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Leaders Release Unprecedented Map of Blockchain Standards

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Industry leaders today released the Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI), the first and most comprehensive effort to assess the current state of blockchain. Based on input from over 30 technical standard-setting entities, 185 jurisdictions and nearly 400 industry groups, the reports are accessible to the public and intended to serve as a resource for the blockchain community to develop thoughtful frameworks and standards to propel the industry forward.

The reports, released by the World Economic Forum and the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), map and assess the current blockchain and digital asset landscape across three distinct areas: technical standards; legislation and guidance by sovereign and international bodies; and industry best practices and standards.

Key insights highlighted in the reports include the technology’s fragmentation both worldwide and within jurisdictions, overlaps, gaps and conflicts in standard-setting – and where these activities may be premature – a lack of dynamic guidance for new uses of the technology, the need for proactive strategies from organizations, and the important role regulators will play in shaping the future of the technology. The reports also provide action-oriented guidance for public and private sector stakeholders and include an interactive world map of blockchain legislation and guidance.

The initiative is led by the World Economic Forum and the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), with core collaborators: Accenture; Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab; ESG Intelligence; Global Digital Finance (GDF); Hyperledger, The Linux Foundation; ING; the Milken Institute; SIX Digital Exchange (SDX); and other global entities. For a full list of partners and collaborators, please see here.

Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain at the World Economic Forum, said: “There has been a strong demand signal for a catalogue of standards-related activity that could serve as a cornerstone for facilitating responsible deployment and interoperability. We were excited to collaborate with the Global Blockchain Business Council and members of our Blockchain Council to create this open resource that can be used by the ecosystem, policy-makers, and beyond, to inform their approaches to the technology and standards moving forward.”

Sandra Ro, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Blockchain Business Council, said: “GSMI partners and collaborators are a diverse group of stakeholders across industries, governments and academia who represent a range of perspectives and ideologies. Their coming together to lay the foundation towards greater harmonization and clarity surrounding standard-setting exemplifies the unique ethos of the blockchain community rooted in collective progress and collaboration. The Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), is proud to have incubated this initiative alongside the World Economic Forum and looks forward to continued collaboration as the GSMI evolves and develops beyond this initial release. We invite new partners to join us as we build upon this initial body of work, GSMI version 1.0.”

David Treat, GBBC Board Chair and Senior Managing Director and Head of Accenture’s Blockchain Business, said: “The next wave of innovation will be driven by collaborative ecosystems, underpinned by blockchain and multiparty systems. The technology is advancing quickly, but the complexities of the standards, frameworks and policies necessary to align to best practices have risked slowing progress to broad-based adoption. At Accenture, we believe this important initiative offers a significant leap forward as we help our clients to drive business transformation and shape the future with more resilient, transparent and secure infrastructures.”

Mariana Gomez de la Villa, Distributed Ledger Technology Program Director at ING, said:“We all know DLT is a network technology and for it to reach mass scale adoption you need strong synergies where every single participant on the value chain experiences the value. As an ecosystem, we won’t be able to deliver value without developing clear standards. This is why ING decided to contribute to this technical report together with the World Economic Forum.”

Benjamin Nadareski, Global Corporate and Business Development at SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), said: “The digital asset industry has seen exceptional growth in 2020 yet has continued to lack the global standards required to unlock the true value behind this emerging asset class. We are excited to be involved with an effort that unifies academia, industry and regulatory efforts to provide a non-biased foundation for the required standards that companies around the world need for their digital asset businesses. With the first launch of phase one for the GSMI initiative, we are excited to open up the effort to additional global leaders and experts in the digital asset industry.”

Carole Biau, Director for Global Market Development at the Milken Institute, said: “We are proud to have participated in such an important endeavour. GSMI provided an opportunity for two scholars of our IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program to thoroughly research the blockchain and digital asset landscape in a wide range of countries and to learn from varying regulatory perspectives. Going forward, GSMI can be an important addition to the regulatory toolkit for our scholars and alumni as they work to modernize and strengthen capital markets across developing and emerging economies.”

Lawrence Wintermeyer, Executive Co-Chair, Global Digital Finance, said: “The GSMI project was ambitious in its goal of mapping out the global regulatory and association landscape for crypto and digital assets. For the first time, business leaders and policy-makers can now access the (fragmented) landscape of jurisdictional regulatory intelligence and better understand which of the agencies and associations is best positioned to support their needs.”

Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger, said:”The GSMI reports will be key resources for adding critical structure to the fast-evolving blockchain industry. The broad-based effort behind this important mapping project shows the inherently collaborative nature of the blockchain ecosystem. As champions of openness and standards, Hyperledger applauds this important work and we look forward to continuing to contribute to this initiative.”

Sumit Kumar, Co-Founder of ESG Intelligence, said: “The GSMI project is a timely initiative that will help expand the blockchain ecosystem. It will provide an opportunity for organizations that are still watching from the sidelines to assess the regulatory and business landscape and contribute to the ecosystem. We are proud to have joined this important project as it shares our goal of expanding enterprise blockchain adoption.”

As blockchain continues to evolve and scale, clarity on its technical, regulatory and governance models will be paramount in shaping the trajectory and potential of the technology. The GSMI is an ongoing effort that will continue to grow. If you are interested in collaborating, please get in touch.

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De-dollarization is gaining momentum

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Brazil and China have reportedly struck a deal to ditch the U.S. dollar in favor of their own currencies in trade transactions.

The announced deal will enable China and Brazil to carry out trade and financial transactions directly, exchanging yuan for reais – or vice versa – rather than first converting their currencies to the U.S. dollar.

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) said the new arrangement is expected to “reduce costs” and “promote even greater bilateral trade and facilitate investment.”

China is Brazil’s largest trading partner, accounting for more than a fifth of all imports, followed by the United States, according to the latest figures. China is also Brazil’s largest export market, accounting for more than a third of all exports.

China overtook the United States as Brazil’s top trading partner in 2009. Today, Brazil is the largest recipient of Chinese investment in Latin America, driven by spending on high-tension electricity transmission lines and oil extraction.

Brazilian President Luiz da Silva, sworn in on January, has moved to strengthen ties with Beijing after a period of rocky relations under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who used anti-China rhetoric on the campaign trail and in office.

An official meeting of all ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors kicked off in Indonesia. Top of the agenda are discussions to reduce dependence on the US Dollar, Euro, Yen, and British Pound from financial transactions and move to settlements in local currencies.

The meeting discussed efforts to reduce dependence on major currencies through the Local Currency Transaction (LCT) scheme. This is an extension of the previous Local Currency Settlement (LCS) scheme that has already begun to be implemented between ASEAN members.

This means that an ASEAN cross-border digital payment system would be expanded further and allow ASEAN states to use local currencies for trade. An agreement on such cooperation was reached between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand in November 2022. This follows from Indonesia’s banking regulator, stating on March 27 that the Bank of Indonesia is preparing to introduce its own domestic payment system.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has urged regional administrations to start using credit cards issued by local banks and gradually stop using foreign payment systems. He argued that Indonesia needed to shield itself from geopolitical disruptions, citing the sanctions targeting Russia’s financial sector from the US, EU, and their allies over the conflict in Ukraine.

Moving away from Western payment systems is necessary to protect transactions from “possible geopolitical repercussions,” Widodo said.

Of the ASEAN nations, just Singapore has enforced sanctions on Russia, while all other ASEAN nations continue to trade with the country. There has been alarm at being caught up in US-led secondary sanctions, as are short to impact Central and South Asia countries involved in cotton manufacturing, a major industry in the region employing millions of people.

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U.S. bank trouble heralds The End of dollar Reserve system

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The US banking system is broken, stresses ‘The Asia Times’. That doesn’t portend more high-profile failures like Credit Suisse. The central banks will keep moribund institutions on life support.

But the era of dollar-based reserves and floating exchange rates that began on August 15, 1971, when the US severed the link between the dollar and gold, is coming to an end. The pain will be transferred from the banks to the real economy, which will starve for credit.

And the geopolitical consequences will be enormous. The seize-up of dollar credit will accelerate the shift to a multipolar reserve system, with advantage to China’s yuan as a competitor to the dollar.

Gold, the “barbarous relic” abhorred by John Maynard Keynes, will play a bigger role because the dollar banking system is dysfunctional, and no other currency — surely not the tightly-controlled yuan — can replace it. Now at an all-time record price of US$2,000 an ounce, gold is likely to rise further.

The greatest danger to dollar hegemony and the strategic power that it imparts to Washington is not China’s ambition to expand the international role of the yuan.

This crisis is utterly unlike 2008, when banks levered up trillions of dollars of dodgy assets based on “liar’s loans” to homeowners. Fifteen years ago, the credit quality of the banking system was rotten and leverage was out of control. Bank credit quality today is the best in a generation. The crisis stems from the now-impossible task of financing America’s ever-expanding foreign debt.

America’s chronic current account deficits of the past 30 years amount to an exchange of goods for paper: America buys more goods than it sells, and sells assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, and so on) to foreigners to make up the difference.

America now owes a net $18 trillion to foreigners, roughly equal to the cumulative sum of these deficits over 30 years. The trouble is that the foreigners who own US assets receive cash flows in dollars, but need to spend money in their own currencies.

Before 1971, when central banks maintained exchange rates at a fixed level and the United States covered its relatively small current account deficit by transferring gold to foreign central banks at a fixed price of $35 an ounce, none of this was necessary.

The end of the gold link to the dollar and the new regime of floating exchange rates allowed the United States to run massive current account deficits by selling its assets to the world.

In effect, the market worries that buying inflation protection from the US government is like passengers on the Titanic buying shipwreck insurance from the captain. The gold market is too big and diverse to manipulate.

The dollar reserve system will go out not with a bang, but a whimper. The central banks will step in to prevent any dramatic failures. But bank balance sheets will shrink, credit to the real economy will diminish and international lending in particular will evaporate.

Southeast Asia will rely more on its own currencies and the yuan. The dollar frog will boil by slow increments.

It’s fortuitous that Western sanctions on Russia during the past year prompted China, Russia, India and the Persian Gulf states to find alternative financing arrangements. These are not a monetary phenomenon, but an expensive, inefficient and cumbersome way to work around the US dollar banking system.

As dollar credit diminishes, though, these alternative arrangements will turn into permanent features of the monetary landscape, and other currencies will continue to gain ground against the dollar, concludes ‘The Asia Times’.

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Mastering Writing Skills: Write Effectively for Academic and Professional Success

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Most people underestimate the importance of knowing how to write. In school, students are assigned paper after paper. The results help teachers grade their knowledge. But, that’s not the main reason why these are assigned. Essays and other papers give students practice, and a chance to learn effective writing. It’s a lifelong skill that not only serves to land them a passing grade but can also help them boost their professional success later on.

How to Master Your Writing Skills

If you want to make sure that you learn how to write better, both for academic and professional success, here are some tips and tricks for you.

1.Ask Someone to Write for You

The best way to learn how to write is to read what you need to write. If you aim for academic success but don’t know how to craft a paper that gets you an A, get some writing help from a reliable service. Today you can simply go online and request to write my essay and you’ll receive a top-notch assignment. This isn’t just to help you meet a deadline or land a high grade. You can also use it for college learning – to read what a good paper should look like.

When you have a finished piece of writing, this can be your guide. Students often order papers online to meet deadlines or make sure they get a high grade. Even if this is the case, use the opportunity to learn, too – next time you need to craft a similar paper, refer to the one written by an expert to boost your writing skills.

2.Read What You Like

Reading is an amazing way to boost your writing skills. How is this possible, you wonder?

For starters, reading books, articles, other papers, or anything else – can boost your vocabulary. When you read, you also come across different writing styles, giving you ideas for when you need to write.

Even though it might not seem this way when you actually read, reading gives you a lot of useful information that is stored in your subconscious.

3.Practice Writing

If you want to master writing, truly master it, you need practice. Those essay assignments are not enough. You should do some free writing, too. Start your blog or journal, write letters to your peers, join a writing workshop, etc. Just write for the sake of it – practice is very important!

4.Don’t Skimp on the Editing Part

Editing is as important as writing itself – maybe even more important. While some mistakes might be acceptable in school, these are never welcome in professional circles. A single, unintentional mistake can have a devastating effect and ruin the quality or the message in your writing.

Research and writing are tiring, but this is no reason to skip the editing part and submit the work in a rush. If you want to learn to write better, you need to start by editing your work. When you proofread and edit it, you can find the most common mistakes you make and learn how to avoid them.

5.Focus on the Structure

The first draft is often a result of free writing. It’s good to write with the flow without focusing on the details, the mistakes, or the structure. This allows your thought to run without interruptions.

But, you can’t submit the first draft of any writing – not if you want it to be good.

In addition to editing the mistakes out of your writing, focus on the structure, too. Structure makes sure that your ideas get across to those who read the content.

Outlines are very useful for this. Many students see them as a waste of time since they aren’t formally required. However, a good outline can actually cut down the time you spend on editing and formatting your task. It will also make sure that the information in your essay flow and are clear to the reader.

6.Ask for Feedback – and Use It!

Unless you’ve mastered the skill of writing, you’ll make mistakes. This is how you learn, and there’s no shame in it. It’s also the time when feedback can really help you. Ask your mentors, your peers, your parents, and friends to take a look at your writing. Ask them to be blunt and tell you what flaws they find in your writing.

You might not accept all of their notes and feedback, but learning how others view and understand your writing is very useful.

Wrapping Up

Writing requires some talent but most importantly, it requires practice. It is something you learn in time, which is why it’s assigned at every academic level.  So, practice, practice, and practice some more. This is how you’ll master the skill!

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