This one’s cute. The U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, rather earnestly, wants to understand how Ethereum works, presumably so it can get on with regulating it into oblivion. The 25 questions it wants answered (detailed in a formal “Request for Input") could have been lifted from the Q&A segment of any blockchain conference this side of North Korea: the Commission wants to know about the tech, governance, scalability, cybersecurity, custody, and why proof-of-stake hasn’t happened yet.
This is all, apparently, so that the CFTC can "advance the Commission's mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives markets as well as monitoring and reducing systemic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets.” Best of all, you can hand deliver your answers! Though the Commission will regret offering that option when Vitalik Buterin rocks up to drone on at them about use cases for seven hours.
Mt. Gox founder may face ten years in jail
Japanese prosecutors are reportedly seeking to levy a ten-year jail sentence on Mark Karpeles, the ex-founder of now-defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox. Before the exchange was robbed of 850,000 bitcoins in 2014, Karpeles allegedly siphoned off $3 million-worth of the customers' funds for himself, using them to invest in a tech startup. Karpeles has also been accused of fiddling the Mt. Gox order books and “totally destroying the confidence” of its customers.
He has, however, pleaded not guilty. And apologized.
SEC chief says more nice things about ETFs!
SEC chairman Jay Clayton, standing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Tuesday, said all of this:
“The Commission and its staff have been focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs). I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors. Overall, I believe we have taken a balanced regulatory approach that both fosters innovation and protects investors.”
Clayton, of course, is probably the man most committed on Earth to crushing the hopes of below-the-radar token sale issuers, as well as the dreams of ETF-zealots praying for an influx of that institutional money. So if he is “optimistic” about distributed ledger technologies (yes, he probably means Wall Street-grade, permissioned blockchains that have nothing to do with blockchain), is that, dare we say, bullish? Don’t quote me on that, Bitcoin.com and CryptoGlobe.
Another politician pretends to know what blockchain is
Clueless British MP Eddie Hughes is once again evangelising the cause for “blockchain.” In an interview with The Daily Express, Hughes suggested UK residents ought to have the option to pay council taxes and “other bills” with bitcoin. Blindsiding us with his technical acumen, Hughes added that “cryptocurrency”—as in, all tokens? One particular token?—"needs to appear like an app that people will use so they can become familiar with it in a safe and secure way.”
What is it with politicians hopping on the crypto bandwagon? This is the MP, for those who don’t know, who called for a “blockchain for Bloxwich [a British town in his constituency]” because it, er, had a better ring to it than a “blockchain for Walsall North [another town in his constituency].” (Credit to FT.) Instead, what about a blockchain for Eddie Hughes, so he can learn what the term means? Let’s do a whip round, and get him one for Christmas.