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 New York to regulate Bitcoins following hearing where Winklevoss twins testified about the risks of digital currency - just days after their business partner was arrested on money laundering charges

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PostSubject: New York to regulate Bitcoins following hearing where Winklevoss twins testified about the risks of digital currency - just days after their business partner was arrested on money laundering charges   Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:31 pm

New York to regulate Bitcoins following hearing where Winklevoss twins testified about the risks of digital currency - just days after their business partner was arrested on money laundering charges


  • New York could become the first state to regulate digital currency
  • The Winklevoss twins' business partner in the Bitcoing business was arrested over the weekend on money laundering charges
  • Authorities say Charlie Shrem conspired to launder money by helping to funnel cash to illicit online drugs bazaar


ByDaily Mail Reporterand Reuters
PUBLISHED: 00:41 EST, 29 January 2014 | UPDATED: 06:29 EST, 29 January 2014

New York's top bank regulator on Tuesday revealed new plans to regulate businesses handling transactions in bitcoin this year, saying the state may issue new financial services licenses tailored to virtual currencies.

Benjamin Lawsky, New York's financial services superintendent, raised his idea for a "BitLicense" in a hearing a day after a prominent bitcoin entrepreneur was arrested on money laundering charges.

'The first job is to get rid of money laundering,' said Lawsky, speaking to panelists at the hearing whose panelists included the investor twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and the venture capitalist Fred Wilson.



Winklevi: The Winklevoss brothers testified during the hearing about regulating Bitcoins just days after their business partner was arrested




Virtual currency: New York will be one of the first state's in the country to regulate the use of virtual currency, widely known as Bitcoins

The Winkelvoss' testimony comes just days after their business partner in the digital currency business, Charlie Shrem - the vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, which has the financial backing of the famous twins - was arrested on charges that he conspired to launder money by helping to funnel cash to illicit online drugs bazaar Silk Road.
The 24-year-old entrepreneur, who lives above a bar he jointly owns in Manhattan that accepts bitcoins as payment, was CEO of BitInstant, a bitcoin exchange company that closed last summer.

According to prosecutors, Shrem conspired with a Florida resident, Robert Faiella, who ran an illegal exchange, to sell more than $1million in bitcoins to users of Silk Road, which was shuttered by authorities last year.



Regulations: Benjamin Lawsky announced potential plans to offer licenses for businesses that deal in Bitcoins



Busted: 24-year-old Charlie Shrem was arrested over the weekend on money laundering charges

Faiella, 52, is also charged in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with conspiring to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He was arrested at his home in Coral Gables, Florida.

Officials from New York's Department of Financial Services asked panelists how they could best imagine businesses handling bitcoins meeting regulatory requirements equivalent to those directing other financial firms to combat money laundering and keep track of customer activity.

While bitcoin experts testifying in the hearings said they agreed with the need for regulation, they warned an overly arduous system could stifle innovation and push startup companies and bitcoin transaction activity offshore.

The dialogue exposed a core conflict in the relationship between regulators and bitcoin enthusiasts. When it was first created in 2009, the digital currency, which is not controlled by any company or central bank, appealed mostly to a group of tech specialists, many of whom harbored strong mistrust in governments and were looking to escape government control.



Experts: Regulators brought together experts in the Bitcoin industry to participate in a hearing to determine how to govern digital currency



Fame: The Winklevoss brothers are best known for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole the idea for Facebook from them

The investors at Tuesday's hearing acknowledged activity in the bitcoin community has shifted away from this sentiment and said they wanted regulators to step in with rules for bitcoin businesses to follow. But, they said, too much regulation would damage bitcoin's growth.

'I sympathize with Jamie Dimon,' Wilson said at one emotional moment during the hearing, which he later described as a 'rant.'

'He runs an overregulated business,' Wilson said of Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, which paid nearly $20 billion over the past year to resolve various regulatory and legal problems.

'I'm not sure I share all the sympathy,' Lawsky said, adding he believed that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 would have been more difficult to carry out if better anti-money laundering laws for financial firms had been in place.

An effort similar to New York's to regulate virtual currencies is underway in California, according to a source familiar with a series of private meetings between bitcoin business leaders and state officials.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2547880/Winklevoss-twins-testify-hearing-aimed-regulating-Bitcoin-industry-just-days-partner-virtual-currency-business-arrested-money-laundering-charges.html#ixzz2roGPaANs

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PostSubject: Re: New York to regulate Bitcoins following hearing where Winklevoss twins testified about the risks of digital currency - just days after their business partner was arrested on money laundering charges   Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:47 pm

Bitcoin exchange CEO arrested
By Allison Ross · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Posted: 9 am ET



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  • [email=?subject=http://www.bankrate.com/financing/banking/bitcoin-exchange-ceo-arrested/]Email[/email]



As the bitcoin community continues to work to gain mainstream acceptance, it's been hit with the news that one of its proponents and cheerleaders has been arrested.
Charlie Shrem, chief executive of bitcoin exchange BitInstant, was arrested Sunday and charged with money laundering after the U.S. Department of Justice alleged that he and another man "schemed" to exchange bitcoins so people could make illegal drug purchases on the online marketplace Silk Road.
"Hiding behind their computers," Shrem and co-defendant Robert Faiella, a Silk Road user who operated under the name BTCKing, allegedly exchanged more than $1 million in bitcoins "for the benefit of Silk Road users, so that the users could, in turn, make illegal purchases on Silk Road," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Shrem was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, according to the release. Authorities say he knew some of the bitcoins he was selling were being used for drugs, but did not alert authorities.
"Truly innovative business models don't need to resort to old-fashioned law-breaking, and when bitcoins, like any traditional currency, are laundered and used to fuel criminal activity, law enforcement has no choice but to act," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a prepared statement. "We will aggressively pursue those who would co-opt new forms of currency for illicit purposes."
Shrem's arrest surprised the bitcoin community and provided another reminder to consumers about the cryptocurrency's history with illegal activities.
The Silk Road was an online black market people used to anonymously buy and sell illegal products and activities, and its payment method was the bitcoin. When the FBI shut down the Silk Road in October, it seized millions of dollars' worth in bitcoins, becoming the holder of the largest single bitcoin wallet.
Bitcoin proponents have been working to distance the cryptocurrency from its association with the Silk Road and have been trying instead to tout the benefits of the technology. Shrem was among the leaders of that movement. He was even called a "Bitcoin evangelist" by The Wall Street Journal. In addition to his company, BitInstant (which counts the Winklevoss twins among its investors), Shrem is also vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and is part owner of the EVR restaurant in Manhattan that accepts bitcoins.


Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/banking/bitcoin-exchange-ceo-arrested/#ixzz2rooU8WCp 
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