India and Singapore link UPI and PayNow in cross-border payments push

India and Singapore link UPI and PayNow in cross-border payments push

India and Singapore have linked their digital payments systems, UPI and PayNow, to enable instant and low-cost fund transfers in a major push to disrupt the cross-border flow of money between the two nations that amounts to more than $1 billion each year.

The linkage between the two systems went live Tuesday, the two nations’ central banks said at a press conference. Eight banks, including DBS, Liquid Group, Axis Bank and State Bank of India from Singapore and India are currently participating in the collaboration, they said. Citizens in each nation can use their local payments systems to send money to those in the foreign land in “real-time.”

For now, an Indian user can remit up to 1,000 Singapore dollars a day, the Reserve Bank of India said.

The two nations announced their plan to link their payments systems in 2021 and had originally set a deadline of July 2022 to go live with the collaboration. “The PayNow-UPI linkage is India’s first cross-border, real-time system linkage and Singapore’s second. It’s also the world’s first such linkage feature cloud-based infrastructure and participation by non-bank financial institutions,” said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the conference.

“As we progressively add more users and use cases, the PayNow and UPI linkage will grow in utility and contribute more to facilitating our trade and our people to people links,” he added.

UPI, a seven-year-old payments infrastructure developed by a coalition of retail banks, has become the most popular way Indians transact online.

The system, adopted by scores of local and global firms, including Walmart, Google and Facebook, processes over 8 billion transactions a month. Like UPI, Singapore’s PayNow also offers interoperability between banks and payments apps in the nation, allowing users from one payment app to make transactions to those on other apps.

Nearly 250 million people across the world send over $500 billion in cross-border remittances annually, according to Citi. But the space is ripe for disruption. “The fees are extremely high. It is embarrassing that we have not solved this issue so far,” Citi analysts wrote. Global average cost for sending money is around 6.5%.

Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in an ongoing effort from New Delhi to launch and expand its tech infrastructure such as UPI and DigiLocker to other nations. India plans to use its ongoing presidency of the G20 forum to make presentations to other nations about its digital infrastructure.


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Zambia is Developing New Strategies to Regulate Cryptocurrency

At present, digital assets have become a hot topic with growing interest among central banks, financial institutions and regulators. Crypto analysts believe that cryptocurrency is the gateway to escape from a centralized financial system. The southern African country Zambia is currently working on techniques to regulate cryptocurrency.

The Zambian government minister said that the Bank of Zambia and the Security Exchange Commission are jointly testing the crypto regulatory framework. The minister observed that digital assets had the power to overcome the economic crisis in this digital revolution era. He said that the government targets to reach over $4.7 million in terms of digital payments.

“Currently, Zambia is putting in place appropriate digital infrastructure, attracting investments in technology and creating access thereby positioning itself to be a hub of technology in the region,” Zambia’s Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati said.

Earlier, the Zambian central bank said it has to observe closely whether to introduce the central bank digital currency (CBDC) or not. Debate is about its impact on the nation it is introduced and how it would work. The bank believed that CBDC could support the long-term goal of transitioning to a cashless nation.

Though the central Bank of Zambia didn’t support the utilization of digital assets earlier, the current economic scenario changed the administration’s belief towards cryptocurrency. Mutati observed that the country’s president Hakainde Hichilema is attracted to digital assets.

“Through digital payment platforms, people will become much more included in digital financial services hence, cryptocurrency will be a driver for financial inclusion and a change maker for Zambia’s economy,” Mutati added. 

As per Chainalysis data, African countries are on the top list of the world’s fastest crypto adoption nations, with a 1,200% increase from July 2020 to July 2021. El Salvador and the Central African Republic are the only countries that have adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. Some countries, such as Japan and Switzerland, have introduced new regulations for crypto assets and their service providers. Some countries, like the US, UK, UAE, and European Union, are at the drafting stage.

CBDC adoption across the world

According to the Atlantic Council, all G7 nations have moved into the development stage of their CBDC. In 2023, over 20 countries plan to introduce a CBDC in their respective nations. Australia, Thailand, Brazil, India, South Korea, and Russia will continue or begin pilot testing this year.


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Deep Dive into Crypto Predictions, FTX, SBF insights and whats next by Michelle Whitedove

From Nov 20, 2022 report, this is an excerpt of the 33 pages:

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Not Ethereum, Ripple (XRP) Is Second To Bitcoin In Japan, Here’s Why

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VeChain Network Hits Milestone as the Ecosystem Continues Impressive Development

VeChain Network Hits Milestone as the Ecosystem Continues Impressive Development

The VeChain network has hit an impressive milestone, as its ecosystem continues its impressive development in the last year. The network has now surpassed 2 million known addressees and has facilitated over 20,000 contracts.

The protocols ecosystem has also noted a rather impressive spike in daily transactions according to Crypto News Flash. Subsequently attributed to the ecosystem’s Fortune 500 blockchain adoption.

The VeChain protocol is a smart contract network that has become one of the fastest-growing in the industry. The technology behind the VeChain Foundation protocol is seeking to completely progress global supply procedures. Moreover, VeChainThor has adopted a proof-of-authority consensus mechanism that places environmentally conscious blockchain usage at the forefront.

VeChain has committed itself to collaborating with global businesses to utilize the VeChainThor technology on a scalable basis. Conversely, the rapid development of the ecosystem seems to be pointing to the possibility of the mainstream adoption of the blockchain itself.

The VeChain network hit a massive milestone recently, surpassing 2 million known addresses and facilitating over 20,000 contracts. These developments have see the VeChain Network sport a market cap of around $1.6 billion.

Subsequently, the success has led VeChain to introduce a stablecoin called VeUSD. That token has already seen a market cap of around $5 million. What is underrated about the rapid success of the platform is that the network has experienced zero outages and downtime in four years. Conclusively, the VeChain network has specifically noted a recently unveiled wallet called HiVe as an attributing factor.


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2022: MFS Africa x Ripple: What’s On-Demand Liquidity?

MFS Africa recently signed on to use Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution for cross border transfers. ODL has seen explosive growth and the service now boasts 40 payout markets. But what is it?

On Tuesday 15 November, MFS Africa and Ripple announced a partnership that will see MFS Africa begin leveraging Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution for cross-border mobile money payments across Africa.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s walk through one piece at a time.

What Is MFS Africa?

MFS Africa is a digital payments company that enables cross-border payments for remittance companies, financial service providers and global merchants. As of March 2021, MFS Africa was connected to over 320 million mobile money wallets in Africa, which at the time represented roughly 60% of all such wallets on the continent.

According to the company website, MFS Africa aims to establish a borderless payments system in Africa. To achieve this, MFS Africa has been integrating national digital payment schemes, including mobile money, to create a continental digital payment network.


MFS Africa’s Payments Hub is connected to banks, mobile network operators and agent networks across Africa. (Image Credit: MFS Africa.)

Founded in 2009 by Dare Okoudjou, MFS Africa has its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Okoudjou previously worked for MTN and is originally from the West African nation of Benin. While working for the telco giant, Okoudjou led the development of MTN’s mobile payment strategy across 21 countries.

What Is Ripple?

Ripple is the company that developed the XRP Ledger, a public blockchain which has XRP as its native cryptocurrency. With a market capitalisation of $18.9 billion (as of writing), XRP is the seventh highest ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, based on data from CoinMarketCap.

Ripple was founded in 2012 by David Schwartz, Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto and Chris Larsen. Today, the company has a focus on delivering enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, which include cross-border payments, crypto liquidity and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).


What is On-Demand Liquidity?

ODL is a payment solution that uses the XRP cryptocurrency for international transfers.

The steps described by Ripple for a transfer using ODL are as follows:

  • A sending institution requests a fiat-to-fiat quote on pricing and foreign exchange from the receiving institution.
  • The receiving institution sends back a quote with pre-negotiated foreign exchange margin.
  • The sending institution withdraws XRP from a wallet funded by Ripple and transfers the XRP to the receiving institution via the XRP ledger.
  • Upon receiving the XRP a few seconds later, the receiving institution immediately pays out fiat currency to the end-beneficiary of the transfer and in-parallel converts the XRP it received to fiat currency.
  • The sending institution is invoiced at the beginning of the following week.


According to Ripple, one advantage of this approach is that speed of settlement is reduced to seconds, whereas settlement can take days in the traditional financial system.

Another advertised advantage of ODL is that it frees up working capital, since there is no need for sending institutions to leave funds sitting around in relevant accounts in other countries in anticipation of transfers (prefunding).


In 2021, total sales of XRP by Ripple in connection with ODL were $1.8 billion, a figure that was eclipsed in the first four months of 2022. At the end of Q3 2020, ODL was available in three markets, and as of Q3 2022, it now has 40 payout markets around the world.

Final Remarks

Crypto bear markets are characterised by depressed trading volumes. And yet this year, ODL has already tripled its 2021 volume before the results from Q4 2022 are in. Clearly, something is going right with this product, and so you have to wonder what sort of fireworks we could see when it’s combined with the giant footprint of MFS Africa.

An open question in all of this is how ODL fits in with stablecoins, which have also been doing well in Africa. If XRP is being used for international transfers, then clearly, XRP is in direct competition with stablecoins for that specific use case.

Yet, in a past interview, a senior executive at Ripple stated that Ripple is not looking to compete with stablecoins and CBDCs, and that XRP should be considered a “bridge asset.” Indeed, a number of stablecoin and CBDC projects are being developed for the XRP Ledger in partnership with Ripple.

In the ODL announcement, MFS Africa’s founder stated that this tie up with Ripple is just the first step in the company’s crypto strategy. If this is what the first step looks like, it’s safe to assume that MFS Africa has big ambitions for the African crypto space.

As crypto winter drags on, we will no doubt see replays of the usual “crypto has no utility” proclamations. Yet, for those paying attention, it’s apparent that the industry is marching on and the technology continues to gain adoption.


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