- Appearing on the Brave New Coin Crypto Conversation podcast, recent guest Andreas M. Antonopoulos highlighted the positive impact of decentralized protocols
- He also canvassed the proposal of novel FinCEN regulations and the data breach discovered by Ledger, a France-based hardware wallet for crypto assets
- The author of 5 books, which are based on digital assets, also reiterated the fact that ownership of cryptocurrency is solely defined by control of one’s private keys
On FinCEN and Ledger
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a proposal for regulation of banks and money service businesses (MSBs) with regards to digital assets as well as convertible virtual currencies (CVCs) on 23rd December, 2020. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) outlines the mandate for keeping records, submitting reports and conducting a thorough background check for identity verification of customers involved in the trade and transaction of CVCs. The proposal has been justified on the grounds of national security.
Given the above context, Andreas Antonopoulos described the decision as “cynical” and “contemptuous”. The process is definitely going to pose a risk to customer data, which would be easily accessible to authorities designated by FinCEN. Andreas also mentioned Mnuchin and his history of fraud within the mortgage and robo foreclosure industry, bringing up the displacement of millions from their homes as a result of such actions. The announcement of this proposal was unsurprising to him, as he concluded that the timing was fruitful for the democratic process, insisting on the latter’s contempt towards the population. Adding to this, Antonopoulos suggested the downside of the decision will be its effect on other countries, who will eventually adopt similar regulations.
With regards to the Ledger data breach, which leaked numerous customer email addresses along with personal contact details of some users, he spoke about the flood of phishing activity that arose as a result of this incident. Users would receive text messages or emails intended to generate fear and hurry to push them towards making rash decisions, and were then redirected to websites which would demand the 12 to 24 mnemonic phrase. This phrase forms the basis of digital asset security.
“Decentralized Protocols are a Force for Good”
Talking about the empowerment and progress that technology brings to people’s lives, Antonopoulos describes himself as a “techno optimist”, explaining that the advancement of technology over the years has extricated humans species from the restrictions of the past. The purchase of hope.com by Michael Saylor, the leader of MicroStrategy, is one such instance of changing brand image, which now aligns the idea of Bitcoin with hope.
Elaborating on “not your keys, not your coins”, Antonopoulos says that he coined this expression as a description for the notion that custody and control mean the same thing when it comes to cryptocurrency. He also added that there is an extreme lack of security observed in exchange hosted wallets, because of a single structure for ownership and control. Hence, the security of all users becomes of utmost priority to deflect attackers from robbing digital assets.
The entire podcast can be accessed here.
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