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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

Go deeper

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening to extend unemployment insurance in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating and halting other action for roughly nine hours, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The Senate can now resume voting on other amendments to the broader rescue bill.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.