US Legitimizes Cryptocurrency for Speculative Activities; Frowns at Illicit Use of Crypto
The Secretary of the United States Treasury Steve Mnuchin in a Press Conference today at the White House gave legitimacy to cryptocurrencies. In the Press Conference, Mnuchin expressed the institution’s position on cryptocurrencies by saying that using cryptocurrency for speculations is one thing, but using it for illicit activities will invite the full effort of the US Treasury and regulators. He maintained that the United States has been at the forefront of regulating entities that provide cryptocurrencies.
He continued by saying cryptocurrencies has been exploited by many players to facilitate illegal activities such as cybercrime, tax evasion, ransom ware, illicit drugs, human trafficking etc. Attaching quantifiable numbers to the value in USD exploited using cryptocurrencies for illicit activities; Mr. Mnuchin said they are “billions of dollars”.
Legitimate firms in the United States that are attached to cryptocurrencies are subject to the Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations and that if anyone is to go through any of these legitimate firms (entities) to engage in illegal activities via the dark web, they will be caught even if they believe they cannot be caught. And the use of crypocurrencies for illicit activities, he said: “This indeed is a national security”
The Secretary when asked about the US President tweet on cryptocurrencies, he quickly pointed out that, that was the 45th’s personal opinion and not that of the United States as an entity.
It should be remembered that as the global stage is set to hear the finality of recent move by the social media giant Facebook into crypto by the unveiling Libra digital currency and the Calibra wallet. A move which met great waves of positive and negative reaction all over the world. And as US Congressional hearing on the Libra is set for July 16th 2019, mainstream media has not had a quiet time. On this the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that:
“Treasury has very serious concerns Libra could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism. He said this is a national security.”
He went further to say that the institution will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows. The United States has been at the forefront of regulator regulatory entities that provide cryptocurrencies. Concluding he said, the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities will not be tolerated.
Despite his hard line on the Facebook Libra, Secretary maintained that the US welcomes responsible innovation including new technology that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services. Consequently the overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.
Libra: Big Tech shouldn’t be given more Power over Public infrastructure like the Financial System.- Senator Sherrod Brown
Facebook doesn’t Understand Powerful Tools Like Monetary Policy.
Facebook has come under criticism over the years it has commenced operation. It has also been caused appear before Regulators in time past and today sets another in the history of the social media giant.
The Facebook Libra hearing is currently ongoing in Washington DC with many questions being thrown at the representative of Facebook and Libra David Marcus.
As the US senators put forth their concerns to the Libra representative, opinions are being expressed by stakeholders to the integrity of the US government financial system stability of the US Economy.
Commenting on the Libra, a Senator from Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown has said that big tech (firms) should be given more power over public infrastructure like the financial system. This is gave reason by saying the big tech and big banks aren’t accountable to the public.
The concern is coming as a result of the firm (Facebook) history with user’s data. The social media giant already enjoys a dominating presence globally with its product platforms such as the Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp apart from the Facebook site itself.
Senator Sherrod opined that: it would be crazy to give Facebook a chance to experiment with people’s bank account and use powerful tools they don’t understand like monetary policy, to jeopardize hardworking Americans ability to meet their needs.
Secretary of the US Treasury had earlier expressed his concerns over the Libra that it could be used for money laundering financing terrorism. These are valid reasons why Congress had to request to halt the LIbra and Facebook appear before it else it will risk the creation of a new Swiss based financial system that is too big to fail.
On being Swiss based, David Marcus of representing Libra in the hearing, had early confirmed that they Libra will comply with FinCEN. Libra will be subject to KYC/AML regulations.
When asked about the dominance of Facebook in the Libra association, Marcus replied that Facebook will have same rights as others in the Libra association.
Senator Sherrod Brown maintains that Libra is a recipe for more corporate power over markets and consumers, and fewer and fewer protections for ordinary people
US Treasury believes Libra could be used for Money Laundering or Financing Terrorism
The 77th Secretary of the US Treasury had in a Press Conference held in the White House made known government position on the Facebook attempt into cryptocurrency. In the Conference, the Secretary expressed the concerns over Facebook Libra and Calibra saying it could be used for money laundering or financing of terrorism.
Facebook has since last year 2018 been preparing for its move into cryptocurrency by hiring engineers, a move after it had place a ban on crypto ads a year before. In June 2019, the social media giant released its white paper outline its goal to build a new financial system using the blockchain with massive corporations ranging acting as validators.
The attempt to create its “globalcoin” attracted backlash from the crypto community and as well as countries of the world which say the move as a threat to their local currency. Chiefly amongst the latest move by a foreign nation is the India’s decision to have nothing to do with Libra within its sovereign borders.
Facebook upon releasing the Libra white paper received a correspondence from the US Congress signed by Maxine Waters amongst others asking it to halt Libra or risk the emergence of a new Swiss financial system that is too big to fail. Congress requested Facebook to appear before it. The date is set for July 16, however, and top US officials are expressing their position on the Libra and its fate appears hanging.
The 45th Leader of the free world has few days ago said the Facebook Libra will have “little standing”. A comment which US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin credited as the President’s personal opinion and not that of the State. However, in the Press Conference today, the Secretary said the Treasury has very serious concerns Libra could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism.
“……..the overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.” – Steve Mnuchin
And as cryptocurrencies has been exploited by many players to facilitate illegal activities such as cybercrime, tax evasion, illicit drugs, human trafficking, While the US government welcomes innovations that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services, Libra poses a threat to the financial stability and integrity of the US financial system.
Facebook is currently trading as at press time at $203 showing a closing loss of 0.47% after opening at $204 and reaching a height of $205.53 today.
US Aims to Prevent Giant Corporations from issuing their own Cryptocurrency
A bill is currently in circulation according to a report by Reuters on July 15th that aims to prevent giant tech firms from issuing cryptocurrency. The bill will fine firms as high as $1 million per day if they issue cryptocurrency.
This is coming ahead of the Congressional Hearings on the proposed Facebook cryptocurrency and wallet Libra and Calibra respectively.
According to the Reuters, in the bill it is stated that:
“A large platform utility may not establish, maintain, or operate a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as a medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value or any other similar function, as defined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System”.
This presents a fascinating picture that the government is at least trying to get to fully understand cryptocurrency.
The draft bill which is titled “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act” appears to be a prevention tool to curb the possible expansion of tech giants into the cryptocurrency industry as the move of Facebook Libra will inevitably compete with the US Dollar.
In a report published by CrytoTVPlus, President Trump clearly and vocally expressed his opinion on the Facebook Libra. He said if Facebook and other firms will want to be come a bank, they should seek a new banking charter and be subject to banking regulations.
While creator of the McAfee Antivirus John McAfee has expressed his view on government intervention on crypto regulations, where says the effort is doomed to fail.
The current market situation may be reacting to the tweet by the leader of the free world. Till July 16th, the outcome of the Facebook Congressional hearings will determine what the future for Tech giants who desires to go crypto.
SEC Okays YouNow for Token Sales after Authorizing Blockstack’s: Is A New ICO Era Upon us?
The Securities and Exchange Commission in another surprising move given the go ahead to carry out crypto startup toThe day opened to the US President Donald Trump tweeting about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency expressing his opinion on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency while taking a shot on the Facebook Libra.
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
However the opinion of the President of the United State, the Security and Exchange Commission SEC on the US has Okayed the token sale of another cryptocurrency startup YouNow just when the buzzing news of another firm Blockstack who was recently granted the go ahead to do a global token sale is still reverberating across the crypto industry.
The approval allows the firm, YouNow a video platform that offers social live streaming, to sell its token to the general public including but not limited to US citizens, accredited and non-accredited investors leveraging the commissions Regulation A+.
This category grants crypto firms to rights to sell their tokens to just about anyone who desires to be part of the firm by purchasing the tokens however; they are not entitled to the equity of the selling firms.
This ingenious move by the SEC granting Blockstack and YouWin approval to carry out global token sales will see others coming on to enjoy the privileges of the SEC’s new class asset which will likely see another ICO rage as we witness in 2017.
YouNow is a US based Live Streaming company has an estimated registered user base of 47 million users since its founding in 2011 and having participated in the ICO rage of 2017, by raising $20 million, it is now working within the ambit of the law distribute its’ tokens. The firm allows users to win prizes in crypto through its Live Streaming Game Show called WTF.
Despite ability to raise money via the Regulation A+, the firm however noted it will not conduct an open token sale however, it will reward users, content creators and validators with 178 million tokens of its ERC-20 based token for participating in its’ ecosystem
When the IEOs came at first taking the crypto funding raising scene by storm, enthusiast and investors were keen on getting in onboard to enjoy the bountiful and absurd profits witnessed in 2017 ICO era, however, the disappointing results of some IEO platforms has pushed many aside, including the ticketing system of Binance which has excluded a lot of people who may not have over a $1000 to hold tickets. This exclusion of some parties in the cryptocurrency space to participant in raging industry quick profit giving projects and the new category of SEC approved global token sales will most probably usher in the next ICO era.
While KYC/AML laws may likely come into play, it will not be new to those in the 2017 ICO era.
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