In the first part of this article we traced the development of the ‘Utility Settlement Coin‘ – a project that began in 2015 and which has now evolved through the inception of a consortium called Fnality International. Fnality are comprised of a number of the world’s biggest banks including Barclays and UBS, all of whom are shareholders in the scheme. Their objective as stated on the company’s website reads:
Fnality International has been founded to create a network of decentralised Financial Market Infrastructures (dFMIs) to deliver the means of payment-on-chain in tomorrow’s wholesale banking markets.
In practice, what Fnality are seeking to deliver is the construction of a distributed ledger technology based global payment system, one that can ‘facilitate tokenised, peer-to-peer markets‘.
Before we look into this more, let’s examine some of the key figureheads behind the project. First there is the CEO Rhomaios Ram, who for the best part of two decades worked for Deutsche Bank in roles that included European Head of Currencies & Commodities and Head of Transaction Banking in the UK and Ireland. The Chairman of Fnality, Jim Turley, has also worked at Deutsche Bank in various different positions. Outside of commercial banking, Turley once served on the board of the New York Fed Foreign Exchange Committee.
But perhaps the standout name on Fnality’s management team is Daniel Heller, the firm’s advisor on regulatory affairs. Described as an expert in financial sector regulation and financial stability, Heller has a track record of having served at both the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund. At the BIS he was head of the Secretariat of the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, whilst at the IMF he was the executive director for Switzerland, Poland, Serbia, Azerbaijan, and four Central Asian republics. According to the Peterson Institute, for which Heller is a visiting fellow, Heller’s present research ‘focuses on the impact of emerging digital technologies such as blockchain on the financial sector, financial stability, and central banking.’
Back in September last year, the BIS held a ‘Conference on global stablecoins‘ in which one of the participants was Fnality International who gave a presentation on the day (along with JP Morgan and the Libra Association behind Facebook’s planned digital currency). High on the agenda of this conference was the legal uncertainties around stablecoins as well as how they could be regulated in the name of promoting financial and monetary policy stability.
In conjunction with a DLT based global payment system, a leading focus of Fnality is to devise and implement solutions to the legal, regulatory, operational and technical aspects. If they were successful, the end result would be a regulated network of distributed, or decentralised, financial market infrastructures. That is the theory at least.
As evidenced by the coverage on the Libra Association, the regulatory environment is one of the main issues around the future implementation of a digital currency network, so it will no doubt benefit Fnality to have Daniel Heller amongst their management, given his speciality in regulatory affairs and his former role at the BIS. After all, it was they who in 2019 introduced the Innovation BIS 2025 project which is centred around the technology that would underpin CBDC’s.
It is a point I have laboured before but will do so again. Global planners largely depend on either instigating or taking advantage of crisis scenarios to help further their agenda of centralising power. For several years they have warned us of the dangers that stablecoins could present, in terms of terrorist financing, money laundering and data theft. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could prove a stalking horse for the implementation of a global CBDC network, under the auspices of the BIS and the IMF.
But let’s not forget what the primary objective is here.
The rise of digital currency has everything to do with bringing the estimated 1.7 billion people who exist outside of payment systems online. When it comes to the future of money, central banks have never had a problem with the technology behind stablecoins or crypocurrency. But they do have a problem with the anonymity of trade through the use of cash. If digital currency initiatives were to jeopardise the monetary system, and CBDC’s were put forward as a solution, the technology underpinning them will survive. What will not survive are physical, tangible assets.
The cashless society is not just a buzz phrase. It is part of a highly choreographed agenda which has significantly advanced over the last five years. With intiatives like the BIS Innovation Hub now underway and growing in momentum, the push to completely digitise money will only grow more intense from here on in.