Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto Use

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto Use

India’s central bank told the country’s supreme court on Friday that “allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin would encourage illegal transactions.” Other crypto petitions being heard include one asking the government to “take emergency steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies.”

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI’s Argument

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, appeared before the supreme court Friday to defend its position regarding cryptocurrencies. RBI issued a circular on April 6 banning financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto companies.

According to the Economic Times, the central bank told the court:

Allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoins would encourage illegal transactions and it has already issued a circular prohibiting use of these virtual currencies.

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto UseRBI explained that crypto is “a stateless digital currency” that operates independently of a central bank such as itself, thereby “rendering it immune from government interference,” the news outlet noted.

The Financial Express elaborated that the central bank believes “it is necessary to regulate the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to check illegal transactions which will impact the international flow of funds.” Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for RBI, reiterated that the central bank has a particular stance and other departments may have other positions.

Petitions Being Heard

Petitions against the RBI crypto banking ban are not the only ones that the supreme court is hearing. The Economic Times described:

Some petitions challenged the use of virtual currencies and alleged that they posed grave dangers to the traditional economy and they also sought framing of guidelines to regulate them … They also sought a direction for the Centre to take emergency steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies.

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto UseThe Hindu pointed to one particular petition, filed by father and son Siddharth Dalmia and Vijay Pal Dalmia. “Mr. Dalmia, in his plea, has sought a direction to the Centre to take steps to restrain sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, which were being traded openly for ‘illegal activities’ like funding terrorism and insurgency,” the publication wrote.

The supreme court already heard the duo’s initial petition in November last year and subsequently issued notices to various government departments including RBI. The central bank responded at the time that it had warned people against the usage and risks associated with crypto. However, the Dalmias were not happy with RBI’s reply and filed a new petition, pointing out the inadequate action by the central bank.

At the hearing on Friday, the supreme court gave the government until September 11 to respond to all petitions.

What do you think of RBI’s view and action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and RBI.


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Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council Supports Crypto Regulatory Concept

Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council Supports Crypto Regulatory Concept

Ukraine has taken a positive step towards legalizing cryptocurrencies. A new regulatory concept, one that recognizes coins and tokens as financial instruments, has won support from the members of the country’s Financial Stability Council. The body includes representatives of the National Bank, the Finance Ministry and other government agencies.

Also read: Minsk Mulls Rules for Exchanges, Qiwi Awards Employees with Tokens

Ukraine Adopts Regulatory Concept for Cryptocurrencies

It’s been quite a while since Ukraine made any notable progress towards regulating its crypto sector. A new decision in Kiev, however, qualifies as an important development. The country’s Financial Stability Council has supported a concept to regulate crypto transactions. The body is composed of representatives from the National Bank of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance, the Deposit Guarantee Fund, the National Securities and Stock Market Commission, and the National Financial Services Market Commission.

Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council Supports Crypto Regulatory ConceptThe news about the decision of the council was announced on social media by Timur Khromaev, head of the National Securities and Stock Market Commission (NSSMC). “This is an important first step in building a consensus among government agencies and financial regulators which confirms the readiness to work with the Verkhovna Rada and the crypto market on forming a legislative and a regulatory framework that will ensure transparency and quality of relations between investors and crypto market participants,” Khromaev said in a Facebook post.

The newly approved concept recognizes certain categories of cryptocurrencies and tokens as financial instruments. It also determines the roles and functions of government agencies, such as the National Bank, the Finance Ministry, the State Fiscal Service, the State Financial Monitoring Service, and the NSSMC, in regards to regulating the circulation of cryptos, licensing of participants in crypto transactions, and disclosure of information.

Cryptocurrencies Still Unregulated, Not Legal in Ukraine

The status of cryptocurrencies in Ukraine is still undetermined. Three bills designed to legalize and regulate them and the related economic activities have been filed in the Rada since October but no significant progress has been made towards their adoption. These are the laws “On the Circulation of Cryptocurrency in Ukraine”, “On Stimulating the Market of Cryptocurrencies and Their Derivatives”, and a supplementary draft addressing crypto taxation. The recently voted Currency Law did not mention cryptocurrencies at all.

Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council Supports Crypto Regulatory ConceptThe NSSMC, one of the regulators that would be responsible for overseeing the crypto industry, did not support the bills introduced in the Rada. At the time, the commission objected to the use of the term “cryptocurrency” in the legal texts, stating that it is a result of what it called “financial engineering” and not a currency. The National Bank, the National Securities and Stock Market Commission and the National Financial Services Market Commission did not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal means of payment or money surrogate.

Cryptocurrencies have been steadily gaining popularity in Ukraine, especially in the last couple of years. Local media claim that the country is among the top 10 by number of crypto users. According to some recent reports, the estimated daily crypto-hryvnia turnover on the three major Ukrainian exchanges reaches $1.9 – $2 million USD. The actual volume may be much higher, given the large number of small trading platforms and individuals offering exchange services.

Do you expect Ukraine to adopt comprehensive crypto regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Timur Khromaev (Facebook).


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As Cryptocurrency Exchanges Pursue ATS Licenses, Regulators Vow Enhanced Oversight

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has vowed that it will enforce enhanced oversight and transparency requirements on alternative trading systems (ATS), just as a number of cryptocurrency exchanges are pursuing these licenses. The SEC on Wednesday announced that it had voted to adopt amendments to the ATS regulatory framework, rules that it says … Continued

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Vietnam’s Central Bank Thinks Cryptocurrency Miners Should Be Banned

Vietnam's Central Bank Thinks Cryptocurrency Miners Should be Banned

According to regional reports, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has agreed with a proposal to ban imported cryptocurrency mining machines in order to keep the digital currency economy tethered tightly to the government’s regulatory frameworks. The proposal was introduced by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) after the SBV announced that cryptocurrency use within Vietnam was not a “lawful means of payment” this past October.

Also read: Bitcoin Vietnam Faces Losing its Domain from Government

The State Bank of Vietnam Agrees Cryptocurrency Miners Should be Banned

Vietnam's Central Bank Thinks Cryptocurrency Miners Should be BannedLately, Vietnam’s government and regulatory bodies haven’t been too friendly towards the cryptocurrency industry. Last October the country’s central bank detailed in a letter to the public that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were not a “lawful means of payment.” Furthermore, if Vietnam residents decided to use “bitcoin and other similar virtual currency they may be subject to prosecution.” Then, this past June, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance initiating the idea that the country’s governing authorities should ban cryptocurrency mining device imports.

Now the local Việt Nam News reports that the central bank agrees with a proposal written by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) which calls for the banning of these mining machines. Vietnam’s MoIT and the SBV believe that letting these devices come into the country makes it harder for the government to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Many Vietnamese officials have been deliberating on how to handle the cryptocurrency industry and in April the country’s Prime Minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, signed an initiative to tighten regulatory guidelines.

Crypto-Fraud Sparked the Regulatory Crackdown

Vietnam's Central Bank Thinks Cryptocurrency Miners Should be BannedThe Ministry of Finance and MoIT have explained the reason for the current regulatory proposals towards mining rigs is because they want to protect Vietnamese consumers from scams in the future. All of the latest regulatory announcements towards cryptos have followed the recent Vietnamese law enforcement bust that dealt with the largest cryptocurrency fraud case that claimed more than 32,000 victims. The officials think that banning cryptocurrency mining machine imports will further help protect local consumers until virtual currency regulations are more solidified.

Việt Nam News also details that the General Department of Customs estimates that the country has imported 15,600 mining devices from 2017 to April 2018. The state administration of customs says that a great majority of machines were imported to areas such as Đà Nẵng, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hà Nội.

What do you think about Vietnam’s state administrations attempting to ban cryptocurrency miners in the country? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Central Bank photo taken by Xita, and Pixabay. 


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Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today but RBI Ban Stays

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban Stays

India’s Supreme Court heard the petitions against the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today. After hearing some arguments from both sides, the court decided to set another hearing date, allowing some of the regulators involved to respond to the petitions.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Supreme Court Hearing on July 20

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysThe long-awaited hearing at which the Supreme Court of India was scheduled to address all of the petitions against the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank has finally taken place.

Today’s hearing follows the hearing on July 3 of the petition by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The court did not grant a stay against the ban at that time. Last week, the central bank responded to a representation by the association but did not change its stance on crypto.

The latest chapter of the courtroom saga did not see an overturn of the ban. The court also did not hear all arguments by both sides. Crypto Kanoon, a platform engaged in crypto regulatory analysis, legal awareness and news, detailed:

Limited arguments were advanced on behalf of IAMAI and RBI today.

Another Hearing Date Set

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysThere are at least five writ petitions filed against the RBI ban. However, according to Crypto Kanoon, “SEBI [the Securities and Exchange Board of India] and few others have not filed their response to the petition seeking regulation…All (remaining) parties to file their reply within 4 weeks.”

Sohail Merchant, CEO of crypto exchange Pocketbits, commented on the outcome of today’s hearing:

Final hearing [is] slated for 11th of September. Now that is the Judgement Day.

According to lawyers familiar with the case, the central bank has been challenged on two grounds. They concern article 19(1) (g) and article 14 of the Indian constitution. The former “allows citizens to enjoy the right to carry on any occupation, trade, or business,” Quartz explained, adding that the latter “prohibits discrimination and mandates equal protection under the law for all.”

P2P Services Live

In response to the RBI banking ban, a number of crypto exchanges in the country have set up peer-to-peer (P2P) services.

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysKoinex launched its P2P platform called Loop on July 17. “Loop is a peer-to-peer fiat to crypto trading platform where registered users can trade in cryptos with other registered users in INR,” the exchange described.

“To ensure user safety, a built-in escrow system is employed which releases the cryptocurrency only after the seller double confirms the exact payment of the trade.” According to its website, the service currently offers the buying and selling of BTC, ETH, and XRP without network or transaction fees.

Last week, Wazirx launched its P2P service, also without network or transaction fees. The exchange recently claimed to have 125,000 users on its main platform after operating for four months. Meanwhile, Coindelta is also preparing to launch a P2P service called Flux.

What do you think of the Supreme Court hearing today? Do you think RBI’s ban will eventually be lifted? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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India’s Supreme Court Sets September Date for Final Cryptocurrency Petition Hearing

India’s Supreme Court has upheld the central bank’s directive of prohibiting banks from offering services to the domestic cryptocurrency sector following a hearing today. On Friday, India’s Supreme Court held its latest hearing of the case against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) circular forbidding all regulated financial institutions, including banks, to provide services to

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India’s Cryptocurrency Banking Ban Continues, Final Petition Hearing in September

India’s Supreme Court has upheld the central bank’s directive of prohibiting banks from offering services to the domestic cryptocurrency sector following a hearing today. On Friday, India’s Supreme Court held its latest hearing of the case against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) circular forbidding all regulated financial institutions, including banks, to provide services to

The post India’s Cryptocurrency Banking Ban Continues, Final Petition Hearing in September appeared first on CCN

A Basic Guide to the Digital Age: Breaking Down Congress’ Crypto Hearing

Crypto Hearing

Yesterday, Congress addressed in two full hearings why it’s time to start taking a closer look at why and how digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, are impacting U.S. marketplaces.

The following condensed information is a run-down of what the House Committee on Agriculture and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) discussed during the hearings regarding cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Congress Has a Vested Interest in Securities and Economic Growth

Some might find it odd to see the House Committee on Agriculture represented at a hearing on digital assets and their related technologies. But Chairman Michael Conaway made it very clear why the House Agriculture Committee was there, explaining that they have a vested interest in shaping and constructing the definition of a security because it directly impacts the definition of a commodity.

Working in tandem, both Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson identified five main goals for clarifying blockchain industry regulation:

  • Promoting a safe, efficient and transparent tokens market
  • Proper regulation doesn’t always mean intrusive regulation
  • Identifying whether tokens are securities
  • Parsing through whether our current laws are appropriate to apply
  • Ensuring enough oversight to help the space grow responsibly

Understanding Why Blockchain Technology Is Valuable

The panel of witnesses sitting on Capitol Hill presented in-depth yet simplistic explanations for what needs to be done. Applying those proposals, however, is an entirely different conversation.

Observing the Communities Using the Technology

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Joshua Fairfield addresses Congress about the value cryptocurrency potentially brings consumers. (Photo credit: HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)

According to Joshua Fairfield — William Donald Bain Family Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Staunton, VA — the potential value of blockchain technology is considerable.

First, the technology has allowed for collaboration among communities of artists.

Second, new forms of corporations have begun to rise up.

Third, there is now a fast and low-cost check settlement opportunity, which helps to pave the way for immediate payments.

Fourth, by digitizing securities, it helps to place everything in an easily accessible format for all participants.

Fifth, having open and low-cost electronic mortgage and secure transactions filing systems in place helps ensure that the recording process of deeds and other property-related documents is secure.

Sixth, it provides for secure international remittances.

Lastly, the potential to bring the voting system onto the blockchain helps to minimize the potential for fraud-related incidents, as we have recently witnessed with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Expanding Online Property Rights is Vital to the Growth of Innovation

“Citizens need and want an expansion of their personal property rights online,” emphasized Fairfield. He went on to question whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Howey Test is still the appropriate standard to apply. Instead, Fairfield proposed a more simplistic test — the “duck” test. “I believe that we should look to the outer bound to figure out what beneficial and damaging uses the technology presents,” he explained. “Look to how the communities are using it — then regulate.”

The Evolution from Tangible Property to Intangible Property

Fairfield pointed out that personal property has had some difficulty entering into the digital space. “We just don’t own that much personal property online,” he stated.

“Consider that people used to have record collections — now they have a subscription to Spotify. People used to have bookshelves — now they have Kindle accounts.”

But this behavior can be attributed to the early days of the internet, primarily movements like Napster, Limewire, Kazaa and online torrents. This led intellectual property (IP) owners to show concern as to the illegal copying and distribution of their work. “It took several decades to develop a technology like the blockchain, that could be traded, held, bought and sold — but not duplicated,” explained Fairfield.

The law professor concluded his proposal by stating that tokens aren’t just used as a security or a commodity, but rather as a way to represent our property interests and rights online — if we let it.  

Harmonizing Technology With Our Constitutional Rights

hearing3

Amber Baldet addresses Congress on how it can take a more proactive approach to regulation to support a blockchain becoming a global infrastructure, as the U.S. did with the internet. (Photo credit: HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)

The next witness, Amber Baldet, CEO and co-founder of Clovyr, emphasized the importance in balancing the value of this technology with the need for protecting consumers and national security.

Take a Cautious Approach to Thoughtful, Innovative Technologies

The biggest takeaway from Baldet’s proposals was that we need to understand how to strike a balance with this technology while still respecting our constitutionally protected rights. She emphasized “those technologies that might disrupt a business or add complexity of regulating the internet,” as these have the potential to represent both a critical infrastructure and a publicly shared good.

What’s the Next Killer App?

According to Baldet, the biggest application on the blockchain market is money — specifically, the concept of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. “These P2P payments will grow into a daily part of our professional and personal lives,” she said.

As we begin looking at different payment instruments, we must go back to fundamentals and ensure we understand the purpose of “bearer instruments.” These are documents that entitle its holder to rights of ownership or title to the underlying property, such as shares or bonds. If we are injecting blockchain technology and cryptocurrency into this space, it becomes even more relevant, as this technology can be applied to many things we own such as mortgages, securities, collectibles, IP rights and personal data. In a way, these new payment systems and accompanying currencies serve as unique “digital bearer assets,” as Baldet described.

Observe Other Countries’ Behaviors

While both the U.S. government and the accompanying marketplace are struggling to understand and apply these technological frameworks, other areas of the world are beginning to embrace the industry despite its gray areas and are learning by doing. Take Malta and Switzerland, for example. Malta has already earned its name as the world’s blockchain island, and Zug, a Swiss city just south of Zürich, has been called “Crypto Valley” for the plethora of blockchain companies operating in its limits.

In addition, Baldet also pointed to countries like Afghanistan and a handful of African countries that are looking to capitalize on the new technology. For example, in Afghanistan, blockchain technology has helped people like Roya Mahboob, CEO and co-founder of Digital Citizen Fund, to enroll over 9,000 Afghan women and girls in education programs. In efforts of empowering women to start their own businesses, the next steps are to begin putting on Bitcoin conferences to help showcase their projects.

Blockchain Technology Is Not the Answer to Every Problem

Most important, Baldet wants the world to recognize that the blockchain is not a panacea. “When it comes to electronic voting, we need to take extreme caution, as we aren’t ready to tackle the complex computer science and coordination problem,” she explained.

Why Venture Capitalists Can Benefit

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Scott Kupor, Managing Partner, Andreessen Horowitz (Photo credit: HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)

“Crypto networks offer a new way to build digital services like any internet application that may exist today, such as ridesharing applications and social media applications,” said Scott Kupor, the managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz Capital Management, explaining that venture capitalists are interested in “crypto networks” as they relate to the crypto ecosystem.

Historical Precedent Is a Good Indicator

According to Kupor, the success of community-based networks can be traced back to two major movements — the open-source movement and the open-protocol movement. The open-source software movement started back in 1983 and was considered to be somewhat of a radical notion at the time.

Why is this relevant? Kupor goes on to explain.

A community of developers would publish their software and offer it up freely for others to modify and incorporate into their own projects. “This led to copyright initiatives,” explained Kupor. Today, open source is the primary development of software for the utilization of any data center, such as Linux- and Android-based applications. “This is extremely relevant when thinking about the potential for crypto networks, because we have platforms that are now able to support a variety of DApps [decentralized applications] and open-source ethos that encourage open innovation.”

On the other hand, open protocols are the structural foundation of the internet we are familiar with today. The idea behind these protocols is that the protocol wouldn’t change and would provide for a steadier process when it comes to understanding how the software infrastructure operates.

Introducing Tokens Into a New Generation

Tokens didn’t exist in prior generations, allowing for a direct financial incentive for community members to develop and govern their networks appropriately. “It’s the glue that binds the members in the community and provides incentives for all market participants,” said Kupor. “Understandably so, it creates a whole new set of challenges for regulators, consistent with recent statements from the SEC.”

Kupor ended proposing that a framework needs to be developed that requires a risk taking but, at the same time, provides for clarity and certainty to market participants, which results in market integrity.

Education Is Key: Don’t Be Foolish and Dismiss the Tech

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Daniel Gorfine, Director of LabCFTC and Chief Innovation Officer of the CFTC, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)

Daniel Gorfine, CIO of the CFTC and director of LabCFTC, emphasized the need for us to continue studying and learning and to keep pace with an ever-evolving field.

“Given the potential to tokenize a broad range of economic assets, it is important to remind the public that digital assets can also be commodities or derivatives, depending on their term and how they are structured,” explained Gorfine.

“Given its potential and its challenges, the CFTC chairman has made it clear that the proper response by regulators is not to dismiss the entire movement as misguided and foolish, but rather to take the time to learn and facilitate the promise, and guard against risks and bad actors,” he continued.

Opening the Finance Sector Up to the Blockchain

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The Honorable Gary Gensler, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management (Photo credit: HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)

The former CFTC chair, Gary Gensler, provided five reasons for why he believes blockchain technology can make a real difference in the finance sector:

  • It lowers costs and risks in the financial sector.
  • By bringing it into this world of public policy frameworks, it minimizes chances for illicit activities, ensures financial stability and protects investors and consumers.
  • The SEC and CFTC have a role to play, as evidenced by their notices and enforcement actions.
  • The ICO market is ripe with scams and frauds, and bad actors have found out how to use this new currency, including state actors — e.g., recent news of the 12 alleged Russian officials, and talks of Venezuela attempting to raise money off their oil and outrunning the U.S. sanctions policy.
  • There are gaps in our laws because, first and foremost, cryptocurrency exchanges are attempting to act as state money transmitters, similar to how Western Union and MoneyGram operate. This cannot work due to the complexity and traceability issues associated with these exchanges.

Additionally, there is a lack of brokered access, where you don’t have brokers sending off or issuing 1099-B’s to individuals. It’s only now that issuers of securities in the space are coming into this field, but at a very slow rate.

Finally, the unregulated, underlying crypto cash market is a mess, and it becomes very difficult for the CFTC to be able to predict future patterns or behaviors.

Gensler ended his statement by proposing a question on whether the CFTC or some other agency should be given additional authority to regulate this underlying cash crypto market, believing the CFTC to be best suited for the task.

At the end of a very long day of hearings, Congress seemed to be very receptive to the idea of this new technology, but it is still concerned about ensuring that it is properly regulated where appropriate. To view the hearing in full, you can watch it here.

All images authorized by House Agriculture Committee, July 19, 2018.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Exclusive: Binance, Neufund Back ‘World’s First Decentralized Stock Exchange’ in Malta

Another day, another crypto-forward development in Malta, as it backs its promise to become the world’s ‘blockchain island.’ CCN can exclusively reveal that Neufund, a German-based blockchain protocol for securities tokenization and issuance will be partnering with MSX, an innovation vehicle of the Malta Stock Exchange. MSX is also in partnership with Binance which claims to … Continued

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U.S. Congress Strikes Positive Tone on Cryptocurrency in Latest Hearing

A congressional hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture today struck a positive tone towards the impact that cryptocurrency and digital assets can have for the economy and processes. The hearing included academics, engineers, and entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency industry. They included: Mr. Joshua Fairfield, William Donald Bain Family Professor of Law, Washington and Lee … Continued

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Bitcoin Not a Real Currency, Risky for ‘Unsophisticated Investors’: Fed Chair Powell

The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve warned Congress that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are dangerous to “unsophisticated investors” and should not be considered real currencies. Fed Chair Powell Criticizes Cryptocurrencies Jerome Powell, who became Fed chair in February, succeeding fellow cryptocurrency critic Janet Yellen, said on Capitol Hill that “relatively unsophisticated investors see the … Continued

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