Friday, August 9, 2013
Court officially declares Bitcoin a real currency
Published time: August 08, 2013 15:54 Get short URL
A federal judge has for the first time ruled that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency, opening up the possibility for the digital crypto-cash to soon be regulated by governmental overseers.
United States Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Tuesday that the US Securities and Exchange Commission can proceed with a lawsuit against the operator of a Bitcoin-based hedge fund because, despite existing only on the digital realm, “Bitcoin is a currency or form of money.”
Trendon Shavers of Bitcoin Savings & Trust (BTCST) was accused last year of scamming customers out of roughly $4.5 million worth of the cryptocurrency through his online hedge-fund. Shavers promised investors a weekly return of 7 percent, according to the federal complaint, but shut-down his site after collecting upwards of 700,000 bitcoins. When the SEC charged Shavers last month with operating a Ponzi scheme, he fought back by saying Bitcoin is not actual currency and can’t be regulated.
“The SEC asserts that Shavers made a number of misrepresentations to investors regarding the nature of the investments and that he defrauded investors. However, the question currently before the Court is whether the BTCST investments in this case are securities as defined by Federal Securities Laws,” Judge Mazzant wrote this week. “Shavers argues that the BTCST investments are not securities because Bitcoin is not money, and is not part of anything regulated by the United States. Shavers also contends that his transactions were all Bitcoin transactions and that no money ever exchanged hands. The SEC argues that the BTCST investments are both investment contracts and notes, and, thus, are securities.”
Despite Shavers’ argument, Mazzant weighed in this week with an opinion that’s not only quite the contrary, but could have widespread repercussions in the world of Bitcoin.
“It is clear that Bitcoin can be used as money,” Mazzant wrote. “It can be used to purchase goods or services, and as Shavers stated, used to pay for individual living expenses. The only limitation of Bitcoin is that it is limited to those places that accept it as currency. However, it can also be exchanged for conventional currencies, such as the US dollar, Euro, Yen and Yuan. Therefore, Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in BTCST provided an investment of money.”
Bitcoin investments "meet the definition of investment contract, and as such, are securities,” the judge added.
Now with the magistrate’s blessing, the SEC can continue with its case against Shavers and his site. With that same ruling, though, the government is for now getting the go ahead for what could lead to the rampant regulation of Bitcoin.
“The ruling, while certainly a victory for the Commission, is also likely to have farther-reaching ramifications as federal regulators increasingly encounter investment fraud based on non-traditional investment vehicles,” securities and business law attorney Jordan Maglich wrote in a Forbes op-ed this week.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
BRICS agree to local currency credits to ease dollar dependency
Dimitry Medvedev (L) and Manmohan Singh during the BRICS summit in New Delhi on March 29, 2012 (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have agreed to provide credit to each other in local currencies. Officials say the deal will facilitate economic growth in times of crisis.
The currency swap deal is aimed at promoting trade and investment in local currencies as well as to cut transaction costs. It’s also seen as a step to replace the dollar as a reserve currency in trade between BRICS.
“The idea is in line with many interests and economic exigencies in the world economy,” Yaroslav Lissovolik, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank told RT. “The euro and dollar are no longer seen as unquestionable monopolies in the role of reserve currencies. Clearly the world needs more reserve currencies.”
The deal would also increase the BRICS influence on the international arena and will make their cooperation less sensitive to sanctions from the West, experts say.
"The BRICS countries are in the first rank to do the job that international financial system now needs. What the BRICS said was a very welcomed wake up call," John Kirton, the Co-Director of the BRICS Reasearch Group told RT.
Russia and China have been trading in the rouble and yuan for several years, now Russia plans to expand local currency settlement with India.
“With China it took us three years to (evolve) from initial conversations to trading in local currencies,” Vladimir Dmitriev, the chairman of Russia’ s VEB told reporters. “I think we will meet similar terms with India”.
Meanwhile the swap requires a lot of technical work by each country such as the synchronization of national banking legislation, according to Mr. Dmitriev.
The BRICS countries are also going to announce plans on a joint development bank which is considered a possible rival to the World Bank and the IMF. If established, it would function as a lending agency and would provide finance for joint BRICS projects.
"They made it very clear it would be built to benefit not only BRICS countries themselves, but developing countries more broadly," said KIrton. "But the big message was to give the World Bank more resources, only then would they see how the BRICS bank would fit in the supplement what they’ve already got."
Friday, March 23, 2012
BRICS bank next step to dollar independence
Published: 20 March, 2012, 18:49
From left to right: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a BRICS leaders meeting in Cannes. (RIA Novosti / Dmitry Astakhov)
The ‘club’ of emerging economies known as the BRICS are strengthening their union. The countries are mulling over setting up a single development bank to promote joint investment initiatives, as well as their domestic currencies.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are set to discuss the idea at the coming BRICS meeting in New Delhi on March 29, Financial Times says.
This is mainly to get a louder say in international arena for the “great reserves,” Ivan Tchakarov, chief economist for Russia and CIS countries at Renaissance Capital, told Business RT. “All of these economies, in particular China, Russia and Brazil and less so India are the countries that are not only growing at a significantly faster pace than the developed economies, but they also have a lot of reserves,” he said.