ECB Advisor Defends Amazon’s Role in Digital Euro Project

Jürgen Schaaf, an advisor to the Senior Management of Market Infrastructure and Payments at the European Central Bank (ECB), on Wednesday defended the EU’s decision to make Amazon one of the five firms to test a digital euro.

“The prototyping experiments for the front end are driven by technological considerations. The companies that have been chosen for that five were the most appropriate in terms of the needs that we have for technological tests and experiments,” Schaaf stated in a panel discussion hosted by the Association for Financial Markets in Europe.

Earlier this month, the European Central Bank selected five companies to help develop user interfaces for a potential digital euro.

The companies include the US e-commerce company Amazon, Spanish multinational CaixaBank, French payments platform Worldline, Italian payments-focused bank Nexi, and EPI (European Payments Initiative), a consortium of euro-area banks. The five firms were picked from a pool of 54 potential companies that responded to an ECB call for participants.

Each of the five companies is tasked with focusing on one use case of the digital euro. Amazon is expected to test the application of e-commerce payments. CaixaBank has been assigned to develop a mobile app that simulates the steps users will take to transfer digital euros to their bank accounts. Worldline will explore offline payments between individuals. And lastly, EPI and Nexi will work on point-of-sale retail payments.

The ECB said the purpose of the prototyping exercise is “to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies.” The bank aims to simulate transactions in a real-world environment, and all transactions will be processed using the Eurosystem’s interface for a realistic experience.

While Amazon’s task involves developing eCommerce payment prototypes, Schaaf told the panel the results of this work would not automatically feed into the follow-up experimental phase. This suggests that Amazon may not continue to have favored access, according to the report.

However, Schaaf admitted that he did not want to see a “political” exclusion of U.S. companies in the digital dollar project. The U.S. retail giant Amazon was one of five companies selected by the ECB to develop a user interface for a potential digital dollar earlier this month.

“Our wish to strengthen our monetary autonomy with a digital euro does not mean that Europe would shut down all its gates for retailers from abroad,” Schaaf said. “There’s no protectionist intention behind that.”

The digital euro project moving forward

In April, the ECB invited fintech firms to apply for the prototyping exercise, and 54 firms expressed their interest. Last week, the ECB narrowed down the list to five companies based on the specific capabilities in the chosen areas in the prototyping exercise.

The developments show that the digital euro is making significant progress though the ECB is adopting a cautious process. The simulation exercise is part of the investigation stage to determine the viability of a regional CBDC that started in October 2021 and will come to an end in October 2023.

At the end of the two-year exercise, the ECB will decide whether or not to start developing a digital euro. The investigation involves the central banks of all participating nations and interested private companies sharing opinions on the proposed direction of the process.

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Zipmex’s Woes May Soon be Over, But Here is the Catch

The financial struggles of the crypto platform Zipmex may soon be nipped in the bud, should the requests of a new investor Chalermchai Mahagitsiri.


According to a report by The Block, citing an email that was sent by Mahagitsiri’s representatives, there is a demand on Zipmex’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Marcus Lim, to forfeit 100% of his holdings in the company.

“We request the Zipmex Team to prepare a confirmation letter of your share forfeiture for you to sign and to take effect at closing,” the email addressed to Lim on Tuesday reads. “We look forward to moving on from this situation and receiving this confirmation letter.”

Since Zipmex halted withdrawals on its platform and declared bankruptcy in the aftermath of its exposure to bankrupt Celsius Network and Babel Finance, the company has been in search of a whole new crop of investors. The goal was to raise funding worth as much as $53 million to cover up the total loss from the exposure to its trading partners.

As reported, Zipmex has been in talks with two investors, including Mahagitsiri, son of Thai billionaire and coffee king Prayudh Mahagitsiri. CEO Lim noted in a statement that comments cannot be made with regard to ongoing negotiations as details are guarded based on an NDA.

“As my team and I continue to work towards bringing in new investments to make our customers whole, negotiations with various parties are entering a critical phase,” Lim told The Block in emailed comments. “As such, I am unable to comment on any details as there is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between parties, and until they have been agreed upon by all stakeholders, I cannot disclose more. I am, however, surprised any interaction (even if it occurred) was leaked given the NDA.”

With more shareholders, according to a Bloomberg report expressing their desires to see Lim and co-founder Akalarp Yimwilai leaves the company. While Yimwilai has said he will be willing to heed investors’ requests, Lim is also expected to take a bow if the majority of shareholders demand a change in management.

The beleaguered firm has until December to sort its woes according to the moratorium granted by the Singaporean High Court.

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Digital Euro Would Not be Used for Commercial Purposes: Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), has given her word that the proposed Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for the region dubbed the Digital Euro will not be used for commercial purposes. 


Speaking at an event in Frankfurt on Wednesday, Lagarde reiterated that the ECB is not designing the Digital Euro in a way that will make it easy for users’ data to be collected and commercialized. Lagarde said the ECB is not in the business of commercializing users’ data, assuring stakeholders that privacy will be a frontline focus for the bank.

The ECB boss cited the data from a survey conducted by the bank back in 2021 in which respondents cited privacy as a major feature they would like to see in a Digital Euro.

With the Digital Euro billed to make a complementary cushion to cash as a payment tool within the EU, Lagarde noted that the ECB is offering “the guarantee that those payments will not be exploited for commercial purposes” and that commercializing a CBDC is typically note “..the business of a central bank.”

With the promise that the Digital Euro, which is currently slated for pilot tests next year, will protect citizens, Lagarde noted that it will be another banknote with a little less anonymity. Most central banks, including the United States Federal Reserve, have highlighted the fact that their CBDCs will be designed with a visible focus on privacy. 

The race to develop a CBDC is one that is now frontline for central bankers who are pushing to stem the dominance of crypto, including Bitcoin and stablecoins as payments. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as many as 100 countries are currently well invested in launching a CBDC.

The race to control central banks’ financial and payment landscape through the launch of a CBDC gained momentum over the past few years, a time within which the Bahamas and Nigeria have both launched a functional digital fiat currency.

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Chainlink Introduces SCALE Program to Drive Ecosystem Growth

Chainlink, the pioneering oracle service provider in the blockchain industry, has introduced the Chainlink SCALE program to help boost the growth of its ecosystem users.


The Chainlink Scale program will accelerate access to oracle products and services for both Layer-1 and Layer-2 protocols.

The Chainlink SCALE program has drafted top protocols, including Avalanche, Metis, Moonbeam, and Moonriver, as its partners with the plan to onboard more later on. These partners will contribute to the SCALE program by covering the operating costs of using Chainlink Oracle.

“The Chainlink SCALE program allows us to boost the growth of the Metis developer ecosystem while helping ensure Chainlink oracles operate in a cost-efficient manner on the layer-2 Metis network. By providing enhanced access to Chainlink services, developers on Metis can pioneer the next generation of decentralized applications that serve more complex use cases and scale to meet fast-paced global markets.” – Elena Sinelnikova, Co-Founder and CEO of Metis.

The SCALE program is a mutually beneficial one and will see Chainlink contribute to its partners’ growth by creating custom-made oracle services for the protocols.

This program is a part of the broader Chainlink Economics 2.0, an initiative that seeks to enhance data access and security and at the same time, make accessing oracle services cheaper for everyone.

“We’re excited to introduce Chainlink SCALE as a way to help rapidly accelerate the growth of blockchain ecosystems while putting in place a holistic economic model that is viable for the long-term success of blockchains, dApps, and the Chainlink ecosystem,” said Sergey Nazarov, Co-Founder of Chainlink, adding that “We look forward to collaborating closely with a growing number of blockchain ecosystems in their mission of bringing Web3 to the world.”

As a pioneer in the oracle provision field, Chainlink has continued to set the pace with its innovations to make Web3.0 accessibility faster.

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