I’ve been a critic of bitcoin and most (not all) cryptocurrencies for a long time. I’ve also been a critic of the cryptocurrency infrastructure of exchanges and “miners” who appear to be involved in price manipulation to draw in suckers to their pump-and-dump schemes.
One of my specific warnings was that central banks and the G20 governments would not sit idly by and let cryptocurrencies create a medium of exchange that rivalled fiat currencies. Powerful interests don’t go down that easily and they never go down without a fight.
Now the heat is on in crypto world. The IRS has summoned all records from certain crypto-exchanges looking for tax cheats, (and there are a lot of them). The SEC has subpoenaed scores of ICO (initial coin offering) promoters requesting books and records with a view to fraud cases and enforcement actions. And now, as reported in this article, the SEC has also notified all crypto-exchanges that they need to register as securities exchanges immediately or face fines and penalties.
That last news caused bitcoin to hit another air pocket, dropping below the critical $9,000 level. This wave of government regulation won’t let up soon and is happening all over the world; not just in the U.S.
In the end, some cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges may survive as heavily regulated financial intermediaries. But if they do, what’s the difference between cryptos and the banks, brokers and exchanges they were meant to replace? There is no difference except that cryptocurrencies are slower, more expensive and more wasteful of electricity than traditional payment methods.
Visa or MasterCard anyone?