U.S. Congress To Interview Chiefs Of Cryptocurrency Firms

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A congressional committee of the United States has called up chiefs of eight major cryptocurrency companies to testify before the committee on December 8. Coinbase’s Alesia Haas, Circle’s Jeremy Allaire and Bitfury’s Brian Brooks are among those honchos who have been summoned.   

The other chief executives summoned for the hearing are Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX Trading, Chad Cascarilla of Paxos and Dennelle Dixon of the Stellar Development Foundation.

This testimony will be the first occasion that executives of companies in this controversial sector will be subjected to questioning by lawmakers in this manner.

In recent times, lawmakers across the political spectrum in the U.S. have argued in favor of greater scrutiny and possible regulation of the cryptocurrency industry in the country.

The testimony has been code-named the “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States”. It is being viewed as the latest effort of the U.S. Congress to look at potential issues of adopting crypto assets.

Elizabeth Warren of the Democratic Party, viewed to have left leniency, has called on the government to impose stricter regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has termed the industry as “a scam”.

Interestingly, under the Trump administration, Brooks of Bitfury had served as one of the most important members of the national bank regulatory body. He had also played an essential role in the development of a policy for cryptocurrencies.

Though not recognized as a legal tender in most parts of the world, cryptocurrencies have gained popularity among a section of investors. It is also used as a currency for making payments on a few occasions. These virtual currencies are stored in online “digital wallets“. Investors pouring money into digital currencies do so more as an investment in an asset despite very high volatility in the price of the significant available cryptocurrencies.  

One of the primary characteristics of dealing in cryptocurrency is the anonymity of those using it. This has raised concerns among lawmakers and regulators and fear that individuals and groups can use digital currencies for criminal activities such as drug dealing, ransomware attacks, and even terror financing.

However, proponents and supporters of digital currencies have termed the perception that unscrupulous actors can use it to circumvent the law as “outdated”. They claim substantial potential emerging from the sector through innovation.

The approach and attitudes towards cryptocurrencies have been varied among nations around the world.

For example, a complete ban on cryptocurrency transactions and their mining have been imposed by China. It has been reported that India will also bring in legislation along the same lines as China. Various central banks are also wary of the industry and are considering ways to effectively regulate the industry. 

The U.S., in contrast, seems to have a favourable attitude towards cryptocurrencies. Ways to integrate digital currencies into their operations are being contemplated by states and municipalities and many private investors who hold cryptocurrencies. According to reports, Miami and New York want to make the cities hubs for cryptocurrency-centred businesses.

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