Bitcoin tools could make finance system safer, says IMF boss

Christine Lagarde believes revisiting crypto-assets could ‘harness gains and avoid pitfalls’The advance of bitcoin and other digital currencies could make the global financial system safer despite the prospect of “inevitable” accidents waiting to happe…

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Google bans bitcoin adverts in cryptocurrency crackdown

Ads for cryptocurrencies, ICOs, wallets and exchanges will be blocked from June to prevent scams, following Facebook’s move in January

Google will ban all adverts for cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs), as it seeks to “tackle emerging threats”.

The ad ban will come into force from June as part of a clampdown on unregulated financial products. Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, said in a blogpost: “We updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs).”

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‘Fight fire with fire’: IMF’s Lagarde calls for bitcoin crackdown

IMF chief says cryptocurrency’s own blockchain technology could be used to control it

Christine Lagarde has called for a crackdown on bitcoin by using the technology behind the digital currency to “fight fire with fire”.

The head of the International Monetary Fund said authorities around the world could harness the potential of cryptocurrencies to help bring them under control, warning that failure to do so would allow the unfettered development of a “potentially major new vehicle for money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.

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Bitcoin is based on the blockchain pipe dream | Nouriel Roubini and Preston Byrne

Overpriced cryptocurrencies owe their diminishing credibility to an over-hyped technology

Predictions that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will fail typically elicit a broader defence of the underlying blockchain technology. Yes, the argument goes, more than half of “initial coin offerings” to date have already failed, and most of the 1,500-plus cryptocurrencies also will fail, but blockchain will nonetheless revolutionise finance and human interactions generally.

In reality, blockchain is one of the most overhyped technologies ever. For starters, blockchains are less efficient than existing databases. When someone says they are running something on a blockchain, what they usually mean is that they are running one instance of a software application that is replicated across many other devices.

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Bitcoin faces regulatory crackdown, Bank of England warns

Cryptocurrencies inherently risky and fail most basic function as money, says Mark Carney

The Bank of England has warned that bitcoin faces a regulatory crackdown, warning that “inherently risky” cryptocurrencies are failing to fulfil their most basic function as money.

Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, used a speech in London on Friday to attack a situation of “anarchy” in the trading of cryptocurrencies, with the market having grown rapidly on unregulated exchanges. He said the time had come to “regulate elements of the crypto-asset ecosystem to combat illicit activities”.

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Bill Gates: cryptocurrencies have ’caused deaths in a fairly direct way’

Microsoft founder slams digital currencies as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reveals he was victim of bitcoin scam

Bill Gates, the philanthropist and former chief executive of Microsoft, is concerned by the crytocurrency craze, saying that the anonymity offered by the new technology has “caused deaths in a fairly direct way”.

Speaking during a Reddit AMA, Gates argued that “the government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing.

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Hawk or dove? Bitcoin is forcing central banks to take sides | Howard Davies

Love them or hate them it seems cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are too big to ignore

A few days ago, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela announced that his government had launched the petro, a new state-sponsored cryptocurrency. He claimed that $735m (£529m) worth of the new currency had already been sold, though observers are sceptical, unless state entities have been obliged to buy them. Even they will find it hard to do so, however, as the technology platform on which the petro will be traded has not yet been confirmed.

Related: Venezuela’s new bitcoin: an ingenious plan or worthless cryptocurrency?

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‘Much work needed’ to make digital economy environmentally sustainable

MPs cast doubt on whether energy efficiency gains can keep offsetting rising power demand

A cross-party group of MPs has raised doubts over whether the growing energy demand from digital technology and the proliferation of internet-connected gadgets can continue to be offset by energy efficiency improvements.

More efficient smartphones, networking gear and data centres have so far largely staved off increased power demand from the internet and computing – which now accounts for about 6% of global electricity use.

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