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ECB gives digital euro the green light: Here are some key insights

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ECB gives digital euro the green light: Here are some key insights

Home » Business » ECB gives digital euro the green light: Here are some key insights

CoinGeek has recently reported several stories that strongly suggest a digital euro is coming. This week, the European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed it. The digital euro project is officially underway.

The ECB is one of the most powerful central banks globally, setting monetary policy for the Euro area. Its president, Christine Lagarde, recently confirmed she was aware of 80 central banks “looking at” CBDCs. With this latest announcement, we now have official confirmation that one of the biggest of them all is doing a lot more than just looking at them.

Let’s dig into the official announcement from the Governing Council of the ECB and see what nuggets we can glean from it.

What do we know about the digital euro project?

The ECB made the official statement about the central bank digital currency, or digital euro, on July 14, 2021. It made three points immediately clear:

  • No technical obstacles had been identified during its preliminary investigation.
  • The digital euro would be designed to fit user preferences and with technical advice from both merchants and intermediaries.
  • This is the official “investigation phase,” which will last for approximately 24 months.

This is only the second phase of the project. It will involve scoping out how a digital euro would work in reality and how it should be designed. The ECB emphasized that it has not yet made a decision on the possible issuance of the digital euro and would only do so later.

Who will design and control the digital euro CBDC?

One of the main concerns regarding CBDCs has been who will control them and their design. The ECB has committed to involving citizens, merchants, and the payments industry. It has also promised to engage the European Parliament. In theory, the digital euro will be a collaborative, democratic affair.

What are the goals of the digital euro?

To its credit, the ECB was completely clear about its goals in the announcement. It specifically mentioned:

  • Avoiding any undesirable impact on financial stability or monetary policy.
  • Providing riskless, accessible, and efficient central bank money.
  • It also specifically mentioned the prevention of illicit activity.

While the first two points are just central bank talking points, the last point is interesting. The Euro area already has some of the strictest anti-money laundering and KYC regulations in the world.

It’s obvious that this CBDC will have KYC-checked digital wallets and built-in controls to allow for the monitoring of and prevention of crime. We can also guess what it will mean for other digital currencies that don’t comply with the law.

It looks like the BSV enterprise blockchain approach of designing a blockchain to comply with existing laws and regulations might have been a winning strategy after all.

A strong emphasis on environmental sustainability

Another current news trend is related to the sustainability and environmental impacts of mining cryptocurrencies. Tesla boss Elon Musk even suspended BTC as a payment method due to concerns over its carbon footprint. This question was always going to raise its head at some point. Again, we see it mentioned in the ECB’s announcement. Energy use was directly mentioned.

Tying in with this, the second phase will also benefit from investigations already done by both the ECB and Euro area national central banks. These investigations concluded that both the Eurosystem TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) and “alternatives such as blockchain” had proven capable of processing more than 40,000 transactions per second. It emphasized that the power used to run these systems was negligible compared with “crypto-assets such as Bitcoin.”

Two points of interest arise from this statement. First, which blockchains were the ECB experimenting with that are capable of 40,000 transactions per second? And second, what does this mean for BTC in the euro area, since it appears one of the largest and most powerful central banks in the world is taking direct aim at it for its energy usage? Combined with its emphasis on the prevention of illicit activities, it’s unlikely the ECB will view BTC in a favourable light.

We don’t know anything for sure yet, but these questions are interesting to ponder. What we do know is that the BSV enterprise blockchain is already capable of 50,000 transactions per second for a fraction of the energy the BTC system uses. Bitcoin is green technology, but that’s not widely understood yet.

The starting whistle on the digital euro and CBDCs globally

This is only the beginning of the digital euro project. The next 24 months will doubtlessly see reports, rumours, and results. It’s possible that the ECB will be the next major central bank to launch a fully functional CBDC.

Whatever developments occur in the digital euro and other CBDC projects, CoinGeek will keep you updated. These are exciting times, and we’re here to keep you informed.

Watch: CoinGeek Zurich panel, Digital Technology and the Future of Banking & Financial Services

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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Tencent limits how long kids can play its flagship game, ‘Honor of Kings’

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Tencent limits how long kids can play its flagship game, ‘Honor of Kings’

China’s regulatory war against its tech giants isn’t limited to data. After opening a front in gaming back in 2018, the government is now adding to the restraints the biggest publishers face. Tencent is first on the chopping block. The publisher has been forced to further slash playing time on Honor of Kings for those aged under 18 to one hour during regular days and two hours on weekends. The rules, designed to appease the country’s all-powerful censors, come into effect today, according to state media outlet the South China Morning Post

Previously, play time in China was capped at 90 minutes per day during the week and three hours per day at weekends and holidays as part of broader rules introduced in 2019. Additional restrictions banned younger gamers from playing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and curbed how much they could spend on downloadable content.

Honor of Kings is a hugely popular multiplayer online battle arena game developed by Tencent subsidiary TiMi Studio Group, also known for Call of Duty: Mobile and Pokémon Unite. As of November, the mobile title boasted 100 million players. But, its success has also brought with it increased scrutiny. In June, Tencent found itself at the center of a lawsuit that accused it of including “inappropriate” content in Honor of Kings, including characters with low-cut clothes and historical inaccuracies.

The latest crackdown comes amid growing fears in China over the addictive nature of video games. On Tuesday, a state-affiliated media outlet described the products produced by the gaming industry as “spiritual opium.” The article continued: “No industry or sport should develop at the price of destroying a generation.”

Therein lies the broader issue. China is currently grappling with a generational divide that has seen younger citizens reject the competitive lifestyle pressures heaped upon them. This stance is encapsulated by the “tang ping,” or “lying flat,” philosophy embraced by a growing number of Gen Z Chinese. In a nutshell, it signifies those who choose not to work hard, not to buy property and not to marry and have children. 

Instead of addressing the societal complaints, China is choosing to deflect the blame onto the gaming industry.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Vudu and FandangoNow merge into a single streaming service

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Vudu and FandangoNow merge into a single streaming service

Fandango has revealed Vudu’s fate more than a year after it purchased the streaming platform from Walmart. No, Vudu isn’t going away. In fact, it’s merging with its parent company’s own streaming service, FandangoNow, to form a single platform that’ll take on Vudu’s name. Fandango told TechCrunch that it decided to retain Vudu’s branding, because it has a following that’s significantly larger than FandangoNow’s. According to data from the NPD Group, Vudu is in over 75 million TV-connected devices in the US and has more than 60 million registered users. 

As a result of the merge, Vudu will replace FandangoNow as Roku’s official movie and TV store. Roku devices will automatically update the app, and owners will be able to purchase the media they want using Roku Pay. The new Vudu will offer more than 200,000 movies and TV shows they can purchase, including new releases like F9: The Fast Saga, Pixar’s Luca, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Peter Rabbit 2, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, A Quiet Place Part II, Disney’s Cruella, Godzilla vs. Kong and In the Heights. Next Tuesday, Black Widow will arrive on the platform. If you’ll recall, Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for the movie’s simultaneous release in theatres and on Disney+, which reportedly cost the star over $50 million. 

Even though only the Vudu branding will remain, FandangoNow customers won’t lose access to their purchased content. They can now transfer their accounts to Vudu, where they’ll be able to access their TV and movie libraries like usual. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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The Morning After: Is this the end of the selfie camera notch?

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The Morning After: Is this the end of the selfie camera notch?

When will see the end of the notch or the hole-punch camera? The fight continues to make in-screen smartphone cameras a viable option. Last year’s ZTE Axon 20 5G was the first phone to attempt the hidden selfie camera, but it struggled with image quality. It’s a predictable issue: The camera has to face out through the screen, affected by whatever the pixels are displaying.

Oppo has announced its third-gen under-screen camera which, based on a sample shot, shows a lot of promise. Even if it’s a company’s own sample, there’s no noticeable haziness nor glare. The company explains this is possible through a combination of electronic engineering and AI smarts. Oppo says it trained its own AI engine “using tens of thousands of photos” to achieve more accurate corrections on diffraction, white balance and HDR.

Oppo's next-gen under-screen camera

Oppo

Then there’s the display. Earlier designs lowered the pixel density in the area above the camera to let more light into the sensor. This, however, made a noticeable patch above the camera. But now, Oppo — or whichever company is making its smartphone displays, possibly Samsung — figured out a way to boost light transmittance by shrinking each pixel’s geometry. In other words, it keeps the same pixel density, but more light can reach the camera sensor.

Oppo hasn’t mentioned a date — or new phone — for the under-screen camera, but ZTE claims to feature an improved version of its under-screen camera in its new Axon 30 5G, which launched in China last week. The timing is all a little too coincidental.

— Mat Smith

Apple’s new Mac Pro GPUs promise a major performance boost

Probably the best you’ll get this year.

Apple Mac Pro with two Radeon Pro W6800X Duo GPUs

Apple

While it’s no Mac Pro with in-house silicon, Apple has updated the Mac Pro with new high-end GPU options. AMD’s Radeon Pro W6800X, W6800X Duo and W6900X cards tout 50 percent improved performance per watt over their Vega II predecessors. All of them include four Thunderbolt 3 ports and an HDMI 2 connector, with support for Infinity Fabric Link that lets up to four GPUs (such as two W6800X Duo modules) talk to each other five times faster than PCIe.

That performance will, of course, cost you: $2,400 extra to configure a new Mac Pro with the W6800X inside, $4,600 for the W6800X Duo and $5,600 for the W6900X. Go all-out and you can spend $9,600 on two W6800X Duos or $11,600 on two W6900X modules. Continue reading.

Boeing and NASA delay Starliner launch due to unexpected valve problem

Expect an update later today.

The Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule is seen after the launch to the International Space Station was delayed for a do-over test flight in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Joe Skipper / reuters

Boeing will have to wait yet again to test its Starliner spacecraft. The company and NASA had planned to launch the capsule on Tuesday on top of an Atlas V rocket at 1:20 PM ET yesterday, but the company had to delay the launch due to “unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system” that engineers spotted during pre-launch preparations. Continue reading.

The Krispy Kreme Xbox donut taste test.

It doesn’t taste like Mountain Dew.

Krispy Kreme's Xbox doughnut

Engadget, Mat Smith

As promised, we bought Krispy Kreme’s celebratory Xbox donut, with powdered sugar nexus design. Do we own an Xbox? No. But do we like donuts? Yes. Continue reading.

Halo’s Master Chief is your new Waze navigation voice

For a limited time, but probably until ‘Halo Infinite’ actually arrives.

Microsoft and 343 Industries have partnered with Waze to bring the Master Chief and Escharum, his Banished foil in Infinite’s upcoming story campaign, to the navigation app. It’s also possible to change your car’s live map icon to either a Warthog or Ghost and update your profile “mood” to feature the visage of the Spartan or alien war chief. Continue reading.

Amazon is offering $10 in credit for your palm print

The retailer’s contactless payments system is available at 53 of its physical stores.

Amazon is offering $10 in promotional credit to get people to sign up to its palm print payments system, according to an offer spotted by TechCrunch. The retailer launched Amazon One last fall as a contactless way of authenticating purchases and allowing entry into stores using a biometric device. The sign-up process is the only part that requires you to touch the device. After that, you just hover your palm over the scanner to enter a store and complete purchases.

Amazon is aware of privacy concerns and promised to secure palm data using encryption and dedicated secure zones with restricted access controls. For those worried their data could be monetized, Amazon also committed to keeping palm data separate from its other customer data. That said, a $10 voucher may not sway those already put off by the horror stories around the company’s facial recognition tech and Alexa voice recordings. Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more…

Logitech’s latest wireless earbuds are certified by Zoom, Microsoft and Google

Realme’s ‘MagDart’ is an Android take on MagSafe, but faster

AT&T finalizes spinoff of DirecTV into its own company

JLab debuts $20 true wireless earbuds with 8-hour battery life and touch controls

Netflix is making a documentary about SpaceX’s upcoming Inspiration4 civilian flight

The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID goes on sale for $149

Blizzard president ‘steps down’ amid sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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