Central bank digital currencies have elicited mixed responses around the world, but for one former chair of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, they might offer a better tool to conduct monetary policy than existing methods. In an opinion piece published on Yahoo Finance, Sheila Bair called on the Federal Reserve to seriously evaluate the relative merits of issuing its own digital currency. Bair noted that current monetary policies have proven unable to stimulate broad-based economic growth and have only made the rich richer while the middle class continues to struggle.
On March 19, 2018, in an op-ed published by the French news website, Numerama, France’s Minister of Finance and Economics, Bruno Le Maire wrote what appears, at least at first glance, to be an uncharacteristically optimistic exposition on the profound and pioneering nature of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology:
“A revolution is underway, of which bitcoin was only the precursor. The blockchain will offer new opportunities to our startups, for example with the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) that will allow them to raise funds through ‘tokens,’ crypto-actives or not. It promises to create a network of trust without intermediaries, to offer increased traceability of transactions and, overall, to make the economy more efficient.”
One of Bitcoin’s inherent virtues is being inflation-resistant. This unique feature might be essential to help countries interested in adopting a passive monetary policy.
Bitcoin Controls the Inflation Rate
Only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined. Therefore, Bitcoin is illiquid. However, Satoshi Nakamoto, purportedly the creator of Bitcoin, intentionally established this lack of liquidity to make the cryptocurrency inflation-resistant and to incentivize Bitcoin miners.
According to Professor Max Raskin, Bitcoin’s pre-commitment to an inflation rate that halves every four years makes the cryptocurrency an ideal model for governments choosing to adopt a passive monetary policy. Raskin writes in the Wall Street Journal,
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) appears to be taking steps to eliminate some of the ambiguity surrounding the status of ICOs as money services businesses (MSBs). On March 6, 2018, FinCEN released a letter it sent in February to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (the “Wyden Letter”). The letter stakes out a policy position that could be seen as somewhat inconsistent with prior FinCEN guidance and could foreshadow potential avenues of enforcement. ICOs would be wise to monitor FinCEN’s public statements and, if they haven’t already, should consider developing Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs to protect themselves from substantial fines and criminal liability associated with FinCEN actions.
Poloniex just reported that it’s going to require verification for legacy accounts. Here’s what’s what you need to know:
On December 27, 2017, cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex released this press release. The release outlines that fact that the company will soon start requiring that every account held on its platform is verified and that, to this aim, will start removing accounts (so-called legacy accounts) on an as-yet-undecided date.
Here’s Poloniex’s official statement on the development:
We have recently completed a major upgrade to our customer identification and verification systems. As a result, we will soon require legacy accounts to become verified through the latest version of our verification portal.