Tag: bank

Bank of Thailand Launches World’s First Government Savings Bond on IBM Blockchain Technology

$1.6B USD in government savings bonds were successfully sold within a week of launch

BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SIBOS — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Bank of Thailand (BOT), the central bank, has successfully launched the world’s first blockchain-based platform for government savings bonds issuing a total of $1.6B USD within two weeks.

IBM Corporation logo. (PRNewsfoto/IBM)
IBM Corporation logo. (PRNewsfoto/IBM)

Leveraging blockchain technology on the highly secured IBM Cloud, the platform allows investors to benefit from speedy bond issuance, reducing a process that previously took 15 days to two days. The efficiency provided by blockchain also reduces operational complexity and the overall cost of issuing bonds.

According to The Thai Bond Market Association, the outstanding Thai bond market stood at $421B USD as of December 2019. Government bonds dominate the Thai market, with outstanding value of $157B USD in 2019 1, accounting for 37% of the total outstanding Thai bond market.

In the past, the sale of government savings bonds was a complex, multiparty, time-consuming process that relied on a non-real-time system, with duplicated validation steps and manual reconciliation prone to data errors.

As blockchain technology streamlines the processes of bond issuance for issuers, underwriters, registrars, investors and key ecosystem participants, the government savings bond platform now becomes an immutable, real-time single source of truth for network participants, which minimizes the redundant validation and reduces the costs of reconciliation. In addition, Thai investors can now purchase bonds up to the maximum value of their individual allocated quota from a single bank.

The effort to develop a secure and efficient government bond infrastructure involved collaboration among eight institutions including BOT, Public Debt Management Office, Thailand Securities Depository Co., Ltd, Thai Bond Market Association and selling-agent banks, including Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank, Kasikorn Bank, and Siam Commercial Bank, with IBM Blockchain as technology and cloud platform partner.

The benefits and business value of using blockchain technology for government bond distribution is shared across stakeholders, and include faster bond issuance for investors, decreased workloads and processing time for issuers, underwriters and registrars, as well as greater transparency and reduced operating costs across the entire value chain.

“Bank of Thailand’s success with the government savings bond project is the latest example of how blockchain technology can redefine the way businesses operate by simplifying complex processes resulting in fast, transparent, secured and efficient multiparty collaboration,” said Patama Chantaruck, VP for Indochina Expansion and MD of IBM Thailand. “IBM is proud to bring our world-class blockchain platform and IBM Cloud to support Bank of Thailand, and work side-by-side with them in achieving this important milestone for Thailand’s financial industry.”

Bank of Thailand now plans to extend blockchain to all other government bonds targeting both retail and wholesale investors.

Thailand is an active adopter of blockchain technology, with a dynamic ecosystem extending to both public and private spheres. In 2019, the electronic letter of guarantee (eLG) platform and network participated in by 22 Thai banks and 15 companies successfully went

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Bank of France Governor Warns About Government Spending

(Bloomberg) — Bank of France Governor and European Central Bank policy maker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the French government must be more careful about spending and debt that’s not linked to the novel coronavirus health-care crisis.



a person standing in front of a store: PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a "red zone," which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images Europe
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a “red zone,” which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

The government must become more efficient as the pace of spending, stripping off Covid-19 measures, is accelerating “even more quickly” than before the virus crisis, the Bank of France governor said in an interview on France Inter radio on Saturday.

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When the government locked down France’s economy in the spring in an effort to contain the virus spread, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to support firms and workers “whatever the cost.”

Sticking to that promise has meant a surge in spending at the same time as the economy collapsed. According to the government’s latest projections, public debt will jump to more than 117% of economic output this year from 98% in 2019.

“As things improve, ‘whatever it costs’ should turn into when it’s worth it, if it’s worth it,” Villeroy said during today’s interview. The government has to become more selective on spending. “There’s still progress to make on this front.”

How to deliver a boost to the French economy without adding to the country’s debt burden has been a central problem for Macron since his election in May 2017. The 42-year-old president never managed to reduce France’s public borrowing before the Covid-19 crisis, leaving him at a disadvantage compared with Germany and other countries in northern Europe.



a person standing in front of a store: PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a "red zone," which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images Europe
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a “red zone,” which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

“It’s crucial to maintain the confidence in our ability to pay back debt,” Villeroy said on France Inter Saturday. If investors were to lose such confidence, it would mean higher interest rates, he added.

Dangerous Debt

“I say very clearly, we are not there on controlling spending,” Villeroy said. “We can’t offer ourselves everything all the time.”

“There’s debt that’s justified, and this is Covid-19 debt,

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Bank of France Governor Villeroy Warns About Government Spending

(Bloomberg) — Bank of France Governor and European Central Bank policy maker Francois Villeroy Galhau said the French government must be more careful about spending and debt that’s not linked to the novel coronavirus health-care crisis.



a person standing in front of a store: PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a "red zone," which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images Europe
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a “red zone,” which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

The government must become “more efficient” as the pace of spending, stripping off Covid-19 measures, has been accelerating too quickly, the Bank of France governor said in an interview on France Inter radio on Saturday.

When the French government locked down the country’s economy in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the spring, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to support firms and workers “whatever the cost.”

Sticking to that promise has meant a surge in spending at the same time as the economy has collapsed. According to the government’s latest projections, public debt will jump to more than 117% of economic output this year from 98% in 2019.



a person standing in front of a store: PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a "red zone," which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images Europe
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: A worker at a Paris bar sweeps up after closing early to comply with new Covid-19 restrictions forcing bars and cafes in the French capital to close at 10pm on September 28, 2020 in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and was recently designated a “red zone,” which imposes set of restrictions on public gatherings and the sale of alcohol. From today bars are required to remain closed between 10PM and 6AM. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

“As things improve, ‘whatever it costs’ should turn to when it’s worth it,” Villeroy said during today’s interview.

Speaking earlier this week on France Inter, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government priority is employment, investment and economic recovery.

“All the debt linked to this crisis is investment. It will have to be repaid, I’ve always said that. But this reimbursement will come when we have got growth back,” Le Maire said.

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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India freezes Amnesty International bank accounts after reports critical of government

New Delhi — Global human rights organization Amnesty International has halted operations in India, accusing the government of an “incessant witch-hunt” and “constant harassment” over its reports criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. 

Indian authorities froze Amnesty’s bank accounts earlier this month for allegedly receiving foreign funds illegally, a charge the rights group denies. The organization said it had been forced to lay staff members off and pause its work in India because it could not access its funds. 

India Amnesty International
Amnesty International India employees work at their headquarters in Bangalore, India, in a February 5, 2019, file photo.  

Aijaz Rahi/AP


“India’s stature as a liberal democracy with free institutions, including media & civil society organizations, accounted for much of its soft power in the world. Actions like this both undermine our reputation as a democracy & vitiate our soft power,” Shashi Thraoor, a member of the opposition Indian National Congress party, said on Twitter about the government’s action against Amnesty.

“Guilty unless proven otherwise”

Amnesty’s bank accounts were frozen just days before the Indian government tightened up laws on foreign funding for non-governmental organizations. 

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) 2020, approved by India’s Parliament last week, gave the government sweeping new powers to cancel FCRA certificates issued to non-profit groups, prohibited the transfer of foreign funds to any other organization, put a cap on administrative expenses at 20%, and requires organizations to have a bank account in Delhi, among other restrictions. 

Major non-profit groups and social workers in India see the new law as a crackdown by the government, and warn it could cripple them as the Asian nation grapples with major economic, social and health challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic.  


Skepticism of India’s low COVID death toll

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The Population Foundation of India (PFI), a non-profit that has promoted family planning, women’s empowerment and literacy in India for 50 years, warned that the new laws “will kill collaboration and cooperation amongst NGOs.” The organization said the government appeared to be “looking at all foreign contributions with suspicion,” which it said could damage India’s global reputation as a free democracy. 

“These amendments also assume that NGOs that are receiving foreign funds are guilty unless proven otherwise,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the PFI. “We are here because of the failure of the executive and government, because they do not do their jobs and we come in to fill the gaps.”

“This is the worst possible time to hamper civil society… just when this country needs its entire civil society to work together with the private sector and the government to address the multiple problems that confront us,” the Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), an alliance of more than 550 non-profit groups in the country, said during a press conference last week


Death toll climbs in India protests

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Indian government data show there are more than 20,000 non-profit groups registered to receive foreign grants under the FCRA. Many of these organizations have worked for years with smaller

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