Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Crypto execs to be grilled in Washington

Executives of eight major cryptocurrency firms have been called to testify before a US congressional committee on 8 December.

It will be the first time companies representing the rapidly growing sector have been questioned in this way, BBC writes.

US politicians across the political spectrum have called for more scrutiny of crypto-currencies as it continues to encroach on the mainstream.

Crypto-currencies are not currencies in the traditional sense, although they can sometimes be used to make payments. They are stored online in a “digital wallet” and act more like investment vehicles or securities, often with a high degree of volatility.

The anonymity of paying using crypto-currencies means they have been favoured for criminal activities such as drug dealing and ransomware attacks.

However their supporters say the view that they are predominantly for circumventing the law is outdated and that innovation in this area offers huge potential.

Countries around the world have taken radically different approaches to crypto-currencies.

China has declared crypto-currency transactions illegal, a move India looks set to follow after new legislation.

Many other central banks are eyeing the sector warily and discussing regulation, including in Nigeria where the CBN has placed restrictions on its use.

But El Salvador recently declared Bitcoin – the most widely established crypto-currency – to be legal tender and its president plans to build a Bitcoin city at the base of a volcano, with the cryptocurrency used to fund the project.

The hearing before the US House Financial Services Committee will focus on “the challenges and benefits of financial innovation”, according to the committee announcement.

Witnesses called to appear include Coinbase’s Alesia Haas, Circle’s Jeremy Allaire and Bitfury’s Brian Brooks.

Other chief executives who have been asked to appear are Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX Trading, Chad Cascarilla of Paxos and Dennelle Dixon of the Stellar Development Foundation.

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