Regulators must take a hard look at bitcoin

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared on Bloomberg View:Not a moment too soon, America’s biggest banks have moved to ban their customers from using credit cards to buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.Banks and regulators have been slow to guard against the dangers of the bitcoin phenomenon — and central banks, in particular, need to move more forcefully.The problem, to be clear, is not the ingenious technology of cryptocurrency itself.Correctly applied, that’s a valuable and far-reaching innovation.Nor is there a problem with the vision of dispensing altogether with physical cash. That’s a goal well worth pursuing, so long as its digital successors have the government backing they need to function correctly as money. Without that crucial ingredient, though, risk arises from the misapplication of cryptocurrency technology and the speculative mania surrounding it.The danger is clearly articulated by Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements (the central banks’ central bank).Bitcoin, he says, “has become a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.”In principle, the blockchain technology underlying bitcoin allows cheap, fast transactions without a central counterparty.There are countless promising applications of this idea — but serving as a spontaneous private replacement for cash isn’t one of them.If an asset has no intrinsic value, is not recognized as legal tender, and lacks an effective way to regulate its purchasing power, it cannot reliably serve as money. Up to now, in fact, cryptocurrencies have been in demand not because of their utility as money, but because — like tulips in the 17th century or dot-com stocks in the late 20th — they offered naive investors the prospect of amazing returns. For a while, that’s what speculators got.More recently, the bubble has deflated, amid proliferating reports of thefts, fraud and technical breakdowns.As losses mount, thoughts should turn to the implications for the rest of the financial system. Carstens stresses three.First, there’s the need to protect investors — especially amateurs who might know no better — from the consequences of their own recklessness.Second, cryptocurrencies can be used to grease the wheels of tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes. This too requires a regulatory response.Third, and not least, the crypto bubble is big enough to raise questions about systemic safety.At its recent peak, the total value of cryptocurrencies approached a trillion dollars.center_img Even at recent diminished valuations, the total stands at some $300 billion.This could expose not just the speculators but also their creditors and intermediaries to significant risk.Regulators need to be watchful, so that the integrity of their financial systems is not put in jeopardy.Providers of electronic-payment and money-transfer services are closely regulated in most jurisdictions.Cryptocurrency suppliers, no less than those other firms, interact with the rest of the financial system, relying upon its wider infrastructure to continue functioning. These links need to be supervised — and if they’re being abused, they need to be cut.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Officiating at track meet was horrible

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe officiating at the Feb. 11 Section II Division I Championship at UAlbany was the worst I’ve seen in 2-1/2 years, and I’ve been to most matches.On the first turn, seven seconds into the 4 X 400M relay in Section 1, the Bethlehem runner was tackled from behind and the race wasn’t stopped. That same runner, now bruised and stunned, shouldn’t have to pick up the baton and finish the race.The official, who was supposed to be watching in turn one had his back to the race. When this was pointed out to the officials, who took about 20 minutes looking up the rules, they refused to acknowledge what they were being told by coaches and others.When officials are asleep, the kids who work hard to compete fairly suffer — not the inept officials.Bill CerveraBallston LakeMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, July 15

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18 Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCuomo should sign bill allowing e-bikesAs an aging Baby Boomer with a sore knee, I was elated to see that the Assembly/Senate finally approved an e-bike bill (Senate bill S5294A).Pretty much every other state in the union allows them. The Class I pedal-assisted e-bikes are wonderful. They look, ride and handle (except cost) like regular bikes. They are quiet, non-polluting and get us back outside getting exercise. They should be allowed wherever regular bikes are. We have wonderful bike trails and many roads with wide shoulders. E-bikes fit in well with upstate tourism.I’m concerned about a recent article in the New York Post (https://nypost.com/2019/06/21/cuomo-pumps-break-on-bill-to-legalize-e-bikes-scooters/) that says the governor plans to veto the bill over New York City concerns. New York City already allows certain e-bikes, so vetoing the bill affects upstaters.Chris NafisRexford Much being said about Israel is falseRecent letters have falsely implied that Jews have no claim to the land of Israel; Jews stole Arab land; Israel is the obstacle to peace in the region; and Israelis, and Israelis alone, are guilty of human rights violations in the region. The truth is noted below.Jews have had a presence in the land for millennia. There is overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence to support this fact. By virtue of this presence, Jews do indeed have a legitimate claim to the land.Arabs also have a legitimate claim to the land. In an attempt to resolve this dilemma, in 1947 the United Nations passed a resolution to divide the territory into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Jewish side agreed to the resolution, but the Arab side did not and instead attacked the Jewish side.The Jewish forces prevailed, capturing Arab land during the conflict. It’s Israel’s policy that there must be a peace treaty before any land captured in battle will be returned.Israel did return captured land when it signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.At the Camp David summit of 2000, a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians was drafted. However, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat withdrew at the eleventh hour without explanation.Both Israelis and Palestinians have been cited for human rights violations, as documented extensively by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light” – George Washington.Don SteinerSchenectadyGrateful for the care received at EllisOn June 25, I went into Ellis hospital for exploratory testing to determine if a heart valve replacement was possible. They did an ultrasound with a camera down my throat and a heart catheterization through my right arm. All of the people I met were compassionate and professional. The nurses, the first was Lorraine, the last was Christine, and Anna was in between, and many others were all good. It was a 12-hour visit because emergencies came in and my routine test was set back, as it should have been.It looks like a heart valve is possible. I hope my doctor takes me back to Ellis.Ken HeckelerGlenvilleU.S. helped destroy democracy in IranIran has a long history of American relationships, some consensual, but some by force. It’s a shameful historical fact that the United States played a role in destroying the Iranian people’s pathway toward a democratic form of government. President Eisenhower promoted a program, “Atoms for Peace,” to sell U.S.-manufactured nuclear reactors.He approached the Iranian government, pointing out that someday, Iranian oil would disappear and therefore they should purchase nuclear reactors to create nuclear power. They agreed, thus starting a nuclear problem for many presidents, including President Trump.In 1952, Mohammed Mosaddegh became the first democratically elected leader in Iran’s history. He nationalized Iran’s oil production that had been confiscated by Great Britain for many years. Winston Churchill asked Eisenhower to overthrow Iran’s government and take back “England’s oil.” The CIA got the job, removed Mosaddegh and put him in jail for three years.The Eisenhower government installed a puppet dictator, Mohammed Pahlavi, known as the shah. After 25 years, he was expelled.In 1988, the captain of the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane. His excuse was that the plane was going to attack his ship.Although it was really taking off, 290 people were killed including more than 60 children.When the 9/11 terrorists struck, the Iranians were the only Middle East people who marched in sympathy for the American deaths. Ironically, 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, the country Trump seems to favor to purchase U.S. military hardware.Mary Jane ValachovicSchenectadylast_img read more

Euro brings pressure to UK lease structure lead here

first_imgThe effects of the euro’s launch took hold this week with calls for lease reform and moves to allow rent payment in the new currency.Head of property at BT Alan White said that a single currency will make occupation costs comparable across Europe, which will lead to pressure from multinationals for similar uniform leasing structures.‘I would not be too impressed with a 15-year lease when everyone around me had leases of eight years or less,’ he told a Nabarro Nathanson conference.He also warned that the European Commission could make a move. ‘If we continue with our much longer leases, there’s every chance that Brussels will step in and try to reduce them,’ said White.Meanwhile, REIT Asset Management, run by Kevin McGrath, this week wrote to its major UK tenants offering the chance of paying rent in euros.Most of REIT Asset Management’s tenants on its £150m European portfolio already pay rent in euros. And REIT is also looking for opportunities to invest in sale and leaseback deals in euros.McGrath said that he is looking into the possibility of raising debt in euros because European interest rates are lower than the UK.According to new research by Fletcher King and solicitor Radcliffes, landlords cannot compel tenants to pay in euros. Member states already signed up to the euro are covered by a specific European provision which protects parties accepting or paying in euros for three years. The UK is not covered by this provision, but as sterling is legal tender, parties cannot be obliged to pay in euros.Patricia Godfrey, head of Nabarro Nathanson’s single currency group, said that the euro will remove the risks of investors hedging against currency fluctuations.She added that the euro would make investors focus on tenant quality and market fundamentals, rather than how they would deal with individual currency risks. Former hsbc economist Roger Bootle and Richard Ellis’ Angus McIntosh debate the pros and cons of the euro in next week’s issue of Property Weeklast_img read more

Benchmark in talks on JE Robert tie-up

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P&O to lease Doncaster site

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Moving on up

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CBRE names new president for Europe, Middle East and Africa

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£100m deals for the evolving MEPC

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US Senate poised to acquit Trump as witness motion appears doomed

first_imgPresident Donald Trump’s hopes for a speedy acquittal by the Senate received a boost on Thursday as Democrats suffered a setback in their efforts to introduce new witnesses at his impeachment trial.Democrats had sought to have Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton testify but a key Republican senator said he would vote “no” when the question of calling further witnesses is put to the Senate on Friday.If the witness motion is rejected, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a key Trump ally, could conceivably call for a vote to acquit the president of the impeachment charges as soon as Friday. A two-thirds majority — or 67 senators — is needed to remove a president from office, and the 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate means Trump is virtually certain to be acquitted.Democrats were particularly eager to hear from Bolton following reports that he claims in an upcoming book to have been personally told by Trump that military aid to Ukraine was tied to Kiev investigating his Democratic rival Joe Biden.The charge is at the heart of the December 18 impeachment of the 45th US president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives.Four Republican votes are needed to allow new witnesses but Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who had been considered a possible swing vote, issued a statement late Thursday saying there was no need for more evidence. “It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation,” Alexander said.”But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate,” he said.Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would support the call for witnesses, and Utah Senator Mitt Romney has said he was “very likely” to do so.Another wavering Republican — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — has said she will announce her decision Friday morning.In the event of a 50-50 tie, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, could be called upon to end the deadlock. If he declines to vote, the motion calling for witnesses would fail.’Purely partisan impeachment’ Chief Democratic prosecutor Adam Schiff, in a last-ditch bid on Thursday to win over Republican senators wary of a drawn-out process, proposed a one-week time frame to secure new witness testimony.”Let’s have a reasonable accommodation here,” the California lawmaker told the 100 senators sitting as jurors at the historic trial. “We’ll take one week, and you’ll continue with the business of the Senate.”Trump’s defense team rejected the Democratic calls for more witnesses.”They said for weeks it was an overwhelming case,” said White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin. “If that’s their position, why do they need more witnesses?”White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued for an early acquittal, saying it “would be the best thing for our country.””We’re dealing with a purely partisan impeachment,” Cipollone said, accusing Democrats of using impeachment “as a political weapon.”Voters — not the Senate — should decide Trump’s fate in the November presidential election, he said.Cipollone and Schiff made their remarks during an occasionally testy Senate session during which Democratic and Republican senators directed questions to the House prosecutors and White House defense team.House impeachment managers expressed outrage over an assertion by one of Trump’s lawyers, Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, that a president can do almost anything he wants if he believes his re-election was “in the public interest.”Schiff said the claim echoed the Watergate case of disgraced president Richard Nixon 45 years ago.”What we have seen in the last couple of days is a descent into constitutional madness,” Schiff said.”Almost half a century ago, we had a president who said, ‘Well, when the president does it that means it is not illegal.'””Have we learned nothing in the last half century?” Schiff asked.”That is the normalization of lawlessness,” he said. “I would hope that every American would recognize that it’s wrong to seek foreign help in an American election.”‘Disgrace’ Trump’s defense team has argued alternatively that the impeachment is politically driven, that Trump did not tie Ukraine aid to the investigations he sought, that he had reason to seek a probe into his political rival and that he had the legal right to do so as president.The president has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, calling the entire process a politically driven “witch hunt” and a “disgrace.”Speaking at a campaign rally on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump said, “We’re having the best years in the history of our country and I just got impeached.”Democrats are to hold their first vote in Iowa on Monday in the process of selecting a candidate to face Trump in November’s presidential election.Topics :last_img read more