Feb 6, 2018

Crackdown on cryptocurrencies to come

A graphic of Bitcoin, at the 'Bitcoin Change' shop in Tel Aviv. Photo: Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images

The head of the Bank for International Settlements, a Switzerland-based lender and think tank for central banks, is calling on central banks to intervene to prevent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from wreaking havoc on financial institutions globally, the WSJ reports. The official, Agustin Carstens, said Bitcoin is a “combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.”

Why it matters: Carstens is not alone — central banks around the world are warning about risks surrounding cryptocurrencies, per the WSJ. This comes as the value of cryptocurrencies diminish worldwide and could indicate a looming crackdown against them.

The buzz:

  • “If authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become more interconnected with the main financial system and become a threat to financial stability,” Carstens said.
  • The President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said Monday that digital currencies are “very risky assets” and that the ECB is looking into those risks.
  • U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles said in November that cryptocurrencies could bring “more serious financial stability issues” if adopted widely.

Up next for U.S. regulation: The head of the CFTC, Christopher Giancarlo, and the chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, are testifying before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday. In prepared testimony, Clayton has identified cryptocurrency exchanges as a potential target for future regulation.

Go deeper: The dark side of cryptocurrencies: how rogue regimes are using them to evade sanctions

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

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Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health