Bitcoin was trading slightly higher in afternoon action on Thursday, Feb. 8, as most of the other top cryptocurrencies trended lower. As Wall Street turns the corner on this week, these are the Thursday headlines you can't miss.
Former Bush Advisor Offers Warning
Juan Zarate, a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, said he is growing concerned that blockchain technology could someday be weaponized, according to a report from Coindesk. Zarate was heavily involved in creating and implementing the sanctions that cut off funding from terrorists and enemies of the state. He said enemies including Iran and North Korea could use cryptocurrencies and related technology "at a minimum as a way of circumventing the current global order which limits their access to capital."
Congress Schedules Hearing
The House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Feb. 14 titled "Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technology," the Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced. Speaking at the hearing will be several industry experts including Jerry Cuomo, VP of blockchain technologies for International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) Cloud unit, and Frank Yiannas, VP of food safety for Walmart Inc. (WMT) . The House hearing comes about one week after the Senate held a similar hearing with the CFTC and SEC.
EU Watchdog Corners Crypto
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) released a report detailing the primary areas the watchdog agency for the European Union plans to focus in the coming year. Among the key initiatives is monitoring "financial innovation" in the bloc. According to ESMA, "these developments influence the way in which securities are developed, traded and supervised. In turn, ESMA is undertaking material analysis on the emergence of such instruments as virtual currencies, such platforms as ICOs and such tools as distributed ledger technology."
More Moves in Congress
Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado has written a petition to the House Committee on Ethics asking Congress members to disclose their holdings of any cryptocurrency assets. Polis has been pro-bitcoin in his legislative past, aiming to normalize the digital currency market in the eyes of Washington. This petition asks congress to disclose crypto holdings as they already do with commodities such as gold. In September, Polis introduced a bill that sought to remove the capital gains tax on cryptocurrency investments under $600.
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