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U.S. regulators may ask Congress for virtual currency legislation
Michelle Price, Pete Schroeder
February 6, 2018
© 2018 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Source; excerpts follow:


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators may ask Congress to pass legislation to improve oversight of virtual currencies like bitcoin amid concerns about the risks posed by the emerging asset class, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.

The comments by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton before the Senate Banking Committee are the strongest indication yet that federal authorities are mulling new laws to scrutinize virtual currency trading and investing.

Clayton, who testified alongside Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said the agencies were coordinating with the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve on the matter, but added that lawmakers may have to clarify and enhance regulatory powers…

Senator Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the panel, and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown were among the lawmakers to express worries about volatility, investor protections and the risks posed by cyber criminals in the virtual currency market…

Both Clayton and Giancarlo used the hearing to showcase the efforts their agencies have made to police the market and to highlight limitations in the current U.S. regulatory structure, whereby virtual currencies fall into a gray area between the SEC, CFTC, Treasury, the Fed and state regulators…

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No surprises here; it was only a matter of time before US regulators stepped in. (There have already been a handful of regulatory interventions around the globe.) With hundreds of billions of dollars in the ether, the watchdogs were bound to sniff it out.

It's not entirely a bad thing; crypto-currency investors have virtually no protection. At least in your bank account, you're Government-ensured up to $250K. Of course, with savings interest rates still in the "crap" range, it's not an ideal investment; more like a "cushion" (or a "lifeline") against income interruption. So, for retail clients (like you and me), the potentially massive returns on virtual-currency investments may seem quite appealing.

Not so fast, Bucko; Crypto-currencies must be considered HIGH RISK investments. Free-wheeling trading, institutional speculation, remarkable volatility, lack of transparency and regulation, unfamiliar technology, and the aforementioned lack of consumer protection, all strongly suggest that you NOT "bet the ranch" here. Yes, you could have increased your investment by orders of magnitude if you had invested at the right time; you can also LOSE that much if you don't play it right.

That said, I think there's a little entertainment that can be derived here, as we watch the various regulators "play nice" together whilst they appeal to the Congress. I think this is just a façade, and there's a genuine "turf war" going on in the background. Pass the popcorn.

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