Top currency regulator says to expect ‘clarity’ in coming weeks on bitcoin

Investing

One of the United States’ top financial regulators said Thursday that new regulations on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were coming soon, but he downplayed concerns that the new rules would be disruptive.

Brian Brooks, the acting comptroller of the currency, told CNBC’s Melissa Lee on “Squawk Box” to expect “clarity” on cryptocurrency in the next six-to-eight weeks but said “nobody’s going to ban bitcoin.”

“We’re very focused on getting this right. We’re very focused on not killing this,” Brooks said. “And it’s equally important that we develop the networks behind bitcoin and other cryptos as it is that we prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.”

Concerns about potential regulation were heightened last month when Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said on Twitter that he had heard rumors that the Treasury Department was working to rush out new crypto regulations before President Donald Trump’s term ends in January.

“This would be bad for America because it would force U.S. consumers to use foreign unregulated crypto companies to get access to these services. And long term, I believe this would put America’s status as a financial hub at risk,” Armstrong said.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of good news for crypto before the end of the term,” Brooks said.

The price of bItcoin has been a tear on recent weeks, setting its first record high since 2017 on Monday. The cryptocurrency has continued to trade in a volatile manner, but has seen increased adoption by major financial companies and high profile investors.

PayPal recently implemented a system to let user buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform. Hedge fund managers Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones have both said they are bullish on bitcoin.

Brooks said the new regulations would help accelerate adoption of crypto by major financial players.

“It may have been a bubble two years ago, but with more clarity, institutions that see this as a real thing are going to adopt at scale, which they’ve already started to do,” Brooks said.

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