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Gary Gensler – chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – faced heated pushback from one of CNBC’s popular anchors on Wednesday over the former’s “pet rockish” view of Bitcoin (BTC).

During an eight-minute interview, Joe Kernen interrupted the chairman several times to call out his perceived prejudices against Bitcoin, and his primary characterization of the asset as a tool for criminals.

Joe Kernen Versus Gary Gensler On Bitcoin

Part of their discussion surrounded comparisons between Bitcoin and traditional fiat currencies, which Gensler said boast a “real economic difference” in terms of their utilization as a medium of exchange.

While discussing Bitcoin’s lack of ties to any nation or central bank, Kernen claimed that this is “part of its appeal” since it makes the currency “decentralized” and immune to “profligate” spending by central banks.

Gensler repeated earlier arguments that Bitcoin is actually “centralized” due to its concentrated trading activity among a handful of corporate exchange platforms. Again, Kernen noted that Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain is still decentralized – though Gensler still wasn’t convinced of Bitcoin’s value.

“Now how many times do you have people on this show say ‘I want to invest in something because of how the books and records are kept’?” asked the chairman. “I mean Joe, really? It’s just an accounting ledger.”

Kernen countered that the ledger is special in that everybody can access it, and that its transactions cannot be double-counted. “It’s almost immutable. That’s why people think it has inherent value,” he said.

When asked by Gensler if he thought Bitcoin had more value than an Oracle database, Kernen said:

“The Bitcoin bulls trust it a lot more than the central bank that enables the fiscal authorities to spend money to the tune of $33 trillion.”

Is Bitcoin A Money Laundering Tool?

Gensler also argued that Bitcoin has the “leading market share in ransomware,” across crypto. Indeed, cryptocurrencies have grown more popular for over time for ransomware attacks due to their relative anonymity and irreversibility of transactions.

For money laundering as a whole, however, Kernen pointed out that cash remains king, dwarfing crypto’s share of the illicit finance market.

“I could go run a car into a parade and run over forty people, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have cars,” he said.

Upon approving Bitcoin spot ETFs last month, Gensler published a statement asserting that the approval was not an endorsement of Bitcoin itself, which he called a largely “speculative” asset.

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