Items tagged with 'Ben Lawsky'

New York State's banking regulator, Bitcoin, and... Dune

ben lawsky reddit amaThe modern world is: The head of New York State's financial services watchdog agency taking questions about cryptocurrencies -- such as Bitcoin -- on Reddit. From an AMA today with Ben Lawsky, superintendent of the state's Department of Financial Services:

Mr. Lawsky,
Thank you for joining us here. As a Bitcoin user, I truly appreciate your concept of Open Source Regulation, and I think there is a lot for both the Bitcoin community and regulators to learn here. I have a couple simple questions for you:
Do you believe that Bitcoin, or the underlying technology, will change the world for the better?
Do you want to see Bitcoin, or the underlying technology succeed? In your experience, do most of your peers share this stance, or is the general perspective much more bleak?
I think Bitcoin or the underlying technology has a lot of potential on numerous levels. As Professor Athey said at our hearings, even the experts don't know today how the technology will evolve and what it will ultimately look like. But I do think it holds a lot of promise (if money laundering can be adequately addressed), both on its own and in terms of causing existing payments system technologies to up their game. I've personally evolved a lot on the issue the more I have learned. I wouldn't compare it to a Rocky-IV-final-scene about-face and it has taken time for all of us at DFS to get our minds around it, but certainly our views have changed.

Lawsky also made a Dune reference (because the internet), apparently doesn't mind the title "supernintendo", and took some helpful tips about desk ergonomics.

If you're wondering, like we were, why a New York State agency is attempting to figure out regulation for stateless, decentralized virtual currencies that most people haven't heard of, Lawsky took up that question in the AMA and during a recent talk in DC. (An excerpt from the talk is after the jump.) The short version of Lawksy's explanation: New Yorkers send a lot of money to other countries using traditional wire services, which have high transaction fees -- and virtual currencies hold the potential of reducing those costs. And: Regulators are worried about money laundering and terrorism.

The main takeaway we got from this AMA is that the future will be people on the internet talking about money and complicated financial instruments in ways most of us will probably never understand. Which is to say, it's probably a lot like the present.

(there's more)

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