Nobel Economist Paul Krugman Outlines His Issues with Cryptocurrency

In a recent New York Times op-ed titled “Transaction Costs and Tethers: Why I’m a Crypto Skeptic” Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman gave another explanation as to why he is a skeptic of the usefulness and future of cryptocurrencies.

Paul Krugman has been an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times who writes the occasional article lambasting cryptocurrencies.  His articles on cryptocurrency frequently reference the Tulip Bulb mania that occurred in the 17th century, and don’t ever efficiently criticize, or even confront, the technology behind cryptocurrencies.  His criticisms are solely focused on the general concept of virtual currency, and his comments on the technology backing crypto at largely appears to be uninformed.

Nevertheless, as a distinguished economist, his opinion is valued by many and should be noted. In his latest Op-Ed piece, Krugman confronts what he sees to be the two biggest issues with cryptocurrencies – transaction costs and the absence of tethering.

Paul Krugman: First issue is Transaction Costs

Krugman begins his Op-Ed by outlining the natural progression of monetary systems, referencing the constant reduction of transactional friction that has occurred in society. First, Krugman notes, there were gold and silver coins, which eventually transitioned to bank notes backed by fractional reserves. He also importantly notes the transition away from physical bank notes to digital banking, like debit and credit cards.

When looking at next progression of transactional technologies, cryptocurrencies immediately comes to mind, but Krugman objects, asserting that cryptocurrencies are aiming to set the monetary system back 300 years.

“Set against this history, the enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies seems very odd, because it goes exactly in the opposite of the long-run trend. Instead of near-frictionless transactions, we have high costs of doing business, because transferring a Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency unit requires providing a complete history of past transactions. Instead of money created by the click of a mouse, we have money that must be mined — created through resource-intensive computations…In other words, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are effectively celebrating the use of cutting-edge technology to set the monetary system back 300 years.”

Krugman’s assumptions on the effectiveness of fiat currency are all based around the ideal monetary system, in which governments dutifully create money and banks responsibly manage their monetary supplies.  As seen from the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank in the US, and recent banking issues in Greece, individuals cannot fully trust their banking systems. Krugman simply doesn’t seem to grasp the benefits of a decentralized monetary supply.

Moreover, Krugman does not confront the benefits incurred by digital currency, and the problems that can stem from using fiat currency.  Currently, the international settlement of funds is a lengthy and expensive process, and individuals sending small amounts can see sizeable fees stemming from wire transfer fees, a margin on the exchange rate, and foreign wire fees.

For businesses and banks sending large amounts abroad, the process can be much costlier. The current process requires funds to be passed through a chain of banks, with each bank representing a fee and a delay. Cryptocurrencies remove the delays and fees incurred by the banks and allow for nearly instant transactions with minimal fees.

Paul Krugman: Second Issue is the Absence of Tethering

Krugman then proceeds to explain the importance of what he describes as tethering.  He asserts that the value of fiat currency is largely based on the fact that the government forces it to be worth a certain value, saying:

“It’s backstopped by the fact that the U.S. government will accept dollars as payment of tax liabilities — liabilities it’s able to enforce because it’s a government. If you like, fiat currencies have underlying value because men with guns say they do. And this means that their value isn’t a bubble that can collapse if people lose faith.”

He also explains that the same situation is applicable to gold and other precious metals, as they are tethered by the fact that in addition to acting as a store of value, they “have real-world uses, both for jewelry and for things like filling teeth, that provide a weak but real tether to the real economy.”

Krugman notes that the absence of tethering is one of cryptocurrency’s greatest weaknesses, saying:

“Cryptocurrencies, by contrast, have no backstop, no tether to reality. Their value depends entirely on self-fulfilling expectations — which means that total collapse is a real possibility. If speculators were to have a collective moment of doubt, suddenly fearing that Bitcoins were worthless, well, Bitcoins would become worthless.”

Three features of Bitcoin that do in fact tether it to reality would be its transactional efficiency, resistance to censorship, and fixed supply.  Unlike traditional currency, Bitcoin can, in fact, be transferred to wallets located anywhere in the world in a relatively small amount of time.  Investors, holders, and users of Bitcoin can also rest assured knowing that there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins in existence, unlike fiat currency, which inherently loses value to inflation each year.  Also, the peer-to-peer decentralized nature of Bitcoin does not allow for censorship, which will always provide utility for a select group of people, no matter what the price is.

Krugman ends his Op-Ed with a request for cryptocurrency enthusiast to confront the question of what problem cryptocurrency solves, without trying to “shout down the skeptics with a mixture of technobabble and libertarian derp.”

Featured image from Shutterstock

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Blockchain Platform to Allow Users to Trade Gold for Virtual Currencies

A blockchain-based platform is creating a cryptocurrency pegged by gold, with plans to branch out into other precious metals in the coming years.

A company is creating an ecosystem where tangible assets such as gold can be traded for virtual currencies in a digital environment.

The platform, known as the Digital Gold Exchange (DGE for short,) says it has the goal of establishing a place where users can securely store their assets and trade with others “quickly, safely, and without intermediary intervention.”

It is designing a blockchain-based ecosystem which it hopes will allow individuals and companies to join – trading without borders wherever they are in the world.

Although gold is going to be a primary focus for the platform, DGE’s white paper says the company eventually plans to expand to other precious metals including diamonds, platinum and white gold. The company aims to make changing gold into tokens a fast experience, with conversion rates that are based on the official market prices listed on gold exchanges in South Korea and around the world.

According to DGE, one particular focus has been developing a trade system that is easy to understand, well designed and not too dissimilar from the payment processing systems commonly used on e-commerce sites – making its platform accessible and usable for customers from a range of age groups.

Partnerships established

Digital Gold Exchange says it has established partnerships with recognizable brands – and these agreements will result in a “stable and reliable ecosystem.”

According to the company, its first exclusive contract was signed in February with the Korea Gold Exchange 3M,  the country’s largest gold merchant.

In March, an agreement was reached with Happy Money, a brand whose gift cards can be used to make purchases on more than 500 brands in Korea. Under this deal, users will be able to exchange coins for these vouchers, which are accepted in book stores, restaurants, cinemas, music shops, coffee houses elsewhere.

The team behind the project says it is optimistic that these partnerships will continue to increase over the coming months.

The elements of the ecosystem

DGE says there are three main elements to its project. The first is a utility token known as TMTG, which stands for The Midas Touch Gold.

Although this token is not pegged to tangible assets such as gold, it can be used for purchasing other cryptocurrencies on the Digital Gold Exchange.

The ecosystem is also going to offer another token known as MDG. This can be bought on the DGE using TMGT tokens and is only tradable on this platform. Pegged to 1g of gold as a certificate, it can be traded to real gold at any time.

Finally, the platform tying these two tokens together is the Digital Gold Exchange, with a white paper describing it as having a “pivotal role in the ecosystem.”

A presale for its tokens was held in three stages throughout May and June, and this was followed by an initial coin offering which ran from July 10-25.

The company is aiming for its tokens to be listed on a number of coin exchanges over the coming months, beginning with IDCM on August 1 and Coinsuper Exchange on August 16. By February 2019, it is hoped that diamond trading will also commence.

DGE claims that its offering stands out from other forms of virtual money because its tokens “could bring value to the everyday lives of many people,” unlike firms that have launched cryptocurrencies without actually considering what they should be used for.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Crypto Markets Dump $15 Billion in 18 Hours

FOMO Moments

Markets are dumping in crypto land; XRP hangs on but Bitcoin, VeChain, Icon and Polymath slide.

Markets have dumped overnight and the selloff has continued leaving crypto land in a sea of red this morning. Roughly $12 billion has been shed from cryptocurrencies on the day as total market capitalization plummets back to just over $270 billion.

Bitcoin has lost around $500 equating to 5.3% at the time of writing. It is currently trading at $7,585 after falling hard to around $7,500 a few hours ago. Trade volume for BTC has risen slightly though but short term signals are bearish. Ethereum is down 4% at the moment, trading at $425.

Predictably altcoins have been battered with several losing double digits. Looking at the top ten only Ripple’s XRP is making a gain, up 2.6% to $0.448. The announcement that Bill Clinton will be a keynote speaker at the firm’s upcoming Swell Conference has driven momentum for XRP.

The rest are all down 3-4% with Bitcoin and Ethereum taking the biggest hits. Further down the charts the losses are heavier with VeChain taking an 11% dive to $2.12, Monero and Tezos both dropping over 5% and Neo plunging below $30.

Following its pump yesterday Polymath has dumped losing all gains and retreating 23% to $0.362. The classic pump and dump pattern followed a Binance listing which failed to boost the coin any further. Also getting bashed up today is Bitcoin Private, Pundi X, Ark, Aelf and Icon with double digit declines. Very few altcoins are surviving the drop but Kucoin Shares and ODEM are among them.

Total crypto market capitalization has fallen just under 4% on the day to $272 billion. Over $15 billion was dumped from the markets in just 18 hours. There seems to have been a slight rebound but a weak one and the bears are in control once again. Trade volume for all cryptos has remained stable at $15 billion.

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 25 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.

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BRAVO’s upcoming token generation event: Bringing Crypto payments mainstream

BRAVO’s upcoming token generation event: Bringing Crypto payments mainstream

BRAVO, the mobile payment provider is evolving to make cryptocurrency transactions mainstream. BRAVO already has a community of tens of thousands of users making fast, secure and anonymous payments daily in United States with plans for worldwide expansion.

At the core of BRAVO’s Tip or Pay application, is the ease-of-use and functionality for making private and anonymous payments for a real day to day problem; this is why the company was able to build such a strong user base within months of launching.

Consumers in both developed and developing countries are demanding payment systems that are low-cost, simple to use, secure and anonymous that can connect to different cards and accounts seamlessly. This is exactly what BRAVO delivers.

bravo ico

“The cryptocurrency market is worth over $290 billion dollars, but many users don’t know how to acquire coins and let alone, where to spend their coins. Even though there is a strong and real use case for service professionals, artists, small merchants and everybody else, at the moment, many shops and service professionals don’t have the ability or a simple solution to accept cryptocurrency. BRAVO will change this and will let anyone pay or get paid in cryptocurrency seamlessly as we already do for fiat currency transactions , explains the CEO Maria Luna.

Join BRAVO’s whitelist to find out more about the token sale »

What is BRAVO’s Tip or Pay Application?

BRAVO’s Tip or Pay mobile application makes it easy for anyone to pay or get paid from a mobile device like smartphones or tablets. The application currently supports payments in USD and has a community of tens of thousands of active users transacting daily.

Now the application is evolving to accept cryptocurrency payments and integrate blockchain technology to further reduce costs and increase transaction speed on the platform. By using blockchain on the back-end BRAVO will be able to scale at a much faster rate to accommodate for global expansion.

To test the BRAVO application, download it for free from the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Key features:

  • Find nearby users with GPS and pay them directly with no need for emails, usernames, or phone numbers.
  • Rate and message your favorite service professionals, merchants, musicians, or anyone after making a payment.
  • Easily view your transaction history and check your revenue trends at a glance.
  • Sign up in seconds with email, phone number or with Facebook.
  • Seamlessly add your bank account or credit card details to start sending or receiving money instantly.

You can follow BRAVO on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram to find out more about the company and when the token sale will start.

The BVO TGE is open to Non-U.S. persons only and other restrictions apply — See details in disclaimers section of bvo.trybravo.com

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McDonald’s ‘Limits’ Crypto in Self-Celebration, as Bitcoin Plummets

McDonald’s announced their plans to release a ‘limited edition’ proprietary cryptocurrency called the ‘MacCoin’ as a way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of what has arguably become best known as the brand’s signature sandwich.

The company claims that the token is “backed” by the burger in question, and will serve as a collectible that can be redeemed by customers which purchase a Big Mac at one of 14,000 participating restaurants in the USA – in addition to “more than 50 countries while supplies last”.

Being a collectible however, means that this token should not be taken as an indicator of Big Ronald flirting with cryptocurrency, but rather a one-off utilisation of the phenomenon to further draw interest to a completely unrelated promotional campaign.

David and Mc-Goliath

This news is unfortunate, as the cryptocurrency market could have really benefited from the shot in the arm that backing from a major corporation such as McDonald’s at a time like this.

In less than 12 hours, Bitcoin has fallen from sitting at just over $8100 at 8:30 in the morning (BST) to a low of $7691.29 at 16:00pm (CryptoCompare) – with the price currently sitting in an unstable and volatile state.

As is frequently the case, the market followed with it.

In this light, it is appropriate that the launch of the MacCoin has heralded a flat note for many cryptocurrency enthusiasts and pundits. For example, Paul R. La Monica from CNN Money tweeted that

Whereas a financially savvy respondent to the original McDonald’s tweet was inspired by the idea of the two parties coming together,

Elsewhere on the internet, it appears to have been mistakenly been reported as a currency – which would incorrectly suggest that it is fungible in a traditional sense. Rather, the tokens are to be shared, collected or redeemed by customers by (presumably) using a closed and centralized platform dedicated to the token.

The Value of Traditional Investment

The blockchain community is divided on the subject of institutional investment, along with the introduction of old-money into cryptocurrency.

When the first examples of cryptocurrency futures were introduced at the end of last year for example, and many publications hailed the event as the potential turning of a page that could deliver a bright future to the market economy – while others remained skeptical.

Concurrent with the expiration of the first of the Bitcoin futures, the market dropped significantly and has yet to recover from the beginning of this year’s devastating fall. Let’s hope that the same cannot be said for branded corporate involvement, or other ways that traditional finance and real-world assets are combining with cryptocurrency – such as real estate.

Image from Shutterstock

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Bitcoin (BTC) and the Crypto Markets Continue To Decline For a Second Day Running

Looking at the Bitcoin (BTC) charts this morning (UTC + 3), we find that the King of Crypto has been undergoing some considerable correction from the $8,000 levels that we had come to be accustomed to. The King of Crypto broke this level one week ago on the 24th of July. Since then, it dipped to $7,880 on Friday 27th July, only to go back to levels above $8,000 over the weekend.

However, BTC slipped from this level yesterday, Tuesday 31st July, 2018 and has continued on a downward trend since then. BTC is currently trading at levels of $7,663. The King of Crypto has declined by 5.26% in the last 24 hours and at the moment of writing this. Its lowest value in a week was experienced only hours ago when it touched $7,526.

7 Day chart of BTC. Source, coinmarketcap.com

The total crypto-market capitalization has also dropped significantly. The highly anticipated $300 Billion total market capitalization was reached on Thursday the 26th of July. The highest value on that day was approximately $304 Billion. By Monday morning, this total market capitalization had dropped to $297 Billion. It is now at levels of $274 Billion at the moment of writing this. This is a drop in value of $23 Billion in 2 days.

Possible reasons for the decline

The first reason on every crypto-trader’s mind, is the rejection of the Bats ETF by the SEC last Thursday, 26th of July. This is the ETF that had been sponsored by the Winklevoss Twins. What then proceeded is that the markets briefly declined as traders were confused as to which ETF was rejected. Many thought that it was the highly anticipated CBOE ETF. This confusion has since had an effect on the crypto markets as it sidelined Bitcoin’s momentum in the markets for a whole day.

A second reason could be the effect of news hat authorities in South Korea plan on ending tax benefits for cryptocurrency exchanges. These tax benefits are currently only granted to small businesses in the country. According to a new proposed revision of the existing tax law, crypto exchanges will no longer be classified under startups or small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These small businesses usually have the opportunity of claiming tax cuts of up to 100%. The new revisions are meant to be presented to the National Assembly by August 31st.

In conclusion, Bitcoin seems to have been impeded briefly from its pending Bull Run in the crypto-markets. Any additional upward mobility of BTC will be dependent on new volumes coming in as well as good news such as the SEC approving the pending CBOE ETF filing.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Bill Clinton to Deliver Address at Upcoming Ripple Swell Conference

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, will deliver a keynote address at the upcoming Ripple Swell conference. The former U.S. President will also participate in a question and answer (Q&A) during the meeting.

Clinton: The President who Presided Over the Dawn of the Internet Age

Former president Bill Clinton helped usher in a period of extreme growth and adoption of the internet. When groundbreaking technology and regulation were on a collision course, Clinton’s activities shaped the internet to what it is today. He also gave communities and individuals access to the internet by initiating programs which bridged the digital divide.

Ripple commenting on the importance and relevance of blockchain technology and digital assets said:

These learnings are perhaps more relevant now than ever before. Like the Internet boom of the 90’s, we are at an impasse: digital assets and blockchain technology offer a way for value to be exchanged as quickly as information – creating more financial inclusion and economic opportunity. However, with this new technology comes with the potential for concern, requiring thoughtful policy to protect consumers from risk without hampering innovation.

About the Ripple Swell Conference

The Swell Conference 2018 will highlight the following three crucial areas. These areas consist of the following:

  • Financial services companies using blockchain technology in production
  • New market opportunity in remittances, e-commerce, and corporate marketplaces
  • Frameworks for regulating digital assets across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

This year’s Swell Conference will hold in San Francisco, California, from October 1 – October 2, 2018. There will also be a question and answer (Q&A) session that will be moderated by Gene Sperling. Gene Sperling was the former National Economic Council Director and Advisor under former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Sperling is currently on Ripple’s board of directors.

Ripple’s Expansion Plans

Ripple continues to pursue an aggressive expansion agenda that aims to see increased use of both the Ripple ledger and the XRP cryptocurrency. Recently, the company partnered with pop icon Madonna on the occasion of her 60th birthday, to raise funds for vulnerable children.

Apart from charitable activities, Ripple is also trying to enter into new markets like India and Malta as the company strives to create a global presence for the XRP cryptocurrency. The company also recently announced its Q2 2018 performance with a decline in sales but an increase in user adoption. A recent Weiss report revealed that XRP is the best cryptocurrency for moving funds between exchanges.

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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Tumbles, More Losses Likely

Litecoin Price Analysis LTC USD

Litecoin price declined sharply and broke the $80.00 support against the US Dollar. LTC/USD traded towards $76.00 and it remains at a risk of more losses.

Key Talking Points

  • Litecoin price failed to stay above the $80.00 support and declined heavily (Data feed of Kraken) against the US Dollar.
  • There is a major bearish trend line formed with resistance near $79.00 on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair.
  • The pair may correct higher, but it is likely to resume its slide below the $76.20 support.

Litecoin Price Forecast

During the past few hours, litecoin price faced an increased selling pressure below $82.00 against the US dollar. The LTC/USD pair declined sharply and broke the $80.00 and $78.00 levels.

Looking at the chart, the price traded towards the $75.00 support and formed a low at $76.20. At the moment, the price is trading well below the $80.00 support and the 100 hourly simple moving average, which are bearish signs.

Litecoin Price Analysis LTC USD

The price may consolidate in the short term above the $76.00 level, but upsides are likely to be capped. An initial resistance is near the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $82.49 high to $76.20 low.

Moreover, there is a major bearish trend line formed with resistance near $79.00 on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair. Above the trend line resistance, the $80.00 level is likely to prevent upsides.

The mentioned $80.00 level was a support earlier and now it coincides with the 50% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $82.49 high to $76.20 low. Therefore, any major recoveries are likely to face sellers near $79.00 and $80.00 levels.

On the downside, the recent low at $76.20 is a short term support. The next immediate and an important support is at $75.00, below which, the price will most likely tumble towards $70.00.

Overall, litecoin price is under a lot of pressure and only a close back above $80.00 could reduce selling pressure.

The market data is provided by TradingView.

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PwC: Among Digital Assets, Only Digital Currencies ‘Can Really Be Used at Present’

A PwC executive has said that among various digital assets only the digital currencies “can really be used at present.”

A PwC Switzerland executive said that among the various types of digital asset, only digital currencies are can reasonably be used at present, according to a post on the PwC website July 31. In the post, Roland Stadler, Senior Manager and Data & Analytics Specialist at PwC Switzerland, claims that while digital assets “seem similar at first glance,” on closer inspection they differ.

Stadler makes a distinction between “digital assets” and “currencies,” because “only a few” can be considered currencies in the “literal sense of the word.” He then divides digital assets into three types; currencies like Bitcoin (BTC), utility tokens, and security tokens.

According to Stadler, currencies like BTC are both a payment instrument and a payment network in equal measure, which can be used without the involvement of a central institution. Utility tokens are “fuel” for using software or a service. Stadler cites Ethereum-based smart contracts to illustrate the difference between BTC and ETH, saying that while they are both used for speculation, “they could not be any more different.”

The third class of digital assets, security tokens, take the form of digital securities such as shares in companies or rights to future profits from a project. Stadler says that security tokens can be “tricky” from a regulatory perspective as they can fall under the same regulatory requirements as a company’s IPO.

Having defined the various types of digital assets, Stadler concludes that currency-like digital assets are currently the only useful ones, despite speculation on them in digital currency markets. According to Stadler, BTC is considered a long-term investment, with growing acceptance as a means of payment:

“Technical stability plays a particularly important role. Priority is given to security and resistance to external influence through conservative technological development … With fees amounting to just a few pennies, Bitcoin can bring significant benefits in terms of costs in the field of international trade, where traditional payment transactions can incur very high transaction fees.”

Stadler points out the high risk of failure for utility and security tokens, “even for above-the-board projects,” adding that, “[g]iven the current hype surrounding blockchain technology, the proportion of confidence tricksters is likely to be significant.”

On a final note, Stadler emphasizes the importance of BTC from a technological, sociological and economic perspective, also mentioning possible opportunities for innovative business models. Smart contracts and tokenization of real-world assets, as per Stadler, are in their infancy and will have some impact on business world in the future. As for ICOs, Stadler advises to “stay away” from them as they’re “mostly scams and even honest projects are so small that the market is easily manipulated.”

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Analysis: Where Bulls Are Waiting

Bitcoin broke below the short-term support levels at the triangle and rising trend line, so bulls might need a larger correction before sustaining the climb. Price is still inside a new ascending channel forming on the 4-hour time frame and a test of support might be in the cards.

This channel bottom lines up with the $6,800 level and former resistance, which might hold as support moving forward. It’s also near the 200 SMA dynamic inflection point.

On the subject of moving averages, the 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA to indicate that the path of least resistance is to the upside. This confirms that the uptrend is more likely to resume than to reverse. However, bitcoin has tumbled below the 100 SMA dynamic inflection point to signal a bit of bearish pressure.

RSI is also heading lower to signal that sellers have the upper hand, but the oscillator is dipping into oversold territory to reflect exhaustion. Turning back up could bring buyers in, possibly allowing the mid-channel area of interest at $8,000 to hold.

Stochastic is also heading lower so bitcoin might follow suit, but it’s also approaching oversold levels. Turning back up could mean a return in bullish pressure and a bounce back to the channel top around $8,500.

Bitcoin suffered a sharp tumble after it was reported that authorities in South Korea are considering passing legislation to end tax benefits for cryptocurrency exchanges. They pointed to the strong surge in transaction volumes but the potential lack of security capabilities to guard against money laundering and illegal activity financing.

According to Hong Seong-ki, head of the country’s cryptocurrency response team South Services Commission:

While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security. We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money-laundering prevention and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible.

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