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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: Crypto Regulation in the US, A ‘War’ on the Industry

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Source: Youtube/CBS News

Sam Altman, the founder of Worldcoin and CEO of OpenAI, has voiced his concerns regarding the escalating efforts by the US government to regulate and exert authority over the cryptocurrency market. 

He has likened these actions to a form of “war” against the industry.

In a recent interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, held on October 7, 2023, Sam Altman expressed his unease with the government’s measures targeting digital assets

Altman said: “I have several disappointments with recent actions taken by the US government, but the way they are approaching cryptocurrency, trying to assert absolute control, that’s what truly saddens me about our country.”

However, Altman made it clear that he does not oppose regulations. He pointed to the catastrophic collapse of FTX as a stark illustration of why regulations are vital, saying, 

“I am not against regulations. I believe they are a necessity. The situation with FTX was, in a way, almost comically disastrous.”

At the same time, Altman underscored the significance of non-government-controlled currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) as a substantial technological advancement for humanity.

He explained: “A few years ago, I played a part in launching a project called Worldcoin, which allowed me to delve deeper into this field. I am enthusiastic about it for the same reasons. Yet, the notion of having a global currency that exists beyond government influence is a rational and crucial advancement in the realm of technology.”

Meanwhile, Joe Rogan expressed his optimism about Bitcoin despite his skepticism regarding the broader cryptocurrency industry. 

He commented: “The truly captivating cryptocurrency, in my opinion, is Bitcoin. I believe it has the greatest potential to become a universally accepted currency. Its limited supply and the fact that people mine it using their computers are fascinating, and I appreciate its implementation.”

However, both Altman and Rogan strongly voiced their opposition to CBDCs. They expressed concerns about the potential transformation of the United States into a surveillance-oriented state.

Rogan contended that CBDCs could grant governments even greater influence over individuals’ spending habits.

Regulatory Crackdown on Cryptocurrencies

US regulatory authorities have adopted a tough stance on cryptocurrencies, introducing new uncertainties into the future of the digital asset market.

In June 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated enforcement actions against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. 

The charges include allegations of customer funds misappropriation and operating an unregistered exchange, among others.

The next day, the agency also targeted Coinbase for allegedly offering unregistered securities.

These developments have amplified the persistent questions surrounding how existing regulations concerning investments and trading will be applied to this relatively new asset class.

Privacy Concerns Surrounding Worldcoin

While Altman’s claims may appear dramatic, they bring to the forefront critical questions concerning the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies and their future in the United States.

His Worldcoin project has also encountered substantial criticism from the cryptocurrency community and regulatory bodies since its launch in July 2023. 

This is particularly in relation to its use of eyeball-scanning Orbs for ID verification in exchange for its cryptocurrency, WLD.

Despite Worldcoin’s claims that it does not retain the data following the completion of an iris scan, privacy concerns prompted Kenya to suspend its operations. Argentina also initiated an investigation into the project in August.

The crypto space is rapidly evolving, and as it does, it becomes essential for the government to adapt to these changes while maintaining its responsibilities to safeguard its citizens.