Gil Luria: FINCEN Report “Watershed Moment” for Bitcoin

Bitcoin has received much attention from big name investors recently, and now one has come out to speak about its practical future and likely relationship with fiat currency.

Speaking in an interview with Investopedia, Gil Luria, Managing Director at the Los Angeles-based investment bank Wedbush Securities, underlined the huge potential of Bitcoin and considers there little doubt about its status in the economy, in spite of the IRS’ restrictive recent directives on cryptocurrency.

Asked whether March’s IRS virtual currency tax guide would become the definitive stance taken by authorities not only by US but around the world, Luria said, “No, I'd go back a year when FINCEN [The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] put out a report saying they would regulate Bitcoin like any other money business.”

An interesting angle indeed, one which Luria subsequently corroborated, citing its being a “watershed moment” because it steered many people’s views away from Bitcoin being “inherently illegal.”

“The fact that the organization responsible for preventing terrorist financing said we see a legitimate use for this, that changed my mind and a lot of other people's mind that Bitcoin can exist within the mainstream economy,” he said.

A million dollars?

Luria was also vocal on Bitcoin’s potential to transform traditional financial practices, especially with regard to private enterprise.

“If Bitcoin lives up to its potential and becomes the working capital of international trade, instead of countries and companies sitting on yen, U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, they could just use Bitcoin for cross-border transactions,” he said, “It would be far more efficient.”

Wedbush became the first investment US bank to accept Bitcoin as payment for fees, and Luria sparked some interest at last month’s Inside Bitcoin conference where he said on a panel that “if a lot of things happen with it and Bitcoin lives up to its promises, it could be half a million to a million dollars.”

He has been quick to add a cautionary proviso to his words, however, telling Investopedia that only if Bitcoin became the main instrument for international corporate transactions, “Bitcoin would be taking $10 trillion of foreign currency that sits in multinational companies […] Each bitcoin could be worth $1 million. The probability of that happening would be very low but it is possible.”