Friday, June 9, 2017

In helping to try to legitimize Bitcoin and remove its criminal stigma, pro-Bitcoin advocates ask Congress to go after unregulated exchanges

Perhaps in an attempt to appease the government and help legitimize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as being a viable asset in the financial system, a number of pro-Bitcoin advocates spoke before Congress at a hearing on June 8 in which they pleaded with the government's regulatory arm to go after unlicensed and unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges since they were the ones most likely to help facilitate illegal activity using Bitcoin and others.

Bitcoin and blockchain experts are urging US lawmakers to ramp up pressure on unlicensed offshore exchanges. 
Coming yesterday during a hearing held by a subcommittee within the US House of Representatives, the calls followed a notable string of ransomware attacks that have seen consumer data held hostage in exchange for bitcoin payments. The situation has also seen politicians taking a renewed interest in the more negative aspects of cryptocurrency technology in response. 
Yet, the core problem, panelists told the committee members, is not in bitcoin purchases, it's that when criminals do use bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes, they often go through exchanges hosted outside the US. 
In statements, panelists sought to portray these businesses as unlicensed, unregulated and unwilling to abide by basic anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations, rules that digital currency exchanges in the US and Western Europe must abide by. 
"Nearly 100% of ransomware campaigns cash out through platforms such as these. It's a huge problem," said Kathryn Haun, a former Assistant US Attorney and now a lecturer at Stanford University. "Not surprisingly, the bad actors are not using the Coinbases of the world." - Coindesk
The fact of the matter is, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no longer 'under the radar' mediums of exchange, but viable forms of currency that are accepted and traded as both money, and as securities in markets all across the globe.  But it is events such as the Ransomware attack, and the stigma of it being used in money laundering that are bringing Bitcoin advocates to realize that a modicum of regulation by central authorities may help eliminate the fears that one day government's will come in with their power and try to criminalize or eliminate cryptocurrencies entirely.

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