Wednesday, August 30, 2017

News Note: Cato Institute 35th Annual Monetary Conference

A thank you to a reader who alerted me to this event which will be held in Novermber by the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. Below I have pasted in a bit of the information. Click on the link to get the full set of information. There will be a strong slate of speakers including John Taylor, Judy Shelton, and Kevin Warsh. Dr. Lawrence White who we have featured here will also be a speaker. 


35th Annual Monetary Conference


Thursday, November 16, 2017
9:00AM — 6:15PM

Cato Institute • 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW • Washington, DC

Monday, August 28, 2017

OT: Hurricane Harvey Heroes

This post will take a break from the news and issues we normally cover to offer a small, but heartfelt tribute to the thousands of ordinary people who have suddenly turned into heroes. This tragedy will have an enormous impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people without a doubt. The disruption to normal life will not go away quickly for many and for some a normal life will never return.

While there will always be a few people that try to take advantage of the misfortune of others, once again we are seeing that the overwhelming majority of people just want to try and help out a neighbor if they can. It's inspiring to see ordinary citizens turn into heroes when things like this happen. It won't fix all the heartbreak and loss that will come with this event, but it does remind us that most people will want to help.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted and to those directly involved in trying to help those impacted. I have no doubt that an enormous wave of additional support will follow later from local, state, and federal governments along with massive support from churches and charities across the state and the US (and even the world). It's just what people do when a neighbor needs help


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gold Wars

Gold is not the main focus of this blog although it is an important signal we monitor that can indicate that something important may be happening the in the monetary system. Gold has been in and out of the official monetary system for a long time so people do view it more like money than just a commodity like zinc for instance.

Gold tends to generate a lot of emotional reaction from people who love it or who seemingly hate it for various reasons. There are all kinds of articles and blogs that discuss gold and its love/hate relationship with the monetary system. For instance, the same people (central banks) that tend to disparage gold as something out of place in a modern monetary system also happen to hold tons and tons of it in their vaults. The tension that clearly exists when gold is talked about as an alternative to the currencies of the central banks is really there and there are many places that cover those issues.

What I would like to focus on for this article is to look at some new developments in the gold space that may indicate that interest in gold as some kind of alternative payments system might be increasing. Below are some thoughts on it.

Gold has always been something people around the world look to when there are signs of potential trouble in the world. The most recent example is the flare up between the US and North Korea. When the rhetoric ramped up to a level where people began to pay attention and think an actual shooting war might be possible, gold immediately reacted. People like Ray Dalio were instantly suggesting everyone should own at least 5-10% of a portfolio in gold as an insurance hedge (something we have long talked about and people like Jim Rickards have consistently recommended). Readers should understand that no where near that allocation to gold exists currently and if fund managers and investors actually followed that advice, the demand for gold would explode far above the amount that is available at any given time and the price would explode along with it.

The potential for something like this to happen is always out there even with gold no longer used like money as part of the monetary system. Now we have private sector initiatives popping up that are actually trying to modernize gold in a way they hope will encourage people to use it more like money again and not just as an insurance hedge or long term store of wealth. Goldmoney was the first to enter this space and tries to make it easier to use gold in your account with them like money to spend in commerce. This is how they describe their debit card on their web site:

What is a Goldmoney Mastercard® Prepaid card?

The Goldmoney Mastercard® card is a prepaid card available in several currencies that can be linked to verified Full Holdings. You may sell metals to currency within your Holding to load a prepaid card and use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Recently, BullionCoin launched with a more extensive plan to try and get a 100% gold (and silver) backed cryptocurrency to be used in commerce. They do this by offering an incentive to merchants to accept BullionCoin in payment for goods and services and will also offer the end user a debit card for purchases. To the end user it will work the same as any debit card they already use at merchants that accept BullionCoin for payment. It appears that perhaps the first shot in possible Gold Wars may have been fired at BullionCoin as the ABX announced it was pulling out of its partnership with BullionCoin based for one reason on the potential for a lawsuit filed by a "competitor" for "alleged infringement of intellectual property rights" (BullionCoin fired back by denying any lawsuit exists).

Now we learn that coming up in the fourth quarter of 2017, another gold linked payments system called GlintPay plans to launch as well. The article appearing in TechCrunch on Glint had this to say:

"However, I understand that Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency. The bigger picture is that gold historically has been a better storage of value than any government-created currency, and therefore — with the aid of technology — is (arguably) a good candidate for an alternative global currency. The startup has already been authorised and is regulated by the U.K.’s FCA, under, presumably, an Electronic Money Institution license."

So we are clearly going to have competition now in the gold backed payments system space with blockchain also entering the picture for some of the products. This Bloomberg article lists some more coming soon that will be based on blockchain. We can expect that these private ventures will compete aggressively for the existing base of consumers who like to own gold and silver even as they all also try to expand that base of people with global marketing efforts. This is where we may see some additional Gold Wars in the future as we have already seen with BullionCoin. Whoever can attract substantial institutional support may gain an advantage in these wars as promotion and marketing helps influence people to try something new.

It will be interesting to see how these new private ventures impact the gold market and how successful they are in attracting broader adoption of gold backed currency for use like money in regular commerce. They will all be fighting legal tender laws and probably tax reporting rules that will be obstacles to overcome in many countries. 

But if they are successful in bringing in lots of people globally who are not currently interested in owning gold and silver, their impact on those markets could be significant as a new source of demand for physical gold and silver. This could be true  even if some of these products cannibalize from existing gold buyers. Right now it is estimated that just 1% of global capital is invested in gold. A seemingly tiny increase to just 2% is actually a huge increase in demand for the physical metal in relation to the available supplies from mining each year (which are starting to drop off). The same concept applies to silver. It bears keeping an eye on in the future as the Gold Wars heat up.
Added notes: While no one can predict the future, this article on silver does make some good points about how it appears to be undervalued at this point in time. Silver is selling at a price not very much above what it costs to mine it and it looks like mine production may have peaked out and is starting to decline. Eventually the price of silver has to react to this situation or some mines will have to be closed which will speed up the decline in production. Meanwhile, demand for silver is likely to remain steady or increase in the coming years with nations like China in the middle of large programs to expand the use of solar energy. Also, any time demand for gold picks up as an insurance hedge, silver tends to benefit from that as well and is more affordable for the average person.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin created quite a stir when he suddenly showed up at Fort Knox to seemingly check out the US gold stored there. This created an immediate renewal of the ongoing battle between those who believe that much of the gold supposedly held at Fort Knox has been sold off and those who say the physical gold is still there, but may have ownership claims against it on paper (has been swapped or leased). Of course, since the gold has not been audited for many years, no one can prove their claims one way or the other. It is somewhat odd that Secretary Mnuchin suddenly shows up for to do this photo op holding a gold bar. We won't speculate here because we leave that to others. The fact this week is that for whatever reason, the Treasury Secretary of the US showed up at Fort Knox to say "the gold is safe" for some unexplained reason.

Andrew Maguire surfaced again to do a new interview with King World News. In this interview he repeats that the 250 ton gold buy order he has talked about most of this year is still coming, but has been delayed past the date he initially expected. As we might expect, after the partnership between BullionCoin and the ABX fell apart, the credibility of Andrew Maguire is in question by many people who follow events in the gold market. All we can do here is report what happens. So far, the prediction of this large gold buy that is supposed to "reset" the gold price much higher has not materialized. The failure of BulllionCoin and ABX after much promotion of it by Andrew Maguire on his Twitter feed (see documented list of all statements made in 2017 here) does not inspire confidence. If such a large gold buy order does in fact show up and cause a much higher "reset" of the gold price, we will report that here. If it does not, we will also report that here. It seems there are all kinds of Gold Wars out there and discovering the truth is quite difficult. This is why we try to avoid speculation and report what actually happens.

In this new article, Jim Rickards says "Weird Things are Happening With Gold"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Latest Updates from the BIS - Bank for International Settlements

I get regular email updates from the Bank for International Settlements when they issue new reports. Below I am just pasting in the latest update which mentions several issues that relate to what we cover here and may be of interest.


August 2017

Keeping the financial system safe and secure

International committees completed a Group of 20 workplan to help ensure that central counterparties can continue to operate in the face of shocks and even severe financial stress.

Basel Committee releases implementation reports

Regulations implementing the Liquidity Coverage Ratio in China and the United States are assessed as “compliant” with the Basel framework, while the European Union is “largely compliant”.

Cross-border banking perks up

International banking activity rebounded in the first quarter as lending to emerging market economies rose by the most in three years and credit to financial institutions such as hedge funds, securities brokers and special purpose vehicles picked up.

Green finance at work

Identifying climate change-related risks for the financial sector and ensuring that instruments labelled as “green bonds” meet high standards can help combat climate change.

Financial regulatory reforms – latest developments and future work

In this video, Fernando Restoy (FSI), Svein Andresen (FSB), William Coen (Basel Committee), Yoshihiro Kawai (IAIS), Morten Bech (CPMI) and David Walker (IADI) give an update on their work to reform financial regulation. 
More BIS publications 

Working Paper: Segmented money markets and covered interest parity arbitrage
Deviations in covered interest parity reflect money market segmentation and differences in liquidity premia.

Working Paper: Financial deglobalisation in banking?
The decline in cross-border banking since 2007 does not amount to a broad-based retreat in international lending.

BCBS Working Paper: The interplay of accounting and regulation and its impact on bank behaviour
Accounting rules and disclosure standards are important determinants for banks’ incentives and behaviour.

Building Resilience to Global Risks - Challenges for African Central Banks

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Followup Article on ACChain and their Real Estate Project in Texas

In this earlier article, we looked at ACChain and its ACCoin token in some detail. One of the projects of ACChain is a real estate token (RET) funded housing project in the Fort Worth,Texas area. While doing research on ACChain, I ran across some additional information on this real estate project which may be of interest. Below are links to the information that can be used to learn more about the companies involved with this project. 

Near the end of this article please be sure to read the comment I got by email from Willem Middelkoop on this. Willem does have good contacts in China so his thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

ACChain describes the Real Estate Token (RET) here as follows:

"Real Estate Token or RET is an encrypted digital token that represents digitized real estate assets, generated based on ACChain open source blockchain technology."   . . . 

"RET is issued base on the real estate and ACChain. Sendera Ranch community is the real estate which is located in the thriving Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the 889.53-acre development will add 2385 homes in the beautiful community of Sendera Ranch. The development is divided into 10 phases and based on current market valuation, the average price for house is US$270,000 and total worth approximately USD655 million."

This establishes the link between ACChain, the RET, and the Sendera Ranch housing project in Texas also described in this PR notice about the project. If you scroll down this web page you will see that the CEO of Serene Country Homes, the company managing the Sendera Ranch project, is Dirk Foo. Joe F. Attrux is the CFO and Allan Lind is listed as the Executive Vice President. In the description for each of these three executives for Serene Country Homes, we learn that these same men are executives for the A2A Group of Companies which has (had?) an office in Singapore. They also have offices in Canada, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Fort Worth, Texas.This page of the A2A web site describes the Sendera Ranch project in Texas in some detail.

At this point we have now clearly established a connection between the ACChain, the RET, A2A, and the Sendera Ranch property in Texas.

Lets look at the web site for Serene Country Homes. Here we see that the Sendera Ranch property is just one of several projects for Serene Country Homes. Right now, the Sendera Ranch project is listed as "available soon". We also see that Serene Country Homes has been in business for four years and has an A+ rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The BBB notice also shows Dirk Foo as the CEO which agrees with the other information we cited above. There are no customer reviews or complaints on file with the BBB.

At this point everything looks pretty normal. It seems clear that the Sendera Ranch project managed by Serene Country Homes will be built using funding provided from the capital raised in the ICO for the Real Estate Tokens (RET's) associated with ACChain. The plan is to raise $655 million to build the project by getting investors to buy 655 million RET's at a 1:1 exchange rate with US dollars. The owners of the RET's will own some kind of a real estate investment in this Sendera Ranch project. 

One interesting aspect of this is that if an investor accumulates enough RET's, they can actually exchange them for one of the houses in the project according to point #2 under Exit Mechanism on this web page. It should be noted that on the RET web site it says that US investors are not allowed to participate in the purchase of RET's (see footnote in this press notice posted on Reuters)


I did find one article in the StraitsTimes that does raise some questions related to A2A Capital Management which we mentioned above. Here are some excerpts from this article:

"A land-banking scheme that offered attractive returns for cash investments in real estate in the United States and Canada has come under the spotlight.

Five investors who claimed they put an aggregate of more than $1 million into A2A Capital Management's projects between 2011 and 2014 have filed police reports against A2A. It is believed that many more investors in Singapore have invested with the property development and investment firm, which lists about 15 real estate investment projects on its website. (editors note: see here that Sendera Ranch is one of the projects on their list)

A2A was placed on the investor alert list of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on March 23 (2017). It "provides a listing of unregulated persons who, based on information received by MAS, may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised by MAS", according to the MAS website.

The firm was set up in 2009 and has a paid-up capital of $100, records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority show. A2A has vacated its office in Raffles Place and moved to the Philippines. (editors note: A2A shows only a correspondence address in Singapore on this web page)

It had several schemes with different maturity periods. For example, an investor paid US$10,000 (S$14,000) or CAD$10,000 (S$10,400) for a "unit" of land in Texas or Ontario, Canada. The investors expected to get their capital back plus profits. The distributions would be based on the progress of sales and construction."

The StraitTimes article goes on to describe some investors who put in some large amounts of money and either did not get any returns or less returns than they expected. The article concludes with these three paragraphs:

"When Mr N contacted A2A in February, its client services department replied, saying the relocation of its office to the Philippines was the result of the authorities here "putting regulatory impositions" on land-banking products. So the firm decided to "disband retail sales and operational activities" here.

It also stated that the management was working on the payout timelines for the projects, and would provide an update as soon as they were firmed up. Mr N wants to reach out to other investors and organise a meeting to discuss what they can do collectively.

The president and chief executive of the A2A group of companies is Mr Foo Tiang Meng Dirk Robert. Mr Foo, 58, who is also a director of A2A, previously worked at land-banking firm Walton International.  A2A told The Straits Times that its query had been "forwarded to management in the US".

note: this article was also reported in Yahoo News
My added comments: This last bit of information does call into question what the situation is with A2A in Singapore. Since  A2A is directly involved with the Sendera Ranch project and Dirk Foo is the CEO of Serene Country Homes, I am not sure what to make of this information. The ACChain and the RET are also directly tied in to this project along with A2A and Serene Country Homes. The Walton International company mentioned in the last paragraph appears to be this company, another real estate development company that also has offices in both Singapore and Texas.

I do not want to try and speculate what the legal situation is in Singapore regarding A2A based on this one article. However, it does seem like that the Chinese government and/or the PBOC in China would not want to be associated with this kind of publicity regardless of what the situation is. 

So that makes me wonder how likely it is that either the Chinese government or the PBOC has any kind of relationship with ACChain. It is still impossible for me to know, but since I did find all this information while researching ACChain, I wanted to make it available to anyone interested in ACChain and the other entities connected to it mentioned in this article. I won't draw any further conclusions on it here as to whether ACChain is working with any official institutions within China. Readers can study the information in this article and our earlier one and draw their own conclusions.

Added notes --- The white paper for ACChain concludes with this statement on page 8:

"ACChain will be the common community of asset tokens. Asset digitization, with ACChain linking billions together, will create global circulation of assets. Together we can build a future: a shared economic communality and a digital kingdom for all."

It is clear that ACChain seeks to duplicate the process used to "digitize" these homes built in Texas into RET tokens that can be used like money across all manner of assets using all kinds of local tokens exchangeable into global tokens. The stated goal is no less than "linking billions together" into "a digital kingdom for all."

ACChain has already done this with tokens for various kinds of tea for example. As you read through the information put out by ACChain, this picture seems to emerge. Their plan is to try and make the ACC (Asset Collection Coin) the primary cryptocurrency in the world above Bitcoin, Etherium, etc. by allowing people to exchange these other cryptos for the ACC (see page 4 here). They present this as some day leading towards some kind of "SDR Digital Currency" that can be exchanged for the various legal tender national currencies (USD, GBP, RMB etc). There is no evidence of IMF or BIS involvement in this plan at this point in time.

So what we need to follow over time with regard to ACChain is whether or not this is just the ambitious plan of a strictly private venture based in China (not connected to any official entities) or if this truly is an attempt to begin the process of consolidating all the existing cryptocurrencies, tangible assets, and fiat currencies of the world into one global tradeable "token" (the ACC) that they describe as leading towards an "SDR Digital Currency." I want to again emphasize that there is no such thing currently as an "SDR Digital Currency" using blockchain technology that people outside the IMF can use like money. Readers should look at the documented information provided in this article and our earlier one and draw their own conclusions about ACChain.

OMFIF Adivsory Board member Willem Middelkoop offers his comments on it just below.

Willem Middelkoop (The Big Reset blog) offered this comment to me by email in regards to the ACChain project:

"We know the PBOC is working on a digital currency but I doubt this is a project under their supervision."

Willem sits on the OMFIF Advisory Board (see the Industry and Investment section)

More Added notes:

ACChain appears to be in the middle of a somewhat complex chain of interlocking new cryptocurrencies and tokens. In that regard here are a few more links you may want to explore:

ACChain explains its connection to the NPC (New Puer Coin)

Puerbank article - appears to be related to the PuyinCoin - issued for various teas and may have changed names to the New Puer Coin (NPC) - it is unclear if this is related to ACChain, but it sounds very similar in concept. 

Digital Journal article describes a January 2016 meeting on a future "Financial System based on a Standard Digital Currency" - Puerbank was at this meeting along with the Bitcoin Foundation head as well as a representative from The White House. The information link at the bottom of this article related to Puer Bank takes you to this web site (PEB PuerCoin). This news release seems to tie the PEB, NPC, and ACChain together.

Twitter Feed for PGB - Puyin Blockchain Group - shows picture of Wan Jia

Dallas Morning News on Puyin Blockchain Group relation to Texas real estate project

Twitter Feed for Pencil Blockchain - involved in the Texas real estate project

ScamAdviser info page for - confirms it is based in China & the web site is very new with little information available at this time.

Discussion thread on the StraitsTimes article and A2A Capital Management - last post in this thread says the Puerbank was considering a "bailout" for A2A Capital Managment. It is unclear if this is the Puerbank mentioned in the article above or if any such "bailout" ever took place.

As you can see, this is a very complex web of organizations all based in China. It appears that the links above tie these organizations together. Nowhere does any connection to the PBOC or Chinese government show up that I can find and Willem Middelkoop says he does not believe one exists.  In addition, we can find no connection to either the IMF or the BIS.

However, these two paragraphs in the Digital Journal article cited above are interesting given those who attended the meeting in January 2016 to discuss a "Standard Digital Currency". They seem to confirm that all this is clearly a "private digital currency" intended to at least initially compete with legal tender currencies and to "become the cornerstone in developing digital currency by central banks in different countries". Where all this is headed is still unknown at this time.

"Board chairman Mr. Ye Qiang (Puerbank) made a joke with Mr. Brock (Bitcoin Board Chairman) shortly after Brock’s affectionate expression to Guiyang. He said, “Mr. Brock, you are a destined capitalist of block chain in Chinese version.” Everyone Smiled heartedly. The topic speech by Mr. Ye Qiang illustrates Puerbank Group standard digital financial system from 7 aspects. Firstly, the official released White Paper for Standard Digital Currency Version 2.0 is an upgraded version after lots of updating and perfection work, with perfected, novel and original business mode of standard digital currency. The standard system gets clearer describing: The standard system is an ecological system, in which the specific combined commodity is considered as standard assets, anchored with digital assets with encryption into digital currency, together with the digital assets circulation under application context of block chain. Secondly, source opening is the essential strategy. Through the establishment of open sources system of digital assets, the primitive distribution of digital currency is achieved. He who owns the assets owns the currency, to realize the autonomous system of consensus, co-management and disperse centers. Puerbank Group has completed source opening and supplementing of hundred billions of assets. Thirdly: Harmony and inclusiveness. Mr. Ye Qiang showed his expectation of the co-existence of “digital legal tender and private digital currency”. The private digital currency gains rapid speed in development based on block chain technologies since its creation so as to become the cornerstone in developing digital currency by central banks in different countries.

It is a current situation that digital legal tender co-exists with private digital currency, whose pathway to supervision and governing should be: through abundant market competitions, optimizing the public’s attractiveness to private digital currency and the capabilities of self-control and self-governing (similar to Germany’s policy), completing the design and argumentation of supervision regulations. Mr. Ye Qiang held that “standard system” is the most effective concept and plan to promote the market competiveness of private digital currency. Fourthly, token application is the best tool of digitalize physical assets. Puerbank’s core business is the development and promotion of token applications. On January 9th, we are going to promote 7 mature token applications specific to 8 celebrated enterprises, facing hundred thousands of customer groups, with token assets volume amounting to around 34 million RMB. Fifthly, trade. Another Puerbank Group’ core theory is “assets swap” besides “standard system”. We hope to trace from the traditional finance system centered by currency back to the bartering time. The digital assets finish assets circulation without the medium of traditional currency. Therefore, we promote the trading system “PBAM”, covering such functional modules as browser system of block chain data, settlement system, trading system, exchange system, ICO system, Risk Management system and cloud strategy funds tools, etc." 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Asset Collection Coin (ACC) - Is it a "Digital Currency SDR"?

Recently I have become aware of a relatively new blockchain based digital token that is calling itself the ACC (Asset Collection Coin). The information available on the internet about this new token describes it as "an asset digitization tool and platform to realize global asset digitization." The main web site for the organization behind this new token is It appears to be based in China, but it is unclear what relationship it may have with any official institutions in China. 

A promotional video for this new product has created quite a bit of discussion and uproar because it seems to suggest the primary token to be used in this new system could be some kind of new digital version of the SDR. The official SDR of course is issued by the IMF and not any organization in China. But here is what ACChain says on this web page that does arouse curiosity:

"ACChain has built a pure decentralized platform for asset digitization, it is the common community of asset tokens, by copying Asset Blockchain general ledgers to implement asset digitization, and using ACC (Asset Collection Coin) as a common exchange medium to realize
assets circulation."

. . . .

"ACChain Community is launching a global ICO for tokens that made on ACChain, structuring international supernode networks, the process of the first supernode network is also the process of the exchange between mainstream tokens in the market with Asset standard token -- ACC, they will jointly form the digital asset interchange object -- SDR digital currency. In the meantime, each global node will establish regional “general ledger token” (GLT) for regional circulation, thus, the digital currency SDR will be the main exchange coin along with tokens  of each international node’s general ledger token in the international exchange. In this ecosystem, each node’s token can use GLT to realize regional circulation, and each GLT and use ACC to realize international circulation. Those control the international supernodes, win the market."

If you have spent any time at all researching these kinds of things (SDR's, global currencies, etc) you know that when you see this kind of language show up all kinds of speculation, questions, and for some people out right fear is going to arise. Here we have something stating that its goal is to essentially try to get the entire world to digitize its real world assets into a globally tradable token (the ACC) that it also happens to suggest will be a "digital currency SDR" (see page 11). If that is not enough to stir up interest, they go on to talk about powerful "supernodes" in this system designed to collect up real world assets and say "those (who) control the international supernodes, win the market."

So, it is certainly reasonable to ask. What is this? Who is behind it? Who controls the "supernodes" in it? Does it have any kind of relationship with the IMF? If not, does it have any kind of relationship with the Chinese government or PBOC? Let's look at the facts that we can find on this.

My early research on this does not indicate that any relationship exists with the IMF that I can find. If any relationship does exist, it does not appear in the public domain anywhere that I know about. In a video I have seen on an alternative media site, an email from an IMF spokesperson displayed in the video clearly states the IMF has no involvement with ACCoin. I have no doubt the email is legitimate even though I cant show you a hard copy (you can view it on the video here if you like). It shows it to be from Silvia Zucchini who is an IMF spokesperson. The email shown in the video had this statement from her:

"Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that we are not aware of the cryptocurrency called ACCOIN and we can rule out any IMF official approval and authorization of its link to the SDR."

It is harder to know if any ties exist between ACChain. org and the Chinese government and/or PBOC. China is somewhat opaque. I cannot find anything that ties them together, but would not rule out the possibility. I simply don't know. 

The goal of this article will simply be to provide the information I can find in the public domain so that readers can review it and draw their own conclusions about it. I will add a few comments of opinion, but will admit that I have no way to know for sure of any connections one way or the other. At the same time, I prefer not to jump to conclusions or speculate either as I have seen quite a bit of this already. 

I do understand the speculation though, given the information on their web page quoted above and some unusual statements that appear in the promotional video. One example is a statement on the ACChain video that says "Blockchain, the devil uses it to destroy the world" followed immediately by a statement that says "the god uses it to benefit of mankind". Admittedly, a bit strange. But sometimes Chinese translations to english come out a bit odd sounding. That seems to happen some on the ACChain web site as well. With this background, let's look at what we can find.

On this web page towards the bottom, we see the key players involved with ACChain. Most are Chinese, but one is Ben Gibbons (Collins Barrow Partner). Collins Barrow appears to be a Canadian firm. On the Collins Barrow news page, we find this item. It says this:

"Toronto, ON – Collins Barrow Toronto is pleased to announce the firm is advising on the creation of a digital asset fund with China-based Shenzhen Puyin Blockchain Co., Ltd. (PBG) and its affiliate, Guiyang Blockchain Financial Co., Ltd (GBF)."

and refers us to this news article which says:

"Shenzhen Puyin Block Chain Co., Ltd. (PBG) and its affiliate Guiyang Blockchain Financial Co., Ltd  (GBF) has engaged with Collins Barrow Toronto (Collins Barrow) to structure a digital asset fund, focused on the market opportunity and commercial applications of blockchain technology. The fund will delve into the enormous potential of digitized assets that utilize blockchain encryption to distribute the asset’s value through the internet.

In May 2017, a digital token with an underlying real estate asset, an RET, was launched through GBF’s technology platform, ACCHAIN, and has since piqued the curiosity of the markets across the globe. The current RET offering, Sendera Ranch, is a $655-million residential development project of Serene Country Homes in one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S., Dallas-Fort Worth. Once formed, the digital asset fund will invest and trade in assets such as the RET to provide qualified investors with enhanced diversification and greater security. Investors of the fund will also have access to relevant and transactional data as all information is recorded through blockchain. 

Collins Barrow, on behalf of PBG and GBF, is exploring this opportunity with various fund managers, institutional capital managers and investment firms. The creation of such fund further underscores the growing impact of blockchain technology in the financial services industry.

. . . .

About PBG and GBF

PBG represents one of the first China-based blockchain promoting agencies combining standard economic systems with the blockchain technology, and also establishing standards to create, market and trade digitally-backed assets, also known as Tokens and other digital cryptocurrencies currencies.
Assets Collection Chain (ACCHAIN) is an open global community and a decentralized asset digitization platform and tool created by GBF, an affiliate of PBG, in order to further develop their blockchain technology and ecosystem development."

editors note: This is a followup article with more information on the real estate project in Texas
In case you missed it, this web page on ACChain lists Jia Wan as CEO of Guiyang Blockchain and also the "Originator of ACChain". So it is clear that Jia Wan is working with Ben Gibbons at Collins Barrow in some kind of partnership. It appears they want to promote the concept of ACChain as a new platform to try and utilize blockchain technology to "digitize" real assets into tradable tokens (ACC's). The news article above says:

"Collins Barrow, on behalf of PBG and GBF, is exploring this opportunity with various fund managers, institutional capital managers and investment firms."

ACChain does have a Twitter account you can view here. There is a link on this twitter page that says "Peoples Republic of China" which takes you to a Twitter feed using that same name. I do not know if that is an official Twitter page for the government in China or not. The ACChain Twitter page is mostly links to PR notices regarding various activities of their token like this one announcing that the ACC would begin trading on a Canadian exchange known as AllCoin. At the end of this PR notice is this information about ACChain:

About Us 
Asset Collection Chain, or ACChain, is a global, open source blockchain and decentralized-asset-digitization platform based in Guiyang City, China. ACChain is operated by Guiyang Blockchain Financial Co., a provider of management and operational services. ACChain’s mission is to develop the potential of blockchain technology and asset digitization. ACC is the standard-and-common ledger token of ACChain, allowing exchange and circulation of tokens on the platform.

All this gives us a fair amount of information on ACChain. Readers can look at this information and decide for themselves if ACChain is purely a private venture operating from China or if they think it may have some kind of connection to the Chinese government. I can find no connection of any kind to the IMF. These are facts I could find. Now for a few added comments.
My added comments: At this time based on the evidence above and a bit more I will publish in a followup article on the real estate project in Texas, it seems likely to me that ACChain is not tied in any official way to a government agency in China or the PBOC. It looks a private venture that is marketing what they feel could be a new concept for the use of blockchain technology and is using Collins Barrow in Canada to help promote the idea to fund managers and investment firms. All of this suggests to me that this is private sector activity while admitting that in China it would be hard to know what kind of ties a company like this might have (formal or informal) with the Chinese government.

The fact that they describe their ACC coin as part of a process that will "form the digital asset interchange object -- SDR digital currency" is very interesting to me though. I know for sure that they cannot possibly be talking about an official SDR digital blockchain based currency issued by the IMF because no such thing currently exists. Right now, the IMF issues official SDR's by allocating them ONLY to member nations, and certainly not to a private company based in China.  Also, as noted above, an IMF media spokesperson has denied that the IMF is involved with the Asset Collection Coin. 

So what is the "SDR digital currency" they talk about? My guess is that they are talking about denominating the ACC in SDR's in the same way as bonds denominated in SDR's were issued last year in China. Being denominated in SDR's does not mean they are official SDR's issued at the IMF. Instead, it means that the face value of the asset or debt instrument is stated in SDR's as the unit of account (instead of say Yuan). The SDR has an exchange rate with all the major currencies published on the IMF web site. If you want, you can state anything you like based in SDR's. 

For example, let's say I have $10,000 US dollars in the bank, but I wanted to know how many SDR's that would equal. Using the exchange rate for the US dollar and the SDR of .709 (as of this writing), I could say I have .709* 10,000 = 7,090 SDR's in my account, but I wouldn't own any official SDR's issued by the IMF. I would just have stated my account value based on SDR's instead of US dollars. The IMF does describe what they call M-SDR's, but those also are not official SDR's (O-SDR's) issued by the IMF. (see this page for info on M-SDR's ). 

I realize all this gets confusing very quickly for most people. I also fully acknowledge that since this organization is based in China, it is hard to know for sure what kind of ties they may have to official institutions. I do not think this firm has ties to the IMF nor do I think they are working on some new IMF sanctioned "digital SDR currency". The political blow back to the IMF for doing something like that in secret would probably be enormous. Member nations have to vote on things like that (creating a new kind of SDR). I cannot see the US going along with anything like that at the IMF, especially under the current Trump Administration. Keep in mind the US has veto power at the IMF under the current voting rules. And again, the IMF spokesperson clearly denied involvement by email.

I do think it is kind of surreal that this outfit in China has developed the concept for a "digital SDR currency" to be used as a global currency by anyone around the world on a mobile phone. I have written about a similar concept a few times here on the blog and this product (as described) is very close to what I was trying to visualize, except I was visualizing it coming from the IMF and not a private venture (?) based in China. Backing this currency with all kinds of real tangible assets is also interesting and not the first time I have seen this idea mentioned. At this time though, there is no evidence to suggest that the ACCoin is actually a "Digital SDR Currency" sanctioned by the IMF or the BIS. 

Bottomline best guess for now: ACChain is either a stand alone private venture or possibly some kind of market experiment with unknown ties to official entities in China like the PBOC or Chinese government (see more on the latter below).

Added note (after writing the article above): Alternative theory for ACChain --- I noted above that I have no way to know if ACChain has some kind of relationship with either the PBOC or the Chinese government. There is a theory I did find (in a Google search) in the first 35 minutes of this video that attempts to make the case that ACChain must have some kind of tie to these official entities. It's a deeper dive than I presented here into some more detailed information on ACChain (like this white paper) that could be used to support that point of view. I don't make any such claim here as I simply don't know.  

But I wanted to give readers this link so if you are interested you can see the information presented and decide for yourself. I do not know the presenter (David DuByne) in this video. I just listened to the information presented in Parts I and III in an effort to hear an alternative point of view. Some evidence he presented was that apparently there are some substantial amounts invested in ACChain already in the various tokens involved. David DuByne says large investments like that (200 million in the example he showed) are not possible without approval from the Chinese government. David DuByne appears to have experience doing business in China

He also suggests that ACChain might be something like an experimental trial balloon by the Chinese government using a private venture to see what kind of market reception this whole concept gets. I won't rule that out even as I again admit that I would have no way to prove it one way or the other. 

I will try to continue to monitor ACChain to see if it gains broad institutional support and promotion globally. If we see some big international banks get involved with it, that would get my attention and add some weight to this theory in my mind. Any official endorsement by China or the PBOC would of course be significant news.

In this video, David DuByne also suggests that this venture is going to eventually lead to a new global digital/blockchain currency issued by either the IMF or the BIS to replace the US dollar when the present monetary system collapses. As I stated above, I find no evidence at this time to support that, but I have no way to know what might happen if the present monetary system did collapse and various competing alternatives for a new system did arise. 

I watch for that all the time (signs pointing towards major monetary system change), but we won't know what would happen in that scenario until and unless it actually happens. I continue to believe that who the public blamed for any collapse of the present system would greatly impact who they trusted to administer a new one. I don't think any one could predict that for sure. I know I can't. Janet Yelllen first said she sees no prospect for such a crisis any time soon, and then she later walked that statement back a bit. So apparently, she can't predict what will happen either.