bitcoin milestones: XBT


I’ve blogged before about the pipeline of pending bitcoin milestones and country growth hacking so I should highlight progress on XBT as a currency code.

I attended the open data summit in Ottawa in May 2015 and prompted by some hardcore Q&A I decided to unblock the stalemate on BTC as a currency code.

I discovered that the United Nations and World Bank supported global aid flow database already includes a mechanism to include politically sensitive currency codes.  X is used as a prefix to the established currency code BTC and truncated to 3 characters, i.e. XBT.

A draft strategy emerged in the corridors at a fringe unconference on Saturday and fermented at a micro brewery in Gatineau (Quebec) on Saturday night:

  • shortlist charities already accepting bitcoin donations
  • register a wallet with a bitcoin operator based in the same country as the charity
  • process a cross-border bitcoin transaction
  • handcode the bitcoin transaction as cross-border aid flow in an XML aid flow transaction file to include XBT as the currency code
  • leverage an Isle of Man login to the global aid flow database to upload the cross border aid flow transaction file — ok, the system was developed to process millions of dollars/pounds/swiss francs/etc but millibits sounds like millions
  • request that the IATI technical support team add an XBT currency code to the official code list to stop validation errors in thousands of aid flow management systems and apps linked to the IATI API

With due diligence on shortlisted charities and previous bitcoin transactions via Blockchain Luxembourg, firstly I selected a German charity Amani Kinderdorf with projects in Africa to support AIDS orphans and secondly I selected a German bitcoin wallet operator cubits based on personal recommendations.

Disclosure: I subsequently accepted an advisory board member role for 3 months to research bitcoin mass adoption.

On 5th June 2015 I uploaded the transaction file.

On 11th September 2015 IATI started a private consultation on XBT as a currency code within the IATI Technical Advisory Group.

Disclosure: I am a member of the IATI TAG.

On 1st October 2015 it was confirmed that XBT had been added as a currency code to the IATI global aid flow database system emdorsed and supported by the United Nations, the World Bank, etc.

So what?

I have accumulated extensive relevant expertise via 2 years on the Bank of England currency tracking system, the Open Bank Project (the first batch at Level39), a 1 year open banking placement at the Treasury in the Isle of Man Government and bitcoin milestones, so I have had some interesting discussions on possibilities with potential partners in Dublin, Zurich, Luxembourg, New York, Melbourne, etc.

Obviously I have followed the Barclays project with Safello and they are expected to support bitcoin charity donations in Q4 2015 or Q1 2016.

Disclosure: I applied to the Barclays Techstars fintech accelerator.

I had previously discussed a large opportunity in wealth management with Cayman National Bank and, prompted by the announcement of the HM Treasury Open Banking Working Group chaired by Barclays and the Open Data Institute, more recently with Barclays Isle of Man.  Cayman National Bank didn’t have the right existing client profile but I think Barclays will need to do the London thing before it has enough internal momentum to progress something more ambitious offshore.

I defined and requested that Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar corporate register and charity regulator reference codes should be added to the global aid flow database system.  Jersey and Guernsey have been added but Gibraltar does not presently meet all the technical requirements.

On 10th November 2015, I flagged a hidden issue at an excellent Wragge Lawrence Graham fintech event with a great keynote by Bob Ferguson from the FCA and “ask me anything” fintech VC panel — actually lots of fintech milestones are self-funded so a mechanism to fund or to refund hacktivist research could accelerate progress in any jurisdiction.

The regulatory sandbox at the UK FCA with a government umbrella company and representative appointment risk management mechanism is real world help to support fintech startups and to let large operators dip their toes in the water and even fail small.

On 1st June 2015, in the UK, the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 means that 0.7% of spending will be allocated to aid flow each year so transparency on budgets such as £11.4 billion in 2014 are increasingly important.

A little reported response to the Paris attacks was to increase aid flow to fragile states from 30% to at least 50% — the jurisdictions at highest risk of diversion.  So the need to maximise financial reporting at lowest cost, the need to visualise soft power dynamics and ultimately the need to demonstrate sustainable social impact will support a shift to blockchain technology, daily micropayments direct beneficiaries and perhaps even a BIP to automatically allocate some bitcoin ecosystem processing to the nearest direct beneficiary mobile phone as an income stream.

At the RISE conference in Hong Kong I arranged to follow up on key points with Bobby Lee.  Downstairs at the Facebook developers bootcamp I noted that Facebook had hired talent from Ripple etc and that, for example, mainstream bitcoin apps would be ok.

On 18th November 2015, Facebook launched the non-profit donations option but I would expect the most progressive social impact via the initiative.

Next week, I will progress a bitcoin milestone in London that should indirectly progress Banknotey, a platform to finally extend ebusiness to cash customers so they can have a better life too.

Best regards,

Graeme Jones

bitcoin policy advisor (Isle of Man)

open government hacktivist (global)

co-founder, Banknotey Technology Limited (UK)



egovernment, fee transparency, bitcoin and the free 1% public sector pay rise

When is egovernment not egovernment?

When the front office does not include BACS online payment routing details on invoices, the back office is not able to support manual requests to confirm routing details and the internal financial system does not have the fractional cost online payments option installed?

A look at Lloyds Bank transaction fees gives us some numbers as a starting point:

cash = 60p per £100 excludes 70p per paying in slip

cash exchange = £1.65 per £100

cheque or postal order = 31p

incoming BACS credit = 15p

So, “openmindedly” with numbers that do not reflect any volume discount etc, in the 2014/15 financial year, with cash transactions averaged out at £20 and card transactions averaged out at £50, if a government processed incoming retail transactions without online banking payments (excludes bank account and hardware monthly fees and excludes fraud):

£10m in cash transactions @ £60,000

£0.5m in cash exchange for floats etc @ £8,250

£30m in cheques @ £186,000

£45m in debit card payments (15p) @ £135,000

£15m in credit card payments with 2% fee (£1) @ £300,000

£0m in online banking BACS payments @ £0

However, benchmarked with fintech platforms such as BACS online banking payments, digital currency and banknotey (TM):

£9.5m in cash transactions @ £54,000

£0.5m in banknotey (TM) cash transactions @ £6,000 – £1,250 signup/revshare commission

£0.25m in cash exchange for floats etc @ £4,125

£10m in cheques or postal orders @ £62,000

£45m in debit card payments (15p) @ £135,000

£10m in credit card payments with 2% fee (£1) @ £200,000

£1m in bitcoin with 1% fee (50p) @ £10,000

£24m in online banking BACS payments at 15p fee @ £72,000

Ok, that equates to £689,250 with older ratios and £541,875 with newer ratios or nearly -22% in cost savings.  An interesting headline number in an era of government budget reviews and pressures to rebalance whole economies.

The card companies have not supported any shift to a surcharge process historically because the inevitable customer conclusion is that cash would be a “free” payment method.

If a government amended policy on not absorbing higher cost credit card transaction fees (American Express is not accepted by the Isle of Man Government) but allowing the customer to choose a preferred surcharge on every payment method such as cash, cheque, debit card, credit card, charge card, prepaid card and even points, miles, bitcoin, ripple and banknotey it could contribute the equivalent of a 1% pay rise, offset the living wage and allow credit cards from credit unions as a more flexible payment method on what are typically quality of life public sector services rather than cash from payday lenders or loan sharks.

If a government then progressed legislation to itemise transaction fees outside the public sector at the offline and online point of sale, customers, SMEs and the economy would immediately benefit from more awareness of transaction process costs, more consistent and more competitive commercial rates and open up the opportunities on real time risk based transaction fees.

As someone that reported a fraudulent card transaction to purchase a flight into the UK from online banking in time to catch the criminal at the departure or arrival gate, it is a reasonable assumption that fintech could significantly decrease financial crime with transparent fees, a shift to joined up real time policing of each and every fraudulent transaction and an end to passing a large percentage of the avoidable costs of financial crime to customers.

Graeme Jones

policy advisor, Isle of Man Parliament

project lead, openmindedly @ Isle of Man Government

founder, banknotey


press release footnotes example — capital one

I was in a discussion about #openbanking at #iomcryptovalley and I had opened a financial services press release with a typical static footnote:

Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., had $205.9 billion in deposits and $298.3 billion in total assets as of June 30, 2014.

With #openbanking, a press release should link statements on “deposits” and “total assets” to the latest numbers.

The Isle of Man Government shows actuals v budget with filter options via Microsoft Dynamics but ideally it would include hardcoded parameters such as latest_quarter_end to embed on other sites:

Isle of Man Government aggregated deoartment totals

Open Bank Project and Temenos are working on a joint project with T24 at a large bank in Africa: