fintech

Lawmakers hint at regulatory models for Facebook cryptocurrency
Libra: ‘Which is it, fish or fowl?’

“This looks exactly like an exchange-traded fund,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members suggested Wednesday that Facebook Inc.‘s proposed cryptocurrency could be deemed an exchange-traded fund, a currency or a commodity, all of which could require some degree of regulatory oversight.

“What we’re struggling with is: What are you?” said Democratic Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter summing up a four-hour House Financial Services Committee grilling of a company executive about the proposed cryptocurrency known as Libra.

Senators press census chief on cyber, outreach fears
After citizenship question abandoned, worries continue

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., arrives in the Capitol building for a vote on April 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Census Bureau’s chief on Tuesday pushed back on concerns about cyberattacks and outreach in rural areas in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In the first congressional testimony by a bureau official since the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from the 2020 census, the issue was only briefly addressed. Senators instead focused on the implementation of the count next year, which will be the first to rely primarily on online responses. That change has raised fears of cyber intrusions and technology shortfalls.

Facebook incurs wrath from both parties at Libra currency hearing
Bipartisan group asks why Americans should trust Facebook with their paychecks given its repeated data privacy scandals

David Marcus, head of Facebook's Calibra digital wallet service, prepares to testify during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations" on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators from both parties questioned at a hearing Tuesday why Americans should trust Facebook’s new digital currency system with their paychecks given the social media giant’s repeated data privacy scandals.

Libra, a cryptocurrency under construction by a Facebook subsidiary called Calibra, was announced in May to a blast of bipartisan incredulity by lawmakers and the Trump administration. Critics asked how the company could ensure that Libra, which is designed to be anonymous, could be prevented from being used by money launderers, traffickers or terrorists.

States, eyeing money in abandoned bitcoin, rewrite laws
Escheatment laws date back to feudal England. Now they’re getting a cryptocurrency makeover

New York is among the latest to consider legislation calling for unclaimed cryptocurrency to be transferred to the state after the digital assets have been abandoned. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Cryptocurrency is bumping up against centuries-old legal doctrines on abandoned property, presenting new concerns about who actually holds these digital assets and how states are able to claim them.

States are seeking to apply escheatment laws — which date back to feudal England — to present-day cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, bitFlyer and zcash. That’s even as the technological issues remain unresolved.

House demands to see Trump’s cyberwarfare directive
But senators who oversee the Pentagon are not as concerned

Rep. Jim Langevin chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He’s part of a bipartisan group asking the Trump administration to share its secret cyberwarfare directive. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A small but significant quarrel is emerging between a bipartisan team of lawmakers in the House and the Trump administration over how the Pentagon is going about using its newly minted authority to strike back against adversaries in cyberspace.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and its emerging threats subcommittee — in a rare instance of bipartisan pushback against the White House — have repeatedly asked administration officials for a still-secret memo issued by President Donald Trump that lifted earlier restrictions on U.S. Cyber Command’s operations against adversaries.

Fintech industry leaders tackle the great decentralization debate
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 10

Disagreements over common terms and jargon are dominating the world of fintech. (Lidiia Moor/iStock)

A core challenge when it comes to fintech is the so-called blurred lines — when the definition of a word invokes different answers. The biggest blurring of all happens with the concept of decentralization — what it means, what it looks like, and why regulators care.

Mnuchin blasts Facebook's Libra currency on eve of hearings
The treasury secretary expressed concern it ‘could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data on April 11, 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he worries Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers.”(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday, one day before Congress begins a series of hearings probing the social media giant’s first foray into next-generation financial technology.

“The U.S. welcomes responsible innovation including new tech that improve the efficiency of the financial system,” Mnunchin said during a White House press briefing.

Mnuchin: Parties moving closer on debt limit, spending caps
Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call

Steven Mnuchin, left, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, arrives with Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., during Mnuchin's Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017. Mnuchin said Monday the White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal on spending caps and the debt ceiling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal that would raise austere spending caps as well as the statutory debt ceiling.

Mnuchin told reporters at a briefing on cryptocurrency regulation that he planned to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., later Monday. The two have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call.

The mountains between Congress and modernization

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., are seen during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress business meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Time is running out for the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to find bipartisan consensus on a variety of issues.

House doing ‘deep dive’ to smooth new member office setup
‘It’s been sort of a nightmare,’ House CAO Philip Kiko tells select committee

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other members of the 116th Congress' freshman class had several issues getting their offices up and running, which has prompted a "deep dive" by the House Chief Administrative Officer to address the problems. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House is conducting a “deep dive” into the problems of setting up offices for the 116th Congress’ large freshman class, according to CAO Philip Kiko.

“It’s been sort of a nightmare,” Kiko told the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress during a Thursday hearing on ways to ease the transition for newly elected members.