Chapter 4

“Payments is the wrong term; we need to talk about digital utilities.”

Payments are the most universal of all financial products Chapter 4 Digital Currency
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) Asia is a commercial membership association of payments industry influencers. EPA Asia is part of the growing EPA global network. It runs more than 30 events each year, delivers eight projects annually to drive change, helps to connect the ecosystem, encourages innovation and profitable business growth. The EPA’s vision is for Asia is to be the regional Knowledge Hub for payments innovation. As it sets out to be the most influential trade body in emerging payments, the EPA’s mission, to collaborate to innovate, has the potential to improve lives everywhere.

Digital currency puts the normally conservative, staid and traditional central banks at the front line of innovation.

Central banks have been considering digital currency as a theoretical concept for quite some time. There have been many papers published on the topic by authorities in the UK, Sweden, Canada and Singapore, for example, covering the topic of digital currency.

It was Facebook’s announcement in 2019 of Libra that catapulted the topic into the commercial mainstream and additionally prompted 26 central banks to request to meet with Facebook, a private non-bank organisation, possibly more out of fear than enthusiasm for innovation.

Until Libra, a universal digital currency had been mostly a theoretical possibility whereas Libra presents a visible reality (absent regulations that prevent it).

Libra shows that cross-border payments are possible without central banks.

There have been several factors accelerating the thinking by central banks around central bank digital currency (CBDC):

  • Decline in cash already evident prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but now greatly enhanced by the pandemic
  • Proliferation of crypto-currencies, and
  • White papers on global stablecoin initiatives

The Financial Stability Board published a 62 page consultative document on 14 April 2020 entitled: “Addressing the regulatory, supervisory and oversight challenges raised by “global stablecoin” arrangements.” The background to this consultative document references the call by the G20 nations in June 2019 to examine regulatory issues raised by global stablecoin arrangements and to advise on multilateral responses as appropriate, taking into account the perspective of emerging markets and developing economies.

Nilixa Devlukia 
Payments, Digital Currency, Cryptoassets & Open Banking Expert | International Speaker
                     Payments Solved 

Working with industry, legislators and regulators to drive changes in the open banking and payments ecosystem for financial services that are safe, inclusive and transparent for all users.

Offering strategic advice on regulatory and policy issues; advising firms and business leaders on how the law, regulation and the decisions and approaches of governments and regulators can impact their strategies. Advising firms and regulators and advocating to governments on policy issues impacting all matters related to payments including digital banking, innovation, digital identity, the impact of fintech, firm authorisations, safeguarding, cross border services, financial inclusion and Open Banking. Providing seminars and training on financial services and payments legislation such as PSD2/Interchange Fee Regulation/Cross Border Payments/SEPA/CMA Order/payment scheme participation and on Open Banking and the evolution of Open Banking globally.

Vanessa Ronan-Pearce 

Head of Corporate Partnerships 
The Salvation Army New Zealand


 Architect of Innovation I Commercially Minded Brand Evangelist

A commercially minded brand evangelist with a passion for the human connections behind business, with over 20 years’ experience working with global thought leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs.

Growing up I was surrounded by creativity, music, dance and family businesses. I learned early that I’m motivated by constantly learning, staying up-to-date with technology, innovation and trends, working with people who inspire me, are authentic, and are ready to accelerate themselves and their business.

So far, I have led a fulfilling career doing work that inspires me!

An architect of innovation who has built communities and advanced industries in technology, financial services, media & start-ups.

Specialist in driving brand value, raising global awareness and growing revenue by understanding the impact of socio economic patterns, behaviour and market trends.

Proven track record in large scale project delivery, product development, C-Suite negotiation and establishing profitable partnerships.

SVP Payment and Financial Services Risk at GOJEK
Head of BIS Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre
Bank for International Settlements
Chief Executive Officer at
BTC Markets. Board member Blockchain
Managing Director
Accenture Southeast Asia
Senior Associate
King & Wood Mallesons

Karen Lee
Head Core Products and Value added Services at
eftpos Payments Australia
Business Development Director at

Head of Strategy & Policy at

Partner, Solicitor/Senior Associate at
King & Wood Mallesons