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French central banker says digital currency cannot be private

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FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau delivers a speech to open a conference entitled “Bretton Woods: 75 years later” in Paris, France, July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) – Digital currency could be useful as cash transactions dwindle in some countries but central banks should be in charge of issuing it, not private companies, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Saturday.

Spurred by the rise of cryptocurrencies and Facebook’s plans to launch its Libra currency, central banks worldwide are looking into the possibility of issuing digital money to prevent the loss of state control over money.

Villeroy said the proposals were not a reaction to Facebook’s plan, responding instead to fast-evolving technology and some banks’ need for digital currency. He added that private citizens could also start wanting an alternative to cash.

“In some northern European countries, notably Sweden and the Netherlands, the use of bank notes is falling extremely quickly and they are wondering whether we need to give citizens the right to digital money that is no longer a physical bank note but which has the same quality, notably the security of a central bank,” he told France Inter radio.

Asked whether such digital money could be issued by private companies, Villeroy said “currency cannot be private, money is a public good of sovereignty”.

He added that central banks were planning experiments with digital money and that the issue would be studied by the Eurosystem euro zone central banks.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Helen Popper

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Drug dealer loses $58M in Bitcoin after landlord accidentally throws codes out

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gettyimages-887657568

Bitcoin is currently worth over $9,700.


Dan Kitwood/Getty

Between 2011 and 2012, 49-year-old Clifton Collins bought 6,000 Bitcoin using money he earned from growing and selling weed, reports The Irish Times. At the time, the cryptocurrency’s price varied between $4 and $6. Today it stands at over $9,700. But Collins isn’t enjoying any euphoria for the windfall — because his landlord threw out his Bitcoin codes.

The Irish Times reports that Collins was arrested in 2017 for growing and selling weed, and was subsequently hit with a five-year prison sentence. Following this, his landlord sent many of Collins’ possessions to a local dump during the process of clearing out Collins’ room. One such item was a fishing rod case, which housed a pice of A4 paper with €53.6 million ($58 million) in Bitcoin codes printed onto it.

Cryptocurrency is bought through so-called cryptowallets. Once you buy Bitcoin, the cryptowallet issues you a code that’s needed to access it. Anyone who gets that code can access and potentially steal the cryptocurrency, so buyers are usually encouraged to hide their codes somewhere safe.

In 2017, Collins spread his 6,000 Bitcoin across 12 accounts in order to guard against losing his crypto-fortune, according to the Times. He printed out the codes to his Bitcoin stash on a piece of A4 paper, the same paper he stuffed into the aforementioned fishing rod case.

The past few years have seen others lose digital fortunes even greater than Collins’ $58 million. A man in the UK accidentally threw out a hard drive storing $127 million-worth of Bitcoin codes. Gerald Cotten, owner of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, died of Crohn’s Disease complications in December 2018, leaving behind $190 million in cryptocurrency for which he had the only password.

In what’s likely little consolation, Collins wouldn’t have been able to cash in his Bitcoin even if the paper hadn’t been lost to the dump. Ireland’s Criminal Asset Bureau seized the cryptocurrency, on the grounds that its purchase was funded by illicit activity, reports The Irish Times.



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Amazon in Holocaust row about ‘Hunters’ series, anti-Semitic books

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WARSAW (Reuters) – The Auschwitz Memorial criticized Amazon on Sunday for fictitious depictions of the Holocaust in its Prime series “Hunters” and for selling books of Nazi propaganda.

Seventy-five years after the liberation of the Nazi German Auschwitz death camp by Soviet troops, world leaders and activists have called for action against rising anti-Semitism.

“Hunters”, released on Friday and starring Al Pacino, features a team of Nazi hunters in 1970s New York who discover that hundreds of escaped Nazis are living in the United States.

However, the series has faced accusations of bad taste, particularly for depicting fictional atrocities in Nazi death camps, such as a game of human chess in which people are killed when a piece is taken.

“Inventing a fake game of human chess for @huntersonprime is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers,” the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted.

“We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy.”

The Auschwitz Memorial is responsible for preserving the Nazi German death camp in southern Poland, where more than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished in gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease.

The Memorial also criticized Amazon for selling anti-Semitic books.

On Friday, the Memorial retweeted a letter from the Holocaust Educational Trust to Amazon asking that anti-Semitic children’s books by Nazi Julius Streicher, who was executed for crimes against humanity, be removed from sale.

“When you decide to make a profit on selling vicious antisemitic Nazi propaganda published without any critical comment or context, you need to remember that those words led not only to the #Holocaust but also many other hate crimes,” the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted on Sunday.

“As a bookseller, we are mindful of book censorship throughout history, and we do not take this lightly. We believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable,” an Amazon spokesman said in a comment emailed to Reuters. Amazon said it would comment on “Hunters” later.

FILE PHOTO: Cast members Al Pacino and Logan Lerman pose at a premiere for the television series “Hunters” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

In December, Amazon withdrew from sale products decorated with images of Auschwitz, including Christmas decorations, after the Memorial complained.

Separately, prosecutors launched an investigation into a primary school in the town of Labunie, which staged a reenactment of Auschwitz with children dressed as prisoners being gassed, local media reported.

The school is accused of promoting fascism in the performance in December. It could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Additional reporting by Anna Koper; Editing by Giles Elgood

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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New SNEAKER CUSHION TECHNOLOGY You NEED To Try!!

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