Hot Takes

Coverage of the EU’s new digital currency AML rules missed the most interesting bit.

While there was plenty of reporting this week about the fact that the European Commission proposed new EU-wide rules with somewhat stricter requirements than have been applied to date, the fact that these rules would only be applicable to exchanges and custodial wallet providers went largely unremarked. From the propose amendment to the AML directive, the newly covered entities would be:

(g) providers engaged primarily and professionally in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies;

(h) wallet providers offering custodial services of credentials necessary to access virtual currencies.

This is very careful and wise drafting. It should mean that service providers who do not hold keys for customers (like software wallets) or services providers who do hold keys but not enough to access a balance (like multisig wallet services) would be exempt. As for exchanges and custodial wallet services, these new rules should not be too burdensome because they already comply with essentially the same obligations imposed by the individual countries in which they do business. This new proposal would only standardize existing requirements across the EU.

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Hillary Clinton's new tech agenda mentions blockchains.

The extent of the mention in the factsheet on her "Tech & Innovation Agenda" is this:

We must position American innovators to lead the world in the next generation of technology revolutions –from autonomous vehicles to machine learning to public service blockchain applications –and we must defend universal access to the global, digital marketplace of ideas. 

Pretty unassailable stuff. It is interesting to note, though, that blockchains are mentioned only in the context of public service applications. Most public service applications I can think of, such as identity provision, require open permissionless blockchain networks to achieve universal interoperability and verifiability. We'll be reaching out to her campaign to offer our expertise.

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Cryptocurrency: The Policy Challenges of a Decentralized Revolution.

Coin Center teamed up with the Cato Institute to put on a free daylong conference in Washington, DC, to examine the policy challenges of a decentralized revolution. Speakers include Representative Mick Mulvaney, Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo of the CFTC, Joseph Lubin of Consensys and the Ethereum Project, Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn of Zcash, Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne, and many more. The full agenda and session videos can be found at cato.org/cryptocurrency.

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