“We are looking into that,” Mark Wetjen, acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said Tuesday, Reuters reported. “It’s been initiated, there’s been an internal discussion at the staff level.”
The CFTC regulates the commodity futures and options markets. Wetjen said the agency is analyzing whether digital currency falls under its purview as a watchdog over commodity manipulation.
"I think people [at the CFTC] believe there's a pretty good argument that it would fit that definition," Wetjen said.
"Then there's a separate question about whether or not there is some derivative contract based on, or denominated in a virtual currency and whether that's listed on an exchange. ... There's some looking into that question too,” he added.
Wetjen would not offer a timeframe for any agency decisions.
The comments came days after Japan’s government deemed bitcoin unworthy as a currency, but said some transactions involving digital currency could and should be taxed.
Bitcoin "does not fall under the category of a currency and is subject to taxation,” the Japanese government said last week in a statement, according to Jiji Press news agency.
Japan is considering how it can regulate the cryptocurrency under current law.
Many countries, including Russia, have warned against using bitcoin, while Denmark and China have banned virtual currency deposits.
Government regulators have started taking action as relatively-major players of the nascent bitcoin “establishment” have hit bottom.
Late last month, Japan-based Mt Gox filed for bankruptcy in a Tokyo district court after the exchange's computer system was exposed to fraudulent transactions and technical failures. A leaked internal Mt Gox “crisis strategy” document suggested that the exchange site had been hacked as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the stolen cryptocurrency began to circulate online.
Mt Gox filed for US bankruptcy protection in Dallas on Sunday.
Mt Gox once claimed to host nearly 80 percent of all bitcoin transactions worldwide, and was the primary source cited for bitcoin prices. Its failure wiped out six percent of the currency’s total circulation, AP reported, or around $650 million in bitcoins.
After Mt Gox crashed on Feb. 24, the value of bitcoin fell to $440 – a three-month low after the currency reached highs above $1,000 at the end of November.
Last week, bitcoin storage site Flexcoin announced it was closing after hackers robbed it of 896 bitcoins in its hot wallet, which equals some $600,000 worth of digital currency.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York State’s financial regulator, said he would like digital currency exchanges to formally apply to operate in the state, Reuters reported.
Lawsky announced last month that regulations governing currency transmissions would be adapted to suit the likes of bitcoin.
"Our objective is to provide appropriate guard rails to protect consumers and root out money laundering – without stifling beneficial innovation," he said.
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Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency that falls under the US Department of Health and Human Services, will pay up to $58 million to manage and secure information on the Obamacare website for at least seven months as the government prepares to shift that data to a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services.
The deal was revealed in a contract dated March 6 and reported on by Joseph Marks of NextGov.com.
If this is the final extension Terremark, an IT subsidiary of Verizon technology services, will have been paid $120 million since 2011, when it first became a contractor for HealthCare.gov. The original deal was reportedly for $11 million. Since then, over the course of at least 12 updates, changes, and repairs, the fees swelled to approximately $60 million.
The government has explained the contract modifications by admitting that “at the time of the contract award, the scope of cloud computing needs to support the implementation of insurance exchanges was unknown,” adding that the “CMS believed if the additional services were not added urgently, the exchanges would not function as designed and citizens would continue to have issues using the marketplace.”
The government announced in November that it would switch providers from Terremark to Hewlett Packard after multiple site outages made it temporarily impossible for people to sign up for a new healthcare plan. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a congressional committee that “It is the Verizon server that failed, not HealthCare.gov” during the flawed Obamacare rollout late last year.
Jeffrey Zients, an economic adviser to the president who was appointed as a consultant on the ongoing project, said the Terremark issues were a “frustrating roadblock.”
There have been reports, though, that administration officials were aware of technological issues at Terremark as far back as 2010. The switch from Terremark to HP, though, hit a snag because of a delay in moving the vast amount of data to a new host.
Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company based in New York City, told the Wall Street Journal’s Spencer Ante and Christopher Weaver that shifting such a massive enterprise includes developing a plan, hiring engineers, purchasing equipment, and a number of other ideas.
“It is a major exercise to move something like that,” Gillett said in November, adding that “it is a minimum of weeks and more like months.”
Human Radiation Experiments in the Pacific. "Several formerly inhabited atolls remain off limits due to lingering radioactivity decades after the last H-bomb shattered the peace on Bikini and Enewetak. Imagine if the U.S. finally saw fit to do the right thing and pay their past-due $2 billion nuclear legacy bill, a small morsel of the annual Star Wars budget..."Topic(s):
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