“The rest is silence”
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A poetic sentence, concise, coming from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’s mouth just before he shuffled his mortal coil. A grave sentence. Silence, as the much inflation oxymoron observes, is deafening. Because inside it lye Mankind’s most profound fears.
Silence means unknown and unknown means terror. Terror of regulations, bans, confiscations. The silence gets every now and then broken by announcements and authoritative warnings, but a true scream, ripping through its veil has yet to reach human ears. Thus fear cannot fade, because the repercussions of such dreadful actions may be severe enough to alienate many investors, or at least drive them to being more cautious.
Yet, is this fear really justified? The dilemma remains unsolved as of now: how will central banks and other regulatory bodies act? Vague menaces and loose attempts to oppose the ever-increasing number of cryptocurrencies have been proposed, but rarely implemented, none of which has really worked. Maybe because they know it’s too late.
In this regard it seems to be fitting Christine Lagarde’s (European Central Bank’s “queen”) latest intervention, dating just a few days back, during which she briefly talked about Bitcoin regulation. Emphasis on the word regulation: even the ECB knows that it’s too late to stop the Bitcoin phenomenon. It can only be slowed down with the threat of an invasive regulatory intervention. The justifications for the to-be interventions are “security matters” and “contain criminal phenomena” (the reader shall recall that any illegal operation founded through Bitcoin can be founded, as it has been for centuries, with cash, which is almost as difficult to trace), but the main reason, even if less obvious, it’s these institutions “necessity” to control money flows. But these new rules won’t be implemented soon.
More positive notes have come from the OOC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), probably the most important US institutions for banks and financial systems’ regulations, which, although having announced the possible introduction of new norms about cryptocurrencies, has “legalised” Bitcoin and Ethereum to the eye of the public by declaring that they won’t be direct objects of legal controversies with the State, given that they’re sufficiently decentralised. The same can’t be said for many other altcoins.
In this regard, more than once the regulator which has probably been the most vocal in its fight against cryptocurrencies has spoken out: US’s SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), whose job limited to find and take action against those firms who sell securities without having registered with SEC itself. Between today and 2017’s bubble many altcoins ended up in its sights. Its lawsuit against Ripple Inc., which developed the omonimous cryptocurrency (fifth in the world as per market capitalisation), has recently made the news: the accusation is precisely having sold that currency, which the SEC has deemed a security, omitting to register with them. The procedure has just begun: Ripple Inc. is having the first pre-trial consultations, trial which will be held during 2021. Only time will tell how this will end.
Regulations will come: it’s inevitable. But will they suffice in alienating users and investors?
In conclusion, it will take some time before cryptocurrencies become mainstream, but when it happens and when there will be projects of sufficient market capitalisation magnitude, even central banks will be forced to jump in this emerging market. Only then the importance of this technological leap will be recognised worldwide.
“When gold speaks, eloquence is feeble” (Erasmus of Rotterdam). Thus when cryptocurrencies will speak, which forces will dare oppose them?
So does this Cryptogenesis end, amid the thundering roar of a new explosive market. “The rest is silence”.