Not long ago, U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated his intention to make the United Kingdom a world-leading ‘crypto assets’ hub.
Now, Queen Elizabeth II has announced a new bill to support the safe adoption of digital assets and make it easier to recover funds stolen in ransomware attacks.
As part of the annual Queen’s Speech, Prince Charles, who was standing in for Queen Elizabeth, introduced the Economic Crime Bill. Digging deeper into its content reveals that major changes are afoot within the blockchain and digital currency industries.
What does the UK’s Economic Crime Bill mean for digital currencies?
The Economic Crime Bill covers a wide range of financial activities. It will give U.K. authorities greater powers to crackdown on illicit activity, including imposing stricter sanctions on Russian oligarchs and the ability to seize digital currencies and assets.
According to the U.K. government, the bill intends to “crack down on the kleptocrats, criminals and terrorists who abuse our open economy, ensuring we drive out dirty money from the U.K.”
Naturally, given its scope, the bill covers the fast-growing digital assets industry as well as gives authorities the ability to seize digital assets that will strengthen their ability to detect and crackdown on fraud and money laundering. This part of the bill left some in the industry scratching their heads, wondering how it could be enforced.
How does the recover ransomware part work?
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) May 10, 2022
It’s difficult to believe that CZ doesn’t understand that mining nodes can be subpoenaed and instructed to move digital currencies from one wallet to another. For now, he’s playing dumb to keep up the illusion that Raspberry Pis matter.
In fact, the U.K. government has already demonstrated the ability to seize what it calls ‘crypto-assets.’ This year, HMRC, the UK’s tax authority, seized three NFTs as part of an investigation into VAT fraud. This new bill will give authorities even more power to lay down the law and seize the proceeds of crime.
Dr. Craig Wright (Satoshi Nakamoto) is right again
Bitcoin’s inventor is often mocked by his detractors for his predictions about how the digital currency industry will develop and evolve. However, he always turns out to be right about the bigger picture on a long enough timeline.
Dr. Wright has been warning for years that tough new regulations would come into play and governments wouldn’t tolerate the rampant crime and abject contempt for existing laws within the industry. He has repeatedly explained how, contrary to popular myth, he designed Bitcoin to comply with all of the existing laws. He has demonstrated how Bitcoin can and does make it easier to track, trace, and detect fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes and that authorities have nothing to fear and everything to gain from Bitcoin’s existence.
Opinion: Bitcoin’s real golden era is ahead of us
Slowly but surely, Dr. Wright is being proven correct. The introduction of the new UK Economic Crime Bill is one of a long list of government crackdowns we’ve witnessed in the past couple of years. The European Union, the United States, and other major economies have also either passed or drafted laws to ban anonymous transactions, link wallets to identities and generally make the industry more honest and transparent.
While the anarchists and misfits who hijacked Bitcoin in its early days protest all this, it’s ultimately a good thing. When Bitcoin is understood for what it is: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that can usher in a new era of financial efficiency and transparency, it will be accepted and adopted by enterprises, governments, and financial institutions. Finally, Bitcoin will have its golden era and scale to global dimensions, just as Satoshi envisioned.
Of course, this will not happen without a degree of chaos and a major shakeup of the digital currency industry as it exists today. As Dr. Wright restores his rights to his intellectual property, we can expect a series of seismic events such as major exchanges going bankrupt, key players who act as god-kings being exposed as criminals, and lots of wipeouts similar to the recent UST/LUNA debacle.
Yet, when all is said and done, the world will be better off. Bitcoin will help usher in a more transparent, less corrupt, and safer world. The U.K.’s Economic Crime Bill is but a signpost on the road to cryptos’ inevitable end.
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