Hello and welcome to the Overbit Round Up for this week. For our first story of the day, we're heading to the United Kingdom. Police seize a record $249 million in bitcoin in the United Kingdom. The Metropolitan Police in London confiscated about £180 million ($249 million) in cryptocurrencies, the force said, making it the largest confiscation in the UK.
According to the Met Police, the seizure is estimated to be one of the greatest in the world and comes just weeks after officers seized £114 million ($158 million) in cryptocurrencies in June. According to a news release issued on Tuesday, the seizures were carried out by the force's economic crime command in response to intelligence acquired about the transfer of illegal assets.
According to Detective Constable Joe Ryan, this month's seizure was a "significant landmark" in an ongoing operation. "Less than a month ago, we successfully seized £114 million in cryptocurrency. Our investigation since then has been complex and wide-ranging," he said.
Highlighting the announcement, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNult added: "Proceeds of crime are laundered in many different ways. While cash still remains king in the criminal world, as digital platforms develop, we're increasingly seeing organised criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money. Whilst some years ago this was fairly unchartered territory, we now have highly trained officers and specialist units working hard in this space to remain one step ahead of those using it for illicit gain."
Closing out today's edition of Overbit Weekly Round Up, we move over to the United States, where one of the world's most influential financial policymakers talked at length about stablecoins.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated that one of the greatest arguments for the US central bank to create a digital currency is eliminating the need for private alternatives such as cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
When asked if having a digital currency issued by the Fed would be a more feasible alternative than having multiple cryptocurrencies or stablecoins grow in the payments system, Powell agreed during a Senate hearing.
"I think that may be the case, and I think that's one of the arguments that are offered in favour of digital currency," Powell said during a hearing before the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
"That, in particular, you wouldn't need stablecoins, you wouldn't need cryptocurrencies if you had a digital US currency - I think that's one of the stronger arguments in its favour."
According to Powell, Fed officials will conduct a thorough examination of the digital payments universe in a discussion paper that may be issued in early September. He described it as a critical step in the Fed's attempts to decide whether to create a central bank digital currency or CBDC.
Powell expressed scepticism that crypto assets will become a primary payment method in the United States but said that stablecoins might acquire momentum. However, he believes that greater regulation is required before stablecoins can play a more prominent role in the financial system.
While Powell claims to be dubious of crypto asset's ability to go mainstream in America as a payment method, the sector seems to have garnered enough momentum to justify Powell spending time researching and openly discussing stable coins and CBDC's. As we've said throughout the year, this trend of governments and cryptocurrency converging will continue to be the story to watch going forward.
Thanks as always for reading Overbit Weekly Round Up, and have a great weekend.