The future of US crypto regulation. White House calls for bipartisan support of federal privacy legislation. Philippine Senate investigates phishing campaign.

At a glance.

  • The future of US crypto regulation.
  • White House calls for bipartisan support of federal privacy legislation. 
  • Philippine Senate investigates phishing campaign.

The future of US crypto regulation.

In March, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for several federal agencies to issue reports on how best to regulate the cryptocurrency market, and many of those reports are due in coming weeks. The Washington Post reports that the US Treasury Department is planning to warn the Biden administration that unless the government implements new proposed regulations for the digital currency market, cryptocurrencies could pose significant financial risks. The Treasury is expected to release four separate reports this month highlighting how the crypto market poses fraud risks for investors, as well as the potential financial hazards of stablecoins, a form of digital currency linked to the value of the US dollar. 

In its Future of Money report, the Treasury will also support the establishment of a digital dollar, as long as the White House and Congress agree that government-created tokens are in the “national interest,” CoinDesk adds. The issuing of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could have major ramifications for the digital assets industry and how consumers interact with traditional banks. However, approval rests with the Federal Reserve, which has made it clear that it will not go forward without Congressional support, and it’s unclear what that signal of support might look like. 

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has also issued a report proposing that lawmakers consider restrictions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from crypto-mining, the Block reports. The report states that government institutions like the Environmental Protection Agency “should provide technical assistance and initiate a collaborative process with states, communities, the crypto-asset industry, and others to develop effective, evidence-based environmental performance standards for the responsible design, development, and use of environmentally responsible crypto-asset technologies.” However, if those efforts prove ineffective, OSTP says Congress should “explore executive actions,” to decrease the impact of crypto-mining on the environment.

Meanwhile, speaking at an industry conference on Thursday, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler indicated he would support Congress’s decision to give increased authority to the SEC’s sister markets regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to oversee certain cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. As the Wall Street Journal explains, until now digital currency has gone largely unregulated, and the question over which government entity would be given authority over the crypto market has spurred competition among American regulating bodies. Ensler added the caveat, “Let’s ensure that we don’t inadvertently undermine securities laws. We’ve got a $100 trillion capital market. Crypto is less than $1 trillion worldwide.”

White House calls for bipartisan support of federal privacy legislation. 

On Thursday the White House issued a statement in support of “bipartisan interest in Congress in passing legislation to protect privacy.” As Protocol explains, The statement comes as California lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempt to slow progress on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, Congress’ main data protection bill. Despite the bill gaining the support of privacy advocates, California legislators are concerned the new law could preempt the state’s California Consumer Privacy Act. However, removal of preemption provisions could prevent the bill from gaining Republican support for the bill, making it unlikely to pass the Senate. The White House also suggested that Section 230, which limits the liability of platforms of all sizes for content that users post, should not disproportionately benefit the most powerful tech companies, and called for more competition in the tech sector, urging companies to prioritize “safety by design standards and practices for online platforms, products, and services” to protect kids and teens.”

Philippine Senate investigates phishing campaign.

A large-scale phishing scam has forced Philippine telecom providers to block over a billion malicious texts, and the Philippine senate launched an investigation yesterday to determine who might be behind the operation, Reuters reports. Senator Grace Poe, head of the senate’s public services committee, stated, “This is a staggering number of messages that prey upon the vulnerable like those who are unemployed, in need of money or are just unfamiliar with these schemes.” Poe is pushing for the revival of a bill, previously vetoed by the president, that would require SIM card buyers to register with network providers, making it more difficult for threat actors to carry out such scams or spread misinformation.

Nick Ascoli, VP of Threat Research at PIXM, finds it a hopeful sign that a government in Southeast Asia seems likely to increase the resources it’s devoting to cybercrime prevention and enorcement. “There is a need for regulations that represent a sincere and holistic attempt at taking steps towards curbing cybercrime operations affecting the region. Unfortunately, scammers use many techniques to send luring text messages to victims, few of which involve the actual purchase of a physical phone and SIM card. Most involve the use of internet based SMS Gateways. While the specific proposal would likely not address the issue, it represents a hopeful sentiment that Southeast Asian governments will increase their use of federal resources in stopping cybercrime.”

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