Ripple sits on the sidelines as ConsenSys and R3 help Asian countries adopt blockchain

Rick Steves

ConsenSys is a blockchain giant and a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which is going under increased scrutiny as the SEC v. Ripple lawsuit goes forward.

blockchain

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a project to develop blockchain-based cross-border securities transactions.

To that effect, ADB together with blockchain specialists will seek to develop ways to directly connect central banks and securities depositories in the ASEAN+3 region within a blockchain network, which includes Japan, China, and South Korea.

Asian Development Bank partners with ConsenSys and R3

ConsenSys, Fujitsu, R3, and Soramitsu are the blockchain companies involved in the project and they will examine systems interoperability and the viability of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in the region.

The project is supported by ADB’s Digital Innovation Sandbox program, a platform for partners across the public and private sectors to collaborate on digital solutions.

The reasoning for the project is that connecting institutions within a blockchain network could reduce both transaction costs and settlement risks.

Cross-border securities transactions in the region are currently processed through a global network of custodians and correspondent banks, which go through global centers in either the United States or Europe.

Intraregional transaction settlements in ASEAN+3 take at least two days, due to time differences as well as varying operating hours for markets within the same time zone.

The project will be carried out in 2 phases: a designing phase, to be completed by the end of March 2022, and a prototyping phase, scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.

The results will be discussed with ASEAN+3 government officials and members of the Cross-Border Settlement Infrastructure Forum of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative, made up of central banks and securities depositories from across the region.

ConsenSys under increased scrutiny over SEC v. Ripple

ConsenSys is a blockchain giant and a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which is going under increased scrutiny as the SEC v. Ripple lawsuit goes forward. The court is expected to soon confirm the order for the SEC to produce certain email threads, drafts, and notes regarding Hinman’s 2018 speech on Ether.

The former SEC Director may have exchanged thoughts with executives at ConsenSys and the Ethereum Foundation before going on record saying Ether is not a security.

Not only the SEC prompted overall confusion regarding the nature of Ether, Bitcoin, XRP, and other digital assets – opening the door to Ripple’s fair notice defense – but it also raised suspicions that a few SEC officials may have had conflict of interests as the regulator filed the complaint against Ripple.

Empower Oversight, a Washington D.C.-based watchdog, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request as it seeks communications between SEC officials and their current and former employers amid the turbulent lawsuit against Ripple and its individual defendants.

Empower Oversight filed the FOIA request in August 2021. This led to a denial of a fee waiver, which was quickly appealed and overturned.

The SEC ignored the request and the organization filed a lawsuit to compel the SEC to comply with its FOIA requests. The litigation remains pending and the SEC’s response is due February 11, 2022.

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