As the price of bitcoin plummets, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is teaming up with other agencies to regulate cryptocurrencies, CNBC reported. “The Treasury secretary has been out in front on this. He’s formed a virtual currency working group of ourselves, the SEC, the Fed” and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in response to a question in a government hearing. Giancarlo also said he has talked with Mnuchin about cryptocurrencies on several occasions.
Even without heavy U.S. government regulation, customers are finding it a bit more expensive to buy cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reported. Coinbase Inc. said that its customers are facing “cash advance” fees when they purchase bitcoin or other digital currencies with their credit cards. Their announcement comes on the heels of news that several banks are outright banning the purchase of cryptocurrencies.
Well, it was only a matter of time: Crypto scammers are targeting Eastman Kodak Co.’s new digital currency, Fortune reported. The company is saying that several bogus websites and Facebook accounts are not just advertising their currency: They are attempting to lure customers in by offering to sell KodakCoin to them, which hasn’t even been released yet. When the actual (legit) cryptocurrency is launched, photographers could be able to get paid in the currency whenever their images are used.
And, in the U.K., a big financial company has banned its customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their cards, Express reported. A spokesperson for Virgin Money told Express: “Following a review of our policies, I can confirm customers will no longer be able to use their Virgin Money credit card to purchase cryptocurrencies.” But Virgin Money is not the only bank in the U.K. that won’t facilitate cryptocurrency transactions in the future — other banks there are expected to follow in their footsteps.
But while British banks may not be crazy about crypto, a small Canadian bank is seeking to help keep digital coins safe, Bloomberg reported. VersaBank Inc. is reportedly creating a virtual safety deposit box that could store digital coins and other virtual assets. The bank, which is based in London, Ontario, plans to roll out the service in June to customers around the world.
And the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said there are cracks in the “house of bitcoin,” CNBC reported. Agustin Carstens called bitcoin a “combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.” To make matters worse, the proliferation of copycat currencies may lead to a time when cryptocurrencies aren’t actually worth anything, he said.