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This tag is associated with 7 posts

“My Taxes Pay Regulators, so I Expect Them to Treat Me With Respect”

[Reading Time: 9 minutes]

Interview with Aaron Greenspan, Harvard graduate, original creator of “The Facebook,” payments innovator, and autodidact non-lawyer.  (PART THREE)

Aaron was generous both in his time and in his responses, which led me to split the interview into three parts:  In PART ONE: REGULATION AND INNOVATION IN THE UNITED STATES, Aaron talks about United States money transmitters laws and identifies, with unusual clarity and depth, what he believes is wrong with them.

In PART TWO: BITCOIN, COMMUNISM AND THE SURVEILLANCE STATE, Aaron lays out his controversial point of view on Bitcoin.

Read on for PART THREE: A YOUNG FINTECH ENTERPRENEUR’S DAY OF RECKONING, the final and most controversial one, in which Aaron has no qualms about naming and shaming some of the individuals that have not “treated him with respect.”  Again, here is a brief intro on Aaron, for the benefit of those who haven’t read the previous posts.

Having been a teen tech entrepreneur, during college at Harvard in 2003 Aaron created the predecessor to Facebook, Inc., which also happened to be called “The Facebook.”  In 2009, he entered into a settlement Continue reading

“Bitcoiners Are Repeating Forgotten History, and Are Accordingly Doomed”

[Reading Time: 8 minutes]

Interview with Aaron Greenspan, Harvard graduate, original creator of “The Facebook,” payments innovator, and autodidact non-lawyer.  (PART TWO)

Aaron was generous both in his time and in his responses, which led me to split the interview into three parts.  In PART ONE: REGULATION AND INNOVATION IN THE UNITED STATES, Aaron talks about United States money transmission laws and identifies, with uncommon clarity and depth, what he believes to be wrong with them.

Read on for Aaron’s point of view on Bitcoin, preceded by the intro to the first post for the benefit of those who haven’t read it, yet.

Having been a teen tech entrepreneur, during college at Harvard in 2003 Aaron created the predecessor to Facebook, Inc., which also happened to be called “The Facebook.”  In 2009, he entered into a settlement agreement with Facebook, Inc. as well as his classmate Mark Zuckerberg, and then had the opportunity to figure out what he wanted to do next, so he followed a long-standing interest in payment Continue reading

“US Money Transmission Laws Are Worthless and Unconstitutional”

[Reading Time: 10 minutes]

Interview with Aaron Greenspan, Harvard graduate, original creator of “The Facebook,” payments innovator, and autodidact non-lawyer.  (PART ONE)

Having been a teen tech entrepreneur, during college at Harvard in 2003 Aaron created the predecessor to Facebook, Inc., which also happened to be called “The Facebook.”  In 2009, he entered into a settlement agreement with Facebook, Inc. as well as his classmate Mark Zuckerberg, and then had the opportunity to figure out what he wanted to do next, so he followed a long-standing interest in payment systems and decided to try and tackle mobile payments.  From 2008 through early 2011, he invested essentially every piece of time, energy and capital at his disposal into making his payments initiative, called FaceCash, widely regarded as a success—until he was told that he would be thrown in federal prison by a state bureaucrat.

As you will soon see, to say that Aaron does not mince his words is the understatement of the century, so I am aware of the risks I am taking by presenting his strong point of view here. However, even Continue reading

“Bitcoin Is the Perfect Way to Transfer Money Globally”

[Reading Time: 8 minutes]

Interview with Alan Safahi, founder and CEO of ZipZap

Last July, at the Inside Bitcoins conference in New York City, one speaker in particular made a comment that caused the loudest round of applause in the entire conference when he said: “This country was founded on a separation of church and state.  I think we should also add separation of bank and state.”  It was Alan Safahi, founder and CEO of ZipZap, Inc., a San Francisco-based start-up that aims to revolutionize international money transfers around the world.

Alan has graciously accepted to talk about his company, his vision and the future of digital currencies.

Juan: Please tell us about your background and how you got involved with Bitcoin.

Alan: I am a serial entrepreneur with 28+ years of experience with several start-ups under my belt in technology, telecommunications and financial services.  I was an early adopter in the evolution of prepaid cards in the 1990s, so I have been part of the problem for the longest time!  I got involved with Bitcoin in 2010 and have since been a vocal supporter and activist of digital currencies. I currency sit on the Advisory Board Continue reading

“Bitcoiners Must Understand that Compliance is Just the Beginning”

[Reading Time: 15 minutes] 

Interview with David Landsman, Executive Director of the National Money Transmitters Association (NMTA) – PART TWO

Longer post than usual, I’m aware, but well worth it –the closing of bank accounts, the Bitcoin Foundation Cease & Desist Order from California…  David comments on it all and gives links to valuable resources!

In PART ONE, David talked about the image problems that all money transmitters have in the United States, the fragmented regulatory regime and the likelihood of a federal license, now that the Bitcoin community has joined the fray.

Read on for David’s strong viewpoint on US banks –very timely, given the increasing closing of Bitcoin operator accounts in the US–, and the reasons why many legal and PR efforts in fighting the closing of accounts have so far been fruitless.

PART TWO Continue reading

Is US Regulation the Single Biggest Threat to Bitcoin?

[Reading time: 6 minutes]

On March 4, 2013 I gave a talk titled just like this post at the New York City Bitcoin Meetup.  The talk blurb read:

If you are a Bitcoin ecosystem participant (user, entrepreneur), you may be aware that there is a myriad of rules and regulations, at the federal, state and even international level, that may apply to you.  Why?  Because Bitcoin is technically a “value transfer” system, and such systems are heavily regulated to protect consumer rights and deter financial crime, including the financing of terrorism.  Join us for a lively discussion of potential obstacles to the growth of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The rather hyperbolic title attracted a few dozen very smart (and gracious) entrepreneurs and geeks, most of whom, unsurprisingly, were not aware that the United States has a very convoluted and onerous regulatory regime that can potentially stifle innovation or, at a minimum, slow down the spread of virtual peer-to-peer value transfer systems like Bitcoin. Continue reading

Say No to Nonsense

[Reading time: 5 minutes]

It has been over ten years since the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act shone the spotlight over all financial institutions and their AML, BSA, CFT and regulatory compliance programs.

Throughout this time much has been written about the rules and regulations that apply and do not apply to each type of financial institution, the perceived and real threats of non-complying with them, and the dozens of cases in which institutions have failed to meet the expected standards and suffered the consequences.  In the case of MSBs, a lot has also been written about the difficulties they have faced in obtaining and retaining banking relationships, which continue to this day.  Very little, however, has been written by compliance officers about what the world looks like from within their organizations.  Understandably so, one might say, given that it may be inappropriate or, if one believes that there might be adverse personal consequences in doing so, simply foolish.

I do not subscribe to the latter.  I believe the best way to fully understand and resolve the issues is to bring Continue reading

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