Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Has Government Figured Out a New Way to Get at Bitcoin?

Financial services attorney Ryan Straus in an article for American Banker says so in a column titled: The Last Straw for Bitcoin

"Digital currencies are just a financial service and those who deal in them are [financial institutions]," Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, told American Banker in an interview last week.

Straus explains how this could impact BItcoin (my bold)
The significance of this sentence, as it relates to Bitcoin — the upstart decentralized virtual currency designed to remove financial institutions from electronic payments — is huge. It can only be fully appreciated by understanding the digital currency and payment system's history and the legal framework of the Bank Secrecy Act[...] those dealing in bitcoins are now themselves considered financial institutions. To survive, these businesses will have to do more than "de-anonymize" their operations. They will also have to cope with the loss of Bitcoin's most fundamental characteristic: irrevocability.[...]Unlike anonymity, the finality of payments does not appear to fall squarely within Fincen's regulatory authority. However, Fincen's comments may foreshadow regulatory action by the Bureau of the Consumer Protection or the Federal Trade Commission, the two federal agencies most likely to take issue with irrevocable payments.  Even if a fix to the bitcoin protocol were devised to allow for reversible transactions, the loss of irrevocability could be fatal for bitcoin as it would result in increased transaction costs and slower remittances.

No comments:

Post a Comment