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Yahoo BusinessOct 15, 2019
The Upside to Facebook's Libra Disaster
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It's just as well that big companies that process and facilitate payments have quit Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project, fearing a regulatory backlash. If Facebook really wants to bring financial services to the "unbanked," it should try doing it on a smaller scale than these companies' presence promised. And even then, the probability of failure will be high.It's clear why PayPal Holdings Inc., Stripe Inc., eBay Inc., MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. have decided not to join the Libra Association, which Facebook has been organizing to run the proposed digital currency. They took seriously the recent warning of Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sherrod Brown of Ohio that because of their membership, they could "expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities." The concern is that a cryptocurrency used in conjunction with encrypted messaging could potentially be used in illegal transactions, and anyone involved in creating such an opportunity would be suspect.U.S. regulators are perfectly capable of scuppering major cryptocurrency projects. On Oct. 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had stopped Telegram Group Inc. from distributing digital tokens, so-called Grams, to the investors who contributed $1.7 billion to the creation of the cryptocurrency last year. These include major U.S. venture capital firms such as Benchmark, Sequoia and Lightspeed. The same could easily happen to Libra.That's the problem with starting so big.

Yahoo BusinessOct 15, 2019
Bank of Korea Is Expected to Cut Rates as Prices Fall
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea's first-ever drop in consumer prices and a relentless decline in exports are adding to the case for the central bank to cut interest rates on Wednesday.The Bank of Korea, which lowered its key rate in July and left it unchanged in August, will reduce the seven-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, matching an all-time low, according to 21 of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The rest expect the BOK to stand pat.Central banks around the world are unleashing stimulus to shore up growth as the U.S.-China trade war takes a toll on global demand. Singapore eased monetary policy for the first time since 2016 on Monday joining Australia and India in ramping up stimulus this month, while the Federal Reserve may be gearing up for another rate cut at the end of October.South Korea's export-dependent economy has been among the hardest-hit from trade tensions, with weakness in demand contributing to a drop in prices that has spurred concerns over deflation risks."The BOK will probably ease as early as possible," said Jeong Won-il, an economist at Yuanta Securities. "A global easing in monetary policy is also creating an environment conducive for the BOK to act."South Korea's inflation was zero in August and fell to minus 0.4% in September. Officials have downplayed the risk of the economy falling into a prolonged bout of deflation, characterizing the recent drop as a statistical blip stemming from higher-than-usual food prices a year earlier. Nonetheless, consumer prices decreasing in a countr
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