Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations

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A man makes a purchase from a Pennsylvania Lottery machine, left, next to a Bitcoin ATM machine in a Sheetz convenience store in Pittsburgh, on July 9, 2019. Sheetz, a Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, is putting Bitcoin ATMs in six shops around the state and one in North Carolina, giving customers the ability to buy and sell the cryptocurrency with US dollars. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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A 3-D printed Facebook logo is seen on representations of the Bitcoin virtual currency in this illustration picture. (REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated 12 July 2019
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Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations

  • Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020
  • Bitcoin, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Bitcoin, Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to US and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank.”
“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International,” he added.
Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020. Facebook and 28 partners, including Mastercard Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc, would form the Libra Association to govern the new coin. No banks are currently part of the group.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, plans to launch its own digital coins.
Trump’s comments come one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook’s plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.
Powell said the Fed had established a working group to follow the project and was coordinating with other countries’ central banks, several of which have also expressed concern about Facebook’s digital currency project.
The US Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of regulators that identifies risks to the financial system, is also expected to conduct a review.
Facebook, the White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.
Bitcoin, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks, but crypto trading and digital currencies remain largely unsupervised. The market has also faced allegations of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Trump’s series of tweets on cryptocurrency also come on the heels of an event at the White House where the president criticized large technology companies that he said treated conservative voices unfairly.
The Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms like Facebook, Twitter and Google, said: “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect.”


BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

Oliver Zipse
Updated 19 July 2019
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BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

  • German giant has lost ground to Mercedes-Benz and Tesla as tech steps up

FRANKFURT: BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker’s tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services.
Hailing Zipse’s “decisive” leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help it win back its edge in electric cars and the premium market  from rival Mercedes-Benz.
But some analysts questioned whether Zipse was the right choice with new fields such as software and services like car-sharing becoming increasingly important.
“What is intriguing is the cultural bias to appoint the head of production. It works sometimes but ... being good at building cars is not a defining edge the way it was 20 years ago,” said Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois.
Current CEO Harald Krueger, and former chiefs Norbert Reithofer, Bernd Pischetsrieder and Joachim Milberg were all former production heads.
Zipse joined BMW as a trainee in 1991 and served as head of brand and product strategies and boss of BMW’s Oxford plant in England before joining the board.
He will become chief executive on Aug. 16, taking over from Krueger who said he would not be available for a second term.
“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will assume the Chair of the Board of Management of BMW. He will provide fresh momentum in shaping  the future,” said Reithofer.
Zipse helped expand BMW’s efficient production network in Hungary, China and the US, in a move that delivered industry-leading profit margins.
Under Krueger, BMW was overtaken in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz as the best-selling luxury car brand.
It also had an early lead over US  rival Tesla in electric cars, but scaled back ambitions after its i3 model failed to sell large numbers.
Reithofer initially championed Krueger’s low-key consensus-seeking leadership, but pressured him to roll out electric vehicles more aggressively, forcing Krueger to skip the Paris Motor Show in 2016 to reevaluate BMW’s electric strategy.
Krueger’s reluctance to push low-margin electric vehicles led to an exodus of talented electric vehicle experts, including Christian Senger, now Volkswagen’s (VW) board member responsible for software, and Audi’s Markus Duesmann, who is seen as a future CEO of the company.
Both were poached by VW CEO Herbert Diess, a former BMW board member responsible for research who was himself passed over for BMW’s top job in 2015.
VW has since pushed a radical 80 billion euro ($90 billion) electric car mass production strategy, and a sweeping alliance with Ford.

Other skills
“A CEO needs to have an idea for how mobility will evolve in the future. This goes far beyond optimising an existing business,” said Carsten Breitfeld, chief executive of China-based ICONIQ motors, and former BMW engineer. “He needs to build teams, attract talent, and promote a culture oriented along consumer electronics and internet dynamics.”
German manufacturers have dominated the high-performance market for decades, but analysts warn shifts towards sophisticated technology and software is opening the door to new challengers.
“Tesla has a lead of three to four years in areas like software and electronics. There is a risk that the Germans can’t catch up,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport car magazine, normally quick to champion German manufacturers, this week ran a cover questioning BMW’s future.
“Production expertise is important, but if you want to avoid ending up being a hardware provider for Google or Apple, you need to have the ability to move up the food chain into data and software,” a former BMW board member said.