Don’t let the crypto circus in congress fool you – Michael Casey

Michael Casey, Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

Michael Casey, Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

From Coindesk

Progress?

Judging from the most eye-catching headlines from two separate hearings on Capitol Hill Wednesday, it’s tempting to conclude there has been little of it from U.S. regulators and legislators in their comprehension of cryptocurrencies these past five years.

In fact, Rep. Brad Sherman’s laughable suggestion during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in the house that the U.S. ban mining and purchases of bitcoin could suggest we’ve gone backward since bitcoin was first discussed in Congress in the fall of 2013.

At that time, the sight of Jennifer Shasky Calvery, then-director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), telling bitcoin exchanges and wallets they needed to register with FinCEN, was ultimately viewed positively by crypto enthusiasts. In showing that regulators like her weren’t inherently hostile to cryptocurrencies, Calvery’s comments led to a doubling in bitcoin’s price over the following two weeks to more than $1,100 in early December.

Now, five years on, some officials do sound a bit hostile.

At a separate hearing the same day as Sherman’s grandstanding, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said cryptocurrencies are “great if you’re trying to hide or launder money.” Had he noticed how the FBI had traced the bitcoin transactions of the 12 Russians indicted last week for trying to tamper with U.S. elections?

The folly of his position was indirectly identified over at the other hearing, where Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Michael Conaway — who presumably did not intend to take a dig at the Fed Chairman — joked, “As long as the stupid criminals keep using bitcoin, it’ll be great.”

It’s best to look beyond the eye-catching headlines, however. In the wider context, it’s clear that we have actually come some way forward in regulatory comprehension of this technology. And that’s a good thing. Read More »

Join the #MITSloanExperts “The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything” Twitter chat, February 28

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, by Michael Casey and Paul Vigna

MIT Sloan’s Michael Casey and Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna, authors of The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, will discuss their new book that examines applications of blockchain technology with the potential to provide new financial security, social change, and personal empowerment, during a Twitter chat on February 28th at 1 p.m. ET.

Michael Casey is a Senior Lecturer of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Senior Advisor for the Digital Currency Imitative at MIT’s Media Lab, where he studies blockchain and its applications in the social and economic sectors. Additionally, Casey is a writer and researcher in the field of economics, finance, and digital-currency technology. Casey received his undergraduate degree from The University of Western Australia, his graduate diploma in Journalism from Curtin University of Technology and received his Master of Arts and English in 1994 from Cornell University.

Paul Vigna is a markets reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where he focuses on blockchain, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency news. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and has authored three books to date. Vigna received his undergraduate degree from Fairfield University in 1990.

Casey and Vigna will discuss their work with Mark Hochstein, managing editor of CoinDesk and veteran business journalist with experience covering financial services and bitcoin innovations.

Join us on Twitter on February 28 at 1 p.m. ET, follow along using #MITSloanExperts, and potentially win a free copy of The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything.