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Mike Pompeo Wants To Heavily Regulate Crypto Transactions

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Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State in the Trump Administration says that we need to regulate crypto transactions with heavier regulations. The US administration seems that it doesn’t want to give the crypto industry some breathing space and we take a closer look on his stance in the latest cryptocurrency news below.

During the interview with the CNBC’s Squawk Box panel back on Tuesday, Mike Pompeo doubled down that the digital assets transactions have to be heavily enforced and regulated. With cryptocurrencies getting more and more important into the global markets, CNBC’s resident Bitcoin bull Joe Kernen took a chance on Tuesday to bring up cryptocurrencies in the interview with the US Secretary of State. Surprisingly, Mike Pompeo took the bait but asserted that he doesn’t want to create a viral moment or a meme from himself by taking a certain stance on the growing technology. Pompeo even argued that the anonymous transactions that the cryptocurrencies are capable of carrying out, can enable or even pose a security risk and threat to the country and the country’s allies. Back to the point, Mike Pompeo cited the 9/11 attacks which is something that Congressman Brad Sherman also did to bash Libra last month:

 “We know this from 9/11 and terror activity that took place in the 15 years preceding that where we didn’t have good tracking, we didn’t have the capacity to understand money flows and who was moving money.”

In order to mitigate a redux of the 9/11 attacks which were enabled through financial technologies, Pompeo proposed that ‘’electronic financial transactions’’ should be regulated by the same laws that a global platform like SWIFT is regulated under as well. He admitted however that it will be very difficult to do so and stated that the world is much less secure without the proper regulation over a cashless world. In fact, Mike Pompeo argued that the regulatory oversight over fiat finance has ‘’helped keep the entire world secure and to fight terrorism and other nefarious activity.’’

In his statement, Mike Pompeo didn’t really mention certain fintech platforms or even cryptocurrencies but he commented directly to an inquiry from Kernen. His statements on the crypto industry are coming right after other members from the Trump administration commented on digital assets as well. The President of the United States himself claimed that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin can facilitate illicit activity and that Libra should also abide by traditional banking laws as we read in the altcoin news previously.

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Blockchain News

The German Government Establishes A Sound Blockchain Strategy

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The latest cryptocurrency news let us focus on blockchain's adoption in Europe. As we can see, the German government has officially set a roadmap of priorities for the technology, announcing it at a recent event. On September 18, the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Germany published a paper named "Blockchain Strategie" (meaning blockchain strategy) which outlines how Germany as a leading economy in Europe and most influential state - will embrace and work within the blockchain ecosystem led by Angela Merkel's administration. The German government and ministries said that they would strive to make the country a hub for blockchain development activities. They said:
“The young and innovative blockchain ecosystem in Germany should be preserved and continue to grow. Germany should be an attractive location for the development of blockchain applications and investments in their scaling. At the same time, large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and startups, as well as the public sector, countries, civil society organizations, and citizens should be enabled to make informed decisions about the use of technology.”
In order to achieve its newly outlined blockchain goals, the German government said that one effort that it wants to undertake is devising an “investment and growth-oriented regulatory framework” geared to the domestic crypto economy. This way, the markets could “work without state intervention and the principle of sustainability is guaranteed.” Furthermore, the ministries noted that they were going to take a multi-pronged approach towards becoming a blockchain hub. As many best cryptocurrency news sites noted, Germany is looking to promote entrepreneurs, encourage investments, guarantee stability, enable fair competition, support stakeholders and foster international cooperation in the attempt to bring blockchain to the masses. All of these goals were created through consultations with officials of the German government - and more than 150 crypto economy stakeholders over the past few months. The task at hand is now putting everything into action.
“At the European and international level, the Federal Government will work to ensure that stablecoins do not become an alternative to state currencies,” the strategy document read.
The grand question for now is whether other smaller European countries will follow Germany's (and France's) lead in taking a strict stance towards blockchain innovation.
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Altcoin News

Upbit Exchange Delists Privacy Coins Including Monero, Dash and Others

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The major exchange from South Korea is in the latest Bitcoin and altcoin news for becoming the latest one to delist privacy oriented coins. The Upbit exchange decided to follow the moves of Coinbase this month and delisted a slew of privacy coins based on the recent regulatory requirements from the international body - the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As the notice from the South Korea exchange officially showed, the transaction support for Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Haven (XHV), Bittube (TUBE) and PIVX (PIVX) will be put to an end on Monday, September 30. Upbit exchange announced its investigation of the six coins earlier this month. It seems that the exchange was determining if the privacy coins met the requirements listed by the FATF guidance issued last June. The latest cryptocurrency news also show that privacy coins conduct transactions on public ledgers without exposing the address or identity of an individual. Aside from Upbit exchange, there were other exchanges which also started delisting the coins as well. Examples include Coinbase and Zcash from this summer in the UK - and the Korean exchange OKEX which dropped five privacy coins earlier this month. Upbit wrote on its company blog and said that money laundering and the possibility of inflows of privacy coins were the leading reasons for delisting.
“There are also crypto-assets that can selectively utilize anonymity features among projects that are subject to end of transaction support. For these crypto-asset, Upbit has only supported transparent withdrawal/deposit support. Nevertheless, the decision to end trading support for the crypto-asset was also made to block the possibility of money laundering and inflow from external networks. Upbit will continue to consider crypto-asset that represent anonymity functions as candidates for designation of investment warning crypto-asset.”
Now that Upbit exchange decided to delist the privacy coins, the coming altcoin news show that coin prices are starting to drop. According to Messari analytics, the Zcash price dropped over 50% since July 1 joined by Monero, which has been down near 20% over the same period. Still, the exchange delistings and price drops have not necessarily slowed privacy coin tech development. Over the past month, the Electric Coin Company by Zcash released Halo which is the long-awaited zk-SNARK which can verify a single blockchain in one proof.
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Bitcoin News

CME Group Will Launch Bitcoin Options Early In 2020

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The latest cryptocurrency news show that the major derivatives marketplace CME Group recently announced that it will offer options on its Bitcoin futures contracts starting the first quarter of next year. Now that CME Group will launch a Bitcoin options market, we can definitely put it in comparison to its Windy City rival - the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The Chicago-based company initially launched its futures product back in December 2017, which was the same time when CBOE launched its futures, too. An announcement on Friday showed that CME Group will launch the options trading - as a way to provide clients with “additional tools for precision hedging and trading.” The launch is currently pending regulatory review. Tim McCourt who is the global head of equity index and alternative investment products at CME Group, was featured on many best cryptocurrency news sites for stating:
“Based on increasing client demand and robust growth in our Bitcoin futures markets, we believe the launch of options will provide our clients with additional flexibility to trade and hedge their bitcoin price risk. These new products are designed to help institutions and professional traders to manage spot market bitcoin exposure, as well as hedge Bitcoin futures positions in a regulated exchange environment.”
CME Group also detailed that since their 2017 launch, there have been more than 20 "successful" futures expiration settlements and more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the contracts. Close to 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts are traded on average each day, the company stated. Meanwhile, the coming altcoin news in March this year showed that CBOE abruptly changed the tack and halted its futures product. Now that CME Group will launch Bitcoin options and CME won't (for now), this gives a massive advantage to CME as the sole provider of Bitcoin futures in the US. However, it seems like CME will have a new rival from Monday. The rival is the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is subsidiary Bakkt - both of which are preparing to offer a new BTC futures product. Unlike CME and its cash contracts, ICE will be offering a physically settled product which means that its customers will receive actual Bitcoin (BTC) instead of the cash equivalent.
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Libra coin news

Chinese Crypto Czar: Facebook’s Libra ‘Might Be Unstoppable’

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The new director of China's Research Institute on Digital Currency, Changchun Mu, believes that even though the world powers do not welcome Facebook's Libra coin, the stablecoin and its advance is now unstoppable. The Chinese crypto czar officially assumed his role at the Institute on September 6 this year, leading the online education platform. There have been six lecture issued by the crypto chief - shared on many best cryptocurrency news sites and local media outlets. In the series, Mu answered a range of crypto questions - ranging from Libra and its technical features - to the potential integration with the international currency system. The Chinese crypto czar also touted the advantages of China's own digital currency and how it compared to Libra. “No countries welcome Libra, but it might be unstoppable anyways,” Mu said in the third lecture of the series. “It is very unlikely that one can totally stop people from buying Libra despite rigorous regulations.” The Chinese crypto czar also explained that the most a central bank could do to prevent Libra from entering a country would be to ask all of their payment institutions and commercial banks not to process any transactions which are related to Libra. Still, there are a few back channels through which users could circumvent the ban to purchase Libra, as he noted. The czar also cited underground Bitcin trading in China as an example of how it could work. Even though exchanges in China have blocked Bitcoin transactions and payment institutions (and commercial banks are also prohibited from processing BTC transactions) there are still some agencies which use virtual private networks (VPNs) to buy Bitcoin from foreign exchanges, as Mu noted. The Chinese crypto czar said that the situation applies to Libra, too. “Even if Facebook is blocked in China, people will use indirect ways to purchase it from abroad once Libra comes out,” Mu said. As he also said in the latest cryptocurrency news, there was only one possibility to stop Libra. “If the U.S. bans Libra legally, then Libra will certainly be stopped.” There are a few extreme cases where a country fully embraces Libra, the Chinese crypto czar said. He noted that Zimbabwe (a country with rampant inflation) last year announced that it welcomes any alternative currencies. As such, Zimbabwe is a clear example of such country.
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