The last few months have seen increasing notice being paid to Bitcoin (and the broader cryptocurrency space) by those that control the status quo.
At first it was simple 'negative'-speak – "you'd be a fool to buy Bitcoin"-esque comments spewed forth from the truly ignorant or intentionally-ignorant (this group included bank CEOs, asset managers, payments systems, and remittance services) but to no avail, those fools saw the value of their bitcoins surge… Like the Winklevoss twins…
Then – as the price soared and the market cap of Bitcoin topped that of General Electric and Goldman sachs – the world's central bankers began to take notice… but in their standard manner, played down any risks, explaining that any systemic fragility "was contained" since cryptocurrencies were not big enough (this group included various Fed presidents, Bank of Canada, Bank of France, Bank of Japan, Bank of Korea, and so on all echoing similar phrases)… even though Bitcoin is now the 6th largest currency in circulation…
But this week has seen a new group of establishmentarians jump on to the offensive against anti-decentralization, de-control, pro-freedom cryptocurrencies – urging bans, crackdowns, fatwas, taxation, creating their own cryptocurrencies, demanding citizens sell, and outright confiscation (this group includes governments world wide and their mainstream media mouthpieces)…
India's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has clarified that the government does not recognize bitcoin as legal tender. According to the Economic Times, when asked about the government's plans to regulate the cryptocurrency, Jaitley told reporters, "recommendations are being worked at." He continued:
"The government's position is clear, we don't recognize this as legal currency as of now."
Concerned over bitcoin's anonymity and its potential illicit uses, justices issued a notice to the central bank and other agencies asking them to answer a petition on the matter, reports indicated.
Turkey has claimed Bitcoin is in fact “not compatible” with Islam due to its government being unable to control it.
In a statement from a meeting of the state Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), lawmakers said that Bitcoin’s “speculative” nature meant that buying and selling it was inappropriate for Muslims.
“Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation. They can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering, and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance,” Euronewstranslates the statement republished by local news outlet Enson Haber.
Diyanet added that the same principles of “unsuitability” in particular applied to Ethereum.
Kim Dong-yeon, South Korea’s deputy prime minister and the minister of strategy and finance, revealed earlier this week that the government is investigating various methods to better regulate the local Bitcoin market and tax Bitcoin users accordingly.
While the South Korean government and its local financial authorities are actively discussing the possibility of enforcing a policy on Bitcoin taxation, at a press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Kim stated that the government does not intend to include any Bitcoin taxation policy in 2018’s amendment of the tax law.
A Dutch news paper urges its citizens to sell their bitcoins patriotically because cryptocurrencies can undermine government and destabilize the economy.
A bitcoin world can destabilize the real economy, a euro is also solidified trust.
First, the bitcoin undermines the government because a lot of transactions are about money laundering and tax avoidance. Another problem is that the profits of new bitcoins that come with it do not benefit the government (as with normal money creation), but are absorbed in heavily environmentally harmful computer power.
Central banks also have less influence on keeping the economy stable. In times of crisis, central banks can, through their influence on ordinary banks, ease credit conditions and encourage people to consume. The bank has no control over the bitcoin economy and an economic crisis can become deeper.
The investor has air in his hands when the bitcoin crashes, but also when the company turns out to produce baked air.
Putting money in an empty type of asset is “very, very worrying,” Robert Ophele, chairman of France’s market regulator. Bitcoin has no link to the real economy, Ophele says in a panel discussion at the Paris Europlace Financial Forum, warning that cryptocurrencies are a way to commit cybercrimes, allowing access to illicit goods and services.
If bitcoin was a currency, "it would be a bad one," Ophel exclaimed, as it poses major challenge for central banks and regulators.
The Telegraph reported just around the time of the big drop, UK "ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax."
Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, the UK Treasury has announced plans to regulate the Bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity.
According to the Telegraph, while "until now, anybody buying and selling Bitcoins and other digital currencies have been able to do so anonymously, making it attractive to criminals and tax avoiders. But the Treasury has now said it intends to begin regulating the virtual currency, which has a total value of £145 billion, to bring it in line with rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation."
John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said he expected to hold an inquiry into the need for better regulation of Bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the new year.
He said: "These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we've got to make sure we don't get left behind – that's particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft.
"I'm not convinced that the regulatory authorities are keeping up to speed. I would be surprised if the committee doesn't have an inquiry next year. "It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means. It may be that we want speed up our use of these kinds of thing in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don't have a regulatory lag."
The proposed changes come amid increasing fears that Bitcoin is being used by gangs to launder the proceeds of crime while also attracting currency speculators – with the value of the coin soaring in the past 12 months.
In other words, the same reason why the IRS is cracking down on Coinbase clients in the US is also why UK and European regulators are joining China in cracking down on capital flight.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee is currently tackling bill S.1241 that aims to criminalize the intentional concealment of ownership or control of a financial account. The bill also would amend the definition of ‘financial account’ and ‘financial institution’ to include digital currencies and digital exchanges, respectively. According to ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein, the proposed bill is needed to modernize existing AML laws.
The bill would amend the definition of ‘financial institution,’ in Section 53412(a) of title 31, United States Code, to include:
“An issuer, redeemer, or cashier of prepaid access devices, digital currency, or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.”
If passed, the bill would likely have far-reaching effects for users of digital currencies both in the US and abroad.
Earlier reports also indicate that the White House is actively monitoring cryptocurrencies which could only mean more attempts to regulate the world’s first successful decentralized monetary system. With the growing involvement of Wall Street and the ever escalating media attention, it is not surprising that governments are stepping up their attempts to regulate digital currency.
But as usual, any regulation-related-headline that the machines instantly sell, is bid back up, since it seems the algorithms have not figured out that there is no real way to 'stop' Bitcoin… which is exactly why the world's elite are so desparate.
Several industry commentators have issued their opinions on the various proposed laws. Tone Vays claimed that he expects a confrontation between the Bitcoin team, including the holders and users, and the US government.
“It’s bad… I think it’s gonna end in a very confrontational way between Bitcoin – even Bitcoin holders and users – and the US Government.”