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UK’s new crypto seizure law raises concerns

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UK’s new crypto seizure law raises concerns

The UK has enacted a law allowing authorities to confiscate cryptocurrencies without charging the owners, stirring controversy over civil liberties. The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 amends previous legislation, enabling the seizure of crypto assets and related physical items during investigations. This has led to fears of potential misuse of power, as the law does not require an arrest or formal charges to take action.

The practicalities of how authorities will ‘destroy’ unclaimed crypto remain vague, and the law’s lack of detail on this process has been criticized. While intended to combat money laundering, the law also permits the sale of seized crypto, which could result in financial losses for victims due to market volatility. Critics argue that the new powers could lead to unjustified seizures and a disregard for the presumption of innocence.

The law’s implications extend to international cooperation, as it does not provide mechanisms for UK law enforcement to work with other countries when crypto assets cross borders. This could limit the UK’s ability to recover assets moved out of its jurisdiction. The overarching concern is that the new powers may undermine due process and the traditional rights of individuals.

Mastercard embraces blockchain with startup accelerator

Mastercard is making strides in the blockchain space with the addition of five startups to its Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets program. This initiative is designed to explore and scale innovative payment solutions across the globe, with a focus on blockchain and Web3 technologies. The program aims to tackle specific challenges by experimenting with various digital currency formats, from traditional money to cryptocurrencies.

The startups joining the program include a diverse range of companies specializing in crypto payments, blockchain software, decentralized infrastructure, data platforms, and blockchain development. These companies will benefit from Mastercard’s expertise, resources, and network over a four-month period, aiming to push the boundaries of payment technologies and address real-world financial issues.

Mastercard’s commitment to fostering innovation in the fintech sector is evident through its Start Path program, which has supported over 400 startups since its inception in 2014. The company’s recent collaborations and experiments in decentralized finance (DeFi) and distributed ledger technology highlight its dedication to integrating cutting-edge technologies into the financial ecosystem.

Millennium Management’s hefty Bitcoin ETF investment

Millennium Management, an esteemed hedge fund, has disclosed a significant stake in Bitcoin ETFs, with investments totaling $1.94 billion. Their portfolio spans across five different spot Bitcoin ETF products, as reported in their 13F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fund’s largest allocations are in BlackRock and Fidelity’s Bitcoin funds, with investments of $844 million and $806 million respectively. This move positions Millennium as a leading figure among institutional investors in the cryptocurrency space.

The recent filings underscore a growing trend of institutional interest in Bitcoin ETFs, with investment advisory firms and hedge funds making up a large portion of the buyers. Analysts see this as a positive indicator for Bitcoin’s future, suggesting a maturing market with increasing professional involvement.

U.S. senators champion $32b AI innovation push

A bipartisan Senate group, led by Chuck Schumer, has recommended a $32 billion investment in artificial intelligence to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in tech innovation. This proposal is part of a strategic effort to bolster AI development and establish necessary safeguards.

The plan, which complements a recent bipartisan bill on AI export controls, underscores the importance of AI in maintaining a competitive edge and improving American lives, with potential applications in healthcare such as cancer treatment.

While not yet a bill, the roadmap provides insight into potential future AI legislation, emphasizing transparency, ethical standards, and the need to study AI’s impact on jobs and the workforce. The proposal arrives as the U.S. seeks to keep pace with international AI regulatory efforts.

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May 16, 2024

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