On Monday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) issued a request for information and comment (RFI) about depository institutions' activities related to digital assets (e.g., cryptocurrencies), in order to inform the FDIC's understanding of digital asset activities and related risk and compliance management issues. The RFI categorizes these activities into five use cases: (1) technology solutions, such as token-based systems and distributed ledgers; (2) asset-based activities, such as investments and margin lending; (3) liability-based activities, such as deposit services and reserves; (4) custodial services; and (5) other activities, which could include market-making and decentralized financing. The submission deadline is July 16, 2021.

This summer, final guidance from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is expected to address various issues in DeFi, which is short for "decentralized finance," an umbrella term for a variety of financial applications in cryptocurrency or blockchain, often geared toward disrupting financial intermediaries. The forthcoming guidance focuses on six areas: (1) clarification of the definitions of virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs); (2) stablecoins; (3) the risks and potential risk mitigants for peer-to-peer transactions; (4) licensing and registration of VASPs; (5) implementation of the Travel Rule; and (6) principles of information-sharing and cooperation among VASP supervisors. FATF issued a draft guidance in March.

Earlier this week, Ripple announced a partnership with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based financial service provider to process cross-border payments from the UAE to Egypt. A head executive of NBE stated: "NBE's partnership with Ripple will help to improve overall efficiency by enabling NBE to establish new alliances across wider markets with reduced cost and quicker integration time." Here in the United States, the city of Williston, North Dakota, announced a partnership with BitPay to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments for utility bills. And a leading luxury yacht charter company, which accepts bitcoin payments, said it expects a 40 percent growth in bitcoin transactions this year.

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