Baalessanv, insists that a CBDC will allow the central bank to get a sense of the “actual economy.” Baalessanv added that unlike a cash economy — which is also expensive to maintain and opaque — a CBDC leaves the central bank in a position where it can trace transactions.
The blockchain consultant, however, warned that any issuance of a CBDC is likely to result in financial institutions being removed from the banking equation. According to Baalessanv, while issuing digital currency directly to users is more efficient, this can also be the “most dangerous” attribute of a CBDC.
What are your thoughts on this story? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Thailand Approves Tax Relief Measures for Crypto Trading

The Thai Cabinet has approved tax relief measures for crypto trading. The new tax rules are “much more friendly to both investors and industry,” said an executive of a cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand.

Thailand Adopts New Tax Rules for Crypto Investments
Thailand’s Cabinet approved new tax relief rules Tuesday for crypto trading, according to an announcement on the Thai government website.
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith and Deputy Minister of Finance Santi Prompat jointly disclosed the outcome of the meeting, confirming that the cabinet has approved the crypto tax relief measures.
The finance minister told a news conference that traders will be able to offset annual losses against gains for taxes due on crypto investments. Value-added tax (VAT) of 7% will also be exempt for transfers of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens on regulated crypto exchanges.
He added that the tax exemption, effective from April 2022 to December 2023, will also cover the trading of retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) to be issued by the Thai central bank, the Bank of Thailand.

Last month, the Thai Revenue Department published a manual outlining the new tax rules applicable to cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. The new tax rules are “much more friendly to both investors and industry,” said an executive of a cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand.
Previously, Thailand wanted to impose a 15% withholding tax on cryptocurrency transactions. The plan was scrapped after pushback by the industry.
Cryptocurrency trading has grown significantly over the past year in the country. A finance ministry official said in January that the number of crypto trading accounts in Thailand grew to about two million at the end of 2021 from 170,000 the previous year.
Last month, the Stock Exchange of Thailand unveiled its plan to launch a digital asset exchange.
What do you think about Thailand relaxing tax rules for crypto investments? Let us know in the comments section below.


Binance Suspends Transactions With Russian Mastercard and Visa Cards

Crypto exchange Binance has blocked transactions with Mastercard and Visa cards issued in the Russian Federation. The trading platform announced the move after the American payment giants decided to halt operations in Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine.
Russians Unable to Use Their Mastercard and Visa Cards on Binance
Starting on Wednesday, March 9, all transactions initiated with Mastercard and Visa cards issued in Russia will be unavailable on Binance. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume explained this is due to the U.S. payment processors’ decision to suspend their activities in the Russian Federation.
The platform further noted that all transactions initiated with Mastercard and Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will be unavailable on Binance within the country, also in line with the policy changes announced by the two financial services corporations.
The restrictions apply only to Binance’s crypto-to-fiat service, Forklog reported, quoting a representative of the company. Traders will still be able to use Russian cards in peer-to-peer transactions, except those issued by banking institutions placed under sanctions, the spokesperson elaborated.

Amid an ongoing Russian military assault on Ukraine, Kyiv issued a call on crypto exchanges to freeze the accounts of all Russian users. While some platforms, such as the U.S. Coinbase and the South Korean Upbit and Bithumb have imposed restrictions, major global exchanges like Binance and Kraken denied the request to unilaterally freeze the accounts of all Russia-based users.
With the West expanding financial sanctions on Moscow, Russians have turned to the digital assets market with reports revealing a spike in Russian ruble trading, including on Binance. Earlier in March, its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao stated the exchange was following sanction rules without limiting access for ordinary Russian citizens that are not on the sanctions lists.
Binance has also been actively involved in the financing of humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The exchange announced the donation of $10 million for the Ukrainian people suffering from the military conflict and the Binance Charity Foundation gave Unicef $2.5 million worth of cryptocurrency.
You can support Ukrainian families, children, refugees, and displaced people by donating BTC, ETH, and BNB to Binance Charity’s Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund.
Do you expect Russian traders to face more restrictions on cryptocurrency exchanges in the future? Tell us in the comments section below.


CoinFLEX CEO Mark Lamb Explains How flexUSD Stacks up to Other Stablecoins

CoinFLEX creates innovative solutions to bring investors and crypto markets together through intuitive yield products such as flexUSD, the world’s first interest-earning stablecoin, and AMM+, the most-capital efficient automated market maker in the world. CoinFLEX is backed by crypto heavyweights, including Roger Ver, Mike Komaransky, Polychain Capital, and Dragonfly Capital.
Mark Lamb is the CEO of CoinFLEX. He recently joined the News Podcast to talk about the market:


Mark has been running crypto exchanges for the past 9 years. He discovered bitcoin in 2012 and quickly became one of the largest crypto OTC market makers, before realizing the need for an exchange and creating Coinfloor, the first UK bitcoin exchange.
In 2018, Mark created CoinFLEX, the first deliverable crypto futures exchange and launched flexUSD, the only stablecoin to pay interest. CoinFLEX facilitates billions a day in repo volumes and its yield products (flexUSD and AMM+) have half a billion in capital.
To learn more about the platform follow the team on social media:
Telegram | Twitter | Discord | LinkedIn | Facebook | Youtube | Reddit

The News podcast features interviews with the most interesting leaders, founders and investors in the world of Cryptocurrency, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), NFTs and the Metaverse. Follow us on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

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Crypto Exchange Kraken Pledges Over $10 Million to Support Ukrainian Users

Kraken is planning to hand out more than $10 million in aid for clients affected by the military conflict in Ukraine. The amount covers the fees paid by Ukrainian residents in almost a decade and will also include those withheld from Russian traders in the first half of 2022.
Kraken Exchange to Give $1,000 in Bitcoin to Each Eligible Ukrainian Customer
U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken is preparing to distribute $10 million to Ukrainian customers suffering from the Russian invasion. Between March 10 and July 1, clients who created an account from Ukraine prior to March 9, 2022, at “Intermediate” or “Pro” level verification, will be eligible to receive $1,000 in bitcoin (BTC), the platform announced in a blog post and on social media.

Kraken will distribute over $10 million worth of to aid clients in 🇺🇦Ukraine. Tranche 1 recipients will be credited $1000 of #BTC, withdrawable tomorrow. The package is funded by historical Ukraine revenues and H1 2022 revenues from Russia-based trading.
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) March 9, 2022

Ukrainian users will be able to immediately withdraw the funds from the exchange while currency conversion fees for amounts of up to $1,000 will be waived. The first of three planned tranches will be approximately equivalent to the total of the fees paid by residents of Ukraine since 2013.
An amount equivalent to the fees paid by Kraken users based in the Russian Federation in the first half of this year will also be donated. The exchange said it may grant additional aid in the future. Commenting on the deepening crisis in Ukraine, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stated:
We hope to continue being able to provide critical financial services in a time of need to both our clients in Ukraine and in Russia. Cryptocurrency remains an important humanitarian tool, especially at a time when many around the world can no longer rely on traditional banks and custodians.
After Moscow launched its offensive in late February, the government in Kyiv urged crypto exchanges to freeze the accounts of Russian users. However, major global platforms, including Kraken and Binance, denied the request to unilaterally impose such restrictions on all traders from Russia. At the time, Powell noted that’s not a viable business option for his company.

The aid distribution is Kraken’s first such international initiative and represents efforts to align its business with the values of the crypto community, like the belief that all global citizens should have access to financial services. “This includes our clients in Russia, who may be actively trying to protest the ongoing conflict,” the exchange remarked, elaborating:
We believe this aid program benefits both our company and our clients, ensuring none are disenfranchised by the actions of their representatives and leaders.
Kraken further emphasized it’s ready to respond to requests from authorities in affected regions and is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine to ensure it’s abiding by relevant sanctions. The announcement also provides detailed information on how the crypto aid will be distributed and the applicable eligibility requirements.
Ukrainian officials and volunteer groups have actively sought to acquire funding through crypto donations. The digital money raised since the beginning of the conflict have been used to finance both defense efforts and solve humanitarian problems.
The world’s leading crypto exchange by trading volume, Binance, is supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, too. The platform announced the donation of $10 million for the Ukrainian people and the Binance Charity Foundation gave Unicef $2.5 million worth of cryptocurrency to address the needs of children and their families.
You can support Ukrainian families, children, refugees, and displaced people by donating BTC, ETH, and BNB to Binance Charity’s Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund.
Do you expect other major crypto exchanges to support Ukrainian users suffering from the ongoing military conflict? Tell us in the comments section below.

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