Too soon to determine risks of central bank-issued cryptocurrencies: BIS

LONDON (Reuters) – It is too soon to determine whether central banks should issue their own cryptocurrencies, the Bank for International Settlements said on Sunday, as the risks could not yet be fully assessed and the technology underpinning them is still unproven.

Central banks already use electronic money – only a very small proportion of their assets are now backed by gold – but this is exchanged in a centralized fashion, across accounts at the central bank.

What would be distinctive about a central bank-issued cryptocurrency – rather than just electronic money – would be that this could be exchanged “directly between the payer and the payee without the need for central intermediary”, by means of blockchain technology, BIS said in its latest Quarterly Review.

Blockchain technology enables peer-to-peer payments to be made using decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, by means of a shared ledger that verifies, records and settles transactions in a matter of minutes.

“While it seems unlikely that bitcoin or its sisters will displace sovereign currencies, they have demonstrated the ability of the underlying blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT),” BIS said.

Publication of the BIS report coincides with a crackdown by China on the cryptocurrency business as it tries to limit risks with consumers piling into a highly speculative market that has grown rapidly this year.

RETAIL OR WHOLESALE?

The report explores two possibly forms of central bank-issued cryptocurrency: a consumer-facing currency for use in retail transactions, and a wholesale one that would be used by institutions as a “token” currency for digitally settling transactions.

BIS concluded that the peer-to-peer nature of the technology meant that a cryptocurrency for consumers could enable the anonymity that cash currently provides. But if that were not seen as important, it said, it was unclear what further benefits it could provide.

“Most of the alleged benefits of retail central bank cryptocurrencies can be achieved by giving the public access to accounts at the central bank, something that has been technically feasible for a long time but which central banks have mostly stayed away from,” it said.

BIS said that the question of whether or not a central bank should offer a digital alternative to cash was most pressing in a country like Sweden, where cash usage has declined rapidly over the past decade.

A retail cryptocurrency could also, if it were to completely replace cash, remove the zero-lower-bound constraint on monetary policy, BIS said, as it would no longer be possible for depositors to avoid negative interest rates by hoarding cash.

On the institutional side, a central bank-issued cryptocurrency’s usefulness depended on whether it could reduce settlement times and improve efficiency, BIS said. But that had yet to be proven and would depend on the successful resolution of a number of technical issues.

BIS concluded that central banks would probably have to decide on an individual basis whether issuing retail or wholesale central bank cryptocurrencies made sense for them.

“In making this decision, central banks will have to consider not only consumer preferences for privacy and possible efficiency gains – in terms of payments, clearing and settlement – but also the risks it may entail for the financial system and the wider economy, as well as any implications for monetary policy,” BIS said.

“Some of the risks are currently hard to assess,” it said, adding that very little was known about the resilience such currencies would be able to show to cyber-attacks, for example.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Don’t bet too soon on the hot cloud technologies

We all know what’s cool now in the cloud: microservices, devops, containers, and machine learning. It’s what guys like me are writing and speaking about. However, the overapplication of these technologies could end up hurting you greatly. Here’s why.

On one hand, I want to promote the use of new technology, such as cloud computing and containers. But, on the other hand, I need to have a good understanding of what business problems my clients are looking to solve, to determine the correct application of any technology, new, old, hyped, taken for granted, whatever. 

What typically happens is that the people looking to move into cloud are up on all the hyped technologies. It’s like shopping for a new car: You can have a pretty long list what you think you need: self-parking, heated seats, bending lights, voice assistance, childproof seating, maybe short-range flight.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Don’t bet too soon on the hot cloud technologies

We all know what’s cool now in the cloud: microservices, devops, containers, and machine learning. It’s what guys like me are writing and speaking about. However, the overapplication of these technologies could end up hurting you greatly. Here’s why.

On one hand, I want to promote the use of new technology, such as cloud computing and containers. But, on the other hand, I need to have a good understanding of what business problems my clients are looking to solve, to determine the correct application of any technology, new, old, hyped, taken for granted, whatever. 

What typically happens is that the people looking to move into cloud are up on all the hyped technologies. It’s like shopping for a new car: You can have a pretty long list what you think you need: self-parking, heated seats, bending lights, voice assistance, childproof seating, maybe short-range flight.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Don’t bet too soon on the hot cloud technologies

We all know what’s cool now in the cloud: microservices, devops, containers, and machine learning. It’s what guys like me are writing and speaking about. However, the overapplication of these technologies could end up hurting you greatly. Here’s why.

On one hand, I want to promote the use of new technology, such as cloud computing and containers. But, on the other hand, I need to have a good understanding of what business problems my clients are looking to solve, to determine the correct application of any technology, new, old, hyped, taken for granted, whatever. 

What typically happens is that the people looking to move into cloud are up on all the hyped technologies. It’s like shopping for a new car: You can have a pretty long list what you think you need: self-parking, heated seats, bending lights, voice assistance, childproof seating, maybe short-range flight.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

InfoWorld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Love Google? You might be ditching Slack for Hangouts Chat soon

In the Google ecosystem, there’s only a small amount of overhead.

Google Docs loads quickly, and it’s a click away from Gmail. When you need a file, it’s easy to grab one on Google Drive. For business users, this has proved to be an efficient workflow suite. I use it on a daily basis, and the one thing that always impresses me is how quickly and efficiently it all works.

Now, Google is releasing a powerful new app called Hangouts Chat, which is similar to Slack, Convo, and Microsoft Teams (which debuts next week). It’s available as part of the G Suite platform (formerly known as Google for Work) through a gradual roll-out, although you can apply to test it as an early adopter right away. Like Microsoft Teams and the way it runs within Office 365, Chat is intended to run within the “Google world” so you can quickly share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, swap files, start a video call, and arrange meetings.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Almost all of IT budgets will soon be dedicated to cloud, Intel study finds

The cloud is exploding globally, with most of IT spending soon to be allocated to cloud, according to a new Intel report.

The technology company predicts that virtually all IT spending (80 percent) will be on cloud in the next 16 months. One reason is that ever-increasing digital activities “are leveraging cloud computing in some way,” the company said in its press release.

And it’s happening quickly, according to the survey of 1,200 IT executives in eight countries, which was conducted by market research provider Vanson Bourne on behalf of Intel.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Network World Cloud Computing

Its public cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a “preferred” public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a “preferred provider” of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn’t provide details but said they’ll be forthcoming at HPE’s Discover conference in London next month.

It’s no surprise to see HPE cut its first cloud deal with Microsoft rather than Amazon or Google. The companies work closely in servers and PCs, and they’re both trying to sell customers a mix of on-premises and cloud products.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Network World Cloud Computing

Its cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a “preferred” public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a “preferred provider” of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn’t provide details but said they’ll be forthcoming at HPE’s Discover conference in London next month.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld Cloud Computing