Cryptocurrencies Offer Great Hope, But Present Risks: US

The booming market of cryptocurrencies offers a great hope, but also presents security risks and concerns, the White House has said.

A South Korean exchange trading bitcoin and other virtual currencies declared itself bankrupt yesterday after being hacked for the second time.

Noting that the market was being monitored, a senior Trump administration official said that he was not prepared to say if it needed regulations.

“We do not have a formal position on block-chain currencies and cryptocurrencies at this point. Block-chain technologies operate in a way that there is great hope and promise. They also present some security risks and concern for us,” Tom Bossert, White House Homeland Security Advisor, told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

Bossert said he was tracking and monitoring it very closely from a security perspective as was responsible for not only advising on cyber but also counterterrorism policy.

“What we want to make sure is that block-chain cryptocurrencies are not being used to support illicit behaviour in ways that we cannot discover,” Bossert said.

There are other people in the administration equally following it for the promise it provides economically and from a trade perspective.

“We don’t have any negative or positive view on it right now, but we have to monitor it closely as this new technology is becoming quite expensive – lucrative,” Bossert said.

Asked if it needed regulation, he said, “Not prepared to say that now”.

In the last several weeks, prices of cryptocurrencies in particular Bitcoin has increased by several hundred times.

There is a massive increase in other currencies as well.

However, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange filed for bankruptcy yesterday after it experienced its second cyberattack in eight months.

As a result of this, Yapian, which operates a Seoul-based exchange called Youbit, lost a large amount of its digital- currency reserves.

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