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Bitcoin mining energy costs raise concern, prompt little action
Influx of bitcoin miners to areas with access to cheap and plentiful energy has caused a backlash

More than 18 U.S. homes could be powered for one day by the electricity consumed for a single bitcoin transaction, a recent estimate found. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Bitcoin is under a cloud, one that Congress and others are beginning to acknowledge: the vast amount of energy required to obtain and maintain the virtual currency.

A university study released last week found the emissions produced by the worldwide network of computers that “mine” bitcoin sits “between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City.”

A conversation with the European fintech regulator — Steven Maijoor
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 7

(Lidiia Moor/iStock)

The Facebook coin: What it means for fintech and society
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 6

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Welcome to Fintech Beat, the intersection of finance, technology, policy and regulation. Facebook is poised to enter and potentially reshape the cryptocurrency landscape. Host Chris Brummer, fintech regulation expert, and guests mull over what this means for fintech and society.

The financial technology trade wars
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 5

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Exploring the wild, wild west of cryptocurrency exchanges
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 4

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What's in your crypto wallet? And how to keep it safe
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 3

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A conversation with the CFTC regulator — Christopher Giancarlo
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 2

Chris Giancarlo. (Photo courtesy Commodity Futures Trading Commission)

Financial policy and regulation is changing. We’re going to make sense of it for you.
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 1

Chris Brummer, professor and faculty director of the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown Law, is the host of Fintech Beat — from CQ Roll Call's studios in the heart of Washington. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

Mobile payments up but pace of growth slows
23 percent of smartphone owners used a mobile wallet app in 2018

U.S. consumers spent $64 billion through mobile wallet apps or dedicated apps from a retailer last year. (Courtesy iStock)

Payments made through mobile apps like Apple Pay are rising, but at a slower rate than in past years, according to a report by the Electronic Transactions Association.

U.S. consumers spent $64 billion through mobile wallet apps or dedicated apps from a retailer last year, up from $45 billion in 2017, the ETA said. The 42 percent rate of growth in 2018 was down from 51 percent in 2017. The pace is expected to slow to 37 percent in 2019, resulting in $88 billion in consumer spending by such means.

Global regulators divide on fintech impact on financial system
New reports highlight inability to reach consensus on best approaches

A new report says regulators of the world’s leading economies need to watch how they oversee cryptoassets and be wary of gaps that could undermine investor protections and anti-money laundering efforts. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Regulators are divided on the potential impact of financial technology on the global financial system and the need for better coordination and oversight.

As leaders prepare to gather for the G-20 meeting in Japan in late June, their finance ministers and central bankers are getting conflicting advice from regulators on the risks and benefits of fintech.

Regulators confront technology that may upend securities trade
Distributed ledgers may remove the need for intermediaries such as stock exchanges.

Distributed ledger technology, including the blockchain system that backs bitcoin, could remove the need for such intermediaries as stock exchanges, regulators and experts say. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images file photo)

New technology could change the way the securities industry has worked for decades by removing the need for trusted central parties such as stock exchanges.

The potentially disruptive technology is known as the distributed ledger, a decentralized database run by its users rather than a single authority. Current and former financial regulators, academics and trading industry experts said during a recent financial technology panel that these ledgers, which in theory can’t be changed, may remove the need for such intermediaries as stock exchanges.

Report to Congress ponders a future of cryptocurrency over cash
Migration away from cash transactions leaves an opening for digital currencies

A man purchases bitcoin from a bitcoin ATM in Boston in 2014. The use of cryptocurrencies to make payments in the U.S. is still “quite rare relative to cash and traditional systems,” a new CRS report says. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images file photo)

Congress may be beginning to contemplate a country where cryptocurrency — not cash — is the coin of the realm.

The Congressional Research Service examined the decline in cash usage in the United States and the potential rise of alternative payment systems, including bitcoin or other digital assets, in the purchase of goods and services.

Futures product to test Wall Street taste for cryptocurrencies
Startup company plans to start trading futures contracts in bitcoin

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have sought clarity from the Commodity Future Trading Commission on guidelines for cryptocurrencies on the futures market. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cryptocurrencies have been viewed skeptically by some old-guard financial institutions — the head of one bank famously called bitcoin a fraud a few years back — but there’s a new plan to offer derivatives based on bitcoin that may show how deeply Wall Street is adopting new financial technology.

A startup company plans in July to start testing futures contracts in bitcoin, and begin trading them shortly after. The products, unlike cryptocurrencies themselves, aren’t designed for the masses. Bitcoin futures are meant for financial firms that want to find new ways to profit from fintech, and launching the futures contracts is essentially a bet that there’s enough demand from the big players.

This government agency wants to partner with fintech firms. But a gift rule is blocking it
U.S. is falling behind in fintech innovation, regulators warn

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo says current rules prevent his agency from working closely with fintech companies. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

If government employees need new software to test how a financial technology project might work — software they lack expertise to write themselves — they can’t get it from the industry because rules deem such software as a gift and block the government from receiving it.

The result, according to regulators, is the rules are slowing down U.S. innovation in fintech, leaving the country to fall behind others.

2 minutes with CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo
Fintech Beat's Chris Brummer talks blockchain, derivatives and Hollywood

Chris Brummer (left) of Fintech Beat interviews CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo in Washington. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)