One of the biggest financial events in Tunisia, the Annual Congress of Forex Club of Tunisia took place today.
Official Statement from Universa Blockchain CEO Alexander Borodich
In light of the heated media discussions and information being taken out of context we would like to make the following clarifications:
- On the 7th November Universa Hub Africa have launched uDinar, backed by Tunisian Dinar, as a Proof-of-Concept.
- The PoC app is using decentralized ledger technology based on local blockchain hosted by Tunisian Agency of Internet. The Agency is our partner in terms of Universa Solutions in Tunisia.
- Universa Hub Africa was invited as a tech partner to showcase its project at the the Forex Club Tunisie congress.
- No question of CBDC émission related to uDinar was discussed at the Forex Club Tunisie Сongress.
- CBT is considering a variety of alternatives for future currency digitalisation and has no contractual aspect on CBDC with Universa Hub Africa.
- The misinterpretation in the articles that followed was not based on claims of Universa’s or CBT official representatives.
- Universa is hoping for the further development of the mutually beneficial cooperation between Universa Hub Africa and CBT.
The Forex Club of Tunisia is a non-profit association whose objective is to promote and improve its legislative and technical framework as well as its ethics.
The Forex Club of Tunisia
The Congress brought together prominent guests and pillars of the Tunisian and international financial and digital world. In fact, two panels were on the agenda. The main panel discussed the topic of the ” Conduct of monetary policy and the exchange rate in a transitional phase “.
As for the second panel, it was devoted to the “Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and opportunities for financial integration in Maghreb “ and brought together international and national experts from the digital world. Namely, Hervé Tourpe, Chief Digital Advisor of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Néji Ghandri, Member of the Executive Board of Amen Bank, Elyès Berrayana, Omar Bouattay, Head of Universal Hub AFRICA and Antonios Koumbarakis, PwC, Legal FS Regulatory and Compliance Services.
Standard Money vs Digital Money
The difference between standard money, which has cash and a virtual form (if money is on a bank card), and digital money, including cryptocurrencies, is in the transparency of transactions. When we pay for some goods using a bank card and terminal, physically the money does not transfer to the seller immediately.
A transaction can take about a week. In addition, paper money, the virtual version of which was used to pay for the goods, can be located in another place, at another seller or counterparty, at an ATM, at a third-party bank and at a third-party individual. All this makes the process of tracing transactions by the Central Bank difficult and creates the ground for illegal trade, tax evasion or corruption.
Cryptocurrencies work on blockchain platforms. Each such digital bill cannot be tampered with, and each transaction is traceable. The effectiveness of blockchain technology is not satisfactory among participants in the foreign exchange market and regulators.
The launch of U-Dinar
Another issue is the ownership of this money. Most national governments insist, that any money should be managed from a single state center. Therefore, Tunisia’s work on issuing state E-dinars is a proactive work. Such money, like cryptocurrency, is traceable and protected, but, unlike crypto money, it is state-owned and backed up with real, paper money.
“Electronic banknotes cannot be counterfeited – each such banknote, like the paper version, is protected by cryptography, it, like the paper counterpart, has its own digital watermarks. And the production of such a banknote is 100 times cheaper than wasting ink, paper, electricity for the printing press, “says CEO of Universa.
No additional paper money will be printed to issue electronic money. Instead, part of the country’s paper money Dinar will go into the pledge of electronic money. With the launch of the program, individuals can also switch to the U-dinar.
Other Maghreb countries – Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania – also participated in the presentation of electronic currency in the capital of Tunisia. While these countries are watching the testing of electronic currency in the future they can join the project, unite under one system and conduct international payments with electronic money at an agreed rate.
Tunisia is ranked 78 in the Doing Business ranking and does not have a leading position on the African continent. The primacy in creating such a system is a chance for the country to renew trade relations and regulate the domestic, largely “gray” economy, Borodich is convinced.
CBDC or Central Bank Digital Currencies
CBDCs, or national digital currencies, are digital assets issued and controlled by the government regulator, usually the Central Bank. They are exactly opposite to decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in that they represent fiat money in digital form. Each CBDC digital note is a digital equivalent of an actual paper note with its face value and serial number, which exists in digital form and is protected from forgery by Universa Blockchain technologies.
CBDC take the best of both worlds, combining the convenience and security of digital money with the proven functionality of national currencies regulated and backed by the country’s reserves.
According to Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report for 2019, as many as 70% of Central Banks worldwide started preparation to CBDC migration.
First Test Transaction
With the participation of the head of the Central Bank of Tunisia Marouane El Abassi and a representative of the International Monetary Fund, the participants in the presentation carried out a symbolic operation to transfer one U-Dinar from one account to another, thus starting the system. In a test form, it will work for several months, after which it will receive new functions and the plan is for it to be launched in a large numbers of stores, cafes and restaurants.
Future plans include for two thousand kiosks to be placed in Tunisia, where citizens can replenish their digital wallet. At the initial stage, they will pay via the browser on the smartphone, and later a mobile application will be available. They will be able to send digital money or make a purchase by scanning a QR code.
Universa Expansion Plans
According to Universa, Tunisia is the first country to launch the U-Dinar, but could be quickly followed by other countries, including countries of Southeast Asia (Malaysia and the Philippines), Latin America (Argentina and Brazil) and China. With the latter, the Russian company is unlikely to be able to conclude a contract – the Celestial Empire will prefer to create its own blockchain platform by copying technology, Borodich believes. But he looks forward to working with Latin American and Maghreb countries.
According to CEO of Universa, electronic money will greatly change the principles of private banks. Physically, all the money will remain in the Central Bank, and banks will become a kind of operators, providing only services and competing for the quality of services. And, since banks cease to fulfill the function of storing money, their possible bankruptcy also ceases to be dangerous for customers.