Facebook’s Libra right after it was unveiled last week, has run into fresh controversies. While the stablecoin is expected to face regulatory hurdles in two of the most populous countries — India and China — lawmakers and regulators from countries like France and the US have also raised their concerns over the project that is set to be launched in early 2020.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his announcement, has mentioned the essential parameters of the permissioned blockchain Libra like privacy, safety, cross border transactions, technology except for the obvious regulatory concerns.
Meanwhile, as the new Indian finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, is set to introduce the Union Budget 2019 in the 17th Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) on July 5, Inc42 spoke to blockchain startups to find out their expectations from the Budget. And yes, there is a basket full of issues that they want the FM to look into.
Blockchain in India, despite having shown huge growth in terms of funding compared to 2017, is far behind the US and many EU countries.
Chart Of The Week: Blockchain Funding In India
Let’s take a look at this week’s news!
Blockchain Startups Call For Greater Access To Funding, Talent
Commenting on the upcoming Union Budget 2019, blockchain startups demand that the Budget must address the needs of startups at various phases. For instance, an innovation fund must be allocated to support pilot projects with startups, R&D purposes and funding.
There’s more to be done to fuel funding in blockchain startups. Sanachit Mehra, founder and CEO of Cateina Technologies told Inc42, “The blockchain space in India hasn’t been too active in terms of the deals financed by VCs because of a lack of tech understanding and secondly, the lack of regulatory frameworks to govern trade enabled by DLT. Incentives in this space would be welcome.”
Arpit Ratan, cofounder of Signzy said that startups find it very difficult to engage with PSUs when applying for tenders and RFPs. So, what possibly the government can do is allow PSUs to have an innovation fund to invest in technologies such as AI and Blockchain, which makes it easier for startups to get through the RFP route.
Subex Joins GLF’s Communications Blockchain Network
Bengaluru-based telecom analytics solution provider Subex recently announced that it will be a part of the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum’s (GLF’s) Communications Blockchain Network (CBN), a blockchain-based consortium which aims to revolutionize the ICT Service Provider industry’s commercial settlement infrastructure.
The collaborative industry-wide governance framework aims to facilitate the development of open-source standards and APIs that enable service-provider interoperability of DLT-enabled services and manage critical infrastructure elements of the platform.
The CBN is expected to go live in the next few months and will be governed by a collaborative structure. The distributed ledger technology shall be collectively used by the consortium members and can provide significant benefits that will transform inter-service provider settlement processes by enabling automation and improving security. DLT-based automation can facilitate carriers to settle new types of traffic, underpinning network and service innovation, and save costs.
Out of 1276 participants, 27 shortlisted teams consisting of 76 participants recently competed in a Blockchain Hackathon finale event on June 22 and 23, 2019 at Hyderabad.
Hosted by Conduent in association with HackerEarth, the focus of the Hackathon was to build a viable, decentralized application to share assets in the business-to-business (B2B) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) contexts around Incentive systems for social behavioral change; blockchain for a shared economy; smart properties; transparent interactions with the government and delegative voting systems.
US, France Lawmakers On Facebook’s Libra
With Libra, Facebook wants to cater to its 2.4 Bn Facebook and WhatsApp users with a single currency that could work across countries. The payments solutions can immediately bring Facebook marketplace in direct competition with big ecommerce players like ebay and Amazon.
However, as with many of Facebook’s launches, there seems to be a roadblock ahead.
French minister of economy and finance Bruno Le Maire has warned Facebook that the currencies is an attribute of the sovereignty of the States and it must remain in the hands of the States and not of the private companies which answer to private interests.
Adding that, “The ability to issue securities, build a reserve and be a lender of last resort: all this is not feasible,” Le Maire went on to say that if Facebook does so, we would ask Facebook to guarantee that the currency and transactions won’t happen towards money laundering and financing terrorism.
Not only France, Rep. Maxine Waters, but chairwoman of the US House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee has also now requested Facebook to halt development on its cryptocurrency, the Libra.
Waters said, “The crypto market currently lacks a regulatory framework and given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.”
In other news, The Energy Web Foundation (EWF) has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain). This first wave of dApps focuses on creating customer and business value by expanding markets for renewable energy trading, increasing the effectiveness and depth of demand response programs, and streamlining electric vehicle charging.