As global influencers rubbed elbows at Davos, the IMF issued recommendations for crypto to global regulators. Depending on who you ask, crypto regulation could hurt the industry or open up vast new markets for normie investors.
In a note published over the week, the International Monetary Fund wrote:
“During times of stress, weve seen market failures of stablecoins, crypto-focused hedge funds, and crypto exchanges, which in turn raised serious concerns about market integrity and user protection. And with growing and deeper links with the core financial system, there could also be concerns about systemic risk and financial stability in the near future.”
The IMF’s preferred approach to counter these concerns is increasing global crypto regulation:
“Many of these concerns can be addressed by strengthening financial regulation and supervision, and by developing global standards that can be implemented consistently by national regulatory authorities.”
The recommendations are:
1) License, register, and authorize crypto asset providers. 2) Prohibit crypto entities from carrying out multiple functions in one business that create conflicts of interest. 3) Apply strong, bank-type regulation to stablecoin issuers. 4) Impose clear requirements on traditional financial institutions for exposure or engagement with crypto. 5) Create a consistent global approach to crypto regulation and oversight.
Posing a Threat?
While it seems unlikely that the entire world could agree on crypto regulations, the possibility of a global regulatory regime seems stifling. After all, Bitcoin was invented in the first place to side-step the global financial system.
In the view of Bitcoin’s creators and earliest adopters, it was the global financial system that was the contagion with spillover risk. Regulations did nothing to stop a financial downturn much bigger than the crypto winter from shocking global markets in 2008.
In fact, it’s even possible that financial regulations are what led to the 2008 financial crisis. The central bank’s regulation of the money supply was dovish in the years leading up to that. This encouraged rampant speculation in exotic instruments with borrowed money at low-interest rates.
For Better or Worse?
As the money velocity of the economy churned and revalued each dollar according to the constantly growing new supply of USD, the same thing happened to Wall Street that happened to Alameda-FTX. They were holding on to all these assets that weren’t really worth what they said on paper.
A global regulatory regime with inflexible, one-size-fits-all rules put together by committees could easily squash a project as important as Bitcoin before it has a chance to get started.
Or perhaps just as easily inspire one and cede control to an ecosystem of peer-to-peer network governance cobbled together ad hoc by developers, entrepreneurs, and the markets they serve.