Hello and welcome to this week's edition of Overbit Insights. We'll jump right in this week with a look at Facebook's latest effort to revitalise and its put-on-hold cryptocurrency project.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Facebook executives have met with senior Biden administration officials in recent weeks as the social media giant attempts to allay regulators' concerns about its controversial cryptocurrency project.
The problem? The effort is encountering some of the same regulatory concerns that it has faced for more than two years.
Despite rebranding and overhauling the project, which aims to establish a global network for instantaneous payments, Facebook and its partners continue to face scrutiny from some Treasury Department officials who believe the plans could jeopardise the financial system's stability.
According to the two sources, government officials are afraid that the proposed new network - an autonomous association supported by Facebook called Diem - could spread and endanger the larger economy if its value falls.
According to the sources, even though Diem is nominally autonomous, its affiliation with Facebook increases the danger because Facebook has the capacity to grow its production.
"I'm not sure how Facebook and the Diem Association could have addressed 'every legitimate concern' whenever there's overarching regulatory uncertainty that permeates many facets of the crypto space," Rep. Warren Davidson, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee's financial technology task force, said in a statement referring to the Facebook blog post.
In an interview, Marcus stressed how hard both Facebook and the Diem Association fought to persuade authorities that the project could be stable and safe - and that it could be independent of Facebook.
Despite the comments from David Marcus, head of Facebook Financial (F2), it seems clear that the battle for corporate-run financial systems will be an uphill one, particularly in the United States, where economic hegemony is a staple. We will do our best to keep you updated on how this story may evolve over the coming weeks and months.
Closing out this week's edition of Overbit Insights, we take a look at the flipside of the coin, where one national government voted unanimously to overhaul their financial system.
Ukraine is the fifth country in as many weeks to establish basic ground rules for the cryptocurrency industry, indicating that governments worldwide recognise that Bitcoin is here to stay.
The Ukrainian Parliament passed a measure legalizing and regulating Bitcoin with a nearly unanimous vote. The law was introduced in 2020 and is now on its way to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's desk. Until now, cryptocurrency in Ukraine has resided in legal limbo.
Locals were permitted to buy and exchange virtual currencies, although organizations and exchanges dealing in cryptocurrency were frequently monitored by law police. According to the Kyiv Post, officials have taken a hostile approach to virtual currency, labelling it a "scam," raiding crypto-related enterprises, and "frequently confiscating expensive equipment without any grounds."
In August, for example, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) shut down a network of "clandestine cryptocurrency exchanges" in Kyiv, the capital city. The SBU argued that these exchanges facilitated money laundering and provided transaction anonymity.
The new legislation also spells out specific fraud protections for persons who own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and in a first for Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada unicameral parliament, MPs have attempted to define key terminology in the crypto realm. If signed by the president, virtual assets, digital wallets, and private keys will be incorporated into Ukrainian law.
Unlike El Salvador's decision to make Bitcoin legal money, Ukraine's crypto law makes it challenging to implement Bitcoin as a payment method and does not put it on an equal footing with the Hryvnia, its currency.
However, the former nuclear power's move on Thursday is part of a more extensive campaign by Kyiv to embrace Bitcoin. According to the Kyiv Post, the country wants to open the cryptocurrency market to businesses and investors by 2022.
This is yet another intriguing development in the crypto world, and we'll keep an eye on it as time goes on.
Thank you for taking the time to read Overbit's Insights, and we'll see you next week!