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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

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

For CEOs, social media has lost its fun

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CEO Jack Dorsey's departure from Twitter shows that, in Silicon Valley today, social media is becoming a field to flee.

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of Facebook's name change and new metaverse focus, Dorsey's resignation is another sign that the industry now views the massive social networks it built over the last two decades as buggy "legacy applications" mired in annoying social problems.