Since the closure of his bank in Puerto Rico, Peter Schiff has been at the receiving end of Bitcoin (BTC) proponents, reminding him this wouldn’t have happened if he was using BTC.
The latest to taunt the gold proponent is none other than El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who has had a fair share of interactions with Schiff ever since El Salvador adopted BTC as a legal tender last year.
Bukele responded to one of the tweets made by Schiff in January this year criticizing BTC and predicting that the likes of MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and Bukele himself would eventually have to sell their BTC holdings as price drops. The President responded to the tweet by asking about his bank.
The exchange between the two critics comes when the global financial markets are in ruins. On the one hand, the crypto market has lost more than 60% of its market cap from the top, and on the other, the equity market is at an all-time low.
Schiff has been quite vocal about his bank closure and has blamed the corrupt local government for it. He has said that the government is illegally trying to extort him for criticizing them.
While Schiff claims the bank was closed due to his criticism of the government, it highlights how centralized financial institutions such as banks often curtail financial freedom. The price of BTC might fluctuate over time, but the owner is in full control of their funds if they haven’t put them on a centralized exchange.
Critics often highlight the volatility in the crypto market. Still, the traditional financial market is in no better state either, with inflation touching decade highs and several top stocks registering more significant losses than BTC in 2022.
BTC has been crucial in offering financial freedom to nearly 70% of the unbanked population of El Salvador. Although the price of BTC has dipped more than 60% from its top and critics often like to point out the decline in the number of BTC purchases by the Central American nation, the country has onboarded 4 million unbanked using their national Bitcoin wallet.
El Salvador’s remittance network has been enhanced by the BTC adoption, accounting for millions in cross-border transactions with minimal fees. The country has proven that Bitcoin can offer financial freedom to the unbanked.
US government officials who privately own cryptocurrencies are now banned from working on regulations and policies that could affect the value of digital assets.
A new advisory notice released by the US Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on Tuesday stated that the de minimis exemption — which allows for the owners of securities who hold an amount below a certain threshold to work on policy related to that security — is universally inapplicable when it comes to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
“As a result, an employee who holds any amount of a cryptocurrency or stablecoin may not participate in a particular matter if the employee knows that particular matter could have a direct and predictable effect on the value of their cryptocurrency or stablecoins.”
The notice provided an example scenario whereby an employee who owns a mere $100 of a certain stablecoin, is asked to work on stablecoin regulation — the employee in question cannot participate in work concerning regulation “until and unless they divest their interests in [that] stablecoin.”
The notice specified that this ruling still applies even if the cryptocurrency or stablecoin in question were to ever “constitute [a security] for purposes of the federal or state securities laws.”
The new ruling applies universally to all federal government employees including The White House, The Federal Reserve and The Department of the Treasury.
The term “de minimis” comes from a longer Latin phrase, meaning: “the law does not concern itself with trifles.”
The only exemption from the OGE’s crackdown on crypto ownership is that policy makers are allowed to hold up to $50,000 in mutual funds that invest broadly in companies that would benefit from crypto and blockchain technology. The reasoning for this exemption is because they “are considered diversified funds.”
Despite the seemingly harsh rules concerning employee investment in the crypto sector, the United States continues to move forward in integrating the cryptocurrency industry, with the US president Joe Biden announcing a “whole-of-government” approach to regulation concerning the digital asset sector.
Boris Johnson, who has been the prime minister of the United Kingdom since 2019, said he will step down as leader of the country’s Conservative Party but will remain head of state until a replacement has been found.
In a speech in front of 10 Downing Street in London on Thursday, Johnson said “it is clearly now the will of the Parliamentary Conservative Party, that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” with a transition timetable set to be announced next week. The prime minister added that he would remain in government, as would recently-appointed cabinet members, to serve until the party decided on a new leader.
Many in Johnson’s government and opposing political parties had called for his resignation following reports the prime minister knew former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher had allegedly groped two men but chose to promote him to a senior position. This week, Chancellor of the Exchequer for the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak and Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen both announced they would be leaving their positions in Johnson’s cabinet in response to his handling of the allegations, as did more than 50 members of parliament before the prime minister’s speech on Thursday.
Nadhim Zahawi, a member of parliament for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010, has taken over for Sunak as chancellor of the Exchequer. At the time of publication, the U.K. government had not announced a replacement for Glen, who said in his resignation letter that “vital reforms" to the country’s financial services were ready to be presented to parliament.
Under Johnson, who took office three years ago, the U.K. government and regulatory agencies adopted many policies largely favorable to crypto firms, but also addressed possible risks and misuse of the innovative technology. The country’s Advertising Standards Authority banned many crypto companies from advertising in public spaces, citing the need to warn investors of volatile crypto prices.
The U.K. Treasury Department has also made pushes to incorporate stablecoins used as a means of payment into the country’s existing regulatory framework, working with the Financial Conduct Authority, the agency responsible for permitting firms to “carry out crypto asset activities.” At the time of publication, the FCA has approved 35 companies to operate in the U.K. in compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism regulations.
It’s unclear how the change in leadership in the U.K. government could affect these policies going forward. Many reports have put forth Sunak as one of the possible replacements for Johnson, suggesting that pro-crypto regulations could remain at the forefront of the government’s agenda — the former chancellor of the Exchequer was behind many proposed reforms promoting the adoption of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.