New York State top financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky says that for bitcoin to fit into the world, it needs to consist of stricter precautions and safer regulations which must come into effect. The news broke January 28th, day one of the two-day New York Department of Financial Services hearings.
However, Lawsky’s opinion about the current state of virtual currency claims that:
“It’s not worth it to society to allow money laundering and all of the things it facilitates to persist in order to permit 1000 flowers to bloom on the innovation side.”
Lawsky is penalizing honest bitcoin users for the misdeeds of a select few. By saying that all should be prevented from using bitcoin, everyone else loses out on the positive things they can gain from the electronic currency.
In an interview by WeAreChange.org, Lawsky was questioned on his stance of the future of digital currency. Lawsky said that there will be a future between regulators and users of digital currency. However, he isn’t quite sure how it will happen. Lawsky feels that “the stakes are too high” to allow unregulated and unsupervised use of crypto-currency. However, he does realize that bitcoin can’t simply go away and that it has a right to exist.
One of the ideas being thrown around according to Benjamin Lawsky is that regulations need to be refreshed to adhere to the specific needs of digital currency. Another is to allow current regulations to remain in tact, while bitcoin works around the edges of the pre-set system. He says:
“We have regulations drafted from over 150 years ago, and certainly at the time, no one had even a glimmer of a thought of what an internet was, let alone digital currency.”
Benjamin Lawsky on Privacy
Sometimes privacy measures are taken for the sake of securing one’s personal information. However, Lawsky feels that the privacy policies within the bitcoin community are used to cover up one’s tracks from the government. Although this may be true in some instances, not all private transactions are dealing in criminal activity. He goes on to say that prosecutors need to know when illicit activities are going on, even if that means watching over everyone.
Lawsky says that he respects a person’s want for privacy, but says that illegal activities such as money laundering aren’t going to happen under watch.
Fred Ehrsam, Co-Founder of Coinbase and Patrick M. Byrne, CEO of Overstock, defended the infamous digital currency at today’s hearing saying that it has many innovative advantages and it is still in its infancy.
Today is day two in the NYDFS hearings. Stay tuned for more coverage at Coinreport.
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