Nearly a month after Janet Yellen, the United States Treasury Secretary, expressed concern regarding the use of cryptocurrency for 'illicit finance', Jesse Powell, the CEO of Bitcoin exchange 'Kraken', has speculated that governments around the world may crackdown on the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Powell said that 'regulatory uncertainty' around digital currencies is likely to remain in place for some time. He added that one of the reasons behind the likely crackdown on cryptocurrency could be that conventional banks may lose sheen if digital currencies grow bigger in stature.
Earlier, Yellen had said, “It (cryptocurrency) is a highly speculative asset and I think people should be aware that it can be extremely volatile. I do worry about potential losses that investors can suffer.”
Meanwhile, Powell wished that the US and international regulators don’t take a narrow view on cryptocurrency. Notably, Powell's Kraken is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and has over 6 million clients. Similar to its rival Coinbase, Powell-led Kraken is also eyeing a public listing. According to reports, Kraken might roll out its IPO sometime next year.
Powell's remarks assume significance as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the US had proposed a regulation in December last year which would make it mandatory for the users of centralized cryptocurrency exchanges — who want to move their holdings onto their own private wallet or to someone else's — to provide detailed personal information for transactions greater than $3,000.
Not just the US, even India is also mulling restrictions on the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to multiple reports, the Indian government wishes to ban 'private' virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and build a framework for an 'official' digital currency.