The establishment panic at Cryptocurrency

When Kingsley Amis met the works of DH Lawrence, he was not impressed through yet another great denouncer and missionary, the English send themselves “to tell them themselves that they are rude, rude, lost, dead, mad and addicted to unnatural vice.” With little charity, Amis suggested leaving the didactic novelist on “his prime, inspiring, unreachable and unread.”

Leaving aside questions of inspiration, the same can be said of Hillary Clinton, ousted US presidential candidate, cranky alarmist in office, still worried about establishment power incursions by rogue elements eager to seize the crown of power. One of them, in his mind, is the threat posed by cryptocurrency.

During a panel discussion at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, she made the following comment is worth quoting in its entirety: “Another area that I hope nation states start to pay more attention to is the rise of cryptocurrency, because what seems like a very interesting effort and somewhat exotic to literally mine new coins to trade with them has the potential to undermine currencies, to undermine the dollar’s role as a reserve currency, to destabilize nations, perhaps starting with small but going much larger. “

The remark has every threat imaginable in the Clinton universe: the potential dethronement of the almighty dollar, the cornerstone and guarantee of American power; the attack on the nation-state; false exoticism. For other establishment figures, cryptocurrencies are a regulatory nightmare, which can be used for money laundering, human trafficking and drug trafficking. The fact that all of this goes very smoothly with standard currency transactions is another one of those troublesome truths that doesn’t disrupt the dystopian terror tale.

Other politicians are also nervous about breakthroughs in crypto. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, imbued with his own brand of creepy paternalism, told a forum organized by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on November 18, that it was “important that all democratic nations work together on this issue and make sure this does not end in the wrong hands, which can ruin our young people.”

Such a mood was not helped by the Indian Supreme Court ruling in March last year, effectively overturning a 2018 central bank order banning banks from trading cryptocurrencies. The decision saw a meteoric investment boom.

Without being discouraged, a government official Modi Recount Reuters in March that a new bill was under consideration that would ban cryptocurrencies and criminalize the possession, issuance, mining, trading and transfer of those assets. The target here is private crypto assets; the preference goes to blockchain technology.

Despite the severity of this bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was also throw some crumbs to reassure worried investors. “I can only give you this clue that we are not closing our minds, we are looking at ways in which experiences can occur in the digital world and cryptocurrency.”

El Salvador has already carved out a niche in the jungle of nation states for crypto, give it legal tender in September. Until mid-November, the country hosted Bitcoin Week, and the Minister of the Economy, María Luisa Hayem, was excited to say at the Adopting Bitcoin conference, how his government “committed to innovate” and expressed pride in embracing digital currency. Rosily, she proclaims that “the currency gave, in a short time, access to payments and services that Salvadorans did not have before”.

The movement had been more than frowned upon by these agents of poverty, the world Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the latter warning against “macroeconomic, financial and legal issues that require very careful analysis” arising from the adoption of such currencies. But even central banks, threatened by this decentralizing digital march, are doing the trick, yet there is a problem that these deposits could exacerbate financial instability.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank ventured into the crypto market in partnership with digital currency trading platform Gemini and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, development an application allowing customers to “buy, sell and hold crypto assets”. Ten crypto assets will include, among them Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum.

The gesture is far from cavalier, and even a little boring. The CBA wants a piece of the crypto pie and thinks it can reassure customers that it can do so in a regulated system. Have a dedicated exchange platform will mean that digital currencies from other exchanges will not be allowed to be introduced. Close monitoring is promised.

Clinton’s fears and warnings of unscrupulous digital barbarians going on a rampage find themselves in cold isolation. The current cryptocurrency market is worth $ 2,000 billion, which is remarkable considering that crypto only came into being in 2009. The market capitalization of digital assets, according to the numbers from JP Morgan, has grown from $ 200 million at the end of 2019 to the current figure of $ 2.6 trillion.

Certainly, these digital assets are becoming a threat, but it will come from the voracious appetite for the minting and circulation of these currencies. Bitcoin and Ethereum, together, consume as much electrical energy per year than Indonesia. It leaves a generous carbon footprint as well as a growth electronic waste problem. Now that’s a concern.

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