The crypto industry is sounding the alarm at the possibility that the U.S. will be empowering the Treasury Department to make arbitrary decisions about whether to allow financial transactions – including cryptocurrency transactions across borders.
A provision in the America COMPETES Act, a bill introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week, would allow the Treasury Secretary to block or “impose conditions” on transactions, should the official find that the transaction or the accounts involved are engaged in money laundering.
The overall bill is aimed at spurring economic competitiveness with China.
Industry think tank Coin Center warned in a blog post that the bill could allow the Treasury Secretary to block all U.S. financial institutions from interacting with a crypto exchange, jurisdiction that has crypto exchanges, crypto transactions validated by a non-U.S. miner or non-custodial wallets.
“In brief, it would hand the Treasury Secretary unchecked discretion to forbid financial institutions (including cryptocurrency exchanges) from offering their customers access to cryptocurrency networks. The Secretary may not use this discretion immediately, but it is not power the Department should have,” the blog post said.
The Treasury Secretary already has this power in limited quantities. Under existing law, the regulator, in consultation with the Federal Reserve Chair, Secretary of State, federal regulators and other agencies can impose these restrictions on transactions. However, a public rulemaking notice must be issued alongside the restriction, and the restriction will lift after 120 days unless the Treasury Department implements a rule continuing the block after the comment period.
The new provision would remove the comment period and 120-day expiration, Coin Center said, in addition to explicitly adding digital assets to the types of financial transactions that the Treasury Secretary can restrict.
The provision highlights “innovations in financial services” that make it easier to send funds across borders, “particularly through digital assets” which make it easier for criminals to transfer funds (though the bill also concedes that digital assets may be “useful to legitimate consumers.”
“Ransomware attacks on U.S. companies requiring payments in cryptocurrencies have increased in recent years, with the U.S. Treasury estimating that ransomware payments in the United States reached $590 million in just the first half of 2021, compared to a total of $416 million in 2020,” the bill said.
The provision was introduced by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and resembles a similar provision he tried to attach to last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a must-pass bill that funds the U.S. military. The provision was stripped out of the bill at the time.
A press statement announcing the provision said it “streamlines the process by which special measures may be introduced and modernizes the authorities granted to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by allowing the agency to pursue bad actors like those laundering the proceeds of Chinese ransomware and or declared a Primary Money Laundering Concern due to support to North Korea’s sanctions evasion.”
Lawmakers are already trying to block the provision from being passed. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) introduced an amendment that would simply remove the provision altogether.
Still, even if the provision passes the House, its path to becoming law is unclear.
In order to become a law, the provision needs a counterpart in the Senate version of the bill, the Endless Frontier Act. At the moment, no such counterpart exists.
After the Senate and House pass their respective versions, the bills will go to a conference committee, where representatives from the House and Senate will iron out the differences between the two versions of the bill.
Algorand Has Appointed JPMorgan high-flyer Staci Warden As Its New CEO.
Algorand appoints new CEO Staci Warden
“I am excited to build on everything the Foundation has achieved to date, and will be focused on scaling our commitment to our community and our global partners,” she said.
“1.7 billion people in the world do not have access to finance, and the Algorand protocol has the speed, the security, and the decentralisation to address the problem of global financial inclusion at scale.
“By both ratcheting up our global ambitions as well as doubling down on our commitment to the DeFi ecosystem, I know that we will deliver tremendous value for both the Algorand ecosystem as a whole and the end-users it supports.”
The appointment of a new CEO marks an end to the leadership of outgoing Algorand CEO Sean Lee.
Lee served as CEO of the blockchain for 18 months and played a pivotal role in cementing Algorand’s market position throughout the sensational explosion in crypto markets in 2021.
During his time at the helm of Algorand, Lee prioritised community governance and sewed the seeds for the future of the ALGO ecosystem through the Accelerated Vesting program and launch of Viridis and Aeneas DeFi funding programs.
Commenting on his departure, Lee revealed he will be moving on to other projects in the crypto industry.
“I’ve decided to leave the Algorand Foundation to pursue new opportunities in the blockchain space,” said Lee.
“Seeing the transformative potential of the applications being built on Algorand, now is the time for me to explore those avenues.
“I have deep confidence in Staci’s ability to lead the Algorand Foundation and the Algorand ecosystem through its next growth phase.”
Manchester United selects Tezos as official blockchain partner
Manchester United selects Tezos as official blockchain partner
Tezos-branded training kit will be worn by the first team squad prior to this weekend’s match against Southampton, introducing Manchester United fans to the partnership and Web3 technology through the Tezos blockchain.
Victoria Timpson, Manchester United’s CEO of Alliances and Partnerships, said it was an exciting partnership for Manchester United “because it aligns us with one of the most advanced, reliable and sustainable blockchains in an area of technology which promises to truly revolutionise the way that everyone, including the club and our fans, can interact”.
“We are especially pleased to be partnering with one of the most eco-friendly blockchains, using technology that is energy-efficient, limits carbon emissions and lowers costs, consistent with the Club’s wider efforts to promote environmental sustainability,” she said.
“Partnerships are at the core of our strength as a club, supporting the drive for success on the pitch, and we are delighted to welcome Tezos as the latest industry leader to join our family of partners.”
Edward Adlard, Head of Adoption and Business Development, Tezos Ecosystem added that, throughout its history, Manchester United had constantly evolved, with the support of its global community of fans and partners.
“Tezos will enable Manchester United to use blockchain and Web3 to transform fan, player, team, and partner engagement,” he said.
“The decision by the world’s greatest football club to select Tezos as its blockchain of choice is further validation that thoughtful design paired with strong security, low gas fees, and community-led innovation are the essential factors driving the next wave of adoption in the new digital revolution.”
In addition to the Tezos branding on the club’s training kit, the partnership will also include several new fan experiences built on the Tezos blockchain and a pledge to support Manchester United Foundation with ongoing donations in TEZ – the native currency of the Tezos blockchain – to train, educate and inspire young people within the local community.
Shiba Inu Announces Virtual Real Estate on Shiberse Ecosystem
Shiba Inu Announces Virtual Real Estate on Shiberse Ecosystem
In an attempt to enter the metaverse in 2022, the meme coin Shiba Inu has unfurled its virtual real estate ‘Shiba Lands’. The new realm of real estate will be available for public auction or purchase soon.
In this new venture, SHIB token holders can own a part of the Shiberse metaverse. Meanwhile, the meme coin has yet to confirm the advantages of owning the lands in its metaverse. So far, the project said that people owning land in Shiba Real Estate would gain a lot of benefits.
As tweeted by Watcher Guru, a media covering crypto news, Shiba Inu will declare the purchase period of virtual real estate soon.
To prevent high gas fees, which happened in the Shiboshi NFT launch 2021, the Shiberse ecosystem will create a queue system for its land release. The queue system can process the sale more smoothly and in a much fair manner for customers.
LEASH coin holders will get priority access to the queue in the first period of land release. Afterward, the queue will be open to the public.
Shiba Inu has stated in its blog ShibaSwap:
This queue allows exclusivity by requiring interested parties to hold “$LEASH“, which gives priority and exclusive access to this first selling phase of the land plots in our Metaverse. In addition to the queue, we also have worked on an anti-dump system in order to protect $LEASH holders. The remaining lands will then unlock, and become available for the public after this exclusive selling process finalizes.
To highlight, the Shiba Land properties will initially be auctioned. Here, users can bid their land and location soon after the project announces the date of auction.
Earlier, virtual platforms like Decentraland, Gala Games, Sandbox, and Axie Infinity had fixed their position in the metaverse. Now, Shiberse has marked its growth in the metaverse which plows for more competition among other meta platforms.
Despite being the latest entry to the metaverse, Shiba Inu has gained wide attention from investors who believe in its developing potential.
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