‘Stablecoins’ pose risks amid resistance to Libra, says ECB’s Coeure

Shadow of a 3D-printed Facebook Libra cryptocurrency logo. (Reuters/File)
Updated 17 September 2019

‘Stablecoins’ pose risks amid resistance to Libra, says ECB’s Coeure

LONDON: A new breed of asset-backed cryptocurrencies such as Facebook’s Libra are untested and pose serious risks, the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure said on Monday, pledging a tough regulatory approach.

Coeure’s comments came during an event at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, where the Group of Seven working group on so-called stablecoins met to discuss regulatory issues posed by the new digital currencies.

“Stablecoins are largely untested, especially on the scale required to run a global payment system,” said Coeure, who chairs the BIS-hosted Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. “They give rise to a number of serious risks related to public policy priorities. The bar for regulatory approval will be high.”

Facebook’s planned Libra is the most well-known of the stablecoins, cryptocurrencies usually backed by a range of assets such as traditional money deposits. These new digital coins are designed to overcome the wild price swings that have rendered bitcoin impractical for commerce and payments.

The world’s largest social media network announced plans in June to launch the new currency as it expands into e-commerce, but Libra has come under fire from regulators around the world worried about its impact on the financial system and potential for use in money laundering.


Google completes first drone delivery in the US

Updated 19 October 2019

Google completes first drone delivery in the US

  • The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest”
  • Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats

WASHINGTON: Alphabet (Google) subsidiary Wing has become the first company in the United States to deliver packages by drone.
In Christiansburg, the small Virginia town chosen as Wing’s test location, the 22,000 residents can order products normally shipped by FedEx, medicine from Walgreens and a selection of candy from a local business — all of which will arrive via drone.
Wing, which already operates in two Australian cities as well as Helsinki, announced in a statement that the first drone-powered deliveries had taken place Friday afternoon in Christiansburg, “paving the way for the most advanced drone delivery service in the nation.”
One family used the Wing app to order Tylenol, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets, bottled water and tissues, the statement said.
An older resident ordered a birthday present for his wife. Although the majority of the delivery was done by a FedEx truck, the last mile was completed by drone.
The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest,” where Wing employees pack them with up to three pounds (1.3 kilograms) of goods, deliverable within a six mile (10 kilometer) radius.
Once they have arrived at their destination, the drones don’t land. Instead, they hover above the house and lower the package with a cable.
Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats. But Wing was the first to obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), authorizing company pilots to fly multiple drones at the same time.