Courts should be able to reverse crypto transactions and unmask the people behind them, US congressman says

Rep. Bill Foster
US Representative, Bill Foster.

  • US courts should be able to reverse crypto transactions, US Rep. Bill Foster said in an Axios interview.
  • Until the crypto industry can manage ransomware attacks, anonymity will be hard to sustain, he said Tuesday.
  • Regulations should hand a ‘backdoor key’ to courts for access to crypto networks, the congressman said.
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A court or other trusted third party should be able to reverse cryptocurrency transactions if they are fraudulent or the result of criminal activity, US Rep. Bill Foster said as he called for new regulation in an Axios interview.

The Illinois Democrat, who co-chairs the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, said that until the crypto industry can come up with solutions to deal with crypto-ransomware attacks, anonymity for those involved in transactions would be “very hard to sustain.”

“You would have to be able to go to a court to unmask participants under some circumstances. It does not have to be visible to the whole world, and that may not even be desirable,” Foster said in the interview on Tuesday.

The congressman proposed bringing in a regulatory framework that would provide a “very heavily guarded key of a cryptographic backdoor” to the likes of federal courts, so they could reverse transactions on a blockchain.

The proposals may provoke outcry from crypto fans, keen to keep digital assets free from government control and manipulation, he acknowledged. But Foster said he could think of no better solution.

“Now, I’ve just said about three things there that will drive the crypto purists berserk, like the trusted third party and so on,” he said. “But in fact, there’s not a technological alternative that I’m aware of.”

“For most people, if they’re going to have a big part of their net worth tied up in crypto assets, they’re going to want to have that security blanket of a trusted third party that can solve the problem,” he added.

Colonial Pipeline paid a bitcoin ransom worth about $4.4. million to hackers in May, after its pipeline network was paralyzed in a cyberattack, though US authorities were able to recover the majority of the payment. The major cybersecurity incident forced the closure of one of the most important conduits for fuel supply in the US, causing gasoline shortages in some states.

As a result of that incident, future crypto regulations are likely to explicitly target access to information about individual ownership of accounts, Carlos Betancourt, cofounder and principal at crypto hedge fund BKCoin Capital, told Insider. That will enable law enforcement agencies to track the money flows – just like they do today between banks, he said.

While Foster stressed the US doesn’t want to go down China’s route of heavy surveillance over the crypto space, he does see a need for something to be done to combat criminal usage.

“We’re going to have to establish a wall between the legal and the illegal,” he said.

Read More: A digital-assets investing chief breaks down 10 reasons why the crypto bear market thesis is broken – and lists 10 cryptocurrencies that still have solid fundamentals despite falling by up to 70%

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lindsey Graham said he deals with Trump’s ‘dark side’ because he thinks he has a ‘magic’ other Republicans don’t

lindsey graham
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Axios on HBO” that he still thinks Donald Trump is good for the GOP.
  • Graham said Trump has a “dark side,” but also a “magic” that other Republicans don’t.
  • He said Trump can make the GOP stronger and more diverse, but that he “also could destroy it.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In an interview with “Axios on HBO” that aired on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said former President Donald Trump has both a “dark side” and a “magic” that other Republicans don’t.

The South Carolina senator became a close ally of the president during his four years in office but doesn’t always follow Trump the way some of his loyalists do. While he opposed impeachment after the Capitol riot, Graham said Trump “needs to understand that his actions were the problem.”

When Axios’s Jonathan Swan asked Graham why he still supports Trump, the senator said he still believes Trump’s movement is good for the country.

“Mitt Romney didn’t do it, John McCain didn’t do it – there’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side and there’s some magic there,” Graham said. “What I’m trying to do is just harness the magic.”


Since the siege of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, some congressional Republicans have been divided over how the party should move forward. While the vast majority voted against impeachment, 10 representatives voted to impeach and seven senators voted to convict Trump.

Yet Graham told Axios that he thinks the best way for the Republican party to move forward with its agenda is “with Trump, not without Trump.”

“He could make the Republican party something that nobody else I know could make it,” Graham said. “He could make it bigger, he could make it stronger, he could make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it.”

Graham told reporters last month he was meeting with Trump to discuss the future of the Republican party. He said he wanted to convince Trump to help Republicans take back Congressional majorities in 2022, but that they would need the party to be united.

“If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem,” Graham said he would say to Trump.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Trump called out the Republicans who voted for his impeachment by name, prompting boos from the crowd.

Trump also told Politico on Saturday that he would be traveling to Alaska to campaign against GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict him, calling her “disloyal” and “very bad.”

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Reddit’s CEO says the company will continue hosting porn

Steve Huffman
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.

  • Reddit CEO Steve Huffman on Sunday was asked whether the company plans to change its policy allowing porn.
  • Reddit doesn’t plan to ban pornography, he said.
  • Huffman said Reddit provides a valuable forum to talk about sex, which he said as a topic is often “not well-served.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

During an interview broadcast on Sunday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman explained why the company allows pornography on its platform.

When asked during an Axios interview whether hosting pornographic content on Reddit would ever change, Huffman replied: “Sex is universal, and like many topics on Reddit sex is one of those topics that’s often not well-served online or offline.”

He said pornography can be exploitative, and “that’s not the content that we want on Reddit.”

“But I think there’s another aspect that’s empowering, and these are people sharing stories of themselves, pictures of themselves, and we are perfectly supportive of that.

“We want people to be safe, we have rules on Reddit – no involuntary sexualization. And if anybody makes those sorts of reports to us we take those very seriously,” Huffman said, adding that the site also has rules banning the sexualization of minors.

Reddit’s policy on “involuntary pornography” includes content “depicting any person in a state of nudity or engaged in any act of sexual conduct apparently created or posted without their permission, including depictions that have been faked.”

Reddit also requires users to tag any content containing nudity or pornography with a NSFW (Not Safe For Work) tag.

“There are difficult decisions to make in this sphere, but we think they’re worth making. As opposed to saying ‘no sex at all,’ for example,” he said.

Here are Huffman’s comments on pornography on Reddit:

Other big social media companies, including Facebook and Instagram, ban pornographic content – although a range of users have complained in the past that they do not enforce their rules consistently.

Adult industry professionals accused Instagram of unfairly deleting their accounts in November 2019, and the company revised its nudity policy in October 2020 after a Black model campaigned against double-standards.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ex-Parler CEO said he didn’t want the platform to work with Trump for fear the president would ‘bully’ employees into doing what he wanted

Matze Trump Parler
Parler CEO John Matze and President Donald Trump, who Matze has said considered making an account on the controversial social-media platform.

  • John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, told Axios on HBO that he did not want to work with Trump.
  • He said we was concerned Trump would “bully” employees into doing what he wanted.
  • BuzzFeed reported Parler offered Trump a 40% stake in exchange for becoming his go-to social media.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, said during an interview with Axios on HBO that he didn’t want the social media platform to work with Donald Trump.

“I didn’t like the idea of working with Trump because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted,” Matze told Axios during an interview that aired Sunday.

“But I was worried that if we didn’t sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler,” Matze added.

Parler, which has very limited content moderation, grew in popularity among Trump supporters and far-right figures following the election in November. However, Trump, who frequently complained about Twitter adding fact-check labels to his tweets, never made a verified Parler account.

Read more: How Google finally decided to remove Parler after months of flagging the app’s harmful content

Matze also told Axios he does not know why Trump has not joined the platform, despite being booted off other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for violating their terms.

The interview, which took place Thursday, was released following a BuzzFeed News report on Friday that said Parler offered the Trump Organization 40% stake in exchange for Trump making the app his go-to social media platform.

The proposed deal, which was reportedly in talks last summer and after Trump lost the election, also would have required Trump to post on Parler four hours before reposting the content on other platforms, while also linking back to Parler, according to BuzzFeed.

Matze did not mention the specifics of the BuzzFeed report in the interview with Axios but said the negotiations over the summer did not get very far.

Trump’s business interests during his presidency raised questions over whether he was abusing the office of the presidency for personal financial gain.

BuzzFeed reported that the Parler deal could have violated anti-bribery laws because Parler would have given Trump something of value in exchange for control over his official statements, according to ethics experts.

Parler’s board fired Matze from his role as CEO last week, as the app currently remains offline. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores, and Amazon also stopped hosting the app, citing insufficient moderation of violent content.

Read the original article on Business Insider