Ukraine's Digital Future: E-Hryvnia CBDC and the Push for a Leading Crypto Jurisdiction
In today’s dispatch we have:
Ukraine's E-Hryvnia CBDC
Seoul’s Metaverse Replica
National Geographic's NFT launch falls flat
Just a couple of weeks ago, the electronic e-hryvnia, a super cool stellar-based central bank digital currency, took a test run in Ukraine.
And now, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, wants in on the action and wants to be the first one to get paid in the new e-hryvnia currency.
Context: Ukraine passed virtual assets legislation last year and is now supplementing it with a new tax law for crypto and a CBDC law from the National Bank of Ukraine. - Wants to have the best crypto assets jurisdiction in the world and nothing less.
Turning lemons into lemonade:
Ukraine has embraced digital currency and was one of the first to realise its reliability during times of crisis.
If Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky was the front man rockin' the stage in the conflict with Russia, then Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov was the secret weapon behind the scenes, leading the charge on Ukraine's digital transformation in the midst of their conflict.
During the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian central bank was quick to put a damper on the situation by implementing strict rules on foreign currency transfers. The crypto community rallied together and launched a mega crypto fundraiser, collecting a whopping $178 million in donations!
Are CBDCs the future?
Bank of America sees CBDCs changing the way value is transferred in the next 15 years.
Over 100 countries are exploring CBDCs and 11 countries have launched their own CBDC programs.
The Bahamas have Sand Dollar, Nigeria have eNaira, China has digital yuan, and Jamaica has JAM - DEX.
Countries like India, the UAE, Ghana, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, among others, are on their way.
But some, like Ecuador and Denmark, have hit the pause button for now.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows:
Adoption rates have been relatively low. According to the International Monetary Fund, people don't see much of a difference between CBDCs and the instant payment systems they're already using, so CBDCs need to step up their game and offer something extra special to get people to switch over. And creating a financial system for a whole country? It’s a massive undertaking!
Retail consumers are going to be the toughest nut to crack. But if CBDCs can find a way to give people what they want, whether that's privacy, efficiency, or the ability to use their money across borders, then they'll be able to win over even the most skeptical of shoppers.
South Korea Launches Metaverse Replica of Seoul
Welcome to the future! South Korea has officially launched a metaverse replica of their capital city, Seoul. That's right; you can now explore the bustling streets of Seoul without ever leaving your living room.
The launch of the metaverse replica of Seoul is not just for fun and entertainment; it also has a practical purpose. The South Korean government aims to use this virtual replica to improve its public services and make them more accessible to citizens.
For example, citizens may soon apply for permits, pay taxes, and access other government services without ever leaving their homes. This will not only make it more convenient for citizens, but it will also save them time and money.
The virtual environment, known as Metaverse Seoul, is expected to be finished by 2026. The first stage enables citizens to utilise avatars to handle tax concerns, youth counselling, small business support, and even read e-books.
South Korea has been extending its metaverse activities as part of its "Digital New Deal" political push. In February 2022, the government announced intentions to spend approximately $200 million on metaverse projects.
National Geographic's NFT launch falls flat, faces backlash from buyers
Well folks, it looks like National Geographic's first foray into the world of NFTs didn't go exactly as planned. The much-hyped launch of their National Geographic NFT collection met with a massive backlash and technical issues.
The collection, which was supposed to feature stunning imagery from 16 photographers, including Justin Aversano, Reuben Wu, Cath Simard, and John Knopf, was met with disappointment from would-be buyers. Many went as far as to say that the launch felt more like a cash grab than a celebration of National Geographic's photography. People turned to social media and labelled NFTs as a "bubble" that had "already broken," "bullshit," "probe to the environment," and even "another way to launder."
But that's not all. The launch was plagued with technical issues, and people complained about slow transaction times and site performance.
National Geographic's NFT launch is just one example of mainstream projects receiving backlash from the public.
The general public's impression of NFTs appears to have remained unchanged. The Ethereum Merge, which took place in September 2022, did little to appease those who believed that NFTs were harmful to the environment, even though the Ethereum Merge reduced ETH's energy consumption by 99.998%, according to Ethereum Foundation data.