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Europe intends to implement digital euro regulation in 2023 – Industry roundup: 23 December

Europe intends to implement digital euro regulation in 2023

The European Commission intends to submit a regulatory proposal to establish a digital euro in the second quarter of 2023, and the agency has reportedly now begun preparations, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). The development follows the introduction of the digital euro project's exploration phase in October 2021 by the ECB and national central banks in the eurozone. The phase reportedly included development and testing activity to evaluate the effectiveness of a Eurosystem back-end solution that could potentially integrate with front-end prototypes. The prototype process is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2023, at which time the ECB would disclose its research results.

As part of its investigation into a digital euro, the central bank published research on attitudes toward digital payments earlier in 2022, revealing that payment methods with pan-European reach and ubiquitous acceptance in physical and online stores are strongly favoured. Additionally, the study reportedly discovered that users prefer payment solutions via a single platform that are quick, simple and convenient, with the ability to make instant and contactless person-to-person payments, regardless of platform or device.

Cloud-based business solutions become potential targets for threat actors, per Acronis 2022 report

Acronis, a cyber security company, has published its recent cyberthreats and trends report, Acronis Cyber Protection Operation Center Report: Cyberthreats in the second half of 2022 – Data under attack, highlighting that phishing and multi-factor authentication attacks are increasing, with the latter reportedly used in high-profile breaches. The Acronis Cyber Protection Operation Center, which conducted the study, reported a comprehensive assessment of the cyberthreat environment, including ransomware threats, phishing, malicious websites, software susceptibilities and a security forecast for 2023.

The report found that the average cost of a data breach is estimated to reach US $5 million by 2023, with threats from phishing and malicious emails increasing by 60%. Additionally, the research team discovered an increase in social engineering attacks in the last four months, which reportedly accounted for 3% of all attacks. Nearly half of all reported breaches in the first six months of 2022 were reportedly related to compromised or stolen credentials, making it simple for attackers to conduct cyberattacks and ransomware.

The study further details the emergence of new threats. Ransomware, phishing and unpatched vulnerabilities are frequently reported, according to the study.

Michael Suby, VP of Research, Trust and Security, IDC, commented that the growing understanding that cybersecurity poses a significant business risk is a positive development across all enterprises and scale. The report, which also examines actual instances from the second half of 2022, provides suggestions for safeguarding personnel, operational procedures and technological advancements to help power businesses.

CBDC's "Project Hamilton" finalizes its research conducted by the Boston Fed and MIT

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has unveiled the completion of research into the technical viability of a potential digital dollar. Project Hamilton is a joint venture with MIT that was named after Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and Margaret Hamilton, MIT and Apollo Mission computer scientist.

The project reportedly aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of various technologies that could be used to manage and transfer CBDCs. Project Hamilton published research on an open-source transaction processor known as OpenCBDC for a hypothetical high-performance and robust CBDC in early 2022, said reports. Project leaders reportedly urged global contributors to proceed on the project. Additionally, OpenCBDC, a money-processing core engine that reportedly prioritizes security, performance, scalability and flexibility, claims to offer a codebase to support 1.84 million transactions per second and settlement, resulting in transactions that could be accomplished in less than a second. Furthermore, researchers from Project Hamilton reportedly enhanced OpenCBDC with features including programmability and audit to further assist in assessing potential CBDCs.

The Boston Fed and MIT expect to release additional Project Hamilton findings in the near term, aiming to provide a sound policy and technology foundation that may be taken into consideration when attempting to establish a CBDC in the long term.

Skyscend Inc. participates in the Visa Fintech Fast Track to enhance its B2B and P2P payments landscape

Skyscend, a SaaS platform provider for supply chain finance, has joined Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program in order to leverage VisaNet’s capabilities and security features, offering its clients a more efficient and streamlined payments processing platform.

Through Visa’s Fintech Track Program, the company aims to automate its B2B payments by implementing safe and user-friendly virtual cards, minimizing the workload and risk associated with transferring money from Skyscend Capital, the firm's finance division, to a client's bank account. Additionally, customers can expect to receive payments in a more secure and expeditious manner due to the monitoring and reissuance of virtual cards if expired before used.

The company also intends to streamline global payments with Visa by utilizing its Skyscend Cash, a digital wallet for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, to facilitate financial planning tools for businesses and consumers. Furthermore, fintech start-ups, such as Skyscend, will reportedly have access to Visa's expanding partner network through the program and will obtain professional consultation on how to launch their businesses in the most effective manner. David Sulfridge, CEO, commented that the program enables them to reconfigure multiple closed-loop systems in the B2B and P2P payment space that are currently constrained to particular geographic areas.

JPMorgan sets new climate goals for its carbon-intensive industries, aiming to reduce CE by 36% by 2030

JPMorgan Chase has reportedly revealed a number of new emissions reduction goals for its financing of carbon-intensive industries, including airlines and cement producers, as part of its commitment to the environment. The bank intends to decrease the carbon intensity of its aviation financing portfolio by 36% by 2030 from a 2021 baseline. Additionally, the bank aims to reduce the carbon intensity of funding to iron ore and steel companies by 31% and the carbon intensity of financings for the cement sector by 29% during the same period.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan, stated that the world's energy infrastructure disruptions and other economic factors have pressed the bank to provide energy resources globally in a secure, dependable and cost-effective manner while also attempting to address long-term sustainable energy solutions, with action plans to minimize carbon emissions. The bank’s new objectives are intended to be in alignment with net zero by 2050.

JPMorgan reported at the end of June 2022 that the emissions intensity of its oil and gas portfolio remained relatively stable, providing a preliminary indication of achieving its emissions-reduction goals. However, the bank noted a 22% decrease in emissions intensity for the power sector and a 10% decrease for the auto industry, said reports.

XPRO, a pioneer in procurement technology, is renamed "Bedrock"

XPRO, a US-based technology provider for accounts payable and procurement, has revealed a name change and rebrand to “Bedrock”. The company states that the rebrand is consistent with the its increased growth and offering effective supplier management solutions in AP and procurement. Bedrock, a unified platform for real-time onboarding, banking and risk verification, intelligent recovery and streamlined payments, reportedly assists businesses in automating and streamlining their procurement and accounts payable processes, reducing manual labour and improving visibility and control over risk and spending.

ECOMMPAY Expands APAC Reach with Gate2Asia Upgrade

ECOMMPAY, a UK-based global payment service provider, has enhanced its Gate2Asia payments solution to aid more companies in expanding quickly in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The Gate2Asia solution, which reportedly launched in 2020, combines regional payment methods onto a single platform for online businesses looking to expand into Asian markets. It is also creating additional solutions in the local Asian markets of Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Businesses can reportedly issue widespread payouts to cards and other payment methods using Gate2Asia, with merchants offering a variety of payment options, such as e-wallets, online banking, bank transfers and QR codes. The platform is expected to include anti-fraud systems with near-zero chargebacks and to prevent 97% of fraud without affecting conversion rates.

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