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CEO of a top bitcoin exchange warns a crackdown on cryptocurrencies may be coming

Governments around the world may start to clamp down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the CEO of a top crypto exchange has warned. A number of officials — from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde — have sounded the alarm about the use of bitcoin for money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities. “I think there could be some crackdown,” Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, told CNBC in an interview. Cryptocurrencies have surged in value lately, with bitcoin hitting a record high price of more than $61,000 last month. The world’s most valuable digital coin was last trading at around $60,105.

Kraken is the world’s fourth-largest digital currency exchange in terms of trading volume. The firm is considering going public through a direct listing — similar to Coinbase — next year after achieving record trading volumes in the first quarter, CNBC reported last week. Coinbase is set to go public on Wednesday, and could be valued at as much as $100 billion — more than major exchange operators like Intercontinental Exchange, owner of the New York Stock Exchange. Crypto investors are hailing the company’s stock market debut as a major milestone for the industry after years of skepticism from Wall Street and regulators.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have often been associated with illicit activities due to the fact that people transacting with it are pseudonymous — you can see where funds are being sent but not who sent or received them. There are signs that the use of crypto for nefarious purposes may be falling. Illicit activity accounted for just 0.34% of all crypto transaction volume last year, according to blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. That was down from roughly 2% a year earlier.

CEO of a top bitcoin exchange warns a crackdown on cryptocurrencies may be coming, CNBC, Apr 13

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