Frankfurt, January 15, 2020 The Bitkom Working Group “Digital Payments” has set itself the task of acting as a competent respondent for digital banking topics for politicians and supervision. The working Group is going to address regulatory challenges for digital payments at an early stage and promote the exchange of ideas among Bitkom members, especially FinTechs, banks and tech companies ( learn more >> ). With this objective, it is not surprising that the kick-off event of the working group for 2020 was all about distributed ledger technology and blockchain payments. More than 50 participants from banking, payment and trade attended the event and discussed the potential and challenges of private stablecoins such as Libra, classical cryptocurrencies such as Dash, corporate currencies and a possible euro on the blockchain.
Corporate currencies: The future of payment?
Following the announcement of the event agenda and presentation of the strategic direction of the working group for 2020 by the Working Group director Dr. Matthias Terlau, Peter Reuschel (COO https://www.leondrino.com/ ) started his lecture on corporate currencies. According to Reuschel, these will open up completely new potential for customer loyalty of retail companies and branded goods in the future. The first projects in the catering industry are already in preparation. These will initially refer to the B2B business, but implementations in the B2C segment are already planned. It remains to be seen whether and if blockchain-based corporate currencies will actually enter digital payments. The industry seems to be interested.
Dash as an alternative means of payment at the POS and in e-commerce
In the next program item “Cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for POS & e-commerce”, Jan Heinrich Meyer (CEO https://www.dash-embassy.org ) gave an introduction to the cryptocurrency Dash (short for Digital Cash), which is now among the most commonly used cryptocurrencies in payments. Meyer explained Dash’s go to market strategy in Europe and provided exciting insights on the increasing acceptance of the cryptocurrency that specializes in payments. There are already over 30,000 acceptance points for payments with Dash in Europe. The goal is to significantly increase this number through strategic cooperation with payment service providers and manufacturers of POS systems within the next two years. With regards to press releases from Worldline ( learn more >> ) and Ingenico ( learn more >> ), this is a realistic scenario.
Especially attendees from the retail sector displayed keen interest in Meyers presentation, thus potentially opening more doors for the acceptance of Dash. If so, this would be an absolutely rewarding development, as Dash can greatly increase the efficiency of the value-added chain at the POS. Jan Heinrich Meyer’s presentation can be viewed here as a PDF >> .
The new regulator for crypto custody
At least since the adoption of the blockchain strategy by the Bundestag ( learn more >> ), regulation of crypto values has probably been one of the most frequently discussed topics in the relevant media in connection with blockchain. In his lecture “The new supervision of the crypto custody business” Nadim Ayyad from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) explained the regulatory framework for the storage of cryptocurrencies that has been in force since the beginning of 2020. In future, safekeeping may only be carried out with a corresponding license. Banks and other financial service institutions can now apply for this license. Further information on the process can be found on the BaFin website >> . The question of the applicability of PSD2 to payments with cryptocurrencies, as well as the specific regulation of cloud-based custody solutions could not be clarified conclusively.
Digital agenda, Libra & Blockchain
One of the most discussed lectures at the meeting was probably that of the Working Group board member and lawyer Dr. Matthias Terlau ( https://www.goerg.de ) on the subject of Libra. In his presentation Terlau presented the basic architecture of the stablecoin planned by the Libra Association and carried out a non-binding legal classification of the project. In the connected question and answer session, the potential threat to user privacy and the attack on existing government currencies were discussed. The majority of the panelists appeared to be rather skeptical about the Facebook-led project.
Euro on the blockchain
When asked whether the federal government is already working on an answer to Libra and other blockchain-based currencies, Dr. Heike Winter ( Bundesbank ) replied with the frequently used quote “Get ahead of the curve” by Christine Lagarde ( ECB ). Various ideas for implementing a Euro on the blockchain were already being discussed and examined. One of the central questions is what role commercial banks would play in this scenario. In the following discussion, moderated by Maike Hornung ( VISA ), outlook was repeatedly taken towards Asia, where government currencies on the blockchain could probably become a reality in the near future. It is currently questionable whether the ECB and the Bundesbank will actually be able to live up to the “ahead of the curve” statement, but of course it is not impossible.
The market power of central banks, internet companies and branded goods is absolutely overwhelming compared to that of decentralized open source projects like Bitcoin or Dash. Nevertheless, Dash currently seems to have a small lead over the previously mentioned solutions. In order to keep this up, it is necessary to expand the existing cooperation with the payment industry as well as invest in the educational work on the current monetary systems.
The regulatory framework has been created. Now it is time to develop a comprehensive strategy for the adaptation of Dash and implement it together with our partners. We look forward to the already agreed on follow-up talks and workshops with industry and trade and hope for a continued positive development for Dash and the entire decentralized part of the blockchain movement.