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The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

Bitcoin conspiracy theorists have long suspected the U.S. government, among others, would like to shut down bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s first decade has seen its price explode, making early adopters overnight millionaires, and prompting some of the world’s biggest technology companies to create their own versions of bitcoin.

Now, it’s been revealed federal prosecutor-turned bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun was asked to look into “shutting down” bitcoin by her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012.

“They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’–there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” Haun told CNBC in a wide-ranging interview, adding a colleague asked her to take down bitcoin.

“That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.”

Over the next few years Haun would go on to sit on the board of U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and teach a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

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Any serious attempt made by the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down bitcoin inevitably came to naught, with Haun saying, “it would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash.'”

Haun, who is now the first female general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, has worked closely with social media giant Facebook in development of its troubled libra cryptocurrency project.

U.S. government opposition to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has become far more transparent since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Earlier this year, U.S. president Trump sent shockwaves throughout the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry when he tweeted a vicious attack on Facebook’s bitcoin rival plans, branding it and bitcoin “unregulated crypto assets.”

Others in the U.S. government were quick to tow the line, with U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin adding his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.

Elsewhere, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has warned companies against creating their own cryptocurrencies.

“What we heard with libra were the same criticisms [I’d first heard about bitcoin]” Haun said.

“They were just heightened and they got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.”

Facebook’s libra has been under fire over the last week, with internet payments company PayPal, one of the Libra Association’s founding members, suddenly pulling out of the group on Friday.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, had hoped to work with global regulators to clear libra’s path to launch in June 2020 but appears to have underestimated the level of opposition to the scheme.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

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Legendary Investor Makes Sudden, ‘Psycho’ Attack On Bitcoin

Bitcoin has divided opinion since it was created a little over a decade ago, with some seeing it as a sort of digital gold, while others dismissing it as a scam or pyramid scheme.

The bitcoin price, up over 200% so far this year after a disastrous 2018, has remained highly volatile, despite some thinking bitcoin has become a safe haven asset, similar to gold.

Now, legendary investor Mark Mobius, who last year founded his own Mobius Capital Partners after some 30 years at Franklin Templeton Investments, has attacked bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, branding them ‘psycho currencies,’ and predicting their emergence will ultimately push up the price of “real, hard” assets, such as gold.

“I call them psycho currencies, because it’s a matter of faith whether you believe in bitcoin or any of the other cyber-currencies,” Mobius told Bloomberg, a financial newswire.

Earlier this year, Mobius expressed his tacit support of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, saying they fulfill “a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily and confidentially,” and he expected them to be “alive and well” in the future.

Mobius, who once branded bitcoin a “real fraud,” appeared to have changed his tune on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

However, his latest comments suggest Mobius’ belief in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies extends only as far as their emergence will boost the price of gold.

“I think with the rise of [bitcoin], there’s going to be a demand for real, hard assets, and that includes gold,” he added.

Gold has recently hit a six-year high due to a sharp rise in expectations of a U.S. and global recession, looser monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks, and the escalating U.S. China trade war.

Earlier this month, some bitcoin and cryptocurrency traders and investors excitedly proclaimed bitcoin a so-called safe haven asset, declaring it had joined the likes of gold as a refuge from rocky or uncertain markets.

However, a sudden, sharp fall in the bitcoin price as global markets continued to slide put paid to hopes bitcoin had become a safe haven asset.

Meanwhile, Mobius said investors should be “buying [gold] at any level,” pointing to dovish moves from many of the world’s biggest central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Fed.

“Gold’s long-term prospect is up, up and up, and the reason why I say that is money supply is up, up and up,” Mobius said.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Legendary Investor Makes Sudden, ‘Psycho’ Attack On Bitcoin

Bill Harris, former PayPal CEO, discusses his op-ed on why he thinks bitcoin is a scam. »

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Former PayPal CEO Bill Harris Reveals Why He Thinks Bitcoin Is The Biggest Scam In History | CNBC

Bitcoin Pioneer Files For Bankruptcy – Emilio Janus

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Carlson started mining bitcoin as a hobby back in 2012 and saw the potential of cheap hydro-electric power in the state. A former Microsoft engineer, Carlson built the world’s largest bitcoin mine in an old furniture store in Wenatchee in 2013.

The benefit of the reduced energy costs quickly became felt and the company expanded to offer hosting services to other miners. In central Washington, electricity sells for less than a quarter of the national average.

Bitcoin Boomtown

In 2017, as the bitcoin price exploded, GigaWatt planned a multi-million dollar expansion on a nine-acre plot in Douglas County. Local authorities supported the scheme to create 24 prefabricated ‘pods’ where miners could set up their operations.

The company raised $22.6 million dollars in an ICO, issuing tokens redeemable for discount hosting services. Carlson and the other three owners also invested $25 million to back the project. Everything was looking rosy for GigaWatt and Wenatchee.

Small-town Slowdown

If falling bitcoin prices made it hard to attract investors and clients, construction delays and budget overruns threw a real spanner in the works. The hosting pods remain incomplete and GigaWatt has faced several lawsuits from investors.

According to the bankruptcy filing, GigaWatt holds less than $50,000 in assets and has creditor claims of $7 million. It faces eviction proceedings from the Port of Douglas County, although these are ‘on hold’ pending the latest filing.

Climate Change

The climate has somewhat changed for miners across Washington State recently. Towns are pushing back against the previously welcomed miners and Grant County has introduced higher energy tariffs for ‘evolving industries.’

Despite this, the Port Executive Director hopes that the project will still be completed, either by GigaWatt or another operator. She said:

The goal would be to have the project in some way shape or form completed so that it is a productive use for both the port district, in terms of lease revenue, but also providing jobs and economic growth for the community at large.

 

 

 

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