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Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are the flavor of the year and probably that of the decade. Central banks all over the world are trying to digitize, to create a digital equivalent of cash. A properly designed CBDC can seamlessly function in both the wholesale and retail contexts. The main difference between these are the size and volume of transactions. CBDCs are studied, piloted and even rolled out in small and large countries. In smaller countries the central banks do not have the capability to create and roll out infrastructure that support CBDCs. These run the gamut from core capabilities to the application level interfaces like digital wallets and ways to integrate into existing payment infrastructure. Of course, cross border flows are even more complicated. This is the reason why CBDCs like the Sand Dollar, the Bakong and DXCD are created by private enterprises on behalf of the central banks. This has resulted in a patchwork of implementations that are not interoperable, for cross border flows. Some of the work in integrating to legacy systems has started with the Island Pay CBDC credit card for the Sand Dollar supported by Mastercard MA .
What is the point of digitizing, if the interconnections and intermediaries retain old processes and infrastructure? What is left is an uneasy amalgam of the new and the old, not achieving expected savings of time nor money. This requires a complete rethink of the existing infrastructure. Most of the vertical stack for payments have to rethought to achieve meaningful transformation. This argument is taken to its logical conclusion by Roxe. The entire vertical stack as envisioned by Roxe can be seen below. Today’s announcement of the formation of a global CBDC payment network follows on from the creation of a full stack global payment network.
Implementation Layers in RoxeFrom Roxe Whitepaper
All technical details are taken from the whitepaper. The lowest layer is a custom built hybrid blockchain. The building blocks are based on open source graphene built on C++, which has a modular infrastructure, consensus is based on a modified venerable distributed consensus algorithm called aBFT with a Proof of Stake to discourage malicious behavior. The use of the C++ language and the consensus algorithm, along with a novel method of parallelization makes for blazing speed. There are multiple types of nodes, separating the execution nodes from the core nodes. Ideas like Segregated Witness and Transaction as proof of Stake are also part of the core layer. The word hybrid in blockchain terms means it is public for reading and private for writing, in other words, permissioned for writing and permissionless for reading. Such a structure is needed for easy and universal verification with strict control over the formation of transactions in blocks.
Creating just the technical solution does not make for a global solution. Roxe has two backers who are existing players. Apifiny solves for global liquidity and market making, addressing one of the key challenges of any capital market, price discovery with enough liquidity behind it. The lack of liquidity coupled with price discovery can be seen in the volatility of crypto-currency markets, where just a few trades can tank or lift the market. ECSFin is a global payments service provider providing messaging layer solutions to payment and settlement systems. Between these two partners, expertise in the Liquidity and Network layers flow into the Roxe solution.
The top layer is the Roxe App which interacts with the end user. The importance of user experience cannot be understated. The tip of the pyramid is what the user experiences. All the complexity of the Settlement, Liquidity and the Consensus layer has to disappear and become invisible to the end-user. This is true of any Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI). When the FMI becomes apparent to the user through the loss of capabilities like in the Gamestop GME case where the buy buttons on Robinhood became inactive, it is no longer in the background, the FMI is painfully obvious to the end-user and affect the functioning of any market.MORE FOR YOU
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It is not the lowest layer that gives Roxe its capabilities. Liquidity and settlement layers synergistically build on the lower layers are what makes it powerful. The building of a technical stack using loosely coupled layers makes for independent horizontal scaling, allowing the solution to grow naturally with demand. The Liquidity layer uses DeFi concepts modified by Roxe using smoothing functions to do automatic market making.
KYC and AML needed for operating in a regulated space are done through the use of RoxeID, a unique 12 byte identifier, the amount of KYC will depend on the jurisdiction. It was not evident how RoxeID can protect against deanonymization. This is an area that needs further work, either with a different design following the ideas in the Self Sovereign Identity world or maybe in better explaining the privacy guarantees attached to RoxeID. There are provisions for recovery of funds in case of loss and some other capabilities that are needed for any regulated entity.
Roxe’s full stack solution knits together issuance, management, distribution, and interoperation of different CBDCs with banks, central banks, cross-border money transfer companies, and peer-to-peer payment providers in a single network. This is an audacious vision, to rework the global payments system. DeFi masquerading as CeFi. The global payments system needs a rework, integrating CBDCs into it and providing payment rails come as the first step in true digital asset trading towards a global capital market.