Cryptocurrency dithering digest: Japan, US, UK and Russia weigh in

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With South Korea, ChinaIndonesia and other governments becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrency trading and the potential dark sides of virtual currencies – from potential economic catastrophe to terrorist financing – today’s Reuters news feed is top-loaded with stories covering the latest comments from government leaders and top bank officials on the prospects of cryptocurrency regulation. Here’s a quick tour of who said what:

Uniform global curbs on cryptocurrency trading may be hard: BOJ official

TOKYO (Reuters) – Policymakers around the world may debate ways to deal with the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but imposing global, across-the-board regulations on their trading won’t be easy, a senior Bank of Japan official said on Thursday.

South Korea and China have tightened regulations but Japan wants to ensure any rules that it adopts won’t hinder innovation, said Hiromi Yamaoka, head of the Japanese central bank’s division on payment and settlement systems.

“There’s undoubtedly growing interest among global policymakers on how to deal with cryptocurrencies,” Yamaoka, whose division also oversees cryptocurrencies, told Reuters.

“Japan’s approach would be to think about how to curb excesses without discouraging innovation,” he said. Read more …

US says illicit activity is top cryptocurrency concern

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Washington’s main concern about the rise of cryptocurrencies is to make sure they are not used for illicit activity, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday as he urged nations to join the United States in regulating them.

“My number-one focus on cryptocurrencies, whether that be digital currencies or Bitcoin or other things, is that we want to make sure that they’re not used for illicit activities,” he told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We encourage FinTech and we encourage innovation, but we want to make sure all of our financial markets are safe,” Mnuchin said. “We want to make sure that the rest of the world – and many of the [Group of] 20 countries are already starting on this – have the same regulations.” Read more …

Britain should examine criminal use of cryptocurrencies: PM May

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should take a serious look at cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because of the way they can be used by criminals, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.

“Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, we should be looking at these very seriously, precisely because of the way that they can be used, particularly by criminals,” May told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Davos.

She added that there were huge possibilities for Britain to attract tech companies once Britain leaves the European Union. Read more …

Russia’s finance ministry ready to regulate, not ban crypto-FX

(Reuters) Russia’s finance ministry said on Thursday it was working on legislation that would regulate cryptocurrency transactions without fully banning them, although it would not let digital FX be used as a mean of payment in Russia.

The finance ministry said its legislation on cryptocurrencies and ‘initial coin offerings’ envisages allowing such deals only through digital exchanges. Read more …

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