Gensler Alleged Crypto Hypocrisy

The cryptocurrency community has criticized Gary Gensler, the current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), after a video from 2018 surfaced in which he stated that cryptocurrencies are comparable to commodities or cash and are not securities. This has led to criticism of Gensler from the cryptocurrency community. As a result of this, hypocrisy allegations have been leveled at Gensler since his present position seems to contradict his prior views.

Gensler explained initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the Howey test in the video, which was taken from a seminar entitled “Blockchain and Money” that took place during the Fall Semester of 2018 at the university. He made the observation that “three-quarters of the market are not ICOs or not what would be called securities,” and he identified the markets in the United States, Canada, and Taiwan as countries that adhere to criteria that are comparable to those of the Howey test. The next statement that he made was that “three-quarters of the market is non-securities, it’s just a commodity, cash, and crypto.”

Gensler briefly admitted that initial coin offerings (ICOs) may ignite a discussion over securities, but he ultimately came to the conclusion that “three-quarters of the market is not particularly relevant as a legal matter.” However, in his present capacity as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gensler has adopted a more harsh attitude on cryptocurrencies, with the SEC starting a series of high-profile investigations against crypto businesses in recent months. Gensler’s stance on cryptocurrencies reflects the SEC’s increased scrutiny of the industry.

The crypto community reacted swiftly to Gensler’s apparent shift of viewpoint, and many members were keen to point it out. “Wow” was all that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong had to say in response to a message that was published by cryptocurrency researcher “zk-SHARK.” In a tweet sent at his 658,900 followers, Erik Voorhees, the inventor of the cryptocurrency trading website ShapeShift, inquired as to when someone will be imprisoned for fraud. Farokh Sarmad, the inventor of the Web3 podcast Rug Radio, referred to Gensler as “disgusting” in a tweet that he sent out to his 346,200 followers, and a systems engineer who went by the handle “JD” demanded that Gensler provide an explanation for his shift in position.

On the other hand, not all members of the cryptocurrency community were on board with these comments. U.S. attorney Preston Byrne claimed that Gensler’s opinions as a professor should not be used against him in his present function as a law enforcement, since Gensler works in a different capacity than he did when he was a professor.

The continuous regulatory ambiguity that surrounds the cryptocurrency business is brought to light by the controversy over Gensler’s position on cryptocurrencies. As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory authorities continue to probe crypto firms, many participants in the industry are advocating for clearer standards and laws to assist enable the growth and development of the sector.


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BRICS Alliance Considers Creating New Currency

The world’s economic powerhouses appear to be distancing themselves from US dollar hegemony as they look to create a new world order. The BRICS alliance, which is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is reportedly working on creating its own currency, according to State Duma Deputy Chairman Alexander Babakov. The move is seen as a way for the BRICS nations to promote their shared objectives and distance themselves from US dollar hegemony.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum event in New Delhi, India, Babakov stressed the importance of both nations working towards a new medium for payments. He added that digital payments could be the most promising and viable option. The new currency is expected to benefit China and other BRICS members, rather than the West.

Babakov went on to postulate that the new currency would be secured by gold and other commodities such as rare-earth elements. This move would further cement the new currency’s value and provide a more stable platform for transactions. The BRICS alliance is seen as a viable alternative to the US dollar hegemony, and the creation of a new currency could provide a way to challenge the current financial system.

This week, former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill called on the BRICS bloc to expand and challenge the dominance of the dollar. In a paper published in the Global Policy journal, he wrote that “the U.S. dollar plays a far too dominant role in global finance.” The BRICS nations appear to be taking this advice to heart and are exploring ways to distance themselves from the current system.

In a related development this week, China and Brazil reached a deal to trade in their own currencies. The move will remove the US dollar as the intermediary, further empowering both nations to distance themselves from the world’s reserve currency. The agreement will enable China and Brazil to conduct trade and financial transactions directly, without having to go through the greenback.

China is already leading the way in the development of its central bank digital currency project, and crypto adoption in Brazil is growing following the legalization of it as a payment method in the country late last year. This move further underscores the growing interest in creating alternative currencies to challenge the US dollar’s hegemony.

While the US continues its war on crypto, financial regulators are tightening the screws on the embryonic industry. This move is seen as a way to maintain the US dollar’s dominance and prevent the emergence of alternative currencies. However, the BRICS alliance and other emerging economies appear to be forging ahead with their plans to create a new financial order, one that is more equitable and better suited to their needs.


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Crypto Investment Platform Bitpanda Launches Commodities Trading

Bitpanda announced Monday that it has added commodities trading to its investment platform to enable its users to trade oil, natural gas, aluminium, and wheat.

The new asset class is set to allow investors to benefit from short-term price movements of commodities such as oil, natural gas, aluminium, wheat, and more.

As per the announcement, users will now involve in commodities trading on the Bitpanda platform, 24/7, starting from as little as 1 Euro, alongside a range of digital assets like cryptocurrencies, crypto indices, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), precious metals, among others.

Historically commodities have tended to move independently of stocks and bonds, thus making them a great way to diversify portfolios. They can also protect investors against inflation – when prices at grocery stores go up, commodity prices also go up.

Eric Demuth, co-founder and CEO of Bitpanda, talked about the development: “since we first started Bitpanda, our mission has always been to remove the barriers to entry and enable people to access financial markets in a simple and secure way. I’m excited we’ve been able to add commodities to the platform at a time when inflation is biting into people’s savings. Bitpanda customers can now bet against their gas bill and benefit from the short-term price movements of key commodities like oil, natural gas, corn, wheat and many more.”

According to the Austria-based cryptocurrency trading platform, users can buy, sell, or swap commodities just like any other digital asset on the platform.

The platform already offers digitized versions of precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver, as part of its portfolio on its trading platform.

Expanding Financial Access to Users

BitPanda allows retail investors to invest in various products, including cryptocurrency, stocks, and precious metals, among others.

The latest development is part of efforts by the company to continue expanding its investment platform.

In October last year, BitPanda appointed a former executive at JPMorgan, Joshua Barraclough, to lead a new division in the platform – BitPanda Pro, a platform targeting fulfilling the needs of experienced traders and institutional investors.  

In July this year, Bitpanda launched more than four crypto indices for investors, providing more options by helping them to diversify their portfolios.

The firm designed the launches to simplify investment in different crypto projects, such as the metaverse, decentralized finance (DeFi), smart contracts, and infrastructure through new automated crypto indices.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Indian government is reportedly considering regulating crypto as a commodity

The Indian government may be looking into establishing a legal framework for crypto as early as February based on digital currencies as an “asset.”

According to an Oct. 26 report from Indian news outlet Business Today, officials with the country’s Finance Ministry said the potential legal framework would treat cryptocurrencies closer to commodities than currencies. If this legislation comes to fruition, it would represent a different approach than an outright ban on digital assets in the country which some Indian lawmakers have reportedly been considering.

The officials added any potential law on cryptocurrencies in the country would likely come around the time the government submits the Union Budget of India on Feb. 1, in time to take effect by the next fiscal year. They added they were engaging with the Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, to work out the details of any crypto legal framework.

Labeling crypto as an “asset” under Indian law would likely have tax implications for retail investors and exchanges in the country. The Tax Department of India was reportedly looking at taxing crypto earnings through trades and exchanges, but no decision has seemingly been reached from anyone in government at the time of publication.

Related: Proposed crypto ban legislation reportedly under review by India’s government

With a population of roughly 1.4 billion, India choosing to establish a concrete legal framework for cryptocurrencies would likely make significant ripples throughout the space. The government has largely not taken a firm position on regulating digital currency since overturning a blanket ban from the RBI in March. Since that time multiple reports have circulated citing sources within the government that both suggest the country’s parliament is backing down from creating a new law banning crypto trading in India, and also looking at alternative solutions to regulate digital assets.