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Digital ruble must ensure privacy, not anonymity: Russia’s central bank

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Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the Bank of Russia, argued that there is a line between anonymity and privacy regarding the circulation of an upcoming digital ruble.

Speaking at a press conference on Oct. 23, Nabiullina said that Russia’s digital ruble will not have the same level of anonymity as cash. However, the bank expects to strengthen user privacy, Nabiullina promised, stating:

“Still, we shouldn’t confuse the anonymity with confidentiality of digital ruble transactions. Indeed, there will not be the same level of anonymity that is supported by cash transactions. But confidentiality is expected to be enhanced.”

Nabiullina elaborated that a digital ruble will have a unique digital code which enables the central bank to track financial transactions with enhanced transparency. It is not yet known whether parties other than the Bank of Russia would have access to that data, the official noted:

“The central bank will keep the register of the central bank’s digital currency. Whether someone else would be able to see the transactions will depend on the approved model of a digital ruble.”

Russia’s central bank officially released its central bank digital currency, or CBDC, plans on Oct. 13. A digital ruble could soon be used as an additional form of money alongside cash, with Russia expecting to launch CBDC tests in 2021. On Oct. 23, a government official suggested that being first in the CBDC race was not particularly important to Russia.



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London Stock Exchange-listed firm inks FCA’s approval for crypto services

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Mode Global Holdings, a London Stock Exchange-listed fintech group, has secured major regulatory approvals for cryptocurrency and fintech operations in the United Kingdom.

The company announced Thursday that Mode has secured its Electronic Money Institution license and AMLD5 registration from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.

The AMLD5 registration has been granted to Mode’s crypto arm Fibermode Limited, establishing it as an official crypto asset firm in the United Kingdom, pursuant to the amended regulations on money laundering, terrorist financing and transfer of funds.

The AMLD5 registration is a requirement for crypto-related businesses in the country that fall within the scope of money laundering regulations. According to the announcement, Mode is the fifth company to have received this registration to date since the FCA became the official AML supervisor of the crypto industry in the U.K. in January 2020.

Alongside the AMLD5, Mode’s subsidiary Greyfoxx Limited also acquired the EMI license, which enables Mode to offer a “range of innovative financial services” to both businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom, the announcement notes.

Following the acquisition of new regulatory approvals, Mode is planning to further expand its crypto services, including decommissioning its investment product known as the “Bitcoin Jar.” The product aims to allow Mode customers to use Bitcoin (BTC) to generate BTC interest rather than simply holding it in a wallet or on an exchange.

Mode CEO Ryan Moore noted that the new regulatory developments provide a major step in Mode’s mission to deliver a trusted and regulated environment. “It means we now have the ability to scale our operations and continue delivering innovative payments products for our customers under our own EMI licence. Both the EMI licence and the AMLD5 registration ensure business transparency, strong oversight and give our customers confidence in our offering,” he said.

Related: UK regulator warns against 111 unregistered crypto companies… and FOMO

The latest news comes shortly after a member of the British Parliament pointed out major difficulties in the process of registering crypto firms under the FCA’s AML regulations in late May. Economic secretary John Glen elaborated that FCA was not able to process and register all applications by its previous deadline due to a significant number of firms failing to adopt robust AML control frameworks as well as employ proper staff.