Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller recently urged investors against investing in cryptocurrencies, claiming that prices might fall to zero and that the government will not bail them out.
Waller stressed the hazards of crypto investment in a conference at the Global Interdependence Center, comparing it to a speculative commodity such as a baseball card.
Mr. Waller also emphasized industry-wide issues such as crypto businesses declaring for bankruptcy and the failure of crypto exchanges like as FTX. He stressed the need of authorities addressing fraud and scams emerging from banks and financial institutions engaging in crypto activity, as well as ensuring that all KYC and anti-money laundering laws are met. Waller omitted to highlight that the FTX meltdown was caused by ordinary bank fraud rather than any weaknesses with cryptocurrencies.
The Federal Reserve, usually known as the “Fed,” is the United States’ central banking system. With the passing of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, it was founded. The Fed was established to deal with financial panics and to develop a more stable and flexible monetary and banking system.
The Fed has had an important role in influencing the US economy throughout the years by controlling monetary policy through changes in interest rates and the money supply. The Fed is also in charge of overseeing and regulating banks and other financial institutions in order to maintain stability and avoid systemic risk.
Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual money that is secured by encryption. Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, was founded in 2009 by an unknown individual or group operating under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, hundreds more cryptocurrencies have been established, each with its own set of characteristics and applications. Some really nice. Others, though, are less enthusiastic.
Nonetheless, bitcoin has increased in popularity in recent years due to its ability to provide a decentralized, safe, and speedy means of payment and investing.
Despite Waller’s cautionary story, bitcoins have several potential benefits. Decentralization, which implies that no central authority controls the money or transactions, is one of the primary benefits. When compared to traditional banking systems, this can give more security and privacy.
Another advantage is the speed with which transactions may be completed. Traditional bank transfers take many days, but cryptocurrency transactions take minutes or seconds. This is especially handy for international transactions, since cross-border transfers might take significantly longer.
Cryptocurrency has the potential to increase financial inclusion, particularly in poorer nations where traditional banking services are restricted. Anyone, regardless of geography or financial experience, may engage in the crypto economy with a mobile phone and an internet connection.
While cryptocurrency has many potential benefits, it also has substantial hazards. Price volatility, which may cause sudden and huge variations, is one of the most significant concerns. This makes it difficult for investors to make educated judgments, which can lead to big losses.
Security is another concern. Cryptocurrencies are stored in digital wallets. If the wallets are hacked or the private keys are compromised, the cash may be gone forever. This is a huge worry for investors, especially considering the crypto industry’s lack of consumer protection.
Finally, there’s the possibility of fraud and frauds. Because of cryptocurrency’s decentralized and anonymous character, it may be an ideal target for criminals, and there have been several cases of Ponzi schemes, hacking, and other fraudulent activities in the crypto business.
And now we return to the conventional financial system, fiat money.
Despite protestations about keeping customers “safe” from cryptocurrency, the Fed and other central banks have a clear interest in keeping the present fiat-based financial system in place.
Cryptocurrency works outside of the traditional financial system and is not governed by the same rules and regulations as fiat currencies.
Central banks have the authority to produce and control money, set interest rates, and regulate financial organizations. If the bitcoin business grows in popularity, it might undermine central banks’ capacity to oversee the financial system, thus reducing their authority and influence. Things they would not simply let go of.
One of the primary worries expressed by central banks and authorities is that bitcoin might be used to support criminal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion.
While the decentralized and anonymous aspect of cryptocurrencies may make it appealing for unlawful operations, it is crucial to recognize the usage of fiat cash for similar objectives.
Fiat currency is commonly used in illegal operations such as drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and people trafficking. Cash, as opposed to cryptocurrencies, is readily transportable, untraceable, and generally recognized, making it a favoured means of transaction for criminals.
Traditional financial organizations have been embroiled in illegal operations. Money laundering is one such example. The 2008 financial crisis exposed the susceptibility of the traditional banking system to corruption and illicit activity.
Contrary to common assumption, bitcoin offers the ability to prevent criminal activity by offering a transparent and traceable payment method. Because of the simplicity of auditing, transparency on the blockchain makes it harder to conceal illicit activity.
Furthermore, bitcoin exchanges must comply with increasingly stringent rules and anti-money laundering (AML) standards. This decreases the possibility of illegal activity and contributes to the cryptocurrency business operating legally and ethically.
The Federal Reserve serves several functions, including monetary policy implementation and bank regulation to promote stability. It has the potential to affect asset values. However, it is not their responsibility to remark on the risk of specific assets going to zero. Waller’s remarks are a prime illustration of this.
The Federal Reserve’s comments on a specific investment might be seen as adopting a stance. Unintended repercussions and a loss of market trust are possible outcomes. As a result, it is critical for the Fed to stay neutral and focus on wider economic and financial developments. Instead, the Federal Reserve is concerned with broader economic and financial situations. Market participants base their investing selections on their personal risk tolerance and evaluations.