The U.S. government isn’t ready to start regulating bitcoin yet, according to Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity co-ordinator and special assistant to the president, stating that there needed to be a better understanding of the risks and benefits to bitcoin before any sort of rules are set out. The news will come as relief to libertarians who saw bitcoin as a break from the big institutions such as banks and the government.
Speaking to CNBC, Rob Joyce said that there are good and bad aspects to bitcoin; he highlighted that when a criminal act takes place and bitcoins are stolen, there’s no way for the coins to be retrieved by the owner, whereas if money was stolen from a bank account, it can easily be returned by getting in touch with the bank. When asked how close we are to seeing regulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Joyce said:
“I think we’re still absolutely studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas in that space are. So, I don’t think it’s close.”
Right now around the world, bitcoin isn’t really regulated. South Korea talked about regulation earlier this year and France and Germany are said to be working on their own regulatory structure. Lawmakers in the European Union have called for some control over the digital asset as well due to its involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism.
While a far cry from government regulation, Lloyds Banking Group began preventing its credit card customers from buying bitcoin due to fears that customers wouldn’t be able to repay the borrowed money if bitcoin’s value crashes colossally.
While regulation will deter criminal activity being undertaken with bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies exist such as Monero and Zcash, which offer payments that can obscure the recipient’s and sender’s addresses and the value being transmitted.