Blockchain nears peak hype: UK politicos to probe crypto-coin

Digi currencies falling under glare of Treasury committee

Hot on the heels of Bitcoin’s dramatic rise and fall - and rise, British parliamentarians have decided to launch an inquiry into digital currencies.

The Treasury Committee, one of the more influential of the House of Commons’ talking shops, today confirmed it will investigate the impact of cryptocurrencies and how they can be regulated.

“People are becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but they may not be aware that they are currently unregulated in the UK, and that there is no protection for individual investors,” said committee chair Nicky Morgan.

“Striking the right balance between regulating digital currencies to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses, whilst not stifling innovation, is crucial.”

As well as looking at possible regulatory regimes - including what other countries are doing - the committee wants to assess the risks cryptocurrencies pose to governments, banks and the public, such as money laundering or cyber-crime.

The inquiry comes as Bitcoin hit a three-week high on Tuesday, reaching $11,900 for one Bitcoin, more than recovering from the low at the start of this month of slightly below $7,000 - although still not hitting last year's heady $20,000 heights. Reuters linked the recovery to South Korea's decision to relax its previously strict regulatory stance.

But other countries continue to treat the technology with extreme caution, as they try to get to grips with regulation and warn the public of the dangers of investing in anything that says blockchain in the name, with some banks going so far as to ban Bitcoin purchases by their cards.

Many regulators and government bodies - from the European Commission to the US Securities and Exchange Commission - have made no secret of their disdain for Bitcoin.

And Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, this week said Bitcoin had “pretty much failed” as a currency when compared against standard benchmarks.

But the committee also plans to investigate the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the underlying distributed ledger technology, for instance in boosting security or disrupting the economy or work of the public sector.

The committee said it would announce witnesses in due course, but will first be accepting written evidence on the inquiry topics.®

Other stories you might like

  • US won’t prosecute ‘good faith’ security researchers under CFAA
    Well, that clears things up? Maybe not.

    The US Justice Department has directed prosecutors not to charge "good-faith security researchers" with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if their reasons for hacking are ethical — things like bug hunting, responsible vulnerability disclosure, or above-board penetration testing.

    Good-faith, according to the policy [PDF], means using a computer "solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability."

    Additionally, this activity must be "carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services."

    Continue reading
  • Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips
    AI chips are sucking down 600W+ and the solution could be to drown them.

    Intel this week unveiled a $700 million sustainability initiative to try innovative liquid and immersion cooling technologies to the datacenter.

    The project will see Intel construct a 200,000-square-foot "mega lab" approximately 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus, where the chipmaker will qualify, test, and demo its expansive — and power hungry — datacenter portfolio using a variety of cooling tech.

    Alongside the lab, the x86 giant unveiled an open reference design for immersion cooling systems for its chips that is being developed by Intel Taiwan. The chip giant is hoping to bring other Taiwanese manufacturers into the fold and it'll then be rolled out globally.

    Continue reading
  • US recovers a record $15m from the 3ve ad-fraud crew
    Swiss banks cough up around half of the proceeds of crime

    The US government has recovered over $15 million in proceeds from the 3ve digital advertising fraud operation that cost businesses more than $29 million for ads that were never viewed.

    "This forfeiture is the largest international cybercrime recovery in the history of the Eastern District of New York," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement

    The action, Peace added, "sends a powerful message to those involved in cyber fraud that there are no boundaries to prosecuting these bad actors and locating their ill-gotten assets wherever they are in the world."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022