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Senator Romney Considers Action As A Nation On Cryptocurrency Threat To Homeland Security – Forbes

As Senator Romney has recently been in the news on his criticism of the President as impeachment proceedings, it seems the former Presidential Candidate and Republican Senator from Utah might want to impeach cryptocurrency from the United States based on the threat level it may pose to national security.

During a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs, Senators asked leaders from the FBI, Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center questions on Threats To The Homeland, Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) raised the prospect of whether the U.S. needed to take action on cryptocurrencies or not worry about them. The FBI took no time in responding how cryptocurrencies are a significant problem that will get bigger and bigger.

WASHINGTON, DC - September 23: Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks to journalists before votes on the ... [+] Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Monday September 23, 2019. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Im not in the Banking Committee. I dont begin to understand how cryptocurrency works. I would think it is more difficult to carry out your work when we cant follow the money because the money is hidden from us and wonder whether there should not be some kind of effort taken in our nation to deal with cryptocurrency.

While the Senator invited all three of the witnesses to respond to his question, FBI Director Wray jumped in to note how big of a problem cryptocurrency already is. The FBI Director stated, Well certainly for us cryptocurrency is already a significant issue and we can project out pretty easily that its going to become a bigger and bigger one. Whether or not that is the subject of some kind of regulation as the response is harder for me to speak too.

FBI Director Wray, while being careful not to provide any policy or regulatory recommendation, noted the issues of cryptocurrencies and how they are used by terrorists is part of a larger issue involved with our enemies increased capabilities in using tech and the ability to process anonymous transactions.

...it is part of a broader trend...in terms of the terrorist threat in terms of our adversaries of all shapes and sizes becoming more facile with technology, in particular various types of technology that anonymize their efforts...

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2018/06/28: Christopher A. Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of ... [+] Investigation, at the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn Building at the US Capitol. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The FBI Director did note that Were looking at [cryptocurrencies] from an investigative perspective including tools that we have to try to follow the money. He also noted that it is not just cryptocurrency but various types of technologies that, if the U.S. doesnt get its act together, could result in the FBI being walled off by technology from doing their jobs in the future.

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Senator Romney Considers Action As A Nation On Cryptocurrency Threat To Homeland Security - Forbes

Bitcoin passes $1 billion milestone on cryptocurrency anniversary – The Independent

Bitcoin has reached $1bn (770m) in cumulative transaction fees, passing themajor milestone on the eleventh anniversary of the worlds first cryptocurrency.

Data gathered by analytics firm Coin Metrics revealed thatover 200,000 bitcoin have now been paid in transaction feessince it launched in 2009 three months after its creator Satoshi Nakamotoa, a pseudonym, published the white paper unveiling it to the world for the first time.

Nakamoto laid out the details of a new electronic cash system thats fully peer-to-peer that negated the need for banks and other third parties, on 31 October 2008.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Its popularity has soared in recent years but despite transaction volume increasing considerably, the actual cost of transactions has fallen over the last year. This is thanks to the implementation of solutions like the Lightning Network, which helps speed up and simplify blockchain transactions.

Bitcoin users transacted consistently on the network throughout the year, and solutions like the Lightning Network grew in size, Galen Danziger, co-founder of blockchain accelerator MouseBelt, toldThe Independent.

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled 'Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System'

Reuters

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins the equivalent of $90 million at today's prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

The world's biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin's underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled 'Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System'

Reuters

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins the equivalent of $90 million at today's prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

The world's biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin's underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

2019 has been relatively positive for bitcoin, especially when compared to the seemingly terminal decline the cryptocurrency market experienced in 2018.

After peaking at close to $20,000 in December 2017, bitcoin fell to below $4,000 before finally making a recovery earlier this year.

It still faces a number of challenges before it can ever be considered as a legitimate and mainstreamform of payment, including regulatory hurdles, price volatility and security issues that make wallets and exchanges vulnerable to hacking.

It is estimated that around $4.2bn worth of cryptocurrency hasbeen stolen by hackers so far this year, surpassing the record total from last year.

As we celebrate the eleventh anniversary of bitcoin, its important to reflect on just how far weve come as an industry, Pascal Gauthier, chief executive of blockchain security firm Ledger, toldThe Independent.

The market is maturing, institutional investors are continuing to embrace cryptocurrencies, and the long crypto winter is behind us. Despite these strides forward, security is still lagging behind."

He added that Bitcoins underlyingblockchain technology "has the potential to change the world in so many ways beyond finance, but without security this potential cannot be realised.

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Bitcoin passes $1 billion milestone on cryptocurrency anniversary - The Independent

Stellar’s Foundation Just Destroyed Half the Supply of Its Lumens Cryptocurrency – Coindesk

MEXICO CITY The Stellar Development Foundation has burned 55 billion of its XLM tokens, over half the cryptocurrencys supply, CEO Denelle Dixon announced from the stage of the Stellar Meridian conference Monday.

Previously, there had been 105 billion XLM in existence, with 20 billion in circulation. With this burn, the supply has shrunk to 50 billion.

We didnt start by wanting to burn. We started by asking, What do we need?' Dixon told the room of roughly 200 attendees.As much as we wanted to use the lumens that we held, it was very hard to get them into the market.

The organization decided instead it was better to project how much it could actually use over a 10-year period and calibrate to that number. To derive a plan from an arbitrary number serves no purpose, Dixon said.

The news was greeted warmly by the crowd, many of whom likely own the token. One participant in the packed room stood up and asked everyone to give Dixon a round of applause, which they did.

In the hour following the announcement, XLMs price jumped about 14 percent, to $0.08, according to data provider Nomics.

Dixon told CoinDesk that she couldnt anticipate how the crypto market might react, saying:

I dont know. I really just dont have a sense at all of what the market response is. From my standpoint, its how the ecosystem feels about it. We got a lot of positive response from the ecosystem because we are rightsizing what the foundation has and the foundation holds.

The foundation now controls 30 billion XLM, divided into several buckets.It has 12 billion XLM in the direct development fund (formerly called operations), to support the organization.

In ecosystem support it has 2 billion XLM remaining (1 billionfor currency support, and 1 billion for infrastructure grants).

Stellar has 10 billion XLM set aside to makeinvestments (with 2 billion XLM for new products, and 8 billion XLM in its enterprise fund).

Finally, under user acquisition, the foundation has 6billion XLM (2 billion for marketing stellar and 4 billion for in-app promotions).

The supply of XLM is fixed now because the community of token holders voted to discontinue inflation on Oct. 28.

SDF will not burn any additional lumens, Stellar said in a blog post.

Denelle Dixon and Jed McCaleb, Stellars founder, on stage at Stellar Meridian, Nov. 4, 2019, photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk

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Stellar's Foundation Just Destroyed Half the Supply of Its Lumens Cryptocurrency - Coindesk

CRYPTOCURRENCY: China calls on Huawei to help with crypto ambitions – Express

Despite insisting the direction of Beijings financial future lay with blockchain not bitcoin, it would appear China is covertly looking to beef up its rumoured plans to launch a national cryptocurrency as it has been revealed that the government has signed a deal with phone giant Huawei.It is understood the coin research department of the Shenzhen-based manufacturer has been drafted in by the Peoples Bank of China following talks between the banks governor Fan Yifei and Huaweis top brass yesterday. Although cagey about details of the deal, the bank confirmed it had signed a strategic cooperation agreement.

While the agreement may well fit into the current blockchain-only script, the changing narrative behind Chinas public stance on cryptocurrency is causing concern among many international observers.

Last month, Chinas president Xi Jinping appeared to back bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies before the government stepped in on his behalf a few days later to backtrack on comments the leader had made.

Officials were quick todenyany endorsement of cryptocurrency, instead insisting that China would be pulling out all the stops to embrace and develop blockchain the technology which underpins bitcoin rather than pursuing crypto adoption.

The scenes played out against the backdrop of whispers and rumours that China has indeed been engaged in developing a crypto version of the Yen behind the cloak of blockchain.

Ever since Facebook unveiled its controversial plans for a global digital currency called Libra earlier this year, it is believed China has been furiously working behind the scenes to develop its own state-issued e-currency.

With Facebook banned in China, the idea that this huge global social media network could create what many in Beijing view as a new world order in finance is a notion which has spurred China on to ensure it creates a nationwide form of digital money before Libra envelops the planet, assesses Hong Kong-based financial analyst Tan Leung Wai.

China is desperate to protect its sovereign currency from what it sees as a massive threat in the shape of something which has the potential to one day become a sovereign currency throughout the world.

Mr Wai also suggested that while Huawei may be publicly acknowledging its involvement with the Peoples Bank of China, it was likely that the smart phone manufacturer was the tip of the iceberg.

Authorities in Beijing will, without any doubt, have called upon the services of many of the countrys major industry leaders to assist with ensuring the protection of Chinas financial independence, so to think that Huawei is acting alone here is slightly ridiculous, he added.

The rumours from Beijing are that several other big names are involved in talks to get cryptocurrency moving in China behind the cloak of blockchain.

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CRYPTOCURRENCY: China calls on Huawei to help with crypto ambitions - Express

Governments race to beat Facebook’s cryptocurrency, libra, at its own game: Don Pittis – CBC.ca

Facebook's scheme to create its own money in the form of the libra digital coin has set off a globalrace to beat the social media colossus at its own game, and Canada maybe an importantplayer.

Since the initialmild reaction from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell the day after thelibraproject was announcedin June, the world's governments and central banks have realized what somesuggested at the time, that with its global reach and technological savvy, Facebook was blazing a path to dominate money.

Canada has been one of theleaders in researching how to create and managea digital coin backed by a national central bank. But the arrival of thelibra idea, with its persuasive scheme to launch what was essentially a credible new global currency, kicked off a flurry of fresh activity that could transform the way we think of money.

Not only are the world's governments gathering at bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, theBank for International Settlements and the G7 group of large industrial economies toworkon the idea, but there are signs that individual governments, notably China, are racing to be the first to create a functional, tradable government-backed digital coin.

And while the final results are difficult to predict, it is not clear that ordinary citizens, who have grown used to money in its current form,will be happy with the outcome.

"It's interesting how exciting these developments can be," enthused Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins at last week's monetary policy news conference.

Introduced by her boss, bank governor Stephen Poloz, as "one of the world's foremost experts" on the subject,Wilkins has attended global conferences, armed with several years of groundbreaking Canadian research.

As Wilkins explained, what central banks hope to create is not a digital coin like bitcoin and its many imitators. With thatcurrency rising and falling as inexperienced investors triedto make a killing, critics, including me, pointed out years ago that the volatility of such cryptocurrenciesmade pricing goods in bitcoin impractical.

Far more interesting and functional, according to people like Wilkins, is a kind of digital money called a "stablecoin," which is how the libra is conceived. Rather than shooting up in value and plunging like bitcoins, a stablecoin is managed to maintain a relatively constant value.

"There's a whole class of crypto assets called stablecoins," said Wilkins last week. "What's exciting about it is the fact that these kinds of innovations can address what I think are important issues in global payment systems, particularly the cost of cross-border payments."

Wilkins suggested a stablecoin could be used, for example, for people from the Philippines trying to send money home from elsewhere in the world. And in developing countrieswithout a stable banking system it mightbe used domestically as a reliable unit of exchange.

That innovation is exactly what the libraproject has proposed, offering a service to millions of the world's "unbanked" so that they too can buy and sell and save up the value of their labour in a place they know won't be wiped out by inflation or governmentmismanagement.

But the more the world's central banks and the governments they represent thoughtabout the libra, theless they liked it.

To oversimplify, the two main objections to having a private company with such monetary clout were the wrenchingof monetary power out of the hands of central banksand the worry that eventually, without the backstop of a government, a private sector currency would collapse, creating global chaos.

"We know that innovations never come without risk," said Wilkins.

There are benefits to such a stablecoin system, but there are dangers: "The costs that we all know that are related to money laundering and terrorist financing, but also, with respect to safeguarding the value of that stablecoin properly, as well as potentially getting in the way of monetary sovereignty of different countries," she said.

By current thinking, that sovereignty is important. With people using something like libra, the currencies ofsmaller countries such as those in the Caribbean, or notoriously unstable currencies such as those of Rwanda or Argentina would be completely upstaged, aspeople use libra as a better alternative.

"I think Facebook hadn't thought through carefully how important control of currencies is for governments and central banks," said longtime U.S. central banker Simon Potterin an online video interviewby the Financial Times.

Globally, digitization of nationalcurrencies is already underway. Sweden is well on the road to phasing out conventional cash. Canadians have been world leaders in paying with alternatives like chip cards.China, with its powerful centrally controlled state, is ideally placed to push through a digital stablecoin that will also help it keep track of themoney flows of everyone who uses it.

Watch the International Institute of Finance discuss the future of money:

As reported by CBC Radio's The Current, access to information requests by the tech news site The Logicshow that the Bank of Canada has looked into the possibility of following Sweden and gradually eliminating those polymer bills, but such a plan would require a decision of the federal government to proceed.

Unlike China, a Canadian government might be unwilling to take such a radical step when such obvious moves asreplacing low-denomination bills by coins and eliminating the penny attracted such popular wrath.

But the difficulty for governments is that commercial stablecoins such as libra arenot the only competition. If one country creates a functioning state-backed digital stablecoin, it may be difficult to stop thecitizens of other countriesfrom using it.

For Wilkins, no doubt, working out a solution is part of what makes it all so exciting.

But whatever the final outcome, it does seem that our concept of money is changing. Just last month, Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane participated in a discussion at the International Institute of Finance titledThe Future of Money. The fact is, as cash disappears, digital stablecoins may become an essential alternative for certain purposes.

Lane pointed out that as merchants, banks andconsumers increasingly stop using bank notes for transactions, we may reach a tipping pointwhere those notes effectivelydisappear from circulation so that even people who want to use bills don't have the option.

"In the immortal words of Joni Mitchell," quipped Lane, "'You don't know what you've got till it's gone.'"

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

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Governments race to beat Facebook's cryptocurrency, libra, at its own game: Don Pittis - CBC.ca

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency mining industry still has a future in China – FXStreet

The final catalogue released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China has excluded the crypto mining industry. The list titled "Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalog" is released by the agency to encourage support for certain industries while advising elimination of other industries.

The agency had included crypto mining in a draft of the same cataloguein April. The current catalogue excludes Bitcoin from the industries to scrapped and is set to come into effect on January 1, 2020.

The Chinese region hosts some of the largest Bitcoin and crypto mining plants in the world including Bitmain, Canaan and Ebang. The development is massive gesture towards the crypto industry for a country that has a selective preference for the industry.

This also comes after the President of China Xi Jinping pledged support for the blockchain technology. Jinping told industry players to take advantage of blockchain, however, China still discourages speculation.

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Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency mining industry still has a future in China - FXStreet

Ron Paul: No, cryptocurrency is not something the Fed should be getting its ‘hands around’ – Fox Business

NYU School of Business professor Scott Galloway discusses Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's threat of China launching a similar version of cryptocurrency before Facebook's Libra can start.

PayPal is perhaps the best way ever designed to move money from one person to another. Yet it started in failure.

In his book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, founder Peter Thiel explains that PayPal was originally intended to allow owners of PalmPilots to beam money to each other. That idea did not work, but it evolved into using similar technology on eBay auctions.

The point is that PayPal was a private company competing in the market economy. That meant it was subject to market discipline. It had to develop an effective product or it would go out of business. The same thing cannot be said of the federal government.

In its latest bad idea, movement is building for the Federal Reserve to establish its own cryptocurrency exchange to compete with others in the marketplace and even replace physical cash.

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It is inevitable, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker reportedly said at a recent conference. I think it is better for us to start getting our hands around it.

Its an apt metaphor, since what the Fed always wants to choke off is any competition to its monetary monopoly. This comes hot on the heels of another bad idea, called FedNow, which is supposed to speed up the processing of financial transactions.

INSIGHT INVESTMENTS GAUTAM KHANNA: LOW INTEREST RATES CAN HURT YOU HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Speed is great, of course. It can take a full business day for transactions to clear. Thats too slow in our 21st century world of instant communication.

But the Fed is late to the party. The Clearing House launched a real-time payment system two years ago that now reaches half the banks in the country. Its expected to be everywhere by next year.

Judging by the non-answers that the central bank has given to members of Congress on its interoperability with private sector systems, FedNow would seemingly not compete on a level playing field; it would simply use the power of the federal government to crush a private-sector competitor.

Proponents of a Fed-run crypto exchange argue that such an exchange could stop the current delays in the U.S. bank transfers entirely on its own. This thought proves just how bad the Fed is at making good investments, anticipating changes in technology, and keeping up with the speed of innovation.

If board members of the central bank believe that blockchain may soon supplant the need for real-time payment services like FedNow, why the Fed would spend the next 3-5 years building FedNow from scratch when The Clearing House already offers the same type of service is beyond me.

If board members of the central bank believe that blockchain may soon supplant the need for real-time payment services like FedNow, why the Fed would spend the next 3-5 years building FedNow from scratch when The Clearing House already offers the same type of service is beyond me.

The Fed should stay out of the wayand let the private sector blockchain and real-time payments marketplaces settle this debate. Instead, the central bank seems poised to set itself up as both the regulator of all monetary exchanges and a participant in that business.

Without assurances on interoperability from the central bank, businesses will always choose the Feds offerings instead of a private companys, since doing so would make the business look better to its regulator.

LIZ WESTON: HOW MUCH THE WRONG HEALTH CARE PLAN CAN COST YOU

The Fed cannot handle real competition, and so it is trying to shut it down. It worries about Bitcoin, it worries about The Clearing House, and it will be worried about the next bright idea for money sharing that comes along. Its got a monopoly to protect.

We need to open up the field for new forms of money. While I served in Congress, I introduced the Free Competition in Currency Act, which would have defined money as whatever people are willing to trade with each other, whether thats paper, tokens of some sort, or direct barter. It would have ended the Feds power to declare that only certain pieces of paper are currency.

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Lets allow companies to compete, and let the market set the value. Thats where the next PayPal will come from, and consumers everywhere will be the winners.

Dr. Ron Paul, a former congressman from Texas, is the chairman of Campaign for Liberty.

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Ron Paul: No, cryptocurrency is not something the Fed should be getting its 'hands around' - Fox Business

Cryptocurrency market update: Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple get ready the weekend action – FXStreet

Bitcoin has remained relatively unchanged from the time the price prediction was published. Besides, the entire market is lethargic and showing signs of longer consolidation periods. The few conspicuous cryptos in the green are Stellar (XLM) and Chainlink (LINK).

Bitcoin is struggling to hold above $9,100 (short-term week support). The buyers are looking forward to breaking above $9,200. However, the prevailing selling pressure coupled with the high volatility suggests thatBitcoin is likely to trend towards $9,000.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin is trading at $9,110 and battling the resistance at the 50 Simple Moving Average (SMA) on one-hour chart. The 100 SMA together with the descending trendline is in line to limit movement as well.

Ethereum, on the other hand, is working hard to stay above $180. Despite the high volatility levels, the price has only managed to touch highs of $183.28 and lows of $180.65. This shows that bulls are present and only hat they lack a catalyst or a technical breakout to push Ether to higher levels.

The one-hour chart shows support emanating from the ascending trendline. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is in consolidation ahead of the weekend session.

Ripple is also stuck in a narrow range between $0.29 and $0.30. The upside is capped by the 50 SMA on the 2-hour chart. Moreover, rapid movements can be expected on either side as the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is moving horizontally beneath 50. The 61.8% Fib retracement level continues to offer support. The risk of approaching $0.25 support is quite high.

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Cryptocurrency market update: Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple get ready the weekend action - FXStreet

Cryptocurrency saves a 110-year old power plant from demolition – The Next Web

A US power plant thats more than 100 years old, and is of significant historical value, is being saved from demolition by cryptocurrency.

The 110-year old power plant, Old Rainbow, is being allowed to become a cryptocurrency mining farm, after being granted approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Proposal documents submitted to the FERC say the mining machines will be placed in just one part of the building, and there are plans to expand; presumably if the endeavor proves profitable.

Cryptocurrency mining operations at Old Rainbow will be staffed and run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Theres perhaps a subtle irony in the fact that Old Rainbow used to produce clean, hydroelectric power but will now participate in an industry thats incredibly resource hungry. The proposal doesnt state how the new mining center will be powered, though.

However, in 2013 a new hydroelectric plant was constructed further down the river that Old Rainbow is based on, and used to generate electricity. Hopefully the data center will be powered by this hydroelectric renewable energy.

As it happens, when plans for this new power plant were announced in 2009, the FERC demanded Old Rainbows owners to find a new use for the building or to take it out commission.

The Old Rainbow power plant, located in Montana, completely ceased operations in 2013 and since then has been the focal point in a series of discussions over what to do with it. Montanas locals however, are hesitant to demolish it because of its cultural and historic value to the local community.

Importantly for some locals, the plan to turn the building into acryptocurrencyminingfarm means it will remain largely unchanged. The proposed data center will have minimal impact and maintain the historic character of the building, the proposal states.

H/T The Block

Published October 30, 2019 10:17 UTC

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Cryptocurrency saves a 110-year old power plant from demolition - The Next Web

Inside the Icelandic Facility Where Bitcoin Is Mined – WIRED

Less than two miles from Icelands Reykjavik airport sits a nondescript metal building as monolithic and drab as a commercial poultry barn. Theres a deafening racket inside, too, but it doesnt come from clucking chickens. Instead, tens of thousands of whirring GPUs perform the complex, exhaustive calculations needed to verify cryptocurrency transactions and add them to the public record, otherwise known as the blockchain. Hundreds of thousands of fans blast cold air to keep the machines from overheating, aided by six giant ceiling turbines that spin with the collective force of 360 washing machines.

The facility, called Enigma and established by Genesis Mining in 2014, is easily the loudest environment that British photographer Lisa Barnard has ever documented. She visited two years ago while shooting her project Bitcoin. "The biggest thing I remember was just the noise and the flashing lights and wiring," Barnard says. "It was like being inside a computer."

The high-tech barn seems worlds away from the geysers, waterfalls, and lagoons that inspire 2.3 million tourists each year (not to mention a few Bjrk lyrics), but its as much a product of Icelands unique geology as any of those. The Nordic island country straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, molding a volcanic terrain webbed by glacial rivers and studded with gemstone-aquamarine lakes. The abundant water and underground heat is harnessed by hydroelectric dams and geothermal power stations to produce cheap, green electricity that facilitates the energy-intensive process of confirming cryptocurrency transactionscalled mining, since miners are rewarded for their efforts with newly minted and extremely volatile coins. The fact temperatures rarely top 57 degrees Fahrenheit also helps.

It wasn't long after Bitcoin's creation, on January 3, 2009, that cryptocurrency companies began moving to Iceland. In 2016, large data centers accounted for nearly 1 percent of its GDP, with cryptocurrency mining operations making up 90 percent of those. They now use more electricity than all of Icelands homes combined, with electric bills at Enigma running more than $1 million per month. But however green the energy, miners still cant escape a dilemma as old as picks and shovels: how to extract resources without marring the landscape. According to local experts cited by The Wall Street Journal, keeping up with demand for electricity requires building more dams and power stations that could alter Icelands unique, sensitive environment.

That tension intrigues Barnard. She became interested in cryptocurrencies while working on her new book The Canary and the Hammer, a visual exploration of gold. It piqued her interest in digital gold that isnt controlled by a central bank, leading her from Bitcoin meet-ups in Japan, the first country to officially recognize cryptocurrencies, to data centers in Iceland, where theyre mined on an industrial scale. I was interested in this idea of it being an equitable currency, Barnard says, and yet it has the potential to be very destructive as far as the land is concerned.

So, after photographing Enigma, she also ventured out to Svartsengi geothermal power station (which supplies electricity to crypto-miners and water to the Insta-famous Blue Lagoon) and other sites of thermal activity. Standing before ethereal, bubbling pools, she felt an almost palpable connection to the inner workings of the earth, both terrifying and beautiful at the same time, she says. The sulphur-smelling waters steamed and hissed, many decibels below the crypto-digital roar to which theyre weirdlyand maybe inextricablylinked.

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Inside the Icelandic Facility Where Bitcoin Is Mined - WIRED

Fiat Currency 2.0: Counter argument to the Cryptocurrency narrative – Finextra

Tony McLaughlin, Emerging Payments & Business Development, Citi, speaks at Money 20/20 USA about the practical problems that still need addressing in the crypto-currency community, how Fiat Currency 2.0 will help fix payments as a counter balance to crypto and what challenges still exist around tokenisation and coins. We ask how this impacts the big techs and what regulatory, political and ethical concerns need to be addressed first before they achieve their own currencies.

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This content has been created by the Finextra editorial team with inputs from subject matter experts at the funding sponsor.

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Fiat Currency 2.0: Counter argument to the Cryptocurrency narrative - Finextra

The never-ending Mt. Gox saga: Cryptocurrency recovery deadline pushed back (again!) – The Next Web

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but victims who lost money as a result of Mt. Goxs implosion will have to wait even longer to get their refunds.

The news comes after the trustee, tasked with refunding users, again decided to extend the submission deadline for claims.

In a statement released earlier this week,Nobuaki Kobayashi said a Tokyo District Court had issued an order to extend the deadline until March 31, 2020.

Kobayashi announced the deadline extension just one day before the current one, which was agreed in April, expired.

When it collapsed in 2014, Mt. Gox was the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, handling approximately 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions.

It officiallyfiled for liquidationin April 2014, claiming750,000 BTC had been lost, although 200,000 BTC was later recoveredfrom a forgotten wallet.

Nobuaki Kobayashi was appointed a trustee after former CEO Mark Karpeles failed to safely operate the exchange.

Last summer, apress releasewas published on the Mt. Goxwebsite alongside anonline toolfor submitting claims, signaling it was readyingto return$1 billion in stolencryptocurrency.

As frustrating as it must be for victims, it seems they have no other choice but to sit and wait for their cryptocurrency to be returned.

Published October 31, 2019 13:39 UTC

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The never-ending Mt. Gox saga: Cryptocurrency recovery deadline pushed back (again!) - The Next Web

Startup Targets Cryptocurrency Crime – But Will The Big Banks Come On Board? – Forbes

Will cryptocurrencies ever be considered mainstream? Millions of people around the world are invested in Bitcoin and its rivals, of course, but from the point of view of governments, regulators and financial institutions, virtual coins and tokens are still viewed with a considerable degree of suspicion.

Witness the stormy weather that is currently being encountered by Facebook as it presses ahead with plans for its Libra project. Earlier this month, Visa, Mastercard and eBay announced their intention to walk away from the association of companies and institutions that originally agreed to develop and support the new virtual currency. A few days later, ING chief executive, Ralph Hamers told the Financial Times that an ongoing commitment to Libra might prompt banks to cut ties with the social media giant unless it addressed the money laundering concerns expressed by regulators.

And as Dr. Tom Robinson sees it, financial institutions remain extremely wary of exposing themselves - and by extension their clients - to the risks they perceive in the cryptocurrency market. Indeed, hes witnessed that wariness at first hand. Having read about Bitcoin in 2012, he and university friends, Dr. James Smith and Dr. Adam Joyce quit their jobs to set up a company - Elliptic - providing cryptocurrency security solutions. We tried to get institutions interested, he recalls. But they were very concerned about the associations between virtual currency and criminal activity.

Creating A Safe Space

But the worries expressed by financial institutions also pointed to an entrepreneurial opportunity. Banks and fund managers were seeing the emergence of a new investment class that promised rich rewards for those with strong nerves. To be more precise, they were seeing their clients buying into Bitcoin and other currencies. Having initially started out by providing secure custody services for investors, Elliptic developed a solution that would enable institutions to provide cryptocurrency-related services to their customers while steering clear of any association with trading activities that might tarnish their reputations or see them falling foul of regulators and law enforcement.

The demand use case for cryptocurrencies is speculation," explains Dr. Robinson. Thats especially true after the 2017 Bitcoin bubble - even taxi drivers were talking about that. Banks wanted to give their clients access to crypto-assets.

Against that backdrop, Elliptics team developed a system to analyze blockchain trades and identify non-legitimate trading.

Essentially, Elliptics technology tracks the activity on the blockchain and - to put it simply - strips away the anonymity that has been a traditional feature of virtual currency transactions. We link transactions to known entities, says Dr. Robinson. And once these entities are visible, it is possible to assess the risk of a transaction being linked to, say, money laundering, illegal arms trading or the payment of ransomware.

Bypassing Banks

This, in turn, opens the way for financial institutions to engage more confidently with virtual currencies, says Dr. Robinson. And enhanced security, he argues, will be a key factor in opening up a new era of financial services provisions. For the first time, we have an open financial system, he says. Nowadays, you dont have to go to a bank to carry out a transaction. And if you want, you can create your own bank.

But as the high-profile withdrawals from Facebooks Libra project demonstrate, there is still a long way to go before everyone is convinced that the virtual currency marketplace is a safe environment for institutions.

To date, the company has assessed risk on around $1 trillion of transactions. However, it has had more success in providing its security solutions to organizations within the blockchain sector than to mainstream institutions. We have more than 100 customers now, says Dr. Robinson. Most are exchanges and wallet providers but we are also seeing banks, hedge funds and asset managers coming on board. The financial institutions represent a minority, but it is a growing minority.In addition the company has worked with U.S. law enforcement agencies. To

And Dr. Robinson believes more widespread uptake of virtual currencies is on the way. Even if Libra doesnt succeed, I think something similar will emerge. There is real scope to provide services around international remittances and e-commerce. And blockchain analysis will become standard.

Potentially good news for Elliptic, which just raised $23 million in Series B funding to finance its expansion into Asia and the US. The longer-term question revolves around who will dominate the blockchain security market. Entrepreneurial companies such as Elliptic or the bigger players in the digital security space.

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Startup Targets Cryptocurrency Crime - But Will The Big Banks Come On Board? - Forbes

Major Bitcoin Miner Warns The Cryptocurrency Needs Better Privacy – Forbes

Bitcoin mining machines operate at a mining facility by Bitmain Technologies Ltd. in Ordos, Inner ... [+] Mongolia, China, on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The CEO of one of the top three Bitcoin mining pools recently stated that Bitcoin needs better privacy in order to avoid a potential regulatory clampdown. The comments were made by Poolin CEO Kevin Pan in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

While Poolin is barely a year old, it already accounts for a significant portion of the total Bitcoin network hashrate. The mining pool was created by Pan, COO Fa Zhu, and CTO Tianzhao Li, all of whom were previously at the Bitcoin mining giant Bitmains subsidiary BTC.com.

Bitcoins Need for Better Privacy

Although those who havent researched Bitcoin deeply often think it is some sort of anonymous online currency, the reality is Bitcoins privacy features are quite poor. Over the years, this lack of privacy has been pointed out as a serious issue in terms of the cryptocurrencys fungibility, which is a key property of money.

Developers have proposed a wide variety of Bitcoin privacy improvements over the years, but many of these proposals come with trade-offs in the areas of scalability, security, and other important areas. For example, the introduction of Confidential Transactions, which masks the amounts involved in Bitcoin transactions, at the base protocol level could weaken the guarantees associated with the public verifiability of Bitcoins current supply.

While scaling is often brought up as the most pressing issue facing Bitcoin today (just look at the block size wars from previous years), Pan views privacy as the most important area of development for the crypto asset.

The real problem with Bitcoin may be privacy, Pan told Bitcoin Magazine. There is no other big question if the privacy issue is solved.

Pan went on to describe the normal issues surrounding fungibility that are often discussed in Bitcoin circles, but then the Poolin CEO brought up another problem that is often overlooked by those who promote Bitcoins usefulness for censorship-resistant transactions.

What is more troublesome now is if government or law enforcement departments begin to create a blacklist of transaction addresses, it will make certain transactions unable to be packaged, said Pan. In fact, these can be done. But if there is privacy, you can't know who the address belongs to, and you can't determine how much the amount is, and there is no way to control the currency system. So for me, Bitcoin is basically no problem if the issue of privacy can be solved.

The problem Pan brought up here has to do with government entities potentially telling Bitcoin miners to block transactions coming from or going to specific addresses. A Bitcoin users money could be effectively frozen if 51% of miners decide not to process transactions originating from that users known Bitcoin addresses. With less than 51% support from miners, these transactions would simply be slowed down rather than completely blocked.

This issue raised by Pan is closely related to the issue of Bitcoin mining centralization, as this sort of censorship attack is only possible if government officials are able to identify and coerce 51% of the network hashrate. Progress is also being made on this greater issue of mining centralization. New mining protocols can further decentralize the transaction selection process, and more mining centers, such as the ones recently revealed by Bitcoin technology startup Blockstream, are popping up in jurisdictions other than China.

Transaction censorship is also easy to enforce via centralized services built on top of the Bitcoin network, such as exchanges, where the vast majority of Bitcoin activity takes place.

Taproot, which is an in-development improvement for Bitcoin, is expected to enable vast improvements to the current level of privacy offered to the cryptocurrencys users. For now, there are wallets like Wasabi Wallet and Samourai Wallet available for those who desire a higher degree of privacy.

Pan also mentioned that the privacy issue he brought up does not exist for some experimental altcoins, specifically Monero and Grin. Its possible that some of the features associated with these privacy-conscious altcoins will eventually find their way into Bitcoin.

In terms of other potential issues facing Bitcoin, two of the developers behind key Bitcoin software recently shared two of the biggest threats that face the digital currency.

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Major Bitcoin Miner Warns The Cryptocurrency Needs Better Privacy - Forbes

Why Cryptocurrency is in The Spotlight For More Central Banks – newsBTC

For most of its short life Bitcoin has been a plaything for computer geeks and largely ignored by banks and governments. That all changed in late 2017 when an epic rally sent prices soaring to new peaks. Since then central banks have been paying closer attention to cryptocurrency, especially in recent months as Facebook threatens to usurp their dominance.

The benefits of a digital currency are clear, faster and more efficient payments are good news for all. Banks already make huge profits moving peoples money around for them and digital cash will aid them even further.

Facebook has rattled the regulatory cages of the world and given bankers a wake-up call. If they cannot improve their archaic and costly transfer mechanisms, which are mostly based on SWIFT, better alternatives will emerge.

There is a definite demand for a Libra like cryptocurrency but Facebook is clearly not suitable to be in charge of it. Bitcoin does exactly what is required but is price volatility is still preventing everyday use and is off-putting for most.

Central banks in China, Sweden, the Bahamas and Thailand are experimenting with their own cryptocurrencies and many will be launching soon. The FED is still waiting on the sidelines according to Bloomberg and is likely to be left behind by rafts of innovation hampering regulations.

The threat to national sovereignty by the social media giant was large enough to bring down an avalanche of criticism for its Libra project. There was also the threat that central banks would not be able to effectively manage monetary policy (print more money) if an alternative global currency existed.

Central banks are looking into wholesale solutions which would limit access to any stablecoin to the banks and financial institutions. They would be used internally to make payment flows within the existing financial system faster and cheaper.

A retail solution would be to allow account holders to use the digital currency under tight control. The central bank would manage the ledger and have full control over the supply and flow of any stablecoin it develops.

China is likely to be the first major nation to roll out its own central banks cryptocurrency as Asia forges ahead with innovative research and development. However there has been no time frame for launch as yet. A recruitment notice by the PBoC, shows that it wants to hire six more tech experts with expertise in cryptography, econometrics, and micro-electronics to join the development for the banks new cryptocurrency.

Chinas stance on decentralized crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum has not changed. It still will not allow people to buy crypto with fiat. Central banks are unlikely to ever see public cryptocurrencies in a good light simply because they are beyond state control and have no such transaction limits.

Whether Libra goes ahead or not is now looking dubious but Facebook has accelerated the research process for the banks of the world and a slew of new centralized stablecoins are likely to be launched in the coming years.

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Why Cryptocurrency is in The Spotlight For More Central Banks - newsBTC

Bank of Canada Warms To National Cryptocurrency, Will it Compete Against Bitcoin? – newsBTC

Leaks within the Bank of Canada show officials are considering the development of a national cryptocurrency. As such, with interest in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) on the rise, could it threaten bitcoin?

Mike Eppel, Senior Business Editor at 680 News, has revealed that Canadas central bank is considering the development of a national cryptocurrency.

During his interview, Eppel drew attention to concerns surrounding cryptocurrencies, such as inadequate regulatory frameworks, as well as volatility. But all the same, he posed the question, is this the next phase in how we transact?

And that question is something Bank of Canada officials are in the process of considering. He said:

The Bank of Canada wants to get ahead of the curve. They have this internal memo saying, yeah, eventually, theyre likely going to launch some sort of crypto.

Having said that, as the conversation continued, it became apparent that the underlying reasons for this come down to centralization. Eppel continued:

Because its about regulation. All these new cryptocurrencies are not overseen by any type of government regulator and they would like to have a little bit more saythe flip side of course is, they can use this to track our spending.

Nonetheless, motivations aside, its apparent that central banks around the world are making moves in this space. While individual countries, on the whole, have kept tight-lipped, those in the know believe CBDCs are just a matter of time. For example, Philadelphia Federal Reserve bank president Patrick Harker claims that a US CBDC is inevitable.

If so, could a coordinated rise in CBDCs spell the end for private cryptocurrencies?

According to Economist, Nouriel Roubini, who once called Bitcoin the mother of all scams, the answer is a resounding yes.

In an article released late last year, Roubini proposes that central banks worldwide should issue their own digital currencies in order to shut cryptocurrencies out. He said:

If a CBDC were to be issued, it would immediately displace cryptocurrencies, which are not scalable, cheap, secure, or actually decentralised.

Moreover, in such a scenario, he rubbished the idea of a niche market, through privacy, by saying:

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are not actually anonymous, given that individuals and organisations using crypto-wallets still leave a digital footprint. And authorities that legitimately want to track criminals and terrorists will soon crack down on attempts to create cryptocurrencies with complete privacy.

And almost a year on, Roubinis predictions have come to pass with unnerving accuracy, as evidenced by the recent crackdown on illegal porn, as well as the delisting of privacy coins.

Moreover, theres no denying that Bitcoin is the underdog here. And central banks will not give up their monopoly control easily, or without a fight.

Yes, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have made a significant splash during their short time. But the reality is adoption rates are tiny, and the market cap is minuscule when compared to legacy markets.

That being so, arguments on Bitcoin being decentralized and borderless wont stick. Not unless the bankers want it to stick. And that is what were up against.

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Bank of Canada Warms To National Cryptocurrency, Will it Compete Against Bitcoin? - newsBTC

Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market 2019-2023 | Evolving Opportunities with Advanced Micro Devices, Inc and Baikal Miner | Technavio – Business Wire

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The global cryptocurrency mining hardware market is poised to grow by USD 2.7 billion during 2019-2023, progressing at a CAGR of over 10% during the forecast period.

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The market is driven by the rising popularity of mining pools. In addition, the use of smartphones and applications to mine cryptocurrency is anticipated to further boost the growth of the cryptocurrency mining hardware market.

The rising popularity of mining pools will be one of the major drivers in the global cryptocurrency mining hardware market. Mining pools are groups of miners who work together by combining their computational resources and sharing hashing power to reduce the effects of volatility and obtain better outputs. The chances of achieving success decrease when miner prefer their own cryptocurrency mining hardware. This increases the popularity of mining pools as miners can combine their cryptocurrency mining hardware to enhance the success rate. Moreover, in mining pools, miners cannot steal the rewards of other miners. As the rising demand of mining pools will encourage new miners to join, the use of cryptocurrency mining hardware will increase which will boost the market growth

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Major Five Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market Companies:

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc owns and operates businesses under various segments such as computing and graphics and enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom. The company offers a wide range of cryptocurrency mining hardware. Some of the products offered by the company are Radeon RX Vega Series, Radeon RX 500 Series, and Radeon RX 400 Series.

Baikal Miner

Baikal Miners key cryptocurrency mining hardware products include BK-G28, BK-N70, BK-B, BK-D, and BK-X.

Bitfury Group Limited

Bitfury Group Limited has business operations under various segments, namely software and hardware. The product offered by the company is Bitfury Tardis.

BitMain Technologies Holding Company

BitMain Technologies Holding Company operates business under four segments, which include antminer, antpool, BTC.com, and artificial intelligence. The companys key offerings include Antminer S17, Antminer S11, Antminer T15, Antminer DR5, and Antminer Z11.

Canaan Creative CO., LTD

Canaan Creative CO., LTDs key product offerings in the cryptocurrency mining hardware include AvalonMiner 10, AvalonMiner 851, and AvalonMiner 911.

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Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware Market 2019-2023 | Evolving Opportunities with Advanced Micro Devices, Inc and Baikal Miner | Technavio - Business Wire

Sitharaman Says Other Nations Agree With Indias Stance On Cryptocurrency – Inc42 Media

The FM said lawmakers from other nations at the IMF meeting also recommended extreme caution

Facebooks Libra was one of the hot topics at the annual IMF meeting, Sitharaman claimed

Terror funding and money laundering are the two major concerns around cryptocurrency for the IMF

Even as India is looking to create a concrete policy on cryptocurrency amid the current ban on trading and possession, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Indian government has already received several red flags from other nations, which vindicate its stance on virtual currencies.

Sitharaman, who is currently at the 40th meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) in the US, said that many global leaders and policy makers agreed with Indias contention that even though using cryptocurrencies might have their benefits, but there needs to be extreme caution before doing something to legalise the same.

According to a PTI report, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shantikanta Das spoke about Indias concerns regarding cryptocurrencies at one of the interventions at the meet.

The finance minister also added that Facebooks controversial cryptocurrency project Libra was one of the hot topics at the annual meeting.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said the organisation is taking a balanced approach in this matter as ease of use, cost savings, and most importantly, financial inclusion are some of the very important perks of cryptocurrencies. However, she is also aware about the risk virtual currencies can bring in terms of privacy.

We are not specifically focusing on Libra. We are looking into, one, the inevitability of expanding digital money on the wave of the digital revolution, but then the necessity to do so, mindful of monetary stability, Georgieva said.

Moreover, she added that cryptocurrencies come with the scope of terror funding and other illegal activities. She assured that the IMF is engaging with other organisations like the Financial Stability Board, the European Central Bank to explore more benefits and risks involved in the use of cryptocurrencies.

India is planning a ban on cryptocurrency and other crypto assets in the draft bill, and is currently looking to pass Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulations of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019. The bill recommends a jail terms and steep penalties for those who mine, hold, transact or deal with cryptocurrencies in any form, whether directly or indirectly through an exchange or trading.

The bill also proposed that cryptocurrencies holders will be mandated to declare and dispose of it within 90 days from the date of commencement of the act.

Update: October 21, 2019 | 3:18 PM

An earlier version of the story had inaccurately stated that India had banned cryptocurrency, whereas that is an oversimplification of the official government policy, which is yet to be finalised. We have changed the article accordingly.

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Sitharaman Says Other Nations Agree With Indias Stance On Cryptocurrency - Inc42 Media


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