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Claire Good Group

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Learn from the Bitcoin Millionaires: Download Their Success Stories Now

Hype has far outpaced the reality in digital currencies, CBDCs, and China's digital RMB in particular. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are booming, but these are mostly for speculation, as they are ill-suited to large volumes of payment transactions. We are still at an early stage in which the benefits of CBDCs have not yet been proven in practice, and the risks (cyber, operational, financial) are serious enough that most central banks will be hesitant to issue any until these can be resolved with a high degree of certainty. China's eCNY efforts have similarly yet to prove they will be any cheaper, more efficient, more private, or more convenient than the existing domestic and international payment systems. Therefore, it is unlikely to represent any more a threat to the dollar's international dominance than the current forms of RMB, at least over the short and medium term. Nothing is certain over the long term, however, so the United States should continue to carefully monitor China's CBDC efforts and other digital currency innovations and incorporate any useful lessons to ensure that dollars and the payments systems that carry them remain competitive long term.

Federal financial regulatory and law enforcement agencies have taken a number of actions regarding virtual currencies. In March 2013, the Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance that clarified which participants in virtual currency systems are subject to anti-money-laundering requirements and required virtual currency exchanges to register with FinCEN. Additionally, financial regulators have taken some actions regarding anti-money-laundering compliance and investor protection. For example, in July 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged an individual and his company with defrauding investors through a bitcoin-based investment scheme. Further, law enforcement agencies have taken actions against parties alleged to have used virtual currencies to facilitate money laundering or other crimes. For example, in October 2013, multiple agencies worked together to shut down Silk Road, an online marketplace where users paid for illegal goods and services with bitcoins.

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J. Garcia: (03:31:44)Thank you for your answer. Let me just say this. From all of that I have heard in the last month plus coming into this hearing and your testimonies this afternoon, I think that Facebook has acquired too much power. It has become too big and we should seriously consider breaking it up. Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chair.

A decade ago, Yadav said, cryptocurrency traders would need to download specific software and then find someone willing to sell their cryptocurrency. On an exchange like FTX, a user would place an order and essentially be given an IOU for the crypto they bought, she said.

Gregory Zerzan, a shareholder at business law firm Jordan Ramis along with John Belizaire, the founder and CEO of Soluna Computing and Steve Wright, a recently retired former general manager of the Chelan County in Washington presented similar opinions in their testimonies. Both pushed the idea of encouraging crypto mining using clean energy sources.

In 2015 a thousand dollars would have bought you 3.5 bitcoin, worth over $50,000 today. A thousand dollars of Etherium in late 2016 is worth $165,000 right now at the time of this writing. There is a lot of new wealth being acquired by this younger generation and their just getting started. Right now around 1% of the entire world is even aware of Bitcoin and the altcoins. The industry is still in the innovation stages, soon to move into the early adopter stage where at least 3% will become aware.

Through extensive analysis of a narrow data sample of Bitcoin transactions between 2013 and 2016, this study identifies trends in the flow of bitcoins from clearly identified illicit activity to various digital currency conversion services.

The parameters of the study were purposefully narrow to keep the data manageable, which likely minimized the volume of illicit bitcoins considered for analysis. The amount of observed Bitcoin laundering was small (less than one percent of all transactions entering conversion services), but what is most relevant are the clear patterns we discovered relating to how illicit bitcoins are laundered.

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We found that darknet marketplaces such as Silk Road and, later, AlphaBay, were the source of almost all of the illicit bitcoins laundered through conversion services that we identify in our study. Bitcoin exchanges received the greatest amount of identified illicit bitcoins out of all conversion services, but they also processed the majority of Bitcoin transactions overall. The conversion services with the highest proportion of Bitcoin laundering within their platforms were mixers and online gambling sites.

Looking at geographic patterns, conversion services based in Europe received the greatest share of illicit bitcoins out of identifiable regions, more than five times as much as North American services. And while Asian conversion services processed the highest share of all incoming Bitcoin transactions in 2015 and 2016, they accounted for a disproportionately small share of Bitcoin laundering during those years. Lastly, a large percentage of conversion services that receive illicit bitcoins appear to conceal their country of operations, making it a challenge to identify the legal jurisdictions responsible for their AML enforcement.

The history of Bitcoin illustrates this volatility. The value of one bitcoin shot up from around $2,000 in July 2017 to almost $20,000 by the end of the year, only to fall below $10,000 in early 2018. Starting in September 2020 it soared to more than $61,000 in just six months, only to lose half its value over the next four months before rebounding to top $64,000 by late 2021. Bitcoin then plunged in the first half of 2022 as financial markets grappled with inflation, falling below $30,000 in mid-May.

Gardner saw an opportunity in crypto when he realised anyone with an internet connection could send money to someone else. In 2013, he started investing in bitcoin. He turned the majority of his savings and stock holdings into cryptocurrency investments. And as the prices rose, so did his stock making him a millionaire by the age of 30.

Ellis might have started a technology consulting company Nerd Herd at the age of 18 but his biggest investment still was the bitcoin he mined in 2010. See, years later, when he sold a little bit of the coins he had mined all those years ago, they bought him a $200,000 Maserati.

In 2009, Kristoffer was busy writing his master thesis on encryption technology at his University in Norway, where he came across bitcoin. Curious to experience what it was all about he decided to spend around $26 which bought him 5,000 bitcoin. Yup, it was dirt cheap at the time.

In 2011, Erik Finman was just 12 years old when he received a generous gift of $1,000 from his grandmother, all of which he spent on mining crypto. It paid off because bitcoin was valued at $1,200 just a couple of years later. Erik used that money to start an online education company called Botangle.

Nobody knows who Mr Smith actually is but his story is legendary. While working in Silicon Valley in 2010, he invested $3,000. With the price of bitcoin only US 15 cents at the time, that means he had almost 20,000 bitcoin.

He also highlighted that there were several testimonies related to blockchain that were provided by lawyers and business people before, but here in this testimony, he has focused on the sensible regulatory network.


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