American Banking Giants Sound Off Against Libra as Monetary Threat

In July, Powell said the Libra initiative raised “a lot of serious concerns”, including privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, and financial stability in his testimony about Libra in front of the congressional committee.

As if the financial establishment has not been vocal enough about its resistance against Libra, their displeasure was noted in an official complaint to the central bank.

Executives from some of the biggest American banks told the Federal Reserve that Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra would pose a threat on monetary policies in the US, Bloomberg reported.

“Facebook is potentially creating a digital monetary ecosystem outside of sanctioned financial markets – or a ‘shadow banking’ system”, banks said, according to the minutes of this month’s Federal Advisory Council meeting obtained by the news agency.

“As consumers adopt Libra, more deposits could migrate onto the platform, effectively reducing liquidity, and that disintermediation may further expand into loan and investment services”, the report said.

Members of the council include chief executive officers Rene Jones of M&T Bank Corp., Beth Mooney of KeyCorp, and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, as the c-suite bellowed, two U.S. lawmakers,  Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) and Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), echoed their concerns in a letter to the Fed, asking Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to consider creating a digital dollar.

At that hearing, Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio also questioned Facebook’s Libra creator David Marcus on whether the company is trustworthiness by listing a number of scandals ranging from Cambridge Analytica to racial massacres in Myanmar.

“Facebook should stop Libra plans”, Brown said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

In France, finance minister Bruno Le Maire last month indicated that France will block Libra from Europe.

“I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.” the minister said at the opening of an OECD conference on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Paris, France.

Financial authorities in other EU countries including Switzerland also said there would be a high level of oversight if Libra were ever allowed in their countries.

Alleged Mastermind of Sex Abuse Chatrooms Hid Payments With Privacy Coin Monero

Cryptocurrency accepted by the alleged ringleader of a Telegram chat group in exchange for abusive sexual material may never be retrieved.

Cho Ju-bin, 25, is said to have charged users anywhere between 200,000 to 1.5 million Korean won (around $160 to $1,200) to access images and videos of women, many younger than 16, who were forced to perform sex acts on themselves.

An investigation from CoinDesk Korea found Cho primarily dealt in the privacy-enhancing cryptocurrency monero (XMR) so he could cover his tracks.

Korean authorities took the unusual step Wednesday of publicly naming Cho as the alleged ringleader of a Telegram chat group known as the Doctor’s Room, following a petition signed by more than five million South Koreans. He stands accused of violating the child protection, privacy and sexual abuse acts, as well as charges surrounding abuse, blackmail and threatening others.

Following a Supreme Court case in 2018, cryptocurrencies are considered a form of property subject to forfeit after conviction in South Korea.

But there are complications. Authorities have to find the wallets in which digital assets are stored, as well as the private key to access them. «We may say that Mr. Cho has forgotten his private key,» said Han Seo-hee, a Korean lawyer, to CoinDesk Korea. «If I refuse to submit it, there is no way to force it from him.»

Although CoinDesk Korea has been able to show Cho received more than 8,800 ether (ETH), currently worth around $1.2 million, from more than 500 wallets from around the world, the majority of his payments were in monero.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, where transactions can readily be viewed on a public blockchain, monero jumbles them together, making it next to impossible for third parties to trace payments. Even the amount he received may never be known without his cooperation.

Cho is accused of blackmailing at least 58 women and 16 girls to send degrading and sexually exploitative images of themselves, forcing many to carve ‘slave’ into their bodies. He operated multiple rooms on Telegram, with users paying extra to view more graphic or extreme material. Korean authorities have also arrested 124 suspects and 18 operators linked to the case.

“I apologize to those who were hurt by me”, Cho said following his public reveal Wednesday. “Thank you for ending the life of a demon that I couldn’t stop.”

Cho did not respond to questions from reporters on whether he had admitted to the charges.

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