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Janet Yellen Confusing Stance on Cryptocurrency Creates Mixed Feelings 

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Janet Yellen Confusing Stance on Cryptocurrency Creates Mixed Feelings

Janet Yellen, the new Treasury Secretary of the United States, response to Senator Maggie Hassan question on cryptocurrency being used by terrorists and criminals has created mixed feelings across the crypto space.

Before the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen said “Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern. I think many are used—at least in a transactions sense—mainly for illicit financing.”

She further stated that she wanted to “examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that [money laundering] doesn’t occur through those channels.

Yellen’s response plunged Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as investors interpreted it as ‘Biden administration going after cryptocurrency holders’.

Janet Yellen later clarified her response following the huge media coverage her response got and the resulting negative impact on the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

In the written testimony, the finance committee later asked her “Bitcoin and other digital and cryptocurrencies are providing financial transactions around the globe, like many technological developments, this offers potential benefits for the U.S., and our allies. At the same time, it also presents opportunities for states and non-state actors looking to circumvent the current financial system and undermine American interests. For example, the Central Bank of China just issued its first digital currency.”

“Dr. Yellen, what do you view as the potential threats and benefits these innovations and technologies will have on U.S. national security? Do you think more needs to be done to ensure we have appropriate safeguards and regulations for digital and cryptocurrencies in place?” 

Yellen replied: “I think it important we consider the benefits of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, and the potential they have to improve the efficiency of the financial system.”

She continued, “At the same time, we know they can be used to finance terrorism, facilitate money laundering, and support malign activities that threaten U.S. national security interests and the integrity of the U.S. and international financial systems,” elaborating:

I think we need to look closely at how to encourage their use for legitimate activities while curtailing their use for malign and illegal activities.”

“If confirmed, I intend to work closely with the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking and securities regulators on how to implement an effective regulatory framework for these and other fintech innovations,” Yellen concluded.

In December, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the world’s third most capitalised cryptocurrency, Ripple (XRP) to change its operation as currency.

The uncertainty surrounding what the new administration might do to regulate the crypto space continues to weigh on the cryptocurrencies.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Bitcoin

MicroStrategy Dumps Over $1 Billion on Bitcoin, Now Holds $4.78 Billion BTC

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MicroStrategy Dumps Over $1 Billion on Bitcoin, Now Holds $4.78 Billion BTC

MicroStrategy, a business intelligence firm, announced it has purchased another 19,452 Bitcoin worth $1.026 billion.

The company joined Square and other companies that bought the dip witnessed earlier this week after Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Janet Yellen commented on the fast-rising digital currency.

MicroStrategy now holds 90,531 Bitcoin worth $4.78 billion, more than Elon Musk’s Tesla acquisition of $1.5 billion.

Michael Saylor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MicroStrategy continues to pursue a coin acquisition strategy now codified in the business intelligence company’s mission.

Square purchased 3,318 Bitcoin at an estimated $170 million value on Tuesday when the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency dipped to $45,000 before rebounding to the current level.

Bitcoin presently trading at $49.233.71 per coin as of the time of writing.

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Cryptocurrency

CBN, SEC Anchor Cryptocurrency Ban on Financial System Protection

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CBN, SEC Anchor Cryptocurrency Ban on Financial System Protection

The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said the bank’s decision to prohibit deposit money banks, non-banking institutions and other financial institutions from facilitating trading and dealings in cryptocurrency was in the best interest of Nigerian depositors and the country’s financial system.

Emefiele said this while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market, on its directive to institutions under its regulation.

These were according to a statement from CBN titled ‘Cryptocurrency: We acted in Nigerians’ best interest – Emefiele’.

Describing the operations of cryptocurrencies as dangerous and opaque, the CBN governor said the use of cryptocurrency contravened an existing law.

He said the fact that cryptocurrencies were issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities made it contrary to the mandate of the bank, as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007) declaring the bank as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria.

Emefiele, who also differentiated between digital currencies, which central banks could issue and cryptocurrencies issued by unknown and unregulated entities, stressed that the anonymity, obscurity and concealment of cryptocurrencies made it suitable for those who indulge in illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons and tax evasion.

Citing instances of investigated criminal activities that had been linked to cryptocurrencies, he stated that the legitimacy of money and the safety of Nigeria’s financial system was central to the mandate of the CBN.

He declared that cryptocurrency was not legitimate money because it was not created or backed by any central bank.

“Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system,” he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Lamido Yuguda, clarified that there was no policy contradiction between the CBN directive and the pronouncements made by the SEC on the subject of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.

He explained that the SEC made its pronouncement at the time to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space due to the growing volume of reported flaws.

Prior to the CBN directive, he said, the SEC had in 2017 cautioned the public on the risks involved in investing in digital and cryptocurrency.

He said that the CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation and the SEC had between 2018 and 2020 issued warnings on the lack of protection in investments in cryptocurrency.

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Demand for Crypto Debit Cards Surges 194% in 12 Months

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Demand for Crypto Debit Cards Surges 194% in 12 Months

Data presented by Crypto Parrot indicates that global interest in the keyword ‘crypto debit card’ has surged by 194.1% over the last 12 months on the Google Search platform. The interest attained a peak popularity score of 100 in February 2021 while a year ago it was at 34.

Among countries, Nigeria leads with a peak popularity score of 100 followed by Australia at 45. The Netherlands ranks third with a score of 44 followed by Canada at 40 while the United States comes in fifth at 39.

Interest from the United Kingdom ranks sixth with a score of 36 followed by India at 15 while Germany is eighth with a score of 12.

Entry of payment companies into crypto fuels interest

Several factors have led to the strong interest in crypto debit cards mainly due to the increased adoption of digital assets. The report highlights other drivers for the interest. According to the research report:

“Furthermore, there has been an explosion of companies like Visa and Mastercard getting involved in crypto payment systems through debit cards. At the same time, more merchants are increasingly adding digital currencies to payment methods. It is, therefore, logical that people would be interested in acquiring crypto debit cards.”

Being a new financial phenomenon, crypto debit cards might face regulatory hurdles from non-crypto friendly jurisdictions.

In general, the crypto debit cards are helping holders get involved in the digital assets’ space while bridging the gap between the digital asset world and traditional finance space.

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