Saudi, UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test CryptocurrencySaudi, UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test Cryptocurrency
The central banks of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia Saudi,
UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test CryptocurrencySaudi, UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test Cryptocurrencyare reportedly launching a pilot initiative that will see the two institutions test a new cryptocurrency for cross-border payments.
Regional news sources such as The National and Gulf Digital News report that Mubarak Rashid al-Mansouri, the UAE central bank's governor, unveiled the initiative at a meeting of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF). Though a press release tied to the Dec. 13-14 meeting does not directly relate to cryptocurrency, it does reference that financial technology topics more generally will be up for discussion among the group of central bankers and financial regulators.
According to GDN, al-Mansouri praised the effort as a first for the region. "This is the first times[sic] the monetary authorities of two countries cooperation to use blockchain technology," he said. As quoted by The National, al-Mansouri described the project as a "digitisation of what we do already between central banks and banks." The involvement of Saudi Arabia's central bank is notable, given that the institution to date has not commented on the tech or indicated that it was looking into potential use cases.
By contrast, the UAE is home to a number of private and public sector-driven initiatives, including Dubai's Global Blockchain Council. A number of financial institutions have explored uses of the tech in recent months, include Emirates NBD, which is developing a blockchain-based service for validating bank cheques.
Crypto hedge funds are beating their benchmarks
Hedge fund managers have been under pressure of late, criticized for charging high fees (paywall) while often failing to outperform inexpensive index trackers. But investors in hedge funds that bet on cryptoassets have less reason to gripe: these funds are comfortably beating broad measures of market performance.As usual with cryptocurrencies, the returns are mind boggling. Crypto hedge funds have gained 1,641% in the year to November, according to data-tracking firm HFR. The funds in HFR’s index hold a portfolio of assets like bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, as well as tokens from initial coin offerings (ICOs).
A value-weighted index of the 10 biggest cryptoassets has gained a mere 1,226% over the same period, according to the HOLD 10 Index. A measure of bitcoin prices provided by CME Group—the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate—is up 857%. The funds’ bumper performance could be explained by their investments in ICOs, which blend aspects of digital tokens with crowdfunding. Just about every government watchdog has warned investors to think twice before investing in them. But despite their slippery legal status, some ICOs have recorded immense gains, either on their own merits or often simply because the tokens are denominated in ether, which has gained more than 6,000% in price this year.